A bike crash.
So, yesterday (9th July 2017) I crashed my bike. Lots – well, loads actually – of you have been in touch, and it’s lovely that you have been. Lots of you have also asked how I am and typing is pretty difficult (virtually all of my message replies have been on the phone or using Siri, and most of this is dictated also), so to save myself the (actual) pain – and for the sake of sheer efficiency, here is your FAQ.
I crashed my bike and landed on my shoulder, breaking my collar bone in two places, one major and one minor fracture. I got a large number of cuts and bruises also, naturally.
What did you hit?
I hit a patch of gravel on the ground as I rounded a bend. I tried to correct the slide and the wheel went perpendicular to the bike, throwing me over the top. You can see it here.
How come you couldn’t see it?
This may sound daft, but on a very sunny day when you cycle past trees it’s really hard to make out road surfaces. I’d already rode over a fair bit of gravel but this was a pothole filled full of it.
Where were you going?
I was cycling from home to Haselmere via Shoreham and Worthing. I was off to Haselmere festival to watch a friend’s show and then do my gig. So I was effectively working, which is good as the bike was bought under the cycle to work scheme! Here’s my Strava – https://www.strava.com/activities/1075291553
How fast were you going?
Probably about 18mph. If you want to see a video of me cycling just before the crash, check out this video I took using my new Mobius recorder – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FXayLA4j94w
You took a video! Did you record the accident?
No. I turned it off 5 minutes beforehand, like an idiot.
What happened after you crashed?
I dragged myself to the side of the road and immediately knew something serious was up. So I sat up, swang my arms around in a butterfly to see if they moved and one did and the other one didn’t. Then I sat down, stopped my Strava, and asked a passing cyclist what had happened. He flagged down a car that was coming round the corner and they put my bike somewhere safe, collecting up my camera, my light, and my saddle bag, which had all been thrown clear by the crash.
Is your bike OK?
Incredibly, yes. I think I broke its fall. The pedals thankfully came off my cleats as that could have seriously damaged (i.e. broken) my legs as well. The camera mount was snapped off though and the bar tape has been ripped off where it skidded into me. All in all, bike got away lucky.
What happened next?
I asked the passing cyclist (Henry) and motorist (Shaun) if I needed an ambulance and they said definitely. Then I rang my wife and told her to come and get me – I didn’t know where I was so I put Find my Friends on for her (it’s invaluable for safety – everyone do it). Then I started worrying that I wasn’t going to make the gig and realised I didn’t have the promoter’s number on me, so I put a Facebook status up saying what happened to me and asking people to contact the promoter, and also the act I was going to see and a friend of mine who was collecting me later to not bother, as it was quite clear at this point I wasn’t going to make the show. I also remembered I had a couple of ibuprofen in my frame bag so Henry dug those out for me and I had those.
Where were you?
The 999 responder got Shaun to pass on his coordinates to the ambulance team. Again, it’s a feature on the iPhone compass app – everyone should learn this. Then the responder started speaking to me and I realised I was sounding quite delirious. Shaun took the phone back and told her I’d gone white and my lips had gone grey and that’s when things got a bit fuzzy.
Yeah. I don’t really know what happened but apparently I was babbling some rubbish. Not hugely dissimilar to my act, I imagine. I was in shock apparently. I said I was hot so they got me out of my cycling top, propped me up against my bike, and took a picture. You can see how squished my collar bone and shoulder is already – my left side is about an inch shorter! Then the ambulance turned up – an air ambulance. This was a surprise to me, and the ambulance people who turned up almost immediately afterwards. You can see these mini videos at the end of the video I posted.
Then what? What did the ambulance people do?
The adrenaline was wearing off now so stuff started to really, REALLY, hurt. As well as the impact I’d bruised my shoulders, knees, legs, arms and my back. This stings, I can assure you. They got me into the ambulance and the air ambulance doctors assessed me for nerve damage. She said I’d definitely broke my collar bone but it wasn’t bad enough to get a helicopter ride – dammit. Gareth the paramedic then gave me morphine. I don’t like morphine, it makes me feel whatever the opposite of lucid is.
So what happened at hospital?
The ambulance gave me and my bike (!) a ride to Worthing hospital, so Lucy agreed to meet me there, after realising our electric car might not have the range to reach the accident site and back! If curious, an ambulance not only fits a bike but they have a strap to secure it for the journey.
At hospital we waited 3 hours before the x-ray – they’d forgotten I’d come in, which was pretty annoying. The brilliant paramedics (Gareth and Catherine) posed for a selfie but not before giving me the rest of the morphine so I was utterly off my tits. Hence the ‘sunshine coach’ style thumbs up. According to Lucy I was talking absolute gibberish at this point. Complete madness.
The x-ray showed that I had broken the collar bone in two places, one minor break, and one major one, where the bone was now protruding and overlapping. The doctor on site said they wouldn’t operate until the orthopaedic people had a look at it, but that appointment wasn’t for another 2 and a half weeks! So now I’m back home, on average painkillers, waiting to see a private consultant where I’m going to push for a metal plate to be put in and maybe some other superpowers on the side.
How are you now?
It’s 24 hours since the crash and I’m sore, and in pain, but OK. I’ve been in a sling for the whole time and I’m slowly learning what can and can’t be done with a single hand. Typing is tough, as is most food preparation, and a solo shower is near impossible. A huge bruise has appeared where the collar bone is sticking up. Curious to know if I can gig like this. I’d better write some jokes because going on stage in a sling without gags about it will look incredibly amateur.
Be honest. Did you cry?
I almost cried when I said goodbye to Shaun and Henry when they left after I got in the ambulance. Their kindness was so unsolicited and immense it reaffirmed my faith in post-Brexit humanity. But I definitely shed a tear when my 5yr old son came home from school today and gave me this. Those two small lines are my knackered clavicle, by the way. Love him.