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How I broke a rib dirt bike riding

A bull on the bike trail

My latest activity / hobby has been dirt bike riding. Yesterday I went for several hours with a couple of friends and had a really great time. The picture is from today – we came across this bull on the trail.

I did much better yesterday than my second time on the bike just three weeks ago. I had only just learned the basic controls of the bike and we got into some climbs that were so steep that coming down them wasn’t exactly “riding” as much as falling.

At one point my bike stalled while I was coming down this hill, but it was so steep, that it didn’t change my ride at all – The bike is off, I’m standing on the brake and still careening out of control at about 10 mph.

At the bottom of this hill is a sharp 120degree turn then a huge uphill climb so steep that I think I might need some momentum going into the climb or I might not make it to the top. So I start the bike, but as I do, my boot slips off the brake! Until that point, my back tire was completely locked up as I slid down this hill, but suddenly I went from 5 or 10 mph to 30 mph – now I’m in trouble.

The bike is turning and wrenching back and forth – my feet come off the pegs trying to keep the bike upright. I feel myself completely out of control – being thrown around like a rag doll and all of the sudden time seems to stop…

I am looking for options. I see the rock wall about 30 or 40 feet in front of me. If I don’t slow down and get control of the bike, I’m going head first in to it. Getting control of the bike doesn’t seem like a viable option at this point. I think about dumping the bike and look around for a “soft” landing area – but this is the desert and all I find are cacti – with a huge cactus on my left that I imagine sending spikes into my face, throat, and chest. I don’t realize yet that I’m already no longer on the bike. I’m official out of options.

My helmet hits the ground first. Its at this moment that I realize the helmet is the greatest invention ever. If you don’t have one – you should get one. Even if you don’t ride bikes, just wear it around the house.

I roll over on my right shoulder with an impact I swear I felt in my toes. It reminds me of a song we used to sing in grade school – your shoulder bone is connected to your back bone, back bone’s connected to your hip bones, hip bones are connected to your leg bones – now hear the word of the lord… or something like that.

I actually broke a rib but didn’t entirely realize it until later. As I slide to a stop, my first through was to get the bike upright because it leaks gas when its on its side. No, I didn’t think about my broken rib or if I had any internal bleeding – just about pouring gas on the trail.

Its when I tried to actually lift the bike upright that I realize internal bleeding was a possibility. I painfully get the bike upright and immediately sit back down. The chain on the bike has come loose and wedged itself between the frame of the bike and the front sprocket. This means I can’t ride the bike out of these trails and it won’t allow the back wheel to turn so I can’t push the bike out either.

We were about 7 miles from the parking lot. Seven miles of huge climbs and I’m in riding boots – think of snow ski boots. GREAT for HIKING, right? I tell my friend to head out and see if he can flag someone down with a four wheeler that could give me a ride back to the parking lot, and I start hiking.

That’s when I realized my jeans have split open. Right down the front from my belt to my left knee. I’m just flappin’ in the wind. For the next two miles I had a lot of time to myself thinking about how much fun I was planning on having when I left the house several hours ago. Then I remember I was supposed to meet my wife at noon to take the kids so she could go to a lunch appointment. I called my wife to let her know that I didn’t think I was going to make it, because I was having so much fun, I lost track of time.

I actually did tell her that I crashed, that I left my bike on the side of the mountain with no idea how I was going to get it out, that I had surely broken a rib and may have internal bleeding, and that I was walking half naked several miles from anywhere out in the desert all by myself.

Her response? “I have a lunch appointment! Now, what am I going to do?”…

One thought on “How I broke a rib dirt bike riding

  1. OMG Dale you are such a funny story writer and story teller! I hope you are ok and feeling better. Can't wait to see you and the kids Sunday!

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