A Handkerchief Broke My Collarbone

Since everybody seemed to enjoy reading about my misfortune in The Prequel to The Ambulance Ride and The Ambulance Ride I thought I would revisit the theme with another saga from the oops, ouch world of BIG Mike.
The Ambulance Ride story spanned 7-12 March 1988.  Consider a lean, fit cyclist responsible for his own motivation in that situation.  See-sawing emotion begats see-sawing weight.  The week of the ambulance ride I weighed in at 73kg (161lb). 
Injury Interlude
Fast forward to 18 November 1989.  Weight 119kg (262lb).  I was at a track carnival and starting a friend in a handicap.  I threw him as hard as I could, in a similar motion to a baseball batter.  Stand up and have an air swing right now.  See what happens with your back foot.  It twists up onto the toes.  What if that foot stuck and couldn’t pivot?  Imagine the stress on your knee.  I don’t have to imagine the stress.  I can tell you first hand that rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament hurts.  Several riders STOPPED racing.  They heard the starters gun, then they heard my knee and thought the starters gun had fired a second time for a false start.  Not really a classic cycling injury but, OWWW anyway.
Now.  About that Handkerchief
Fast forward again, this time to 12 July 1990.  I was back on the bike properly and had my weight down to 88kg (194lb).  It was a sunny winter day and I had travelled about 15 miles when I met up with Ian (I offer his name to ensure that he feels guilt), one of the more enlightened members of our local bike club, who in 1990 owned the first dual suspension MTB in the region.
We were rolling along comfortably having a chat when we suffered the torture of a red traffic light.  Ian was on his dually which had thumb shifters compared to my friction down tube shifters.  We were trackstanding side by side when the light went green.  His lower gear gave him the jump while I wound up the 52×17.  On the far side of the intersection was a piece of painters rag on the road.  Ian gave it a flick with his back wheel throwing it up in the air a little.  I thought I would jam it back down onto the road with my front wheel.  I thought wrong.
Has anyone ever noticed how flexible a piece of cloth is?  I did.  Too late.  It wrapped around my rim and tyre then spun up with the wheel and jammed between the tyre and fork crown.  I mean JAMMED.  Not like a chip packet in the rear stays.  The front wheel locked with me out of the seat accelerating hard.
Time Slows Down
It has been said before and I can confirm it here, things do move in slow motion when you know something bad is about to happen.  It was a beautiful warm day and I was planning on doing about 80 miles on my own.  I made an executive decision to go without my helmet as it was a safe solo trip with no hairy descents planned. 
Slow motion comes in handy.  It gave me time to think, "I wish I wore my helmet, I wish I wore my helmet, I wish I wore my helmet, I wish I wore my helmet".  Yes, I clearly remember thinking that 4 times as I sailed through the air.  I was also twisting my head and shoulders trying to avoid my head being the first part of me to arrive at the ground.  This only partially worked as my head arrived at it’s destination only a nano-second after my shoulder.  Fortunately the blow to the head worked a lot like an anaesthetic, thus rendering me oblivious to the horrible sound and initial pain of a broken collarbone.
Ian came back quickly when he realised what had happened, and was full of apologies when he realised how.  Fortunately he worked at the local bike shop and my bike was repaired long before I was.
Now before I further disclose how soft my bones are with tomorrows story, why don’t you all tell me a horror story that involves a terrifying injury caused by a trivial item.
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62 Responses to A Handkerchief Broke My Collarbone

  1. cassssss.is to cool. says:

    there is no point taking out the eyes on your photos. you can still see your face. if you dont want ppl to know who you are, why bother putting photos on your space in the first place?..thats rather strange.i know your old, but i felt like saying that.goodbye.

  2. Sue says:

    Horrible Injury: Staggering embarrassment. Deepest road rash ever. Who knows what happend to my elbow?Trivial Item: My BrainAs part of my regular ride, I went through a mall parking lot and there was a very wide median that went through the back part of a mall parking lot. I used to try to bunny-hop across the median. It was a very wide median, so this involved sprinting at it as fast as I could. I was getting so I could clear it about 32.96% of the time.It was a very wide median, so I was proud that I could bunny-hop across it. Next time I was out with a group, I steered them near the parking lot, gave ’em a "watch this" and sprinted towards the median with all my (vege)mite. It was the very moment my rear wheel was touching down that I saw the car parked about 15 feet on the other side of the median, directly in my path.You see all the other times I jumped the median, there was never any cars around, and this time I DIDN’T EVEN LOOK! I laid my bike down and slid into the car, hitting my front wheel on its front wheel, and my back wheel on its back wheel. My left elbow was ground completely off (well, almost) and also swelled up and hurt for about 4 months.5 years later, when I got whacked by a Honda, I had some x-rays done on my left wrist (among other places). The Doc comes back in and examines my elbow and says, "your elbow doesn’t hurt?""No""Wow, it’s all jacked up on the x-ray."A brain is a terrible thing to waste.BotchedP.S. MIKE, I am awarding you a BotchedExperiment Universe-Wide Best of Blogging (that I’ve read) Award.Your award is "Best Australian Blog"Just kidding, it’s actually the "How Does He/She Get Anything Done" award. This goes to highest total output Blogger/Commenter combo. Not only do you have a blog, but every blog I have ever read (almost) has at least 2 comments from BIG Mike.Excellent Work.

  3. Unknown says:

    I forgot to mention that the impact of my front wheel on the car bent my forks. I decided to bend them back by riding off of loading docks. It worked really well, in fact so well that I soon had a chopper complete with a broken frame (at the steer tube/down tube weld).Botched!

  4. agreenmouther says:

    Injury: ripped ligaments in foot; very, very long time spent on crutchesItem: stairIt was 6:30 AM practice (so essentially 4 AM for the rest of the world) and we were running the stadiums by the pool. I hit my foot and being the idiot kept going for another ten minutes or so. I thought I was sweating and feeling lightheaded because I was so out of shape, turns out it was a vagal response. I re-injured it a month or so later, turning it into a six-month convalesence. Crutching around a college campus is the definition of pathetically miserable.

  5. cosmogrl says:

    Great! Now I’m addicted to your blog too! Aaaaargh! I am met with defeat once again! I hope you’re ok after you’re terrible accident–sheesh! I once ripped my entire pinky nail clean off of my finger because I wasn’t paying attention while riding my bike down the road, enjoying the lovely Spring day. I was doing the ‘look Ma–no hands’ thing and my arm was relaxed just a lil too close to the bike chain. Yep! You guessed it! The chain caught hold of my finger and rrrriiiiipppp–off came my nail. Lemme just say, that losing an entire finger nail, as oppossed to just breaking a nail, well, it’s much akin to having your scalp cut off rather than just getting a haircut. eewwwww—gross! Ok, I’ll leave you with the knowledge that someone else feels your pain….well, not really, but it sounded real nice…. 🙂 Take care! –Wen

  6. AO says:

    okay, so this really doesn’t have anything to do with the topic, and it didn’t directly happen to me. i’m gonna share it anyway. cosmogrl33’s comment reminded me of the one and only time i ever went rappelling. my 2 friends and 1 of their sisters and i were taking turns rappelling when the sister’s beautiful, long blonde hair became entangled in the figure 8. i remember the smell of burning hair as i rappelled down to try to cut her hair loose w/ a very dull pocketknife. she ended up having horrible bruising on her scalp and around her forehead as she had basically been nearly scalped.

  7. Big Guy on a Bicycle says:

    You’re definitely onto something about time slowing down. I have held complete discussions in committee within the time it takes to go from seated on a bike to impacting the road/trail/guardrail with the bike bouncing off in some random direction. Usually the consensus coming out of committee is "Oh, yeah. This is gonna hurt. Wonder what the scar will look like this time?"

  8. Sue says:

    Nikared. . . man. That’s . . . just. . . . Well I’m cutting my long blond hair right away.I generally disagree with the time slowing down thing, EXCEPT one time I was just riding along with a buddy (maaate) and I let go of the ‘bars and grabbed the nose of the saddle to lean back. POP. The bolt that held the saddle onto the seat post broke. Before I fell backwards onto the rear tire I actually had time to think (not too clearly) about what to yell. I managed to let out a yeehaw (cowboy style) before I taco’d the rear wheel and gave myself some intimate tire burns.Botched

  9. Ariane says:

    Argh… It’s always gotta be the poles. When I see them, I immediately become distracted by something else, and ride straight into them. This has happened twice since August. Gah.

  10. AO says:

    botched: were you okay? was anything ‘cracked’… ah hahaha

  11. Unknown says:

    Ouch! All these cyclists have some doozies of injuries. Mine is not cycling related but something as innocent (or evil) as housework. Heading out the back door to hang a load and I trip on the step. I fall awkwardly on my left ankle and twist it so I land extra hard on my right ankle. You’re right, time slows. I remember thinking ‘oh shit’ and trying not to hit my head on the brick bbq as I go down. I broke my right ankle in two places and heard the breaks. Hubby was right behind me and thought I’d just dislocated it but I quickly set him straight. I now look at housework as evil and the back steps are taken with extra care!Lucky.

  12. Unknown says:

    Lucky’s comments remind me of a friend. After a heavy seesion at the pub one winter he set off staggering home only to slip on some ice, breaking his ankle. Being a little worse for wear, he got back on his feet and tried to carry on home, only to fall and break the other ankle. It wasn’t until he tried to stand for the third time that he realised how baddly hurt he was, but by this time had made a reletively minor injury into a serious double injury requiring surgery and months on crutches.

  13. Unknown says:

    aww! that sucks! funny how something so innocent turns into a broken bone! And whats up cassie’s butt?(!)

  14. a says:

    <loudly chewing\popping bubble gum while twirling hair around finger>mspigtoyou, like, uh, what’s up your butt?!? hellooo, i’m like just, uh, ya know trying to help<pop>you old folks out by<pop>like, letting ya know how, like, uncool this all is<pop, pop>k.gotta get to 2nd period now so like, holla at ya lata.<pop>

  15. Margaret says:

    My mom kicked the dog once and broke her toe. It wasn’t like we abused our pets or anything. This was a freak thing. The dog would constantly eat our food. Her favorite was loaves of bread, plastic bag and all. Not sure how she got them off the counter, think the cat may have helped knock it down.Anyway, this time the dog had eaten a cake she had baked to take to a friend, and she was so frustrated she kicked it. The dog was fine, but the toe was not.Imagine having to tell people you were injured because you kicked your dog.Great space! I miss my aussie friends who were in the states for a few years and just recently moved back to start their family. Love hearing from down under, and getting the full deal on vegemite!

  16. Fat says:

    Since there seems to be different stories being shared, here’s mine.I was playing a game with my family one night and enjoying some "Life Savers Candy" (http://www.oldtimecandy.com/life-savers.htm). Just as I started to chew on my green Life Saver, someone said something funny, which made me laugh.Laughing + crunched up pieces of Life Savers = Dead SaversI started choking on the Life Saver. When I got up to run to the trash can and try to spit out the remaining pieces of candy in my mouth, my Mom panicked, jumped up and grabbed me from behind and proceeded to perform the heimlich maneuver on me. Seeing as how I was choking and couldn’t really talk, I started to kick my legs trying to get away from her for fear of swallowing and choking on more of the candy. To this day I still have problems with the green Life Savers.~ Fat ChickP.S. lol to nikared

  17. Unknown says:

    nikared– yeah, you could say cracked . . . especially anyone who saw me walking home. My butt of my shorts got totally ripped out, i’m talking reda– baboon style. To illustrate my superior IQ, it only took me about 15 minutes and 5 hoots from passers by to think of taking my shirt off and wrapping it around my chapped and swollen butt.k. like c-ya ltrBotchedP.S. (notso) FatFitnessChick– NICE!

  18. Ariane says:

    I should’ve pointed out, were I not so tired, that the last encounter I had with a pole resulted in quite the concussion, and a trip to the ER for an MRI. (That’s what the picture [on my blog] of me with my head split is from).Botched– Jeezuz, man. That’s like on of those dreams where you realize you’ve got no pants. Except it was real. …Oh gawd that’s horrbile…. I don’t even know what to say. Excuse me, I need to go reinforce the seats of all of my shorts with steel plating.

  19. BIg Mike In Oz says:

    Botched – your brain is obviously used for higher functions, not self preservation. And thanks for the award, it means a lot to me… and helps me understand why the grass is so long and the dishes haven’t been washed for days.CCM – a pattern is emerging, you and botched both maimed yourselves and then continued with your lives as if nothing happened. That’s either supremely tough or supremely stupid.cosmogrl33 – how do you ride a bike in such a manner as to have your finger in the chain?nikared – I finally have a reason to be happy that I’m bald.BGOAB – you reminded me of Cole Trickle (Tom Cruise) in Days of Thunder sliding into a wreck saying "this is gonna hurt"Botched – oowww, eewww, how can you crack a smile? LOLtoad – you seem easily distracted. You must be a student, am I right? good luck with the examsLucky – I think you should install a ramp – or a housekeeper. Or both.Tim D – alcohol, making brilliant men stupid, and stupid men crippled, for centuries.mspigtoyou and nikared – cassie falls into the category of "<sigh> kids these days"MEA – I tried to kick the dog recently, my wife threatened to break my collarbone again.FFC – do you realise the hole is in lifesavers so you can’t choke? Botched – a bit like walking around with your pants open, except there’s blood.

  20. Peggy says:

    Shoes on the basement steps sitting not to the side like most well behaved shoes but right smack in the middle of the step and me with a laundry basket full of clothes and well aware of just how many steps it takes to get to the bottom of the stairs and get rid of the overloaded and heavy basket of clothes so why should I bother to look first, right? :-0 The rest of the episode has been recorded in my diary of those things I title, Dear Diary, what an ars I was today!

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