Posted by: Ian | February 24, 2011

My new Ti part

Park loops this week didn’t go as planned. On my way up Great Western Road to meet Emily, Gavin and Joerg I was cycling towards a van that was parked on the double yellow lines outside the Western Union shop. The next thing I knew it was reversing along the road at high speed directly at me – too quickly, I realised too late, for me to steer out of its way. As I lay on the road wondering what I’d broken the driver got out and tried to persuade me that I should get up. Too much of me hurt too much for me to do that and I was in no mood to listen to him anyway. Just in case I didn’t feel bad enough, he was also denying that he’d been reversing. I’m not sure of the exact sequencing but I think by then the police had arrived. Another cyclist pulled over and was taking photos on his phone. He was much more sympathetic and called an ambulance for me; I wish I could thank him. Soon an ambulance arrived, by which time I’d figured out that my worst injury was in my lower left arm. I tried to call Emily and Gavin, who were waiting at West Hampstead with their phones in their bags; before long Emily had called me back and cycled down to join me in the back of the ambulance.  Gav went off to rendez-vous with Joerg  – they didn’t do any loops.

I think it was one of the ambulance men who told me that the useless police had decided not to take any action against the van driver because of his claim that he was parked when I ran into him. I tried to call the police station yesterday after leaving A&E but I wasn’t in the right mood to sit out the long delay to speak to someone that the police switchboard’s voicemail warned me I could expect.

I had been riding the Astraeus and as far as I can currently tell its titanium frame is undamaged. The front wheel is bent, the left STI is smashed up and, as the photo shows, the 3T carbon bars snapped clean in two. If the frame has indeed survived it will justify my choice of Ti for my main non-commute/non-event bike: I have no doubt that if I’d been on the Felt it would have been trashed.

At St Mary’s it was established that, as I thought, my one skeletal break was to my wrist, which was looking pretty funky. The duty doctor and a heavy guy who was helping her tugged it a bit straighter while it was set in a temporary cast. I asked the orthopod how long I could expect to wait to get the operation she told me I needed to re-set the bones back into their correct positions. She was very vague and warned me that wrist injuries were low priority. I would have to wait day by day for a call that would tell me when it was worth coming into the hospital to see whether I might get my operation. Even when called into hospital it remained very possible that a more urgent case might trump mine on the day.

Given this outlook I instead invoked the health insurance offered by my employer. As a consequence, I got treated by a hand and wrist specialist last night followed by an overnight stay in a private room at a nice place in Marylebone. The drugs were impressive and any concern I had about the op was moderated by my recollection of how brave and uncomplaining Zoe was some years ago when she snapped both her ulna and radius. With Paula and the girls in Florida, Emily and Steve have looked after me exceptionally well and I have been most grateful for the kind messages from my friends.

I now have a new titanium part to go with the Astraeus and I’m wondering how it will be regarded at airport security next time I pass through.

I don’t know how long it will be before I can get back on a bike. I’m guessing that doing the Lionheart sportive in less than a month might be a stretch but I’ll do my best to be in good enough shape for the Tour of Wessex in late May. I’ll probably do some spin classes, which will be a first for me, and if I’m going to be off the road for a while I’ll look into getting a turbo trainer. My strongest incentive to recovery is that until I can cycle across London again I’ll have to take the miserable tube.






  1. […] right of the vertical black line. This line marks the date on which I was knocked off my bike and broke my wrist (and had an operation to fix it). Go […]

  2. […] most useless were the police who attended my accident earlier this year and were apparently unable to find any cause to detain a van driver who, from parking on double […]

  3. […] at first – but I find it so much more comfortable! Also, after my handlebars were trashed by my crash in February I replaced them with narrower ones. I love the 3T ErgoNova Team bars that I’ve been using on […]

  4. […] new CycleOps Turbo Trainer Shortly after breaking my wrist, once it became apparent that I can’t immediately return to road cycling, I ordered a turbo […]

  5. Sorry to hear this Ian. Avoiding the NHS was probably a good move, my left wrist break healed so badly that it hurts too much to wear a watch on that arm now. Hope justice is done with the van driver too.

    • Thanks Ant. I’m optimistic about how the op went but it’s too early to know yet how it will heal. But at least I got what seemed like high quality attention very quickly. Don’t know if/how I’ll find the time and energy to spur the police into any sort of action against the driver. I now get why so many cyclists wear web cams.

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