About eight weeks ago I came off of my bike quite seriously. I'm keen to get it down and share some learnings.

I was out with two mates aiming for our longest ride to date -120km- and we had just crested Norton's (where I had gotten a personal best!) and were cruising down the long hill after Ashton on Lobethal Road. The last thing I remember was Sam overtaking me, and me shouting out for him to watch the red car also attempting an overtake on a corner (a bit stupid really). Anyway, Sam and Angus made it through the left-hand bend easily enough, but I didn't.

I don't remember what happened next; maybe the car's proximity to a mate distracted me, perhaps I was simply going too fast, maybe there was loose bitumen or oil on the road, but whatever the reason, I lost control and slid across the road. I hit my head either on the road or the barricade and messed up my helmet, as well as leaving a lot of skin on Lobethal Road as I skidded across. 

My friends heard the clatter and turned around to find me on the other side of the road, propped up against the barricade. My face was an absolute mess, my glasses were shredded up, my gloves non-existent and a lot of blood across my jersey. I've since been told I was out for about thirty seconds before I came to. I was quite delirious, asking for water, water, water! The ambulance officer later informed Angus that he shouldn't have given me all that water... whoops! I owe him a drink bottle now, I got his all bloody!

By pure luck Sam's family lived nearby, and he sped off to get them. They returned to my shivering body and shrouded me in blankets. In another stroke of luck a registered nurse was driving by and wrapped up my head to cover the gaping wound above my left eye. I begin to remember things after this. I remember the nurse's name, Theresa, and the ambulance officer, Phil. I'd like to meet them and say thanks! I thought I was dreaming, and that I would wake up if I tried hard enough, but the ambulance ride made things much more real. 

After cleaning me up in Emergency (and cutting off my favourite jersey), I sat for about six hours waiting for the results of a CT scan to ensure that I didn't have broken bones. Luckily I didn't, but I did have a ten millimetre temporal lobe contusion (a bruise on my brain just behind my right temple). I also got eleven stitches above my eye and endured an agonising wound-scrubbing experience. After three days in hospital I passed the cognitive assessment and was discharged. After two weeks of moping around the house, stiff, sad and sore, I got outside and began to work and study again. 

Study proved difficult at times; working on a computer for more than thirty minutes gave me a headache, and I could do very little mental work. This improved after about five weeks, when I regained regular thinking prowess. My body had healed after two weeks (I was amazed by this), leaving a small scar above my eye, which has healed remarkably into a thin purple line just above my eyebrow. Kudos to the surgeon! 

I've been back on the bike for about three weeks now, and I recall my first hill climb on the way to uni: I felt sick, had a headache and wanted to just stop. My lungs ached and my brain was freaking out. I got to uni and still felt ill (I have no idea why, perhaps just nerves?) but got through the day. 

Two weeks ago I got the all-clear that I had no more bruising on my brain. I still have to pass another cognitive assessment, but given a got a few distinctions on essays written whilst injured, I think I am all good! Now I need to get out there and ride that corner again!

I've learned a few things;

  1. Downhill records prove nothing. I still love the rush and adrenaline of the speed, but I take new roads and wet weather mighty gentle. I have very little rubber keeping me upright. 
  2. The best cure for my fear was to get back out there on the bike. Don't let it fester!
  3. My helmet saved my life. I have bought a new, better helmet now, and advise everyone else to wear one.
  4. Also, road rash HURTS!
  5. That my family and mates are awesome. Thanks for Sam for his moral support, Angus for taking care of me on the road and grabbing my bike, Sam's mum Felicity for giving first aid, my girlfriend Lisa for visiting me everyday and enduring my gruesome face and my Mum and Dad for helping me out around the house. Also everyone else in my life for supporting me and caring about my recovery
  6. That to donate blood after a brain injury requires six months recovery (I wanted to donate but got turned away!)!

So thanks to all that helped! It'd be great to see another cyclist take something from this experience and avoid my accident. I'll see you out there on the road, maybe flying along Lobethal Road! 

Views: 360

Comment by heather on June 25, 2012 at 13:58

Did a 'like' for well described, rather than the event as you realise. Sorry about your crash and injuries.
I have added a link under AC group Look For Cyclists at http://www.adelaidecyclists.com/forum/topics/cyclist-versus-object

Comment by Matt Brennan on June 25, 2012 at 17:26

a like for the recovery and friends!

Comment by Daniel Lynch on June 25, 2012 at 23:26

+1 Patrick, some of the questions were tricky before I had a brain injury!

Comment by Torsten Bunge on June 26, 2012 at 9:43
Great blog Daniel, glad to hear you are ok. A like for being a blood donor, thanks for reminding me it's been too long since I gave. Good on you for getting straight back on the bike, takes guts but you are right in saying don't let it fester, i took on a car and lost badly when i was 17, didn't get back onto a bike until 18 Months ago, i an now 42 and not riding all those years is one of my few regrets. Lobethal road is one of my favorites, might see you out there some day.
Comment by Tim B on June 26, 2012 at 9:57

Glad you are back on the bike Daniel.

Just a mention for anyone reading, there are a lot of roads out that way at this time of year that don't see much sun as they are over the back of the hills, they are constantly damp, shaded by trees and as such are growing a lovely green moss over the top of them, especially between the wheel tracks of cars (the middle of the lane). They are hard to see but slick as hell and not something you want to find on entry to a downhill corner.

Comment by Simon Lownsborough on June 27, 2012 at 16:03

Glad you are well, and a great reminder for us all to take care.

Comment by Michael Bland on July 3, 2012 at 20:49

Full on Daniel ,, ride on ..

Comment by Richard Stevens on July 19, 2012 at 22:07

Thanks for sharing Daniel..  glad you're recovered and back out there. 

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