My neck and butt hurt on a Wreck-Free (almost) Sunday

I finally finished making the modifications to my safety gear to bring it up to my needs and hopped on one of the BSO in the garage to go to the first Sunday morning service at my church in a very long time. Suffice it to say I have new imperative to create the crank-forward bike I was supposed to be creating. First time I stopped I fell over because I couldn’t reach the ground until I had leaned so far over I couldn’t catch myself. My reactions were all wrong after spending 6 years riding crank-forward bikes and 7 years riding recumbents before that. As I’m sure most of you know when a “normal” bicycle stops the rider has to get out of the seat to remain upright. Well for the past 13 years I haven’t been doing that to stop, all I had to do was take a foot off the pedal and place it on the ground. And as my right leg has been dominant I tended to lean to the left so I could start on my dominant leg. My first stop I did what I have been doing for 13 years, leaning to the left and putting out my left foot. First problem I wasn’t close enough to the ground for that to even touch, second problem is the left hip was the one that got broken and a whole bunch of muscles got damaged in the fixing and then removing the hardware after the broken bits healed up so it would not go as far out as the right leg would. So I was kinda waving the foot in mid-air trying to find something solid as I slowly keeled over and impacted the pavement when I stopped halfway through an intersection to let traffic going the other direction clear so I could continue.

A couple intersections further down I discovered another problem. Because the handlebars were so low I had a hard time craning my neck back hard enough to see past my helmet visor. Part of the problem is the handlebars are seriously too low for anyone but a X/C MTB racer, I think about an inch below the seat where I usually ride with handlebars anywhere from 4 to 5 inches above the seat. Basically my torso was nearly horizontal where I normally ride nearly vertical to slightly laid back (on in the case of the show bike from 2004 completely laid back). So I was moving my neck in the complete opposite way I have been riding for many, many years. Long story short I have a very sore neck that won’t stop complaining now that I’m bent over the keyboard (another position it doesn’t like to hold for more than a few minutes).

And another effect of the too-low handlebars is it rotated my pelvis forward on the seat. Instead of sitting on the broad soft cushions of the cruiser seat I bought just for this bike I’m sitting on the completely un-padded nose of the saddle, or even less cushioning than the seat I took off the bike. I got off the bike more than 2 hours ago and my backside is still complaining about the treatment I gave it this afternoon and morning. Add in the fact I rode in regular pants and underwear instead of bike shorts and not only were things compressed that don’t like getting compressed, but things got abraded that do not like being abraded.

Now you may ask why I don’t just adjust the handlebars up until all this nonsense stops? Well… Remember when I referred to this as a BSO back in the first paragraph? This BSO does not have standard hardware in many places, one in particular is the stem bolt. I tried 6mm and 5mm, one too big and the other too small, then tried the 7/32 SAE size that falls between the 2 and nothing fits where I can apply torque to the stem bolt to adjust the stem height. I might have to weld or epoxy a cheap SAE hex key into the bolt head so that I can apply torque to break the stem bolt loose from the rust and corrosion that is holding it in place. Or it could just be really tight, you know, and because I can’t find a hex key that fits the head I haven’t been able to move it. I’m thinking I have a torch and braze and solder, I might just flow some molten metal between the cheap SAE hex key I bought and the bolt head and apply torque that way, with the heat from the torch also loosening the bolt up a bit. I’ll have to pull the plastic light and reflector brackets off the bars and cover the brake and shifter cables with wet rags, but that would let me apply torque to the bolt.

Now about the (almost) in that headline. I was watching the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona yesterday after I got back from my trips to the nail spa and to Harbor Freight, and they had just thrown a red flag to clean up a serious wreck. And I mean SERIOUS WRECK. Well, watch for yourself Gidley & Malucelli Medical Update Yep, Gidley hit the back of that Ferrari at nearly 135 MPH closing speed, well over the 50 MPH barrier test the prototypes have to go through to get certified to run. The driver of the Ferrari (Malucelli) is shaken up but basically unhurt, Gidley has broken bones in his left side (either the arm or the leg, both are injured and they aren’t saying which one is broken as of the time I read the article), and broken vertebrae in his back, I’m assuming this was from the harness restraining his torso applying compressive forces as it tried to keep his face out of the instrument panel and steering wheel. This is not a design defect it is a geometric requirement of the way the harness has to go over the shoulders and meet at the lap belt. The restraining forces go from horizontal to stop the forward motion of the body to vertical after going over the shoulders to meet at the junction of the shoulder straps and lap belt. This is a requirement to apply the forces to a part of the body that has strong bones (shoulder girdle and pelvis) and still allow for the arms to move the steering wheel. They did cadaver tests back in the ’40s and ’50s but the rib cage just didn’t have the compression strength to resist the forces applied in a wreck. Sternum straps do move some of the forces off the shoulders and into the torso, but not very much, and certainly not enough to prevent back injury in a wreck like the one in the video. Because of the HANS device every driver in the series is required to wear before getting into the car on the race track neither driver had any kind of neck injury.

This is the first “big league” car race of the year in North America, of course I’m going to be watching it, but this year it ended while I was at church so I have no idea about who won, either overall or any of the classes.

So, that’s about all I have to say today.

Well, almost I just checked to see what was causing me pain “down there” and found blood-stained underwear. So, that’s another thing that having the handlebars down too low causes, abrasion injuries to the crotch when riding in regular clothing. If you want to ride in regular clothes the bike has to fit for that style of riding.

PSA, Opus

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