Riding eMtn Bike too slow and was run off the bike path

Larry Ganz

Active Member
The opposite of eBike riders going too fast or being reckless can still hurt.

In this case, unassisted riders surprised us while passing us and it resulted in my crash. We'd decided that bike path was too narrow to be cruising at max assist speed of 20mph, but other riders didn't feel that way and were going even faster. I'm not sure why class 1 eBikes have to be limited to 20mph, or are banned from some areas completely, when healthy and fit riders on lighter un-powered bikes are allowed to go as fast as they want, regardless of traffic or road conditions.

We took our ebikes on vacation this weekend, planning to ride 30 miles both Sunday and Monday. I was riding my Trek Powerfly 7 on a bike path by the river in Glenwood Springs Colorado (river on my left, with highway I-70 on my right) with my wife leading on her Trek Neko+. We were coasting with brakes about 15mph on a narrow downhill section, about 25 miles into a 32 mile round trip ride, when a pair of faster non assisted riders came past us on the left with very little warning,

One of the riders called out "on your left" about 5 feet from my left ear, which scared me right into the concrete retaining wall on the right.

I was like the kitten on YouTube that jumps 6 feet back when the pet iguana starts to move suddenly towards it, but I had no room to go anywhere but into a wall at speed. And it was not object fixation, but my right handle bar hitting the wall turned the bars towards the wall. Once my right handlebar made contact with the wall i was sucked into it.

My inexperience kicked me in the ass, and I wasn't prepared for everything - while I was focused on what was ahead I forgot that there were riders behind me. I just wasn't expecting to be passed at 15mph when we'd been passing others in front of us, and I'd warn people with my loud voice well in advance of our approach while slowing down some.

My body and gear didn't fare well. I gouged my right grip, tore out my front fork lock-out cable, scuffed my Intuvia display, broke of a piece of my front reflector, scraped my headlight and right brake fluid reservoir, ripped off my iPhone 7+ mount (with iPhone in it), snapped my left front brake lever mounting bracket in half, gouged my right crank pedal, scraped the right crank, twisted my handle bars 15 degrees to the right, and bent my rear wheel as I got trapped between the wheel and seat post. My Intuvia damage is cosmetic, and the assist level switch was spared because I had it rotated more vertically to reach with my arthritic thumb more easily.

I ended up with small patches of road rash on my right knee and arm, a cut and deep puncture on my shin that kept bleeding, and contusions along my right side. I ripped my shorts but my Specialised Deflect jacket didn't tear - it just has dirt and rubber streaks along the right arm and right side, and blood. Somehow I caught road rash under my jacket on my right chest and shoulder, without a hole in the jacket.

My sleeve slid up a little and exposed my $700 black steel Apple Watch on mesh bracelet, which protected a good portion of my hand and wrist, minimizing my road rash to a smaller section above the watch. But I gouged the watch case, broke the watch sapphire crystal and twisted the steel mesh bracelet. So glad I wasn't wearing my Titanium Omega chronograph that I'd taken off before the ride.

My Apple Watch still works and it only missed recording 2 miles of our 32 mile ride - it auto-paused while the faster riders stopped to render first aid, and I didn't notice and resume timing the ride until 10 min after we started back to the hotel. My iPhone came out unscathed, protected by the 360 coverage of the handlebar mount that I bought from REI for XL phones. It was laying on the ground 15 feet ahead of where the bike and I finished sliding.

The faster riders were very helpful and apologetic (sounded like from Sweden) and plan to give people more warning than silently sneaking up on someone and then yelling "on your left" directly into that persons ear at "last second" distance. it's a two way path and I was staying right, but was startled by the sudden appearance of a passing rider so close to me.

It was a downhill portion but my wife is afraid to ride too fast on narrow paths, and she was coasting with the brakes - it would have been easy for the other riders to be going 25+mph with gentle pedaling on this 5-6 foot wide bike path. It's probably not safe to be going more than 5mph faster than other riders when passing there.

I took advantage of all the bandaids and first aid tape they wanted to donate, saving my kit for another time. They went on their way forgiven, once they helped me ascertain that my bike and I could limp back for the last 7 miles. Riding back with the handlebars out of whack, no front brake, and wobbly rear wheel wasn't fun.

I'll hit up the Apple Store Monday night on our way back home, and see if Apple Care+ will cover the watch repairs. I know it covers an iPhone when folded into a taco by an electric rear hatch on a Subaru Forester XT.

And Tuesday I'll take my Trek to the LBS for repairs which shouldn't be too bad - the brake lever, lock out cable, and reflector shouldn't be too much to replace, and I may upgrade the plastic crank pedals while I'm at it. The scratched parts such as the Intuvia display and headlight still work.

The steering stem should be able to be adjusted back to true, and hopefully the rear wheel can be straightened out okay. Not sure why the front wheel didn't bendtoo. But I worry that the rear might be weaker after fixing it than if it replace the wheel. I also don't know if there's any underlying damage to the front fork, i.e. if it had twisted at all, but it seems to be using up about 8omm travel with my 26% sag during the ride back to the hotel. So it's not binding up.

I took an Oxycodone and Valium since I can't move right now, along with Aleve, so hopefully I'm not stuck in bed in the morning. I feel like a truck hit me, but the last time that actually happened I ended up with two broken legs and 5 broken ribs. So this isn't that bad...

No flammers please, it's not helpful. Sympathies, regards, prayers, and constructive criticism welcome.

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EddieJ

Well-Known Member
Sorry to hear that. :(

On the plus side in respect of Intuvia, you can buy an outer replacement bezel. This is a German site, but presumably you can get sorted in the US. https://www.bike-discount.de/en/buy...uvia-performance-anthrazit-505057/wg_id-17902 There are two colours available, so make sure that you order the correct one.

I have also had a brake lever assembly snap in exactly the same place. Frustratingly you have to buy the unit as a whole, and not just the separate components. I seem to recall that you had a very good list of kit and tools that you carry on your rides, but if you don't already carry them, zip/cable ties are a very handy get you out of trouble quick fix.

Hopefully the rear wheel can be straightened, but it could be worth asking the cycle shop just to re-true the front wheel, and also ask them to check the front brake disc, just in case you have missed anything, and it took a knock.

Good luck getting things sorted, and of course mending your self. Sadly none of us bounce like we used to.

If it makes you feel any better, you stated that your "inexperience kicked you in the ass". Trust me, that had nothing to do with it. You were concentrating on where you were going, and it can actually take very little to make you jump when approached from behind. I know that I have had it happen to me, and I have also sadly made others jump, and that is despite pinging my bell and calling out. Not pleasant in respect of either.
 
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Sonoboy

Active Member
Sorry about your injuries and damaged items. At the very least they DID stop and render aid. I think we have all seen others that would not even bother with stopping.

Do you have a mirror? And do you think the visual 'heads up' it provides would have alleviated this crash?
 

shivas

New Member
Sorry to read about your spill.

Sucks that they kinda snuck up on you.

I thought the bell was the accepted warning. ( though I'm somewhat new e-biking and I'm not sure how well the bell would have been heard)

Do you have a mirror? I ride mostly along the road and I regularly check the mirror to see behind me.
 

Mikey

New Member
Sorry to hear that, hope you're back on the bike soon. I think maybe it's time to invest in some mirrors. Being able to see them will really help calm your nerves against the creeper. When I say creeper, I meant the silent sneaky type that rides pass you, not the regular creeper. That path looks way too busy and narrow to be riding 20+.
 

Ann M.

Well-Known Member
Larry, heal soon and do get your bike checked and those wheels trued. I've had a few strawberries myself, mostly from sneaky loose sand & gravel in a corner while on road bike and it just isn't fun.

Don't know how well the Garmin Varia rear traffic radar would work on a blind corner but it looks like a pretty interesting concept. A simple Mirrycle MTB adjustable bar end mirror is a good, inexpensive start.

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Larry Ganz

Active Member
Thanks everyone. I appreciate it.

I have zip ties and used two in an x-pattern to keep the front brake in place, and also have electrical tape just in case. It's not very elegant but it allowed me to get back to the hotel and use my front brake downhill.

I also have a helmet mounted mirror, but when I bought my new Cannondale helmet in March I tried to move it over and the double sided sticky tape on the base of the mirror lost its grip after 2 weeks. So my mirror was packed inside my camelback because I keep forgetting to buy double sided tape. I got a little OCD about glueing it to a nice helmet and making it permanent.

I like the ergonomic grips on my Trek, so I thought if I take the end-cap off the bar end that an end-cap bar-end mirror would look funny and not be as temporary as I'd like. I don't want the mirror hanging off my bars when I'm riding off road, because it'll catch on a bush and suck me in like the wall. My daughter says she bought a Velcro attached bar end grip and she'll point me to a link for one.

As far as I can tell the front wheel is true and the brake doesn't rub anywhere, but yeah, I'll have them check the whole bike. If I hadn't landed on the rear wheel and gotten between the tire and frame, all the damage would be to the handlebars and a few pieces of the handlebar mounted gear.

I'm tempted to adjust my stem and do a flat but short ride today. The rear wheel only wobbles about 0.25” total left to right, and I can't feel it when I ride. The derailleur and rear brake are working flawlessly.
 

JRA

Well-Known Member
Sorry to hear about your accident. I hope that your healing process is fast and you suffer no long term affects.

On a MTU yesterday I was once again amazed by the lack of etiquette of riders passing with little warning or even slowing down, in both directions. Didn't hear a single bell all day which I have always thought to be the best way of notifying others on MUT's. The trail we were on is an old rail road grade that on the way out was up the grade. Some of the bikers coming down the grade were going way too fast I felt. We happened to come across a park ranger and I asked if there was a speed limit on the trail and she kind of looked at me funny and said you could go as fast as you could push it. I thought this was an odd response.
 

Ann M.

Well-Known Member
Larry, we've sold lots of velcro mounted bar end mirrors over the years. Very popular for those who travel a lot; they're easy to remove before packing and come in just a little closer than a regular folding bar end mirror. The Sunlite velco strap version is very inexpensive and has a decent wide angle mirror.

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Larry Ganz

Active Member
Larry, we've sold lots of velcro mounted bar end mirrors over the years. Very popular for those who travel a lot; they're easy to remove before packing and come in just a little closer than a regular folding bar end mirror. The Sunlite velco strap version is very inexpensive and has a decent wide angle mirror.

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Thanks, I'll check it out. I have limited range of motion when turning my neck, and turn my shoulders out of habit now when I go to look behind me, so I think this will be inevitable.
 
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Deleted member 803

Guest
Bikes can be repaired. People sometimes. Heal up quickly and so sorry to hear about this preventable accident.
 

EddieJ

Well-Known Member
Brilliant. :) That is pretty much exactly the same as I did with mine.

Good to see the photo, as it could help someone else one day.
 

memberseven

Member
yeah putting limits on ebikes are just plain ridiculous when fit riders can be cruising at 25mph or higher, roadies always zoom past me when I'm leisurely cruising at 17~19mph.
 

Larry Ganz

Active Member
Well, I couldn't resist. I straightened out the handlebars and we're on another ride. We're having a picnic now at a rest stop along the river.

EDIT - duplicate posts but the picture isn't uploading. Didn't pay attention to it saying "too big". Never had trouble uploading an iPhone photo before. Maybe when I get home.
 
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Fitzy

Active Member
Found your problem:

"It was a downhill portion but my wife is afraid to ride too fast on narrow paths..."