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Mountain Bike real talk - how often do you crash?

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    Mountain Bike real talk - how often do you crash?

    I know I'm not really fit, and probably nowhere near being accomplished on a a bike, but it seems like crashing is inevitable if you try to go fast* on a trail. I had my first real crash of 2020 last night and I am really feeling it. It happened fast and I am not certain what happened, but I think I went into a tank slapper after just barely grazing a tree with the end of my bar. I started riding single track in 2017 and although my riding has improved notably, it seems to lead to new dangers and more risk taking. I have not gone a full year without hurting myself to some degree. Does this happen to everybody on occasion like I want to believe, or do I just suck?

    P.S. I'm sore but I think I'm fine, nothing major seems to be broken.

    *fast is relative to the rider and their skill level

    Ah, yes my favorite topic, lol.

    My first year of riding I was going really hard and trying to progress at faster than what was probably healthy so I crashed probably every ride to some extent or other. I always had some road/trail rash on elbows or knees (didn't wear pads), cuts on shins from pedals, and twice that summer broke bones (collar bone early season, 3 ribs late season) in some spectacular crashes. Probably not the best way to learn but I got on top of the skill curve very quickly.

    Second year crashing was about every 2nd or 3rd ride, 3rd year about once or twice a month, and now on my 4th year of riding MTB I only had a couple minor crashes all year.

    It gets better but it should get worse before it gets better IMO. You learn by pushing your limits and you find your limits by crashing. I have several friends I ride with one of whom is a decent rider but isn't progressing almost at all skill wise just simply due to not pushing the limits for fear of crashing. My opinion is that crashing on a mountain bike is like getting shot in paintball. It's part of the sport and if you're afraid of it then you've lost before you started. The key is to learn how to crash safely, how to exit the bike safely during a get-off, and how to pick yourself back up and keep riding.

    One thing to remember is that the bike is probably more capable than you have faith in it. The tires dig deeper and get better grip at aggressive lean angles and high speeds, the suspension works better the faster you go, and jumps are smoother when you loosen up and go with the flow. More people get hurt not trusting the bike and freaking out mid corner, mid jump, or lock up brakes rolling over a rock garden or obstacle. Just trust the bike and stay of the brakes and 90% of the time you'll be fine.


      I'm 41 now so don't ride as aggressively as when I was 16 but I still go down here and there. I would say I crash hard a few times a year with a few more small ones. When I was younger, I was crashing probably weekly as we were riding 5-6 days a week. Usually because we were doing stupid stuff and showing off - jumps and big, big drops but sometimes from just going too hard into corners. For me, I didn't get too hurt but did crack a few ribs once. Friends suffered broken arms and several got concussions - I once saw a rider get taken out of woods on a backboard as he landed a big jump wrong and damaged his spine.

      So if you're not crashing, you're not riding hard enough. For me, the fun of MTB is being right on the edge of traction and ability. If you're doing it right, the flow is awesome. But that means there will be crashes. I'm not even a gravity rider, I'm purely XC so for me, fast is relative - I can't corner at speeds they do. I do wear arm pads now because I don't recover from crashes like i used to.

      These days I mostly ride on road due to time constraints of driving to trail. In 14 years, I have yet to crash the road bike other than missing a clipless pedal and toppling over and I hope it stays this way. Crashing the MTB doesn't worry me but I'm terrified of crashing on the road - the speeds are so much higher and if I go down I'm probably getting run over by traffic.
      Last edited by shadow191; 10-09-2020, 01:15 PM.


        You guy's generally vindicate what I believe. I got to wondering about this because a buddy of mine said something along the lines of "you seem to crash a lot", and I mostly don't think so given the amount and type of riding I do. Granted, I did have a spill on a road bike last year that was pretty bad, but there were extenuating circumstances I don't want to go into as they involve my wife and distracted riding on both our parts. Being my first major spill of 2020 after riding about twice a week since the spring seems decent to me. That's literally hundreds of miles of single track. Roots, rocks and sandy bends beyond count... I think I'm awesome at NOT crashing, lol.


          Your crash rate is a lot better than mine so you're probably doing something right. I have a good friend who bikes a lot and never or almost never crashes. But guess who rides faster? He never pushes too much and when you are always riding within limits, you're not likely to crash especially if you ride ultra high end equipment like he does. He also won't play paintball because he doesn't want to get shot...


            Most of my crashes are due to stuff like hitting trees now.


              Hi everyone. I am a beginer in biking that is why I crash almoust every time ))


                I have not ridden true trail/mtb since college. My last semester I had a really bad crash that I thankfully survived, I believe, only bc I had a helmet.

                I was doing the trail ride I liked that I found challenging (I rode my bike for commuting and trail riding) and was moving pretty good. I was coming down a track on a hill as fast as the bike would go, just free wheeling, hit a little bump and slight jog and landed on wet needles and leaf litter and it rolled the tube and tire and threw me down the hill... And I don't mean just a flip and digger right there.... Oh no, my body was still following all the laws of physics and I flew down that hill like superman thru the air with the bike still attached to one foot.

                I got the ground, sliding and thrashed my knees, the backs of my arms, the face of my watch and my face and glasses and came to a sudden stop.

                I got up, endorphins RAGING, and checked myself over. Nothing broken, my ankle and knee didn't feel right. And my helmet was flipping around on my head which was weird bc it was still strapped.

                Took it off and noticed a huge dent in the top and that it was cracked halfway back from the front... Hence why it was loose.

                And then I realized I was standing right next to a boulder the size of a refrigerator and that was what had stopped my skid across the ground.

                So... edrinolin still pumping thru my system I hopped back on the bike to ride home and realized I had torn the front tube and didn't have a spare. So I started walking home.... at least 5 miles thru campus and downtown state college. I had some other riders offer to give me a hand shortly after my crash but at that point I probably didn't realize fully what shape I was in and was still feeling pretty good. People gave me plenty of space when I got back to campus and I got a ride back to my apartment from a bus driver that new me. He even offered to drive me to the hospital. I still didn't realize how bad I was hurt.

                I got back to my apartment, grabbed a beer and sat on the floor. I didn't wash my hands or showered, hadn't looked in a mirror, hadn't taken my shoes off. Just sat down, drank my beer and fell asleep sitting there.

                At some point I woke up to my roommate screaming bc she thought I was dead. Yay me.

                A day or two later I ran into an EMT friend and told them the story and they said I really should have gone to the hospital bc I had probably had a concussion. Good times. I didn't ride trails for years after that. I didn't even ride my bike for almost a month.

                Now I pretty much just ride my bike (different one... The old one I gave to incynr8) with my kids so no more trails/single track.

                So wear your helmets kids and if possible ride with a friend so they can help you if you fall.



                  i crashed on every ride, or got hung up and pitched out of the seat, to the point that i sold my mountainbike,

                  was one of those "why am i doing this to myself" moments, and i didnt have an answer

                  i dont crash on my road bike, and i enjoy it, so ill stick with that


                    You don't have to crash. It's like, are you trying to win a race? Ride for fun. If you want to push your limits, do so. But your'e only competing against yourself. I just like being out in the middle of no where. Dont really ride anymore.


                      I think everyone has their type of fun with mountain biking or anything else for that matter. There's the type 1 sort of fun which is pushing the limits and trying to go as fast as possible and type 2 fun which is slowing down and smelling the roses/enjoying the view.

                      Personally I really enjoy both at different times and for different reasons. When the trails are rolling fast then it's time to rip but at the same time when things are getting sloppy or covered with snow then the fat bike comes out and it's time to just cruise. I've discovered the same thing with paintball recently too. Some days it's fun to pull the LV out and hose with the boys until that's no longer fun then you can bring a refreshing change of pace to the game by pulling out the pump or stock class guns and playing pick up games with renters.

                      To each his/her own and there's a season for every type of fun.


                        this is indicative of the type of trails around me.. notice how hard, dead and pointy everything is? you dont have to crash trying to win a race here.. you crash because you got hung up on a rock.. or hit a patch of sand from a wash-out, its also a lto climbing and a lot of descents, sometimes very steep ones