Thursday, June 28, 2007

Safe... and Healthy?

Back in early February, I created a post ( basically wondering if 2007 would be a safer year for BABES. As you may recall, in 2006, quite a few BABES were injured during rides.

I'm happy to say that so far this year, no BABE has been injured while riding their bike. At least to the point where they couldn't ride again the next day. This is good news, but my happiness is somewhat tempered by knowing that the BABES simply aren't riding as much as they have in years past. In addition, I'm not sure we're having as much fun when we do ride. Almost everyone who's ridden with me has heard my philosophy on riding... "Have fun, and be able to ride again tomorrow", which equates, basically, to "Enjoy and be safe". But note that I don't say "Be able to ride again tomorrow, and have fun". The emphasis is first to enjoy and have fun; otherwise, who even wants to ride again tomorrow if it's not fun?

So with that, let's get back to having fun (riding) and staying safe. Staying safe by not riding is no fun at all.

What really got me to thinking about that February post was Brother David Sunshine's Monday, June 25th post about his latest injury ( In the post he begins to talk about their Wednesday night ride and the general horse-play that ensues at some point during the ride. It all was sounding like good fun until he mentions some grappling that takes place with Brauer and is subsequent fall and injury. It's a bad injury and his second serious injury in the past year. I've been reading the Surly Blog for years and have always admired Dave for his zest for life, his passion for cycling, but mostly for his solo bike excursions and naturalist survival skills (I should mention that Surly Blog is one of my favorite reads on the web, right up there with Nurse The Hate by another of my heroes, Greg Miller, but that's a post for another time). Anyway, it got me thinking that, really, is it normal that a grown man keeps breaking bones like this? I mean, 14 screws and a steel plate on a femur? That's femur is normally one damn strong bone. Should a fall, from a basically a standing position, be enough to do this much damage? I don't know the answer to that, but I'd be questioning my diet and exercise levels if I were him. Maybe somethings just not right.

I remember, quite vividly, reading an article in Bicycling magazine (they have some good investigative articles, which makes it a worthy magazine, even if, otherwise, it's a large product catalog) a few years ago about how cyclists are more prone to bone related problems and injuries. I can't find the exact article on-line right now, but a question and answer related to it was posted here...,6617,s-6-81-89-1,00.html

The summary of the article is that cycling is really not that good for our bones. That's why it's important to eat right, get rest and work some impact related activities into daily lives. Take the steps, ride off road, lift some weights, jog. All are good to help build strength in our bones. Drink some milk too. It's good for you.

Just one last thing related back to David's injuries. In both of his last few injuries, he's had to rely on serious medical professionals to piece him back together. In fact, if he were an animal in the wild and suffered that femur injury, he'd be prey and would never survive. Not real good for a survivalist.

Fact is, we really are different from animals and that's not a bad thing. Eat a burger with bacon and a big ol' glass of milk. Thrive and survive.

Now let's get out there and ride!