JRA. (AKA Just Riding Along). That was me last Thursday after leaving work. One minute I'm riding along on may way to complete an errand, and the next minute I'm finishing up a close inspection of the pavement on Stanford Ave., just east of Market. This change in status was unplanned, and a huge surprise to me. Right in the middle of this event I do recall thinking "I'm not going to like how this turns out". Sometimes I am just soooo right. I didn't like how it turned out at all.
I know full well that a 53 year old body really doesn't do well in these circumstances, and I did a 10 count before I got up, first making sure that there were no serious alarm bells going off. I was able to sit up, and very shakily stand up, but walking was not going right. One big problem was that there was something on the bottom of my shoe. Turns out that only 99% of my bike was a couple yards away. The other 1% in the form of a pedal and a 2 inch long segment of the right crank arm was still locked to my shoe. I went and sat on the wet curb in the light drizzle and tried to take stock. As soon as I sat down, a man with a very concerned expression came up and asked if I was ok. Best I could say was that I thought I was going to be, eventually.
So my circumstances were these: My crank arm had snapped off clean and I tumbled to my right, taking the bike with me. I think I landed first, flipping the bike over and then I rolled. I have bruises in odd places now, and those places were not the first ones to report in as damaged. As I answered the questions of the gentleman who stopped to help, another driver pulled up with his truck and immediately offered to take me where I needed to go as soon as I knew what that might be. Nothing was broken on my body, and I only had a small cut on my knee. The rest were minor abrasions and bruises, most of which I wouldn't know about until the next morning. I thanked both men for helping out, and then got a lift to the nearest BART station, called my wife to tell her I needed to be picked up, and in 30 minutes I was home.
Judging from the markings, it looks like that crack existed for quite some time. The light area is the portion of the crank that failed thursday, the dark section suggests to me a portion of the crank that was cracked or flawed in the casting from the start. The cranks were vintage Campy NR cranks, with gold anodizing. They had very few miles on them, in terms of a life span of a set of cranks. I estimate between 3,000 and 5,000 miles. There was no visible damage to the cranks so the crack was not begun by some other impact.
I did ride to work the next day, and the ride helped alleviate the soreness and stiffness I felt first thing in the morning. I was sure to ride slowly, turning small gears (on a different bike). Big cogs, and little rings all the way to and from work. I did not get on a bike all weekend, and there was a long time saturday when the rain took a break so I could have slipped a ride in. I've got more rides planned soon so I'll catch up on the mileage.