Andreas falls off bike. Hilarity ensues

We’ve all done it.

We’ve all fallen off our bike and tried to play it cool.

I have two memorable occasions. The first was in Birmingham. My dad was visiting and wanted to go jogging. Me being a don’t-like-using-my-legs-unless-it’s-for-cycling kinda guy I took the executive decision to follow on the bike. Lazy I know and feel free to judge me if you have never done anything lazy in your life.

Anyway, I was following along playing it cool. One hand on the handle bar, the other waving around uselessly. At some point during focusing on anything that entered my eye line my one hand forgot how to steer a bike. I veered off and quickly tried to steady myself ending up falling over spectacularly. My dad of-course continued jogging. I guess the man likes to jog. I got up inspecting the damage. Small gash to ankle and huge unrepairable damage to my pride. What was rare about this occasion was there was no one around to witness my stupidity. The pedals clipping against my ankle has left me with a lovely little scar for life.

The second fall can be attributed to trying out toe straps for the first time. As anyone who is used to cycling with plain pedals and then makes the switch to clips or straps will know, the transition can be a little hazy. I was cycling near Limehouse and stopped to cross a busy section. Of course I forgot my foot was strapped in. So, when I went to put my foot down, I simply pulled down the bike. I fell onto the road and it was rather painful. I still think straps are worth it but they have a learning curve to them.

I have one piece of unbeatable advice for anyone that is expecting to at some stage fall over. Make it as spectacular as possible. If your going to amuse people around you then at least maximise their enjoyment.

Share a time you can remember taking a plunder!

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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.

26 Responses to Andreas falls off bike. Hilarity ensues

  1. Darren Alff 01/04/2010 at 11:10 am #

    Straps do take some getting used to I guess. On my first bike trip down the California coastline one of my riding partners forget to pull his foot out of the strap and fell directly into a red pick-up truck that was waiting for the light to turn green at the signal. I thought the driver of the truck was going to get out and kick my friend’s #$%, but he was very nice and even helped my friend up.

    And yes, I agree! If you are going to fall, you might as well make it glorious. I wish someone were videotaping me every time I took a spill on my bike, skis, feet, whatever. There would be some great videos in that content alone.

    • Andreas 03/04/2010 at 2:43 pm #

      When I hit into the back of a truck they were surprisingly chilled about it too!

  2. Phil 01/04/2010 at 11:13 am #

    Did this only last week on my first day in clipless pedals.

    Road into work fine, all very careful, unclipping my foot in plenty of time. On the ride home; 90 degree tumble at the very first T-junction, near hysterical drivers as far as the eye can see.

    I currently have the scabby knees of 10 year old boy.

    • Andreas 03/04/2010 at 2:45 pm #

      Hehehe, always good to have an audience! The clipless are killer at the start

  3. aidan 01/04/2010 at 11:18 am #

    It took me a while to get used to SPDs on my road bike. And every time I’ve toppled it was always in front of a large crowd of pedestrians. Southbank, Marble Arch & Tower Bridge have all got to witness my acute embarrassment!

  4. botogol 01/04/2010 at 11:55 am #

    I also fell off on Tower Bridge!

    It was my first commute in cleats: queue of traffic on the bridge, 5mph, car in front of me speeds up slightly… then stops.

    I stop just behind and topple, gracefully, sideways to the deck, both feet still firmly attached to the pedals 🙂

    Bruised hip, sore wrist, burst pride, I am lying on the road struggling to free my feet, watching my water bottle roll gently in to the oncoming traffic….

  5. Angi 01/04/2010 at 12:07 pm #

    Ah…when I was a wee little one and learning to cycle on two wheels without stabilisers, I turned back to make sure my parents were watching me and…bam…I fell face first into a bush of stinging nettles!

    A second fall more recently…due to pure stupidity…stopped at Marble Arch and turned to get water bottle out of bag attached to back of bike and my bike twisted and I did too and both of us went down…unfortunately with a load of people to see it happen…all this whilst being stationary! Two bruised knees and then decided to get a kick stand for the damn bike!

  6. Dan 01/04/2010 at 2:05 pm #

    My first fall was pretty much exactly the same as Botogol’s. I was trying out my SPDs for the first time, got to the stop lines, slowed to almost stop, saw a bus so had to stop completely. My feet wouldn’t come out the cleat so over I went, a slow topple to my left, my feet both still attached as I lay on the floor. I looked up to see the entire bus looking down at me. Nothing hurt but my pride.

    Unfortunately my more recent fall was as comical but slightly more damaging. Gave it the big guns as I pulled away from some traffic lights and missed the cleat. My foot skipped off the pedal, a comedy wobbling fall ensued as I rode the cross bar for 10 metres! I even got up to take a bow for the comedy of it all. Unfortunately when I inspected myself for damage I discovered that the pedal had left a 3 inch hole in my right leg, ambulance, surgery, 8 stitches and crutches later the amusement wore off.

    I’d still reccomend SPDs though despite my (freak) accident and other accidents listed above.

  7. botogol 01/04/2010 at 2:12 pm #


    my last fall was off my mountain bike: thundering along a wide path, slightly downhill, through woods on a sunny day I was overcome with exhiliration and pedalled harder and harder……increasing speed …..
    …..until I hit a tree root that I hadn’t seen.

    I hit the deck and slid about 10m.. closely pursued by my bike which caught up with me and dealt me a severe blow round the back of the head.

    Nice thnig was: my cycle buddies were about 50m behind and able to enjoy the entire spectacle from the comfort of their saddles, and able to describe to me exactly how funny the whole thing was.

    • Andreas 03/04/2010 at 9:47 am #

      That sounds like a very funny experience! I had a similar fall I didn’t report in that article where I was mountain biking and took a huge fall dragging my bike with me for a few metres. Bruises and covered in mud. On the way back on the train I looked very out of place! Very fun times!

  8. nibbleulater 01/04/2010 at 2:40 pm #

    I am pleased to read here that people who have fallen off their bikes are fairly cheerful about the events.
    I have recently tried to use SPD’s and the first day forgot to unclip, at least one foot, three times when coming to a stop. Luckily for me no traffic was involved. I came down heavily on my left hip which the hospital only replaced last July, plus a sprained wrist to go with it. The hip feels a little lumpy still (i wonder what it is made of?)
    So now i’m using toe clips on the original pedals without the straps! but i’m still riding.

  9. breathless 01/04/2010 at 8:14 pm #

    You have my deepest sympathy!

  10. Cafewanda 02/04/2010 at 9:30 am #

    I fell off my bike a few times when I first learnt to ride. Nothing very dramatic like you guys though. Am thinking of ‘moving up’ to using cleats later in the year so that could change 🙂

    • Andreas 03/04/2010 at 2:46 pm #

      Yep – believe me, the falling over experiences will come piling in as soon as you switch!

  11. Reuben 03/04/2010 at 2:52 pm #

    I also have a Birmingham tale, I was heading to the canals to ride along home and there were a few steps leading to a path to them. I thought I’d just bump down the steps and go along my merry way, going down the steps was fine. However I didn’t know there was a bollard at the bottom, I then thought “I know, I’ll steer away from the bollard”, over the handle bars I went, landed on my arm and the bike fell on me. Person on their fag break just looked at me and left me to my devices. Got up, rode in some amount of pain with one hand home. Later my Mum asked why was I holding my arm funny and took me to A&E, and so started a beautiful tradition my annual trip for bike incidents, so far 2/3 have been my own fault.

    Lessons learnt: don’t ride on pavements or down stairs.
    If you can’t lift your arm to your mouth to eat comfort chips, its probaby broken.

  12. Joe 03/04/2010 at 2:55 pm #

    Andreas are you a Brummie?

  13. Mark 03/04/2010 at 11:05 pm #

    Yup, toe straps did it for me. I was at some traffic lights trying to balance without putting my feet down. Didn’t do a great job and had to edge forward a bit, wobbled a bit more, edged forward and the wheel caught a central bollard – couldn’t get my foot loose in time and just toppled. I sprang up quickly and to outrun my shame, went through the red light so the drivers couldn’t laugh in my vicinity for too long.

  14. Michael 04/04/2010 at 1:01 pm #

    With my bike club back home we were standing around waiting for the weekly bikeride to commence. As we were waiting I had one foot clicked into the pedal and somehow lost my balance…

    Needles to say there was quite a roar of laughter from the other 10 or so guys as I tried to untangle myself from the bike as I was laying there. No way of getting out of that with any pride and when I go back home and bike with these guys they will sometimes still remind me of this crash of no speed.

  15. Jessie 09/04/2010 at 11:00 pm #

    I had made the official announcement that I was going to start riding. I knew this meant that Darrin, my loving yet pushy spouse, would start the pressure. He suggested that we go for a short ride. I had nothing going on! My first thought was, “how am I going to get out of this?”. My older kids were gone and we had nothing to do. I had to go, there was no way out of it. He said he would pull our two year old in the trailer, I thought that would slow him down, and maybe I could keep up with him. I had already bought a few essential items, so really I had nothing to get me out of this ride. I was sure it would be easy anyway, with him pulling the trailer on a mountain bike and it being a last minute idea, it should be no biggie.

    We got ready and were in the driveway about to leave, I was lookn’ good in my new bike gear (one of the perks of biking is the fab gear you get to buy). I had made the choice to start out using the clip in pedals, kind of scary. I was on the bike and getting ready to leave when I lost my balance and couldn’t get my shoes out of the clips…wham! I toppled over and landed on the pavement with the bike still attached to my shoe! Not only did it hurt like a son of a gun, but my neighbors were all out in their yards and saw me fall! I had suffered my first injury and it was my pride! Darrin assured me, it would not be the last time I did that (oh good something to look forward too).

    What little interest I had earlier was gone, but I was in too deep at that point so, against my better judgment, I continued on with the plan and started on the ride. About a block in I started to feel the burn in my legs. I was a little shocked at the pain I was experiencing. I always have taken pride in being strong and athletic. Then I remembered I had not really worked out in at least 5 years. 37 year old legs are not the same as 32 year old legs!

    The ride lasted longer than I thought, 10 miles, not a long distance in cycling. I hit a few hills that hit back and nearly KO’d me. Darrin even had to push me from the back of my seat up a couple of the hills, so much for the trailer slowing him down! I had to take a 10 minute rest half way through. The ride home would be harder and I knew it.

    We made it most of the way back and I just couldn’t give anymore. My legs were spent and the last big hill did me in. I got off of my bike and walked in shame to the top. I was so mad at myself for pooping out. I got back on and rode the rest of the way home upset and thinking that the whole biking ideas was not for me! “I wonder if I can take these shoes back?”

    Finally, we rolled into the driveway, “Hallelujah!” Suddenly, the anger left and sense of accomplishment crept in. I realized I had done it. I had gone on a real ride and, although not perfect, I had done it. I managed to not fall a second time. Darrin cheered me for doing it and started telling me how much easier it would get. Then it hit me, “Crap! I have to do this again!”

    Although I was not excited about going again, I was very proud of myself for going at all. That night I had the best night sleep I had had in a very long time. I was also surprisingly not sore, except for the bruises and scrapes down the entire left side of my body where I kissed the driveway!

  16. toptripster 11/04/2010 at 1:48 am #

    Well, I’ve been riding in London for about a year now, using the bike instead of tube etc. About a month ago I had my first fall and it was a beauty… No cleats I’m afraid, just a basic lack of attention. I was on my way to meet some friends on the other side of town and was unfamiliar with the area, I was therefore looking quite hard for street names as I rode down the road (perhaps a tad too quickly). I entirely failed to notice that what I thought was a very wide road with a parking bay to the side demarked with white lines was actually separated from the road with a small kerb… There’s me looking one way whilst my wheels bump against the kerb, cue me doing a quite impressive wobble before sliding less than gracefully into a pile on the road, my bike about 20m in front of me. I was definitely impressed at the compassion of the drivers who stopped to make sure that I was okay, whom in my red faced shame I simply waved on with a carefree everything is alright here gesture, before carrying on to my rendezvous, only to find the next day that I had fractured my wrist.. Perhaps the most embarrassing thing though is that this happened on the way TO the pub! ;o)

  17. Karl Roche 13/04/2010 at 3:11 pm #

    I managed to do the clips thing in Malden, just as some pissed up drunk leaned out the window of a taxi going past shouted, “Take it eashy.” Not a good moment.

  18. Adrian 15/04/2010 at 2:32 pm #

    2 incidents come to mind…

    The 1st when I was at 2ndary school & thought I was cool cycling an old racer no-handed. I was cruising along a straight road looking right into a friends house & suddenly hit a lump/hole throwing the bike out from under me. I remember picking myself up & scanning for any onlookers feelling really sheepish.

    The 2nd time was not so long ago, being quite expert offroad with toe clips, I decided to upgrade to crankbros clips. I had a dry run on a Sunday cycling around a nearby carpark before venturing through the town centre. The cars all slowed for a red light which looked to be changing soon, so I tried to balance it out to continue before fully stopping. At which point I lost balance & it was too late to unclip. I fell like a plank sideways & heard people in shops laughing at me!! I pretended I hadn’t heard & cycled off quickly…

    • Andreas 15/04/2010 at 3:24 pm #

      Love that both of your examples involve you showing off and it going wrong! Thanks for an entertaining read 🙂

  19. Codi 14/12/2010 at 8:26 am #

    I bought my self a very cheap but great condition road bike. This is all fine and dandy except for the winters in Canada. So riding to school one day with all the warm gear on plus my back pack with binder in it. Riding along the ruts in the road is the only way to make it around with any speed or stability until you hit a hardened bump of ice which kicks your front wheel out sending you off to one side and rolling down the middle of the road. Good news is that it was hilarious and I didn’t get ran over nor did my bike, bad news not one single person saw it as far as i know. One week later I was racing up to an intersection FULL OF SNOW and decided it was a good idea to slow down until I hit ice and BAM! I was flat on my rear. Again i never got run over but 3 people from my class saw it and we all got a good laugh.

  20. Ughsome 15/07/2011 at 4:07 am #

    This wasn’t a fall but a *near* fall. I was probably 16. There was a huge speed bump – a very evil one- and i decided like a ditz to sit it out rather than get my bum out of the seat. i almost tumbled, and the hip pain continued for years after that.
    The other one was where I took a spectacular tumble on some loose gravel outside the house of a boy that i liked. i tried to sneak a quick look at the window to see whether he had seen, then slunk off quickly without checking my bruises.
    oh and now i remember, a COW chased me in a field once when i was about 8 or 9. it was an undulating patch and i took a tumble trying to speed away (was still learning then). it took many years for the scar to fade 🙂
    good times!

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