So last Wednesday’s night ride was a particularly adventurous one that was filled with an amazing sunset, a heap of mosquitos and unfortunately a call to the ambulance.
Almost ride off time!
At 7pm we had 8 riders ready to ride at the Ferny Forest carpark (across the road from the Big Kart track on Steve Irwin way). In the future we will probably start the ride up towards the real estate agent carpark where the nearby street lights make things easier. The mozzies were bad but a bit of repellant helped and once you got moving it was fine.
We rode at a brisk pace trying to get warmed up but of course we had to stop on the shore of the dam to get some pics of the sunset as it was pretty spectacular that night.
So riding at night obviously adds another layer of complexity to the already risky sport that is Mountain biking. Relying on lights limits the distance you can see ahead so this reduces the time you have to react to upcoming obstacles. So there are things you can do like making sure your lights are bright enough, run a helmet light as well as a bar light and to simply slow down. But when its a trail that you ride often it’s very easy to get cocky and to fall into the trap where you try to maintain a speed that you usually ride at, which is actually a bit too fast in a lot of situations.
Green Whistle of Pain Bye-Bye is good stuff!
There were a few minor scrapes against trees and a couple of handlebars got snagged by nearby saplings but they were a sign of something bigger to come. One rider came around a corner, hit a root in the middle of trail which knocked him off line and into a gumtree resulting in serious arm/shoulder injuries. The ambulance was called immediately but still took 90 minutes to get to us due to our remote location and them having to go back to the station to get the keys to the gates. This time was well spent with us making the poor patient laugh and also calling dibs on parts on his bike if he didn’t make it.
The paramedics hiked out to us and did their thing well and we were all able to slowly walk back out to the ambulance. The patient then got some cool drugs and an ambulance ride to a 6-hour wait in Caloundra Hospital for X-rays. He is up on his feet and ended up with a broken scapula and torn rotator cuff and it still hurts to laugh, sleep, breath, eat, exist etc but he is in good spirits and he wants to thank everyone who came that night for their help, the laughs and for an otherwise cracker of a ride.
I’d also like to thank the QAS and all the guys who were there that night. Everyone helped out and a stressful event was handled easily. The club is also making a few changes to make it even easier if this ever happens again.
But seriously though, MTB riding can be risky and an accident like this could’ve been a lot worse. You are the best judge of what you can do so feel free to slow down, assess the risk (and consequence) and don’t do anything you are not comfortable doing. One of the good things I’ve noticed about our club is that no one makes you feel bad about choosing not to do an obstacle or tricky trail and that’s pretty bloody awesome.
Michael “I got dibs on the pedals” Johns