I took my kids out for a run yesterday afternoon. Well...I ran and they rode their bikes. Yeah, I'm not much of a runner. I "enjoyed" it when I was 15 and on the cross country team. This is my first real move to improve my cardio. Core starts tomorrow.
Anyway, we were headed back home and out of the blue Bean asked: "What's it like to go over the handlebars?"
Turns out she is the only one in the family that has NOT gone over the handlebars. What's even more interesting is that no one has ever asked me that question before.
Before I even answered her I realized it would make a good post topic to try and answer that question. My answer to her at the time was simply that she needed to go over her handlebars to find out. When she asked me again at home I told her to go out and ride her bike until she went over them.
I love my kids. I really do. But I'm a firm believer that some lessons can only be learned the hard way. That said...go ride your bike until you go over the handlebars if you really want to know what it feels like. If you don't really want to know, but are maybe just a bit curious, then read on.
The first time I can remember going over my handlebars was the most violent instance I can recall. I was coasting pretty fast down the street we lived on when I was 14 or so. I was on my beloved Mongoose BMX. It had mud crusted to the fork and frame, and in a moment of sheer brain malfunction I kicked at the mud on the fork. The kick had a little too much force and my foot slipped into the spinning spokes.
My front wheel locked up with my tennis shoe jammed between the spokes and the fork. I was catapulted over the handlebars and slammed onto the pavement. The bike came crashing down onto me.
The initial feeling, as best I can relate it, feels much like it does when you're descending stairs and catch your foot and pitch forward. Depending on where you're riding the landing can feel much the same as well.
It's a feeling that starts in the pit of your stomach and moves north. Once the feeling reaches your brain you interpret it as a little voice saying: You blithering idiot!
Usually the abrupt contact with the ground that terminates all over-the-handlebar motion also silences the voice. At least temporarily. Rest assured, it will come back, and it won't shut up until it has sufficiently embarrassed you in front of yourself and/or others.
The way you launch can change the overall experience. Speed, angle of attack and landing zone can all change how violent or how dramatic your flight becomes.
All of those factors can change the way you feel as you fly over the front end of your bike. The main factor to consider, however, is...did I walk away without injury? If so, then maybe you can claim a good feeling as you pick yourself up and dust yourself off. That road rash will heal.