Should you be insured?
Not stoked, Lewis Lacey with a broken collarbone.
How often do you see posts on the web or hear people talking about bikes being stolen? Quite a bit I expect, we get sent emails all the time about riders who have had their pride and joy whipped from their garage, shed, trail or on the street. It seems mad that there are even whole websites dedicated to listing stolen bikes, Stolen Bikes Bristol is one such site and Find That Bike is linked to a new programme of frame number registration in the UK. These sites are great at identifying stolen steeds but it seems an unfortunate state of affairs that they even exist.
There are a lot of things we can do about stolen bikes, preventative measures and common sense will deter most opportunist bike thieves but the ones who are committed need a different approach. We know that riders have been followed home from races so the location of their bike is known to the scumbags that want to steal them. Going to such lengths and arriving with equipment to overcome property access and breaking the best of locks means they are pretty committed to getting hold of your bike.
We all have a strange relationship with our bikes, love is a strong word but many of us would agree that a bike is never really 'just a bike' and we become somewhat attached. However much you think you love your bike it's likely that the thing you love is everything that comes with it, the people, the places and adventure. Adrenaline, laughter and often pain are also part of riding bikes. Ok, so it's nice to have new kit and the latest stuff but so long as the wheels roll and the brakes work then you can have fun on any bike.
After all, when you think about it, it's just a combination of metals, rubber and composites that can be easily replaced when wrecked or stolen, but one thing that we can't replace when wrecked is us, our bodies.
We are lucky in this country to have our health serviced by the NHS, I'm sure some have had bad experiences with the NHS but on the whole it's a pretty amazing thing. The fact is you can bin it at a race or on a hill somewhere and be either driven or helicoptered by the combined efforts of Mountain Rescue, Fell Rescue, race medics and the NHS.
Darren Roberts of Peak Performance & Head of Performance at Red Bull UK has written in the mag and made this point, but it's worth making again. The NHS is designed to meet the needs of the general public, a small minority of which take part in action sports that can result in some horrific injuries. So while you can pop down to your local A&E to get your broken collarbone looked at you may be told to rest and wait rather than getting it operated on, pinned and plated back together and strong enough to stand you crashing on it again in the future.
For most of us injury at some time is inevitable, extreme sports and injury unfortunately is just one of those things. But why not do more to look after ourselves in the off chance we do end up off the bike, and even worse, out of work for a while?
Take Lewis Lacey as an example, he suffered a broken collarbone in January, breaking it six pieces he had to undergo surgery and have intensive therapy. His shoulder specialist inserted pins to aid recovery and it healed well.
Break number two, just beyond the end of the plate on the left.
Unfortunately he crashed again during the first round of the 4x Pro Tour and re-broke the bone and part of a plate. He is due to undergo surgery again in November as they were unable to operate at the time of the accident due to the potential damage it could have caused to his facial muscles.
Stapled up after operation number one.
Lewis has been off work since the accident, and luckily insurance has paid for his time off work, but for most of us this isn't possible as we aren't insured, it's easy to think that we may be ok, but crashes happen when we least expect it. It may also be a good idea to get insurance if you race, as there is a possibility you may be injured and have to take time off work for weeks, with no money coming in, it's not a nice prospect, but it can happen. There are companies out there that offer such insurance in the event of accidents in extreme sports. Totally Sports Insurance offers cover from £2 per week and will cover you for racing, practice and other sporting activities. Why take a risk with yourself and your health when this kind of insurance is now available. The cover will ensure you are looked after until you return to work, and you have peace of mind knowing everything is being covered while you are recovering.