Velo Magazine — December 2012

The December issue examines all facets of the dangers of cycling, from hazardous elements to the psychology and physiology of crashing

The December issue of Velo focuses on a harsh reality of cycling: danger.

Whether you’re out for a spin or racing competitively, there are great risks that come with riding a bike. And professional cycling is one of the most dangerous of all sports, one in which crashing is inevitable — and all too frequent. The December issue offers an inside look at the sport’s most hazardous elements — and the many who have paid the price.

From the cyclists to their bikes, a lot has changed about the technology of the sport in the last 20 years.

In “Riskier Business,” contributor Ryan Newill correlates the evolution of technology in cycling to increased dangers on the road. Race conditions, carbon technology, the use of radios, even fitness are discussed as to why today’s peloton could be a more dangerous place to work.

For some cyclists, crashes transform their lives forever. In “After the Fall,” reporter Matthew Beaudin shares the stories of Tara Llanes, Timmy Duggan, Scott Nydam, Craig Lewis and Saul Raisin. Each had their life forever altered by injury and, in the process, redefined the term ‘success.’ Read their stories.

European correspondent Andrew Hood discusses injuries that ended careers in “End of the Road.” And we honor those who lost their lives in tragic accidents in “In Memoriam: Five who didn’t survive.”

Why are there so many crashes in the professional peloton? The Velo staff investigates the answer in “Fear Factors,” laying out the most dangerous elements of pro cycling, and the results that can come from hitting the pavement — traffic furniture, sprints, descents, crowds, cars; the list goes on and on. Every time they pin on a number, pro cyclists face countless dangers.

And there are dangers outside of the professional peloton, as well. James Jung recounts his personal journey after the death of a fellow competitor in an early-season crit in suburban Connecticut in “A Death in the Family.” Is racing a bike worth dying for?

Our in-depth coverage of injury begins with a focus on the brain in “Awakening,” Mark Johnson’s discussion of how cycling authorities are dealing with concussion, something with which the NFL is all too familiar. Pro team physician and head trauma specialist Mark Greve offers his expertise on the issue of traumatic brain injuries in the peloton, and defines an assessment protocol to be used when head injury may be present.

How does fear play into the danger on the road? Managing editor Chris Case evaluates the psychology of fear, the mental games cyclists experience after a crash, and the influence they have over their ability to return to the road.

But what happens if you get injured on a ride — without a team doctor to assess and treat your injuries, what should you do? Jim Rutberg of CTS offers advice on how to properly come back from injuries after a crash. Each recovery plan is heavily dependent on what type of injury you suffer, from your head down to your toes. Broken collarbones are commonplace in cycling, among professionals and recreational riders alike. But surgery to repair them has largely remained a pro’s procedure. Not anymore. Read more in “To Cut or Not to Cut?”

Finally, the Velo team reviews helmet accessories, skin-care products, and other items to enhance safety and help protect you if you go down — and help you get back in the saddle again quickly.