I've posted this in a couple of places already, so if you've seen this before feel free to skip this thread :)

This one isn't related to cycling safety as such, rather the damage you can do yourself while maintaining your wheels if you use improper techniques.

A couple of weeks ago I was swapping out some pedals on my wife's mountain bike in preparation for a group ride. The pedals that were on there hadn't been removed in years, and were quite stiff. As I was struggling with the spanner, applying a lot of force to try and crack the thread, the pedal suddenly gave, and my hand slipped right into the big chainring.

The result was a 4cm long gash about 4mm deep and 4mm wide, full of grease and road grit.

I'm a massive wuss when it comes to the sight of my own blood so I went inside, in mild shock and on the verge of passing out/throwing up/both, held up my bloody hand and begged my wife to "fix it please".

I didn't know if it needed stitching and I seem to recall from Scouts that if a wound is to be stitched it should be done within 12 hours, otherwise it might not be possible. It was 8pm at night so I ended up going to emergency just in case. No stitches but a drowning in betadine, 10 or so steri-strips and a 10 day course of antibiotics, just in case.

Obligatory gory wound pics:

5 Hours after the incident


All butterfly'd up


A week later


2 weeks later (pretty sweet scar)


In short, when changing pedals, before to push AWAY from the chainring, not towards it. 

Anybody else have gory tales of maintenance misfortune ?

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Really, a 10 day course of antibiotics for that? I trod on a rusty nail in my chook house which went through my foot - thought it wise to visit the local clinic for a tetanus shot as it had been many years since the last one. The GP tried to interest me in antibiotics but I suggested maybe wait and see if there is an infection before bothering - they concurred that was a sensible option. Also, flushing cuts with warm salty water is a good way to clean them, but the old saying "rubbing salt into the wound" is there for a reason - it stings a little bit.

As to cutting yourself and smashing your fingers when doing maintenance - wrapping a cloth around the tool and your hand when applying lots of force can help avoid blood loss and smashed knuckles.

Martin, do you think these gloves would be OK to cycle in? For those who are cautious about cutting their hands up in a crash.

Those look a big overkill for cycle maintenance work. I was just going to get a pair of gloves from SupaCheap. They have some decent ones.

kendhar, I will skip the gory pictures. Good ideas from Tim and Martin.

They're actually not that bad. Little more then a scratch. But like I said...I'm a wuss.

I used to get cuts like that all the time. I've got a beard now.

Got any pics Clive? My gorometer hasn't registered yet.

I've got my fair share of scars, mostly self induced.

The scar on my chin tells me how important it is to ensure bearing cones are done up tight, or front wheels fall off when doing Mono's down hill.

The scar on my RH palm tells me a sharp knife is probably not the best tool for removing paint.

I have also cut myself on the chainring removing pedals, I now know to use a hammer to crack the bolt , not sheer brute force applied by hand.

Umm, nice cut, nice healing, I've got a bunch of tales to tell - would you like the shotgun one first or the arrow one? The bamboo and saw one left one of the best scars as did the "cutting neck of of bottle when 12yrs old" .. thing is they tend to fade with time and are far less impressive after a dozen years or so. Nonetheless, I have scars on my chin from a couple of over the handle bars prangs - teenage bravado. Dare I say I wasn't wearing a helmet ;-) And yeah, mashing body parts into metal isn't one of my fav past-times - done that ^.^

I too have done that using a cheap shifter.  Purchased the right tool afterwards.  Whilst i admire the bike mechanics on this sute i suspect all have similar tales.  Another reason to support the LBS - but agree those pedals can be stuck!

Another reason to support the LBS

Are you suggesting the mechanic at your LBS deserves to be wounded like that? Why? What'd he do to your bike?

I personally can't claim any big injuries since I slid a chisel into my hand as a kid, but considering the time I've spent playing with drill presses and table saws, maybe I'm just stupidly lucky. Mind you, small injuries are common enough. I used to build model aeroplanes and had a theory that if it hadn't gained a blood stain during the building process, it wouldn't fly well - that was proven with one model that escaped the blood stain and was a real pig in the air. Since then, I make sure that each of my projects, including bikes, gets a wee nibble on the fleshy, tender bits. Interestingly, the only bike I've had a bad fall on was one I bought new and hadn't done any work on before the prang - nothing since then.

Back in the dark ages it was supposed to be customary to place a body (sacrifice?) in the structure of a new bridge. So that later the bridge would not fall down. Richard, sounds like you believe in this principle.


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