Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Things we have learned from our Ardeche drama

French Village Diaries things we have learned from our Ardeche drama
Adrian's Dujarrier support

Whatever happens in life it is useful to learn from our experiences to hopefully be better prepared next time. Following on from our Ardeche drama, see part one here and part two here, there are a few things we have learned:

We certainly won’t be heading out on the bikes again without carrying emergency information, including name, date of birth, Carte Vitale number and top-up insurance details, plus name and mobile number of someone to contact in the event of an accident. Adrian even considered having a tattoo done, until he realised a change in phone number could become a painful correction.

Most cycle jerseys have a small zip pocket, which although too small for a mobile phone could hold the above emergency information. Thankfully Adrian had safely stored his car key in this pocket on the day of his accident. If he had lost the keys as well as his phone and contents of his pockets (some bits were scattered over two metres down a steep ravine) it would have been so much more difficult to stay in touch and get him home.

Wearing a Dujarrier, with it’s thick padded straps passing under both armpits, when it’s hot, is not pleasant. Thankfully he has plenty of wet-wipes and the tender loving fingers of his wife to wipe him down and keep him as comfortable as possible.

Never underestimate Girl Power; when a Mother and a wife get together to plan a rescue mission they are a force to be reckoned with.

It has also confirmed what great friends and neighbours we have; from the many well wishes to the assurances of help should we need it. Our neighbour Pierrette, who is so often a source of inspiration, had a similar experience that has given us hope. In her seventies, she regularly cycles and a few years ago fell off her bike, finding herself alone, with no mobile and a very sore shoulder. In 35º heat she pushed her bike the 4km back to her house and the following morning got herself checked out at the hospital. Her shoulder was broken. She too had a Dujarrier to wear, day and night for a month, then days only for another month. She didn’t have an operation or any physiotherapy and assures us she now has full movement, no pain at all and is back on her bike too. Adrian is seeing the orthopaedic surgeon next Monday, so fingers crossed.

French Village Diaries things we have learned from our Ardeche drama
Google streetview D236 Ardeche - Back towards the bend.

There are also a few things we will never know for sure:

Exactly what did happen around 09.30am on the D236, just after Adrian cycled around this left-hand corner in the road at 45km/hour. The crash left his saddle bent and badly torn, possibly from a somersaulting bike? The wheels are bent, but he managed to get back on the bike immediately afterwards, carrying on downhill for two and half kilometres, occasionally popping his shoulder back into place, before realising his phone wasn’t in his pocket. Leaving the bike at a food station, he walked back uphill to search for his possessions. It was while wandering back downhill, the Gendarmes picked him up and terminated his cycling for the day. With no scratches or damage to his helmet, he can’t have banged his head, despite his behaviour.

French Village Diaries things we have learned from our Ardeche drama Garmin
Garmin damage, thanks Mini

Why Adrian’s Garmin satnav/computer, which survived the crash sadly didn’t survive Mini’s moment of madness. Our generally well-behaved, nine and a half year old Labrador cross, took it from his cycle bag a week after the accident and ate it! Carefully managing to break the screen at the top and destroy the data card held in the bottom. Thanks Mini.

Why he obviously wasn’t supposed to cycle up Mont Ventoux – again. Adrian’s plan had been to head home from the Ardeche via Mont Ventoux and treat his legs to another gruelling climb. The first time he planned to ride up Provence’s famed mountain, Gizmo the Mini Cooper broke down (see here) so we never made it there. I’m yet to decide whether I let him plan another attempt at the climb.


Life can be funny at times, but I’m convinced everything happens for a reason.