Austin Cycling News

Cycling in Austin

Watch out for squirrels

By • Jul 20th, 2008 • Category: Bike Tips

Found here: Velo News (Apparently you can get hurt real bad and have to buy a new front fork)

Two weekends ago a riding buddy’s brother was eight miles in to a century when he sucked a squirrel in to his front wheel while traveling at a good 25-30 mph. He fractured his #10 thoracic vertebrae, but there was no spinal cord damage, so he will recover, albeit with some new and permanent internal hardware.

From what we can surmise, the squirrel got in the wheel and sheared the fork in half. The big chainring is bent, so it appears he came down on on the ring and then on to his right side, hard enough to damage the shifter, but not bend the bars.

We were all just surprised that a squirrel could shear a fork in half like that. Have you ever seen something like that happen before? I would have expected the wheel to just lock up, but I guess at 25-30 mph the force must be a lot more than I would have guessed, and as I understand it, carbon fiber does not do well under compression/impact. And the squirrel does appear to have hit the fork dead center — at the point of highest leverage.
Any thoughts?
Steve

Dear Steve,
I have seen this before — not in person but in photos people have sent me of dead squirrels and sheared-off carbon forks. The rider would be just as injured even if the fork had not failed — just the front wheel stopping so abruptly would have put him on his face. Watch out for those squirrels!
Lennard

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