Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Matt’s broken collarbone

Posted by Matt | July 14, 2008 | 42 comments so far

Matt's broken collarbone X-ray
Colin jinxed me. Whenever we do something we’d rather not we look for someone to blame and I’m looking at Colin, especially since he wasn’t there yesterday and so might think he’s got nothing to do with it. But really! Fancy suggesting I rarely crashed!

Actually, this was a big one and despite a few mitigating circumstances it’s mea culpa. Running down a fast track across Ranmore Woods with the steep drop on my right I hit an off camber section with greasy roots and flints that pitched me toward the edge of the trail. Unfortunately for me this was also just where a stout tree was leaning out into the path and I hit it hard, at speed, with my shoulder.

As Martin Brundle might say, after that I was heading straight for the scene of the accident. This turned out to be some distance off the trail which I reached via a complete somersault over the bars and a number of rolls and tumbles. I knew I’d hurt myself immediately, in fact the damage was done by the tree well before I fell off my bike. It hurt, a lot. So I just figured, since I’d also landed on my head, that I’d just stay there.

The guys were great (I can’t thank them enough) and we got the emergency services involved. There was concern that I might have hurt my neck and despite me feeling pretty confidant I hadn’t, I was happy not to take any chances. There was talk of using the Air Ambulance and after that was dismissed it was hoped to get the 4×4 ambulance closer to me.

After lying in the bushes for about an hour, and with by then an assortment of paramedics and ambulance staff on hand the decision was taken to try and sit me up since there was a real difficulty in getting me up onto the path. That hurt too, but once up I was able to walk out of the woods without too much assistance, I think that was about a ten or fifteen minute walk. And that also hurt.

Helen was there to greet me by the ambulance and then it was off to East Surrey, an uneventful trip save for the fact the ambulance staff hadn’t clipped my trolley to the floor and pulling out of the car park saw me heading towards the back doors at speed! Actually, I thought the trip was going to go on forever because despite the driver clearly taking great care, I felt every bump and pothole in the road.

At East Surrey they gave me some painkillers and X-rayed me to see what the damage was. There was more worry that in addition to the bad break you can see above (and more clearly on in the x-ray picture on Flickr) I might have dislocated the shoulder (which had me praying fervently that I hadn’t). Thankfully I hadn’t, and after vomiting violently thanks to the painkillers – I don’t recommend doing that with a broken collarbone – and some strapping up I was free to go.

After ten years riding, that’s the first proper injury any of us have suffered. I’d like to point out that despite it occurring whilst on my bike I didn’t actually injure myself falling off. The damage was done on that first, numbing collision with the tree. A small but ultimately irrelevant observation.

As Lee has already pointed out it shows the value of riding in company, in fact although several walkers stopped offer assistance some riders who passed failed to see me entirely, I was so far off the trail. So I’d like to thank Dave, Jez, Lee and Andy for all their help.

Thanks too to the emergency services and everyone who helped me yesterday. In a way I feel guilty to have taken up their time and I worry that someone lost out because of me. But I really needed them yesterday.

Now, I’m off the bike for a while and really will be someone who talks the (bike) talk without being able to err, ride the ride.

Filed under Lifestyle, Mutterings in July 2008


About the author

Matt is one of the founding Molefathers of the Muddymoles, and is the designer and main administrator of the website.

Having ridden a 2007 Orange Five for many years then a 2016 YT Industries Jeffsy 29er, he now rocks a Bird Aether 9 and a Pace RC-627.

An early On-One Inbred still lurks in the back of the stable as a reminder of how things have moved on. You can even find him on road bikes - currently a 2019 Cannondale Topstone 105 SE, a much-used 2011 Specialized Secteur and very niche belt drive Trek District 1.

If you've ever wondered how we got into mountain biking and how the MuddyMoles started, well wonder no more.

There are 42 comments on ‘Matt’s broken collarbone’

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  1. Andy says:

    Sorry to hear about the break. Hope it heals up quickly and you’re back on the bike soon.

  2. Richard says:

    ouch! looks really painful. a timely reminder that we need to be careful and as many have said, don’t ride alone.

    Hope you are soon back on the bike and this doesn’t dent your confidence

  3. Rob says:

    Hi Matt

    From one invalid to another…get well soon and keep your chin up (if that’s not too painful!)

    I havn’t ridden for a month now and am feeling the urge to swing my leg back over the top tube. I have to wait for the MRI scan though just to make sure there is no damage inside the knee joint.

    Hope to see you back out on the trails soon


  4. John R says:


    hope it wasn’t too painful at the time and you’re not off the bike for too long.

    Sorry I had to leave early from Newlands or I would have been there to lend a hand too.

    Get well soon – JR

  5. Neillp says:

    Hi Matt,

    I just thought I would check the site to see where you lot were riding on Thursday and Wow what have I missed!

    Hope you make a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing you out on a trail soon.



  6. Muddymoles says:

    Thank you

    Thanks to everyone for their public and privately expressed sympathy.

  7. Brian Urban says:

    I had the exact same injury a bunch of years back. Although I got mine playing American football. After a couple of months I was a good as new and the mend has held up through years of rugby and more biking crashes than I can count.

    So, the best to you and your family from the other side of the pond.

  8. Colin says:

    OMG Matt

    First visit to the site for a week and I can’t believe it. Promise I didn’t put a curse on you!

    You really do things in style don’t ya-thats some break.

    I really gutted for you and wish you a speedy recovery and that don’t hold it against me.

    At least some of us now have a chance to catch up with your fitness.

    As others have said, it shows the fine line we roll, you’ve done well to avoid a biggy to date.

    Keep your chin (and shoulder up) up and see you soon after a speedy recovery.

  9. Gilly says:

    I always said that sport is bad for you!

    Seriously, Matt, I was appalled to hear of your accident and have sent up thanks to all the gods at once that I didn’t lose you completely!! I nearly strangled your mother while she was narrating the tale before she got to the part that you were still alive.

    Get well soon xxxxx

  10. Rosemary says:

    I am just grateful if was your shoulder and not your neck.

    I’ll have to give you some of my calcium tablets, your need is greater than mine!

    Get well soon xxxxxx

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  12. Louise says:

    Hi Matt

    Sorry to hear about your accident – I hope you recover quickly.

    You had inspired Nick to get a mountain bike the other day – but I might get him to see your X-ray first!

    Take care


  13. Muddymoles says:

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  19. Muddymoles says:

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  20. Muddymoles says:

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  26. Muddymoles says:

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  27. Alex G says:

    I recently broke my collar bone after hitting a deer on a motorcycle. I was wondering if you got surgery or just let it heal naturally?

    • Matt says:

      Hi Alex, if a can of worms had a sound I think I just heard it opening!

      I my case I let it heal naturally as the break was a clean snap in the middle. This wasn’t really my choice, as the NHS didn’t offer an op and by the time I’d thought about it and looked into getting it done on my medical insurance I was already starting to heal.

      For me, it worked out well, I have a good mend and a broad range of movement, but it took six weeks with my arm in a sling. Frustrating, but I’m pleased with the outcome as an op introduces it’s own difficulties (e.g. cutting through muscle, possibly nerves, the fact a plate sits in there permanently etc.).

      However, other riders have all sorts of complicated breaks and these really need pinning if there’s a chance of the bone being shortened or rotator cuff problems in the future. You probably need to take medical advice over your own situation.

      Good luck with your mend!

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