A Freak Occurence

For the July 4th holiday, my wife and I spent the day doing yard projects — building a better compost bin and doing some landscaping. I had moved my Xtracycle up onto the back deck to get it out of the way of some of these projects, and when we wrapped things up and made our way inside for my customary afternoon nap, everything was kosher…

When I went to let the dog out later in the afternoon, I saw a HUGE tree limb laying on top of my bike.

tree limb

That sucker weighs a good 400 lbs. Apparently, when it broke and fell 25 feet to the ground, it landed squarely on the bike’s saddle — utterly destroying the saddle (bending the rails like taffy), bending and ovalizing the seatpost and shearing the leg off the kickstand. My Xtra’s Snapdeck was thrown about 10 feet away from the impact, too.

Once I pulled the limb off, I was greeted with this sight:

saddle destroyed

Here’s a clearer shot of the damage once I got the post out of the seat tube:


And a shot of the kickstand, which sheared off right at the hinge pin:


Although I haven’t been able to ride the bike to see if the frame or FreeRadical got bent, it appears that everything else is OK. Sure, the bike is covered with scratches and dings now, but here’s a testament to both the “parent” KHS Alite 1000 and the Xtracycle’s frame — to withstand such an impact, both frames must be incredibly strong. The top of the seat tube shows no sign of bending or warping, even though the seatpost itself bent right at the top of the seat tube collar. Even the kickstand mounting plate welded to the FreeRadical is undistorted. Absolutely amazing!

I’ll run out to the bike shop tomorrow to get a replacement seatpost and give the rig a test ride to see if everything else is OK.

Well, at least we got a little extra firewood out of this event — our fireplace will avenge this damage come wintertime!


  1. Mike Myers July 4, 2008 8:31 pm 

    Wow, Jack, you guys aren’t having the best luck lately. First the Mrs. gets her Biria stolen, and now the tree spirits are trying to smite your Xtra. Lucky it’s not damaged worse, and especially lucky nobody was around when the huge branch fell.

  2. Ian Hoffman July 4, 2008 9:38 pm 

    Wow. Bummer for the bike. But, better to land on the bike than on you or family when you were working in the yard. Be sure to give the bike a good inspection, check for any paint that’s cracked where something might have bent. Might want to have the LBS check out the tension/true on the wheels as well.

  3. meli July 5, 2008 1:26 am 

    that is pretty mad crazy!
    well, on a brighter side, luckily was a the bike and not you or your family/friends, wow, unbelievable…
    this will be your sub-holiday of the 4th, such crazy story!

  4. princesshungry July 5, 2008 6:56 am 

    that’s mother nature for ya…

    firewood in florida? what, for when it gets below 85? πŸ˜›

  5. Ghost Rider July 5, 2008 7:18 am 

    Har har…I live in a really old, uninsulated house. When it drops below 60, my wife hounds me to have a fire so she can warm up. Gotta do my part for global warming, seeing as how I don’t burn much gasoline πŸ˜‰

    This just in: the back wheel is warped. Let’s hope I can true it…

  6. RL Policar July 5, 2008 7:49 am 

    Dang Jack…could it be that the tree limb had some sort of termite or beetle like bug eating through it?

  7. Ghost Rider July 5, 2008 9:13 am 

    Oh, yeah…it has holes riddled through it.

    We joked a couple years ago that since we couldn’t reach it with a pole saw, we were just going to blast it out of the tree with a 12 gauge shotgun. We even hitched a huge rope to it and tugged on it without budging it…so we forgot about it altogether. Now, two years later on a windless and rainless day, it decides to come down. Ugh.

  8. 2whls3spds July 5, 2008 2:10 pm 

    In the logging industry those are known as widow makers…glad this one missed.


  9. climbinskier July 6, 2008 6:48 pm 

    That is extremely nuts! What are the chances? I actually worked at a summer camp once where on a windy day a 40 pound branch fell out of a tree and hit a girl. Luckily she heard it, looked up, and got enough out the way that it only grazed her.

  10. Ghost Rider July 6, 2008 8:42 pm 

    It’s quite astonishing that everyone I talk to has some sort of “tree branch” story. When I took my wheel into the LBS to get retensioned, the mechanic told me a story about a friend of his who was walking his dog in a city park, and a tree limb came down on them, killing the man and his dog instantly.

    Also, one of my Flickr contacts forwarded me a set of links of other bicycle/tree limb mishaps. Freaky, indeed!

  11. Iron Man July 7, 2008 6:16 am 

    Any chance your homeowners policy will cover the damages? That is if your damages are greater than your deductible. Here in Missouri we’ve had two years straight with extremely damaging ice storms. I’ve got branches in the back dangling like the sword of Damacles (I got that from the Three Stooges in case you were all thinking I was rather learned by that reference). Perhaps I should store my bike under the 200 lb limb hanging out back.

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