An Unwanted Break

Taking a break

Last week, I was mountain biking on a small mountain near home. To bypass a rough stretch of gravel, I briefly rode alongside on a field. My wheel fell in a hole and my bike stopped. But I kept going, landing on my head. Oops.

After X-rays, CT-Scans and an MRI it seems I have cracked vertebrae in both my neck and back. Neither are displaced and with some luck, it won’t be too serious. I will get scanned again in several weeks and hopefully be cleared to cycle again. My back and neck muscles/ligaments/etc are a painful mess, so I am a touch grouchy. But they should slowly improve.

Of course, my wonderful wife Doreen is keeping me cheerful. A bientôt.

Doreen is the only hay surfer in the family for a few months

Happiest while cycling uphill.


  1. Sorry to hear that, Will. Rest up and get back on that bike as soon as possible. I’m sure you’ll use your time off the bike wisely, researching new routes and roads and adventures.

    Take care

  2. Get well soon Will & use the time to plan some new adventures!

    I’m heading to Barcelonette in two weeks, for 6 days of road riding – your website has been an invaluable source of inspiration & information.

  3. Sorry to hear that you’ve been injured Will, and glad to hear that you’ve begun your recovery, Best wishes for a speedy return to the saddle.

  4. Hey Will, can only reiterate and reinforce on all the other well-wishes – we two 50 year old blokes from Sydney have managed two quick trips to France in July 2018 & 19 to ride the Pyrenees and Alps, and we utilised all the fantastic information and experiences you provide to the greater audience to make that happen, so get well, get riding and more importantly please keep posting!

  5. Jonas Decraene on

    Will, sorry to hear about your crash…
    Fractured vertebrae in the neck can be tricky and painful, but after reading it’s not deplaced, I’m sure you will recover with the necessary amount of rest!
    I’m looking forward to your next (wanted) bike adventure! Your rides and this blog have been a huge inspiration to me since I started cycling.
    All the best,

  6. Speedy recovery, Will, but take enough time to ensure you’re fully healed, though it could be difficult to be patient!

  7. Innocuous accidents can have serious consequences – heal fast and heal well. This is the third year in a row we’ve planned a European riding holiday using your site for planning and inspiration, so we’ll salute you with a beer and a hay surf ?

  8. I wholeheartedly second both the best wishes everyone is sending you, and the thanks for your wonderful blog. Get well and get riding soon!

  9. Very sorry to hear that… you and your website are an inspiration!
    I completed a 2 week 9 ride tour of Tyrol in July inspired by your site!
    Get better and back on the bike soon!

  10. Best wishes to heal strong to my climbing inspiration.
    Arrive in the Tarentaise valley tomorrow with a road bike and a mountain bike to emulate some of your rides where the tarmac ends and the real fun begins.
    Ever upwards!!

  11. Get well soon Will, sorry for your crash and fingers crossed for a speedy recovery! I’m sure you’ll be ok when the nordic skiing season starts 😉

    At least if you had any doubts, I think all the comments here demonstrate how valuable you are for all of us searching for inspiration, new routes, etc.

  12. Strada Del Assietta, Col de Nivolet, Les Deux Alpes (half of your ride), Villard Notre Dame/Reymond all thanks to your website – recommended to lots more crazy/happy cyclists :-). Hope you are back creating new routes soon,

  13. Yea, same as the others Will. Your site really is inspiring, so take the time you need plus a few days. Tout la patience necessaire!

  14. Ouch! Good luck on your road to recovery. Your’s is a great blog and an inspiration to col hunters worldwide!

  15. Ouch! I guess it’s amazing it doesn’t happen more often with so many hours and kms on the bike(s)! I know (first-hand) how hard it is to have a “forced break”, but at least one positive thing about it is that you will enjoy even MORE being able to cycle once you’re able to again! 🙂

  16. Wishing you a speedy recovery Will
    your blogs and presence on Strava are a huge inspiration to me and I look forward to your next post

  17. Dang. Looks like Zwift time. Best wishes for steady recovery. Am using your site constantly for hunting down those famous and elusive cols. Going to bag some Pyrenees’ cols this week. All the best!

  18. Hope the recovery is going well, Will. It must be frustrating not being able to get out – Years ago I was off the bike for almost six months with a broken ankle and it drove me mad. The site, as always, has been a great inspiration. Keep up the good work and hope you’re back on two wheels soon!

  19. Hi Will,
    Sorry to read about your accident. I hope you will be on the bike again very soon.
    Just taking the opportunity to thank you as your website made a big difference for my two first trips cycling in the Alps.
    On the first one and after having read your description, we tried the Col de Sartenne that none of us had heard of. What a beauty! On the second trip, 2 days ago, we decided to follow your advice and to go by car to the top of col du Lautaret to do Galibier / Télégraphe / Galibier. Amazing!
    thanks again and hope to read your new adventure soon.

  20. Get well soon Will… the website and climb reports are fantastic and though this break is unwanted I’m sure it will give you time to reflect and plan for the future. Chapeau for all your efforts to date and for those to which we will be treated in the future!

  21. Markus Kellerhals on

    I hope you have a speedy and full recovery.

    I just moved to Sion in the Valais and discovered this website a couple of weeks ago. Your website is a TOTALLY AMAZING source of information and inspiration.

    So far I have ridden the Sanetsch Pass (totally amazing) and also Lac Cleuson (so beautiful). On the latter I was able to avoid most of the busy road on an alternate set of very steep paved roads. I also avoided the paved road to Siviez on a very smooth gravel road just above it. Continuing past the lake to the Cabane was also totally worth it. Adds 300 metres of climbing to the cabane. Road peters out above the cabin at 2560 metres.

    Hoping to get a few more big climbs in before the snows are too thick.

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