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Remember reading a ride report from PBP a few years ago. The author had ridden the ride on a SWB recumbent with a very reclined seat. He mentioned that on very steep sections when his generator hub was not turning fast enough (and thus could not see the ground) he lost a sense of the horizon. This is somewhat similar to what pilots experience when they find themselves flying upside down and decide to climb out of what they think to be a dive.

Since I ride a recumbent with a fairly upright seating angle I have less problems when riding at night on lonely unlit roads. But I learned long ago that a better option than a generator hub with a halogen lamp for visibility to use an LED setup. That way no matter how slow I am going at least some light is being generated, helping me to maintain my sense of orientation with the horizon.

Here is an interesting ride report from a PBP participant:

http://www.njrando.com/blog/?p=160

Clearly sleep deprivation is not something that mixes well with cycling.


Mike Bullis said:

I dozed off while riding a number of times during the 1991 PBP. I figured out that if I started hearing the theme music to 'I Love Lucy' in my head, I knew I was heading into la la land. Strange, really.

Yes. I have fallen asleep twice and injured myself each time. The first time was about 3 years ago on the New Jersey shore. I had biked about 25 miles on a very hot humid day. I stopped for a slice of pizza about 3 miles from my hotel. When I started up again on a very quiet street going very slowly I appear to have fallen asleep, ran into a parked car and was rushed to the hospital with a couple of gashes on my forehead (no helmet.)

The 2nd time was in Sept. 2014 riding on a very short, slightly hilly ride. Again it was hot and humid. I had not ridden more that 5 miles but the 3 days prior to the ride was filled with activity: tennis, raquetball, canoeing, a wedding, drinking and more. This time I had come up a short hill and begun a mild descent. The next thing I knew I was in an ambulance being rushed to a hospital.

This is scarey stuff. What's happening? My theory is this is related to heatstroke brought on by the heat and excessive activity but I would love to hear other opinions. I plan to visit a heart specialist to see what the experts can suggest.

If you watch the movie Bicycle Dreams http://www.bicycledreamsmovie.com/ about this RAAM race, Bob could lay down on a cot, instantly asleep, and wake up in 15 minutes completely refreshed.  He didn't fall asleep, probably his heart had an electrical failure and stopped beating.  They didn't find anything wrong in the autopsy.
 
Serge Lubomudrov said:

So, he did kill a cyclist, but that cyclist was he himself.

O said:

Bob Breedlove died in this fashion:

http://www.rusa.org/newsletter/08-03-07.html
I don't think I fell asleep while riding but when I was younger and stupider I rode home from a bar after our softball team won our league. I have no idea how I got home and awoke under my bike on the front porch of my apartment the next morning.

awesome


David Barish said:

I don't think I fell asleep while riding but when I was younger and stupider I rode home from a bar after our softball team won our league. I have no idea how I got home and awoke under my bike on the front porch of my apartment the next morning.

Never fell asleep, but I hallucinated during the Paris-Brest-Paris.  I kept thinking I was on a bike trail in Florida, where I lived briefly, but never biked.  It was vivid enough that I could hear --and even smell-- the surf. 

I see most of the stories here are from randonneuring, which typically involves sleep deprivation.

I'm not a specialist, Barry, so the following is but uneducated guess: it was probably a temporary black-out, not fall asleep. I've seen something like that on the last miles of the long runs, for example (though, fortunately, have not experienced it myself—knocking on wood here).

Barry Walter said:

Yes. I have fallen asleep twice and injured myself each time. […]

Back when I was 14 or 15, I used to go to summer school, go hang out with friends, then work after. I would ride about nine miles at six in the morning, and ride home around the same distance around midnight. My mom lived in a very rural area of Michigan, so it was rare that I would see a car on weekdays at night while riding home.

I know there were at least two times where I was so exhausted on the ride home, riding my bike on autopilot, that I had dozed off for a few moments. I'm glad that nothing terrible happened.

Almost. On RAGBRAI. Not enough sleep. Oddly enough, a craft beer fully revived me. Not. Kidding.

Ha! Which one?

Tominator said:

Almost. On RAGBRAI. Not enough sleep. Oddly enough, a craft beer fully revived me. Not. Kidding.

Years ago when I was racing mountain bikes in college, a teammate and friend forgot to take his narcolepsy pills before an XC race and fell asleep while racing.  He woke up somewhere off the trail, laid out in the woods, and got back on and rode to the finish, but the race was over.

It was the beer tent they set up each day....what is the name of that Iowa brewery? Really good stuff.

Back Pocket Brewing.

Serge Lubomudrov said:

Ha! Which one?

Tominator said:

Almost. On RAGBRAI. Not enough sleep. Oddly enough, a craft beer fully revived me. Not. Kidding.

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