B.C. rider says he’s lucky to be alive after trail mishap

Gerald Cline credits rescuers, from fellow riders to Cumberland first responders

Gerald Cline, 65, admits he’s lucky to be alive or not paralyzed.

On the B.C. Day long weekend, he was mountain-biking the trails of Cumberland when he misjudged a spot on the trail and crashed.

“I zigged when I should have zagged, and I could have killed myself,” he says. “I’m still processing how could I have made that mistake. I’m not blaming anybody else. It’s my fault for making the mistake.”

The accident took place in the late morning on Aug. 5 at the junction of the Bucket of Blood and Bear Buns trails. He’d been on the trail before and says it is not an especially difficult section, but something caught him off guard.

His fellow bikers, some of whom have first-aid, helped look after him, even shading from the sunlight, and helped the Cumberland Fire Department get to him.

“One of the big jobs was to try and find the rescue people,” he says. “They had to carry me some distance, and it’s very unstable ground. This was on the trail itself…. They just did a fabulous job.”

BC Ambulance then transferred Cline to Courtenay Airpark, where he was flown to Victoria that afternoon.

RELATED STORY: Injured mountain biker airlifted from Courtenay

“When I was on my back, I couldn’t move anything,” he says. “I was able to verbalize, ‘Man down, man down.’ You’ve got to say that because there’s a person probably behind you that’s going to come over the jump and land on you.”

At first, there was concern he might have spinal damage. He did start to get some feeling back in his extremities after about 15 minutes, and by the time he arrived, it was clear his spinal cord was intact. He was discharged from the hospital after they did a CT scan to verify his spine was not broken.

His ribs were bruised but not broken, but he did break his collarbone. The most lasting effect seems to be his left shoulder and arm, which has required a trip to a specialist. All in all, he knows he is lucky though.

“I’m pretty fortunate to be able to walk,” he says.

Cline has ridden the trails of Cumberland many times, as he and his wife Kim live in Comox part of the year and winter down in U.S. He’s a retired pilot and not taking risks was standard procedure for him, so the accident was a bit humbling. He says he is grateful to everyone who helped get him out of the woods safely and send him to hospital.

“They’re all fantastic, and they all followed through,” he says, adding he wants to thank them all in person once he’s more mobile.

He is not sure whether he will mountain bike again. He knows how important the trails are to Cumberland but hopes this kind of incident will prompt a considered discussion about safety in the sport. He likens it to the situation that ski hills faced 60 years ago when they had to respond by making downhill skiing safer.

“I also want to get involved in making sure my accident does not have any impact on the current riding situation in Cumberland,” he adds. “I look forward to trying to help in my own small way.”



mike.chouinard@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Play revolves around teenagers in thought-provoking dialect

Chemainus Theatre’s I & You focuses on the development of an unlikely friendship

Stouffer in a class of her own without Proteau in the field

Fairwinds golfer captures Mount Brenton ladies’ golf tournament by 15 strokes

Tour de Rock cyclists gear up on training ride

Stops in Ladysmith and Chemainus part of the fanfare and preparations

Sculpture relocation plan works perfectly in Chemainus

Heavy lifting required to place Cline’s work into Heritage Square

Police seek tips in 2015 death of Brown

Four years has passed since the body of Penelakut Island teen was discovered

VIDEO: Could we BE any more excited? ‘Friends’ fans go crazy for merch

Movie theatres will show select episodes to mark the NBC series’ 25th anniversary

Vancouver Island RCMP hunt for man after pair of indecent exposure incidents

Elderly Qualicum Beach woman grabbed by man who had been masturbating in the woods

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Pile of wood mulch ‘spontaneously combusts’ at Vancouver Island industrial site

Business owner thanks fire department for quick response

Five hedgehogs quickly adopted after being left at BC SPCA

Lucky new owners picked up their pets from Maple Ridge branch on Aug. 20

B.C. cricket players get interrupted by racist remark

Community has had protocols in place for years to respond to prejudice

Groovy B.C. wedding a throwback to Woodstock ‘69

Couple hosts themed wedding 50 years after legendary festival

Nearly 50% of Canadians experience ‘post-vacation blues’: poll

48 per cent of travellers are already stressed about ‘normal life’ while still on their trip

Most Read