Richard Branson Crashed His Bike, Went Over A Cliff, And Lived To Tell The Tale

Sir Richard Branson is not only a business magnate and the founder of the Virgin group, but he’s also a philanthropist. As such, he devotes not only his money and clout, but also his own sweat to the charitable causes he supports. One such endeavor is the annual Virgin Strive Challenge, for which participants undergo an enormous journey that includes cycling across Italy and mountain biking around the foothills of Mt. Etna on the east coast of Sicily. The challenge raises money for the Big Change youth charity.

Branson tapped out a new blog entry about his misadventure last week while training in Virgin Gorda for the cycling portion of the challenge. Things “suddenly got really dark” while he coasted down a hill, and a surprise speed bump sparked disaster. Before Branson knew what was happening, he flew over the handlebars and, as he says, “My life was literally flashing before my eyes.” He flew over a cliff, and the force with which he hit the ground crumpled his bicycle. Branson credits his helmet with saving his life, but he suffered a cracked cheek, torn ligaments, and a number of lacerations on his cheek, shoulder, knee, and chin. These photos look pretty brutal.

As Branson recovers, he’s still cracking a joke here and there. And he’s not excited about needing a straw to enjoy teatime.

Still, Branson realizes he’s lucky to be alive. The Virgin Strive Challenge starts in about a week, so he won’t be back in action at that point, but there’s always next year.

(Via Richard Branson)