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Richard Branson's near-death experience

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 26/08/2016 Eli Blumenthal
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Richard Branson has done a lot of crazy things.

Flying around the world in a hot air balloon, driving a tank through Times Square to promote his soda and jumping off the roof of the Palms Casino in Las Vegas are just a few of the antics the billionaire founder of the Virgin Group has done over the years.

Shocking then that a bike ride would give him the scare of his life. 

While training for Virgin's Strive Challenge event, a fundraiser that looks to raise money by having participants attempt to travel from the base of the Matterhorn to the summit of Mt. Etna, in Sicily, through hiking, biking, running and swimming, Branson was working on his cycling. 

Training in the British Virgin Islands, Branson wrote that he "hit a ‘sleeping policeman’ hump in the road head on" while going down a hill and was sent tumbling over his handlebars. Writing in a blog post on Virgin's site, Branson says the crash sent him  "head-first towards the concrete road" and his bike "flying off the cliff."

"I really thought I was going to die," writes Branson, "fortunately my shoulder and cheek took the brunt of the impact, and I was wearing a helmet that saved my life."

"As I landed, once I realised I was alive, I began testing my movement," continued the eccentric billionaire. "I really couldn't believe I was alive, let alone not paralysed."

The founder of Virgin was flown to Miami where x-rays and tests revealed a cracked cheek and some torn ligaments. That said, Branson still hopes to compete in the challenge next month. 

"My attitude has always been, if you fall flat on your face, at least you’re moving forward. All you have to do is get back up and try again."

Richard Branson at the Virgin Galactic hangar at Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, Calif. © Reed Saxon, AP Richard Branson at the Virgin Galactic hangar at Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, Calif.


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