A freak accident that left a bike brake lever embedded in a Rotorua mountainbiker's hand had hospital staff running - for their cameras.

Thirty-year-old machine shop foreman Kevin Myatt, now sporting 15 stitches, said pictures of his hand might look horrific but he was in no pain and instead found himself smiling with disbelief as he was treated.

The crash happened on the Dragonstail track in the Whakarewarewa forest on April 1.

He had taken a week off work to carry out a gardening project but decided to head to the forest for "a bit of a play".

"I was trying to build up a bit of speed before some jumps but I dropped my chain and the force of losing resistance threw me forward over the [handle] bars," he said.

"It was very, very quick. I was sliding along the ground, looked back and saw the lever had gone through the bottom of my hand."

His brake lever slid up his arm, cutting it open, then pierced the skin on his wrist before surfacing.

He said the first thing that hit him was the realisation it was close to an artery. He grabbed hold of his wrist to stem blood flow and yelled at his riding companions to call for an ambulance.

He said he was lucky in his choice of brakes - his system disconnects from the bike more easily than others so he was able to detach himself from the rest of his bike before the ambulance arrived.

At Rotorua Hospital, word of his injury quickly spread and staff members headed to the emergency department to take a look.

"The attention was unbelievable. I felt like I was famous," Mr Myatt said.

"I was told that normally people have to get sticks removed from their hands from mountainbiking crashes - not brake levers.

"You certainly get a fright when you look at the pictures."

He admitted he was a little concerned about the pain he might feel when the wound was cleaned of the pine needles and dirt, but needn't have worried as he was put under general anaesthetic to have the lever removed.

"I've been mountainbiking for 17 years and in that time I've broken my wrist and had my shoulder rebuilt. That's not a bad record.

"As long as you walk away with a smile then it's okay."

- APN