Ow, my Pride -or- Offs that didn't hurt.
Had a thought for this a while back... I do hope nobody else has done it. If so, feel free to delete, ridicule, and taunt until you feel I've learned something.
Ever had a wipeout that was spectacular, but you somehow managed to escape unscathed?
It happens from time to time, I'm sure. I've been riding off-road for 12 years, on the road for 10, and I'm so fortunate as to be able to say, I've never dropped my bike on the road while it was moving. Off the slab, however...
...There have been incidents. And somehow I've managed to get away with it. I can think of two stories that are worth re-telling:
First one happened below the Hudson Lake Dam near Salina, OK. My late friend Reynaldo and I used to ride there every other weekend, him on a 1992 Suzuki RM250, myself on my 1977 Husky WR250. Below the dam there has to be about 50-60 miles of trails at least. We came to a hill that we hadn't ever seen before, a real monster, a good 40 feet and darn near vertical. There was no way in the world we could ever climb this hill on foot, much less on a couple of old dirt bikes. So anyway we are sitting at the bottom of the hill, talking smack back and forth trying to get one or the other to try riding up this collection of roots and rocks the size and shape of suitcases that kinda looked like a trail, when Ray decides to give it a go, and he goes about 1/4 of the way up before carefully backing down. Said I to myself, "That looked easy enough, I'm going to come back and it it in about third gear, knowing I can back down like he did if I have to." Well ladies and gentlemen, I made it nearly to the top, when the chain jumped off the old Husqvarna, and stopped me dead on the trail. This is when I realized that Ray must have used his front brake to back down the hill so easily, and that my 30 year old steed didn't, actually, have a working front brake. I had to do my very best to outrun the bike back down the hill, so it didn't ride me back down the hill. Only damage was the front brake handle, which reminded me from then on that I didn't have a front brake.
Second incident didn't involve my husky, I had my little Polaris. It had brakes, which did me zero good. Riding in Sand Springs, OK where the rock crawlers and big 4x4's would play, friend Dan and I came to another really, really tall and steep hill. (You may notice a pattern.) Must have been 100 feet high and 75 degrees. Nice and smooth though, only a few rocks and roots that looked like you could either ride over them, or dodge them. So I decided to forget earlier incidents, and hammered my Trailblazer up the hill. Got about 2/3 of the way up, and lost all my forward momentum. Back tires slipped and spun. Had all four wheels locked up, and the machine slid backwards anyway, picking up speed. I ended up abandoning ship, and watched the ATV I had purchased two week earlier cartwheel down the hill and land.... in the top of a tree. I don't know if any of you have had to remove a four wheeler from the top of a tree, but let me tell ya it's easier than I thought it would be. Bad idea followed bad idea in my case, I had my partner in crime watch the tree bearing it's one Polaris fruit as I... shook the tree... to attempt to get the ATV down. He was to tell me when it shook loose, so that hopefully I didn't have to test my helmet by dropping a four wheeler on it. I managed to get the little two-smoker out of the tree without killing myself for my stupidity, it fell onto its nose, slammed down on it's wheels, and rolled the rest of the way down the hill. Damage to me, none, damage to the ATV... None. Didn't bend the frame, handlebars, didn't break any plastics or damage the wheels. Ride it to this day.
So, what has happened to some of you?
Not mine, but I was there, even had a photo at some point.
Near vertical bank a friend on an XL350 took it on, made it to the top, made it above the top, then realized he was going to fall vertically backwards down a 20 foot drop, probably with the bike landing on top of him. He gave the bike a big push, it flopped onto the top, stalled and just lay there, he free-fell about 15 feet, then the slight curve at the bottom caught him and spat him out covered in dust but uninjured.
Lol, "Hey look, a rut!" ... At the local Golf Course Crossing. A fairly popular area no doubt...
Took to the rut a little late, lost it, and backed her in Circle-Track style till she looped around. I almost saved it, but that wound up being the tree's job... Right into the case...
So having rolled off at this time and not wanting to stick around for the Minority Report and subsequent Self-Imposed Insurance tax hike, I bowed to the jaw dropped on-lookers and quickly sprained my back hoisting my light bike, started it and high tailed it outta there...
Lol at the two other times, one on a TrailWing as old as the parts bike it came off, the other a sloppy, late, Fish-tail attempt (not including my genuine accident that would be the source of my public ridicule here) but they've all lead to one thing...
I'm not dead and I'm a better rider with a higher developed sense of caution (that inner voice) because of it.
Besides, I listen to it more than I do those that ridicule me.
16 years old on my first bike, a 1972 Honda CL450 Scrambler. Hightailing it down a crowed dirt road that had been made flat by laying loose gravel. I discovered the placement of a helmet sized rock buried in the gravel at ~40MPH.
THUMP - Tank Slapper - High Side - Tuck and roll into the berm which flipped me up ass-over-teakettle into a tumble weed.
Zero injuries due to the crash but I did sprain my toe kicking my bike in frustration before realizing I'd lost my shoe.
I'm told it was a sight to behold.
Dad paid for the ice cream that day AFTER he wiped the tears from his eyes from laughing so hard.
Two recent ones come to mind; perhaps I'll add more as my memory banks kick in.
#1 Riding forest trails in the Boston Mountains (Ark) I was attempting to skirt a puddle in the middle of the trail (don't ask me why, the bike and I were already plenty muddy) when I took the line a little too wide and my left handguard (Cycra pro-bend) smacked a trailside tree. What would normally have been a little oopsie at low speed turned into a smack-ya-down at 25 mph. In an instant, I found myself on the ground with my bike merrily chugging along next to me.
#2 I had taken my kids to a private riding area. I was experimenting with the bike and decided to make a run at the widowmaker hill climb in the rough section of the forest. The trail was bracketed on both sides by trees. Needless to say, I didn't make it to the top, but went left off the trail as my momentum ran out, and looped the bike. I went tumbling down the hill like a rag doll, but the bike decided that it liked living in the nearest tree branch in an upside-down position. The biggest challenge I had was regaining that hill and trying to wrestle the bike from the clutches of that tree.
I'd made arrangements with my ex to use her garage for a major overhaul of my GS. Part of the deal included the use of her bike so I could get there and back. I was watching a snowstorm all afternoon, and when it was about 1.5 hours out, I left for home. I live ~30 minutes away, so the extra hour gave me a nice cushion in case the forecast was wrong or I ran into trouble.
And I ran into trouble. I'd stopped on the way for what was supposed to be a very quick moment at Wal-Mart to get some degreaser for the next day. While I was there, I'd somehow lost control of the key to her bike (and my apartment, I had them clipped together) and spent the next two hours frantically searching the store for them. Eventually, they were found under a shelf.
And that puts me riding home at night during the first winter storm of the year. I made it about 1/2 way home through whiteout conditions when I slid on a patch of ice approaching an intersection. The bike went down on its left side and spun twice, with me sliding along behind. I wasn't injured at all, I was going maybe 25mph and all my roadsurfing was on snow and ice. I picked up the bike and stashed it in the yard of the guy who witnessed it - he was on his porch, having a smoke. He offered to call the cops and EMTs for me, I declined. The damage was limited to a broken mirror, and my 'stitch had prevented me from even being bruised.
Riding the rest of the way back to my apartment seemed like a very poor idea given the conditions, so I called for a ride. Except my go-to rescuers weren't home at the time and not expected for over an hour. With that in mind, I took Shanks' Pony the mile and a half to a pub in town and had dinner in the warm and dry while I waited.
The text message to my ex was very simple: I owe you a mirror. Call me. When she did, her reaction was first concern that I was okay and then annoyance that I slid on the left side. Why couldn't I have slid on the right side, thats the side with all the crash damage!
Testing a Honda 230L, having grown up on dirt, with minor forays into the paved jungle, I thought - small bike slow speeds, how hard could it be? (Next time those words go through your mind, go to Wal-Mart, and tell the first woman you see she's a fat cow and should really loose some weight. It will result in less damage to your pride, and possibly less personal injury.)
Continuing on... I get use to the bike (first area of danger) and think it is a fun little ride that would be great for using in far off lands where my colleagues work. Next, I turn into a down hill col-de-sac thinking I'll reach the bottom, make my U-turn and head back to the shop for some basic maintenance checks to evaluate how complicated this little tyke is. At the bottom of the col-de-sac there is grey (read same color as tarmac) mud 1/2" thick mixed with gravel and it's wet. I never knew what hit me. The front washed out so fast I didn't have time to get my feet off the pegs and next thing I know I'm picking myself up off the ground. Speed at time of drop was less than what the speedometer will read.
Damage to me:
Road rash through heavy denim shirt, no holes.
Deep cut on knee through heavy jeans, no holes.
Very injured pride.
Damage to bike:
Handle bars misaligned, not even bent.
Loosen triple clamp and set it back all is well, no other marks or damage.
NEVER get complacent, no matter how slow you're going.
I was about 16 years old riding a street legal Bridgestone 175 "scrambler" I grew up in the country.
My friend was on his Honda 350 riding down the street in the city in front of me. I am looking at this girl with long shimmering red hair walking down the sidewalk. Friend stopped for a red light. BAM I ran into the rear end of him still looking at the beautiful redhead. Down I went. No physical damage to me or the bike.
I am 52 now and remember it well.
I was told my 55mph ragdoll after being hit in the chest by an owl was pretty spectacular. Being young and wrapped in a snowmobile suit spared me from serious damage. The was about 1978 and my old friends still talk about it. So it must have been a good one.
Off Road? Too Many to count.
Somehow I have always managed to land right and have never broken anything. Good gear helps a LOT to this end.
Now at 50... I subscribe the the "Ride to Ride Another Day" theory. I don't want to push my luck so the crazy stuff is very limited... Not completely gone mind you... Just scaled WAY back from where it used to be.
Just think how great that will be for those of us over 40! Great bikes will be going for a song. Of course, dealerships who cater to younger riders will go belly up, but I'm more interested in rider safety. Those of us over 40 have a pretty clear understanding that we are mortal. If you are in your teens or 20's, odds are good that you don't get that concept. Should I lower the minimum age to 30?
I wouldn't say I was any safer or more dangerous than them. So yes, drop your cut off point to 30.
As to "Ow, my pride". I had a spectacular 60mph get-off on the slab where I ended up three lanes and over 100m from the bike. The car driver who stopped to help thought I was dead until I stood up. I was completely unscathed bar some very light road rash, that didn't even need a bandaid and left no scar. I don't have any pics/footage of that.
Best fail I've personally seen with the rider completely unscathed (despite a GS12 catching him in the leg) is this:
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This was a real blow to my pride at the time - but it's pretty funny to look back on. I took my daughter out for a spin with her TT125. I decided to ride my wife's KDX 200 as the 520 EXC would be a bit tedious putting around with the daughter, right?
We were maybe a 1/4 mile from the truck, nice easy trail, and there's that root I always like to launch off. Blip the throttle on the 520, land about 20 feet later. Hmm, I'll just pin it on the KDX. What's the worst that could happen? :lol3
Next thing I knew I was flat on my back in the middle of the trail, wind knocked out of me, and the KDX was laying about 30 feet down the trail. Broken rear fender, broken subframe, silencer pointed at the sky. Oh, yeah, and my fanny pack was laying on the ground while the belt was still around my waist.
My daughter was not impressed. I, on the other hand, was blown away with how much power that KDX had!
Loopier, not the movie
So here is a running theme for me. I rode an old Hodaka Wombat in the early 90's when all my buddies were riding bikes that were new and in shape. I had one buddy who was itty bitty, we were all in middle school, but this dude was like 4'9" and weighed 85 lbs with no body fat. He was still riding a little wheel KX80 two stroke. We found a big rock and he used it as a foot stool to start my Hodaka so he could ride a big bike, and I swung a leg over this little, in my mind, 80. I was putting in first gear and i pinned. Nothing happened so I kept it there, when that sumbitch came on pipe I wen flying past my buddy with his bike on it's tail dragging my feet down the road. It was hilarious as my buddies pointed out for a long time.
Fast forward to college, now the early 00's and i had a buddy who was racing enduro on a KTM 300XC-LMNOP something or other. I took it to get some beer at a gas station. When i came back I gave my other buddy the beer and said I want to play around the bike. Next thing i know I am dragging my feet dangling from the bars while this thing wheelies across the bike yard. That thing had grunt from the moment you touched the throttle.
Only other thing was defeating a strand of barbed wire equipped with nothing but my neck propelled by a snowmobile.
Rough and tumble
1978, first bike...16 years old. A Suzuki ap50. Did a favour for a mate out in the sticks. Had a great ride out and delivered a parcel safely....then with the confidence of youth , set off for home ,sure in the knowledge that I now new every twist and turn of the back road...... All went well as it got darker......and darker......then suddenly a bend right...ok ....that turned into a j turn.
No time to brake ....hold the line and wait for the inevitable..... Slid straight into a ditch, over he bars like off a bucking bronco...... Pitch black now, really worried about losing the keys for some reason.
Took about an hour to drag it out onto the road....couldn't believe how heavy a small bike sometimes. Bent bars and lots of mud, but all good.... Never told my mum....she never to this day talks about my bikes.........would have ended my riding before it started
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