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Old 11-03-2012, 12:56 PM   #1
MartinPetren OP
Swedish Adventurer
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Joined: Sep 2009
Location: Gothenburg or Uppsala
Oddometer: 372
Last weekend I had a bad crash.

Last weekend I had a bad crash.

I would not have been able to write this text for you to read if it wasn’t for my helmet. My lovely helmet did not quite survive the crash but it sure protected me as it was supposed to do. More to that and the damages later on.

It was on Friday the 26th of October that I crashed. When I woke up that day it was a beautiful morning and I had a great night’s sleep. I study to be a mechanical engineer at Uppsala University, which is located about 600km’s from home, and I was home for the weekend after one of my exams.
I arrived home in Gothenburg the day before the accident.

I had some things to do with my bike before it was ready to ride, such as fitting a new kick starter and a new side stand bolt. The repairs didn’t take me long and I also greased up the chain as well as all the joints in suspension etc, you know the small regular maintenance. When finished it was time for a warm up ride, which took me deep into the forests and then out in the streets of the central area of Gothenburg. I enjoyed this great view over the city, a view I had not seen in a while.

At about three o’clock I rode to my old job where my father also works. He had his bike with him as we had planned this for quite some time. We took off north to a place called Svartedalen which offers kilometer after kilometer of gravel roads. We spent a couple of hours there and the riding went smoothly. It was a nice ride and my riding skills seemed to be where I had left them.

Now back to the day of the crash. It was a beautiful morning indeed, not too cold and not wet all. I ate some breakfast and geared up before taking off at approximately 10am. The plan was to head south, way south. About 140-150 kilometers along the coast down south to a place called Laholm where one is allowed to ride on the beach. I was supposed to meet up with a friend who recently got an old, yet in immaculate condition, Yamaha teneré there but my plans changed when I came to Borås. The sky went black and the rain was starting to pour down. I took a quick decision not to continue and turned back to Alingsås to meet up with my girlfriend and enjoy the great weather there. The time was now around noon.

Between Borås and Alingsås is a country road which offers endless of slip roads which turn into small gravel roads that usually don’t lead into nothing. I knew my girlfriend wasn’t home yet so it meant there was some time to kill. I rode perhaps five or ten of these roads before stopping and taking a couple of pictures.

Bike took a small nap.

Here I took my first fall.. I ignored a very important rule; do not use your front brake on wet grass, ever. But both me and the bike was fine. I heard some strange noises in the woods nearby so I took off again, I think it was a moose that got upset by the sound of bike or something..

After the first small crash I decided to take it a bit slower and not to cross the line again. Worth to mention is that I had a bit too much self-confidence since the day before. I explored a couple more of the previously mentioned gravel roads. And then I found one that was very twisty and hilly. It was so fun I decided to speed up a little, just to get a better flow in the turns when power sliding around them.

It was just an ordinary turn. Nothing special, nothing hard. I had just let off the throttle to slow down before the turn and when I was about to hit the gas again, to get my rear wheel spinning, something happened. My courage disappeared and my mind went blank. I understood within a second that this ain’t happening, no way in hell I could take that turn. I started focus on my escape route, it didn’t look good. I saw a small tree and stub ahead, so I decided to steer between them. Just as I left the road and went out in the bush I discovered the ditch. I had not seen it and now it was too late. The front wheel disappeared and I went over the bars and then slammed into a big stone. My shoulder took the first hit and then my head.

When I heard the helmet crack I knew this wasn’t good. I’ve fallen before, several times, but it had never been serious. The first thing I could think of was how damn cold it was lying in that ditch next to the stone. The ditch was all filled with cold water from this autumn’s damn rain and then I felt the smell of gasoline. I managed to get out of the ditch and discovered my bike a few meters away, it was upside down and was leaking fuel. I sat down on the road calling my girlfriend to tell her I had a fall. I started having a real bad headache but had not yet discovered the pain in my shoulder. I told her my estimated location, which I can tell you wasn’t very accurate, just in case I’d pass out or something. After hanging up I focused to get my bike out. The first attempt of lifting the bike made me realize that my shoulder was a mess. I suppose the adrenaline started to go away.. The pain was intense.

I snapped a photo of the bike, I apologize for the blurriness but I wasn’t really prioritizing a good picture before getting out of there..

It took me half an hour to get the bike up. Remember the thing I said about water in the ditch and the bike leaking fuel? I learned that day that water together with gasoline gets really, really, slippery. I tried to drag it up but it was impossible, so I figured I could push it all the way down the ditch and start it and then ride it out along the ditch. It worked.

I was barely able to drive the bike but I managed to get all the way back to Alingsås. I went straight to the hospital when arriving. After a couple of hours in the E.R, which was extremely crowded, I got to the x-ray waiting room that was empty.

I snapped a picture there as well while waiting, it was nice to be in a calmer room after being in the E.R.

I got out of the hospital sometime around dinner time, with due to the circumstances good news. Nothing broken but severe muscle damage in the shoulder, a small crack in the collar bone and a slight concussion. In some strange way all I could think of was food. I hadn’t eaten since breakfast!

I really enjoyed the great dinner I had with my girlfriend and her family in Alingsås later that night. It was not until I got to bed that night that it struck me, my helmet saved my life today. I’ve been asked to quit riding from my family and friends now, but they now it and I know it, that’s not going to happen. I have for sure learned my lesson from this and I won’t be able to ride until sometime next year. But I can’t stop riding my bike.

Last weekend I had a bad crash, but that’s not going to ruin my next ride. Whenever that is going to be.

I think recovery is going to be hard. Real hard.

Martin Petrén
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