If Your Bike Falls Down a Cliff, How Do You Get it Back???

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by GusinCA, Mar 18, 2013.

  1. Blue&Yellow

    Blue&Yellow but orange inside...

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    You know - I'm usually a bit of a minimalist but I've been thinking about getting something like that together. Shouldn't cost too much - 179 is certainly a bit excessive.

    I remember some hour-long fights in knee deep mud where something like this would have made my stress levels much more bearable - peace of mind backup solution so to speak.
    #21
  2. eatpasta

    eatpasta Lawnmower Target

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    When I raced the Catalina Grand Prix a few years ago, there was a fire road section of the course that had a very high drop.....I still cant believe they had a race out there.... but anyways as Im bringing up the rear in my race I come around the corner and there is a guy that had ridden off the edge of the road, somehow climbed up and had found race banners somewhere and was attempting to recover his bike, by himself by dragging the bike up the cliff with race banners during the race.
    I felt bad for him but I knew there was no way in HELL he was getting that thing back up....
    #22
  3. larryboy

    larryboy Chopper Rider

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    I lost a DR200 off the trail once, took one look at it, turned off the fuel and headed for home on foot. It was almost dark, 4 miles cross country without a flashlight, then 5 more miles to home. Went back a week later with my ATV and pulled it back to the trail, took the ATV home and walked back to the DR, rode it home. The whole thing really sucked.

    A guy I work with lost a bike into a canyon out by himself in Nevada, it was geared too tall and he seized the motor trying to get it out. He left it, two years later he went back with a new cylinder and piston, plus a longer chain and a huge rear sprocket. Rode that bastard out of there and took it home.
    #23
  4. GusinCA

    GusinCA Been here awhile

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    Some good answers here, and that motorcycle recovery kit looks cool. I've been riding for 33 years and it's never happened to me, but there's some trails where even if the bike goes 5 feet over a certain slope there's no getting it back by yourself, and the trail is too narrow to bring a quad in. Usually there is something to anchor to, but pulling a 300 pound bike, on it's side, over rocks and bushes/roots might be too much for even that recovery kit. I wonder how much renting a helicopter costs... :huh
    #24
  5. corndog67

    corndog67 Banned

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    Helicopter is (I've heard), about $2000/hour.

    I don't ride by myself, ever, out in the boonies.

    We had a guy fly his bike down a shale slope, about 200 feet, took about 6 guys an hour to drag it back up, down is Big Sir, off Plaskitt Ridge. Then we had to haul him to Community Hospital in Monterey, a good 1 1/2 hours away, to get stitched up.

    Those guys in the side hacks are nuts. Can you imagine being stuck underneath one?
    #25
  6. baloneyskin daddy

    baloneyskin daddy bikaholic

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    Back around 1975 or so ,a friend and I decended into a ravine on what looked like a trail but kept getting steeper and gnarlier as we went and soon enough we were at the point of no return. We eventually found the stream at the bottom and walked,carried,drug and occasionally rode our bikes,searching for a way out. It was starting to get dark and we could hear some cars in the distance but were dead tired and soaked to the bone. We hiked on foot about a mile to a bridge and crawled up to see where we were and looked for a place to try to get our bikes out. I found one area where it looked like a fairly clean shot to daylight and had a little room to get some momentum for the climb. After repeated tries from both of us to climb this hill I finally got a hell of a run and shot up over the edge and right into a family having a big cookout in their backyard. Boy the looks I got from those people. I took off to leave my buddy fend for himself:lol3 About a mile down the road I found the bridge we had hiked to and waited and listened for my buddy. It didn't sound like the noise I was hearing was coming from the right direction so I ran over to the other side of the stream and he was just coming up a service road. Said he tried the hill a few more times after me and could'nt make it so he headed down stream .
    #26
  7. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

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    I did that on my '83 XL600R. There was a cliff at the bottom with no way out but the way I came. I stood that baby on the rear wheel and climbed like a trials bike. Turns out what I consider the point of no return vs. what the old Honda can do are two different things. It is a goat...I am a sissy (unless faced with spending the night in the forest alone). :lol3
    #27
  8. Grreatdog

    Grreatdog Long timer

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    These two bikes took a bunch of guys passing them up two human chains. But then a 625SXC and a DRZ400 down maybe 50' are manageable like that. This was about the craziest I have seen without tow ropes or a winch. Most others I have seen were recovered with a truck or Jeep.

    [​IMG]
    #28
  9. smj

    smj Been here awhile

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    We once ended up at the bottom of a ravine with a 76 XT500 and a 76 Triumph Bonneville. There was no way to get the Triumph back up the hill. The way out was blocked by a 12 foot high chain link security fence. Pulled out the pliers, took the wraps off a couple poles, slid the chain link up, wrapped our belts around the fence bundle, and drove out. Put the fence down and got our belts back, put the wraps back on, drove out like we owned it...
    #29
  10. concours

    concours WFO for 41 years

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    Pretty common in the snowmobile world.. TEAMWORK You DO carry a rope riding off road, right?
    #30
  11. Plaka

    Plaka Brevis illi vita est

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    A come-along, a fat roll of webbing and a Glock entrenching tool. Now you can pull, dig and cut things down (the Glock has a saw). If there is no anchor whatsoever to winch from you take off a wheel and bury it. You can cut, bridge, fill or dig out obstacles.
    #31
  12. eatpasta

    eatpasta Lawnmower Target

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    these stories are the best part of this thread! I no longer want to ride down a ravine for no reason

    :lol3
    #32
  13. rgoers

    rgoers Been here awhile

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    Winch is the way to go. I have a small portable (2000lb) unit that could easily be hand-carried in. Could use the bike's battery to power it...

    Around here, cliffs can be several hundred feet down, and very steep. I'd be more worried about dying than getting the bike back up.
    #33
  14. GusinCA

    GusinCA Been here awhile

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    As for going down ravines, a rule has to be "if you can't get back up it, don't go down it".

    Learned that the hard way once in some snow.

    I carry a towing strap in my pack, but I think one of those light pulley systems and maybe some spectra winch line (lighter and smaller than the rope in that product) would be a good idea...
    #34
  15. Ronin ADV

    Ronin ADV Gear addict

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    [​IMG]
    From the bottom left clockwise: Pulley, wood dowel so I can get a grip on the thin spectra pulley cord, some medium daisy chains / runners, a couple carabiners, a long (12-15 foot) daisy.

    The core of the system is a pulley combo made by Adventure Engineering.
    [​IMG]
    The system is basically a small 5:1 Z drag pulley pre-strung with very thin but very strong spectra cord. The extra cord in this picture is wrapped around a white piece of plastic I cut to keep things semi organized.
    Fully expanded it allows for a 12 foot pull. They report you can lift a 500 pound bike, and the web site used to have a picture of a guy lifting a 1200 GS straight up off the garage floor.
    I use the daisy chains and runners to tie off quickly to whatever I can haul from (tree, etc). Then pull the system as much as I can, and then just move it up along the daisy chain so I don't have to re-rig the whole setup.
    I have used this now several times on both bikes and an ATV I found stuck. I ride a lot solo in the mountains and (knock on wood) so far I have just had to recover other people's bikes, but I am sure my day is coming. If I drop my bike off the down side of a steep trail, I am confident that I can self rescue in many situations with this set up.
    The whole thing packs small and the pulley weighs just a couple ounces. My whole kit is probably around 1 1/2-2 pounds.
    [​IMG]
    I have this tucked in a Kreiga 10 tail bag that also holds 2 spare tubes, all my tire changing stuff (enduro stand, irons, patches, etc), my hand pump and my tool roll. I just strap the bag to whichever bike I am riding and I'm good to go. I consider my pin kit and self recovery a vastly preferable alternative to a very long walk out then having to go back and get the bike later anyway.
    Unfortunately, the last I checked, the Adventure Engineering site is currently down for "restructuring". Hopefully they will get going again as this is a really cool piece of gear that works well. I would strongly recommend it to anyone who rides off the beaten track.
    #35
  16. ibafran

    ibafran villagidiot

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    I was instructed long ago to explore/walk the ravine for a ways. Often there is a place where soil erosion and stuff combine to make ridable animal paths for escape of the ravine. It is often possible to ride the bottom of the ravine to a place where it is possible to ride out. Going downhill, the ravine may silt up in a flat part and allow some escape in that area. Going up hill, the ravine may get narrower but the gentler slope compared to the sides allows for a climb out. Boulders and deadfalls may make the technique impossible. But why struggle with a heavy lift when a long ride-out is possible. Intersecting ravines may easier to climb out of?

    Granted, having an extraction device and a few budds would be the hot set-up. If I was out trailing it with a few budds, dividing up extraction gear among the riders for easy carry would make a lot of sense. Why carry an electric winch when a small boat winch like found on a boat trailer might be worth one bike to tote it?
    #36
  17. Plaka

    Plaka Brevis illi vita est

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    A boat winch has to be anchored to something...like a mount plate on a bike or you have to add a beefy a-frame handle. A come-along doesn't need this. They use the tension in the cables for torque control. I believe they come in strap (rather then cable) versions. Handy for moving fallen trees too. I suppose you could rig a boat winch like a come-along.

    Then there is the Cobra winch and variants, if you are doing a lot of winching..
    http://www.lewiswinch.com/
    #37
  18. whitham_wannabe

    whitham_wannabe Long timer

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    My mate Ben took an unintended left turn off into a gully. Every time we tried to move the bike it slid further down, so we ended up going for help. Found a couple of local hunters, and for the price of buying them dinner, they used their come along to haul it back out. There's always a way.

    [​IMG]
    #38
  19. Coachgeo

    Coachgeo Diesel Adventurer

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    (sorry the pun) Knot knowing much about climbing, rigging etc. Could you kindly lay out for us inmates generic names of the above items we would search by; if different that you labeled above, and types of stores that carry the stuff etc. so we can copy your brilliant idea?

    . Aren't there pulleys that only go one way? They clamp the rope if it begins to reverse directions?

    Random thought......... if your alone.

    . Instead of dragging bike up on its side........ how about lashing two out riggers to it that will stand it up? Maybe pull it up backward so front wheel follow steers?

    . Smaller bike maybe enough rope to sit on the bike lightly say idling in first gear if possible and pull from the seat as you flat foot the bike up. Would require one way pulley I suspect.
    .... Second thought still might have to have bike off in neutral and pull bike up backward this way so you dont have to worry so much about steering. Just pause occasionally and lift/slide over the rear tire to point it where you want to go?. Would of course require another pulley or two I think. to get pull in right direction. Or would the rigging of the ropes negate this possibility all together?
    #39
  20. Coachgeo

    Coachgeo Diesel Adventurer

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    A good read here on Z drag line pulls. All mention pulleys that lock for one way pulls.

    http://www.mountainbuzz.com/forums/f11/simple-z-drag-6933.html

    http://wheelsandwater.blogspot.com/2011/01/quick-setup-z-drag-system.html

    http://www.highpeaksclimbing.com/Training/ZPulley.htm

    A video series from Crevice rescue part 1 of 4
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbJ2Y3t_NkA

    And if you didn't practice your knot tie enough........ looks like their is an IPad app to help you if you take that along. Maybe by the time you find this in an archive search the app will be available for other devices

    http://www.animatedknots.com/
    #40