You know how sometimes, you have this grand idea, and it seems so magnificent you just go for it without thinking things though…and then, it backfires? On the road, it’s usually about expecting the unexpected, but some outcomes go so hilariously wrong I can’t help but share them. Much like bad rally ideas, I’ve had my fair share of bad ADV ideas that backfired – here are some of them:
Burned Clutch Series
Once upon a time in Cuba, I was advised by a local not to take a certain jungle trail if it rains overnight. “The rains flood the little creeks, and the trail gets really muddy, so it’s best to take the main road if it rains tonight”, the man who owned the little casa particular told me. He’d lived there his entire life and clearly knew what he was talking about; it did indeed rain that night, but in the morning, I had a big bright idea that, well, maybe it wasn’t raining that bad. Come to think of it, it felt more like a drizzle than heavy rain, didn’t it? To add to the fun, my clutch plates had already been well-worn at that point – in fact, the clutch was already slipping from time to time.
Any reasonable human would have avoided the mud and nursed the clutch on easier roads until a replacement could be found.
But the jungle trail looked so promising, shooting off into the hills, the greenery glistening with dew, the call of adventure in the air, and it was only going to be a hundred kilometres or so…
Fifteen muddy kilometers and five botched creek crossings later, I found myself sitting on the edge of the trail with the clutch completely gone, contemplating my life’s choices.
Well done there.
Fried Battery Adventures
This one time in Zagreb, I asked a fellow rider to help me straighten out a bent frame; I’d hit one boulder too many at the Dinaric Rally race, and the frame on the right side was slightly bent, almost touching the exhaust pipe and getting hot as a result. Not fun. The Croatian rider was happy to help, and as we worked, I also asked him to take a quick look-see at my wonky turn signals. One refused to blink at all, the other blinked in unpredictable twitches, and I wondered if maybe a wire was snagged somewhere. Once we looked it over, I began putting everything back together; as I worked, I noticed an odd piece of braided wire hanging off the frame. Hmm, I thought to myself. What’s this?
However, not wanting to bother the kind Croatian rider with more questions and, more than that, not wanting to appear like a completely useless noob, I figured I’d just sort of tuck the braided wire thingy under the seat, put the side panels back on, and be on my way. I’d already taken up too much of my helper’s time, and I didn’t want to come off as totally clueless – so, I figured, I’d just put everything back together, look at the braided wire thing later, and figure out what it was. It seemed like an excellent idea.
Some fifteen minutes later, as I weaved in and out of busy Zagreb traffic, my bike produced a strange, eerie cough, emitted a sinister puff, and died. As I rolled to a stop and got off, there was smoke coming out from under the seat, and the bike stank of something acrid.
Like battery acid.
Another hour later, as that same Croatian rider came back to my rescue with a brand-new battery, I was willing the Earth to swallow me whole.
The braided wire thingy was a grounding wire.
Which I’d tucked right next to the battery under the seat.
Power Slide Diving
Recently, I was fortunate enough to be invited for an afternoon ride on a sprightly Husqvarna 250 with an experienced trail rider kind enough to take me out on the trails as I was waiting for my bike to be fixed. We had a blast riding the Andalusian countryside, and I received so much good advice I felt I was improving my riding by leaps and bounds, the Husky happily biting into everything and anything the terrain threw at us. Towards the end of the ride, I felt so chirpy and confident about myself I figured I could try one more of the coveted power slides around a corner; a nice, wide, graded dirt road was unfurling under my tires, and, spotting a beautiful wide bend, I made a split-second decision.
It felt like a solid idea…except, in my eagerness to achieve greatness and glory, I had moved my body to the front and over the tank too much – way too much – and promptly discovered I’d lost the front wheel and was nose-diving for that beautiful graded dirt, trashing my helmet and earning a collection of black and purple bruises on my side in the process.
But, I mean, the idea was great.
What bad ADV ideas have backfired on you? Share the tales in the comments below.