29 September 2004


My alter-ego "Dumbass Boy" came out to play last Saturday. The net result; road rash and a scraped up motorsickle.

Crashing is an almost-inevitable part of this motorsickling gig. We've all done it, seen it, or have friends still scarred by it. People will tell you, "There are two types of riders; those who have crashed and those who will." Maybe. I think it depends on how much you ride.

An accepted risk, the threat of a crash simply adds to the allure of motorcycling in general. The reason not everyone rides a motorcycle is because many of them are, rightly so, scared of the mythical inevitable crash. As a result those who do ride are looked upon by the no-riding public as either unaware of the inherent dangers or unafraid.

Unaware would cover a great deal of the amateurs out there. Even with Indian Larry's unfortunate accident the Discovery Channel crowd still assume wrecks happen to everyone else. If they never leave town or ride more than a few miles a year they may be right.

Unafraid could cover the 19 year olds insulated from the environment by a full face helmet aboard a machine far beyond their capabilities. (Why do we allow first-time riders to hop on the fastest thing out there? Are we trying to pad the statistics for the worried moms of America?)

Personally, I've always been aware of the possibility of a crash. How can you not been when surrounded by the old timers? Limping and bitching their way through the evening, lecturing the younger kids about the time they were cut off in traffic, or had an inattentive jackass fail to yield. Road snakes. Potholes. Dropoffs. Grooved pavement. Foreign objects in the roadway. Cattle. Soccer moms on cell phones driving Mack Truck-sized wagons. There is no shortage of opportunities to get killed.

ER staff don't call them "Donorcycles" for nothing. And, as a side note, only the most selfish and stupid among us would refuse to be an organ donor. Check the box, they won't take them until you're done with them.

My first wreck, ten years ago or so, was a drunken old bastard in a borrowed 77 Mercury Grand Marquis. Very nice, lots of give in that pre-80 sheetmetal. He turned left into me and ruined my weekend. Drove away from the scene and claimed later, after being tracked down by the tag I'd memorized, he left because he was threatened. "That guy on the bike was yelling at me and coming after me when he got up."

Well of course I was, jackass, you were accelerating over a curb to get away from the scene of the crime.

This time I have no one to blame but myself for the damage to my self and, more importantly, my motorsickle.

Like all these stories start out, 'It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon ...' And it was. 7 or 8 friends, headed out to pick up a couple others and enjoy the weather. Couple hundred miles. Sunshine and lollipops. People you like to ride with. The entire day kicked ass. "And then ... And then ... KABOOM!"

The thing that pisses me off, besides the damage to my motorsickle, is the ridiculousness of it. 11 years, three motorsickles, well over 100,000 miles, 10 trips to Sturgis (rode not towed), and I finally crash and burn in my fucking hometown. On the main street. With an audience. Son of a bitch. Even worse than that, I hadn't even had enough cold beer to blame it on bumbling inebriation.

Changing lanes to the right, glanced back to my left, then ahead and realize "I drifted too far right when I looked back, and this road is narrowing. Shit!" Front wheel hit the curb, and 800 pounds of Road King tried to pitch hard to the right. Dirt bike instincts said, 'kick a foot out there and catch it!' My ankle said, "Hey, dipshit, you took physics. What's the potential energy in a 35 mph 800 pound object?"

Caught it, almost had it(?), then the back wheel hit. Pitched my dumb ass off the front, and I rolled out in the road. Hopped up, grabbed my bike, pushed it in a parking lot. Luckily I have competent friends who stopped traffic, grrr'd the civilians, gathered pieces, and loaned me rags to mop blood.

Smashed chrome, blood, pain, etc. Lots of wide eyes who'd assumed I was dead when I went over the front. Gathered my senses, checked bones, turned the key and the fuel injection pressured up. Brake light worked. Headlight was scarred but working, LH spotlight smashed, clutch worked, brakes worked, "Let's get the hell out of here."

Is that leaving the scene? I have no idea. I don't care. I was bleeding, my ankle was swelling, and my bike was hurt. I wanted to get to my shop. The front end wobble I felt on the way home was the bent-all-to-shit front wheel. Those spots all over the tank are blood. I'm still not sure why the tip-over whatever switch thingy allowed the damned thing to start. Divine intervention I suppose.

In the end I've got some interesting scab patterns on my face and a wounded bike on a lift. eBay hosts a great deal of take-off parts the kind souls who have to have cool guy chrome are more than happy to sell for much less than retail. Thank goodness.

In the meantime my misfortune has made for great fodder with the smartasses and critics who seem to surround me. All in good fun, there's little a person can or should do but laugh along. I'm not dead, and it's all my fault. Nothing to do but learn from it.

Less than half a second of inattention and I'm flopping around on my head in the middle of a main thoroughfare. That's all it took. Yeah, I'm a dumbass. But when haven't we all been a little dumb at some point or time.

I continue to profess my invincibility, much to wife's dismay. Personally, I think this was a karmic wake up call. "Hey, dumbass, pay attention - you're getting too complacent." I'm wide awake now. Wide awake and shopping ebay.

Anyone got any crash bars for a 99 FLHRCI?

Click Here for pictures and humor at my expense: http://www.ironlivergoons.com/wreck.htm


Blogger Doug K. said...

So, now that I've read the story, seen the grizzly pics of your road rash, and marveled that it's not just me that always has his worst moments in front of friends and public, just one question: Is your new nickname "Curb-y"?



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