Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Shit Happens

No, that's not me.  It's just a generic crashed sports bike from the web.

This started out to be a funny story about a friend's minor incident.  Here's the story.

My friend rides a sport bike and was out for a nice afternoon ride on a road that he knows well.  He wasn't riding particularly quickly, but in a left turn, his front wheel suddenly slide out from under him.  For a moment, he thought he had saved it as he was able to stand the bike up and keep his balance, but then he ran out of road and found himself trying to ride on the deep gravel shoulder.  Naturally, the bike wiggled out from under him before he could get it stopped and he had a low speed, minor injury, but expensive tip-over.  The bike wasn't really damaged except for the body work.  The insurance company looked at it and totalled the bike.  I guess fairings are expensive.

So, my friend is bummed and figuring out what he is going to do next while nursing a nasty thigh bruise.  It turns out he had his cell phone in his pants pocket and the cell phone bruised his thigh.  After a week or so, he decided to take a look at the bike and see if he could tell what happened.  There, smeared on the front tire was a stripe of animal feces.  You see, shit does happen.

Since he wasn't really hurt, this would be unfortunate and funny, if it was the only thing going on.  Unfortunately, I personally know 5 riders that have had some sort of motorcycle accident in the last month.  Happily, most are just bruised like my friend in the story above.  Unfortunately, at least one is suffering from two broken legs due to a major high side.  And he is an experienced rider.

So this leaves me with the philosophical quandary.  It could just be a blue moon, a bad stretch of luck for riders I know.  On the other hand, I have to acknowledge that I can't turn off completely the competitive urges when I ride with a group.  I'm afraid my MSTA rides bring out the faster rider in me.  That, naturally increases the risk.

I'm sure that I will spend the winter thinking about this and the options.  I also realize that you can't hide from risk.  When riding, I am constantly aware of the risk and am a more defensive rider than I am a driver.  Coming back from the Kentucky ride this summer, I got back in the car and felt completely safe.  With the big car and air bags around me, I felt invincible.  Then, driving in the right lane in heavy traffic one morning, I witnessed an accident.  Traffic slowed suddenly and the mini-van to my left and ahead didn't see it in time.  To try to avoid hitting the mini-van in front of him, he swerved toward the right lane while crashing into the back of the leading van.  The result looked like NASCAR at Daytona.   The leading van ended up rolling several times and laying in the oncoming fast lane.  The trailing van didn't roll but smashed the front and ended up next to the other van after a wild ride.

If your not safe driving a mini-van, maybe you might as well ride a motorcycle.  Twisted enough for you?