Monthly Archives: June 2013

Aftermath of the crash

So I’ve had a few days to reflect on the crash.

It turns out that there is a flaw in the BMW R1150GS steering system that causes the forks to pinch the brake lines if they go to full lock.  At some point in the bike’s past the lines had be compromised, and this caused the loosening of the brake line fittings.  When I pulled hard on the front brakes the fitting puked the brake fluid onto the front tire.  This applied lubrication, combined with all too much speed due to no braking, led to the front tire washing out from under me.

The damage to the bike was minimal given that the GS Adventure has a lot of aftermarket armour on it already.  The crash bars did their job of protecting the gas tank, although the valve cover has a bit more road rash on it now than before.  Time to invest in some additional valve cover protection from Wunderlich.  The only other damage was some shredding of the Bark Busters (brand new ones too!), and a crack in the right mirror that just makes the bike look that much more authentic as an adventure bike.

Some riders would be very upset at the new scuffs on their ride, but for me, I bought this bike for offroading.  It wasn’t cosmetically perfect when I bought it, and it will certainly have more battle scars on it in the future.

The bigger damage was to me.  Being an old Harley rider, this is the first time I’ve ever had any “real” riding gear.  After the accident I looked at my (again, brand new) Shark Evoline 3 helmet.  All the impact was to the chin piece, something my usual Harley beanies do not have.  Had I been wearing my older gear, I’d have been visiting the hospital to rebuild my face.  I also could see where my knee, elbow, forearm, and shoulder had impacted the ground on my Scott Dual Raid Jacket and Pants.  In days gone past my Port Dover, Friday the 13th Souvenir T-shirt wouldn’t have protected me from this one… and I hate the thought of having gravel wire brushed out of my skin.

Now, I did say my arm had been hurt.  From what I can figure the slide down the road put my arm in a position that even years of yoga wouldn’t have allowed to put it in.

It’s going to be a few weeks before I’ll be riding again, but I now have a new respect for full body riding gear.

Categories: Accidents and Incidents, Gear Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ontario BMW GS Challenge (sort of…)

So, with less than 6 hours of total seat time on the bike, and almost 20 years since I’ve ridden on any dirt, I’m off to play at the Ontario BMW GS Challenge.  This is a competition obstacle course held both for fun, and to qualify to ride in the International GS Challenge overseas.  I’m going for the fun aspect, NOT to qualify.  I’ll be happy to get myself and the bike home in one piece.

And that’s exactly Rebecca’s concern.  She warns me that this is the start of my landscaping season, and that if I get hurt I could end up unable to work or earn an income for the remainder of the year.  Pshaw… I reassure her that everything will be fine, and that I won’t attempt anything that looks dangerous.

So, it’s 5:00 in the morning, and I’ve got all my new (and expensive) gear on.  The bike is warming up in the driveway, and I give the still sleeping Rebecca a gentle kiss goodbye as I set out for the 2 hour ride to the event.

As I head down the road that leads away from our house I have the biggest grin on my face.  I’m finally doing this.  I’m finally adventure riding!

Now, we live on top of the Hamilton Escarpment, by McNeilly Road.  To get to the main highway involves dropping down McNeilly Hill in a series of amazing switchbacks down the ‘mountain’ (it’s not really a mountain, everyone just calls it that).  As I head into the first right hand switch back I down shift, and gently apply a bit of front brake.  The roads are great, but the morning is cool.  Something isn’t right.  I’m not slowing down like I had anticipated.  There isn’t time for another downshift, so I pull more front brake.  That’s when I realize two things.  The front brake lever is now pinned against the handlebars, and the horizon is doing rather dramatic things around me.

For the first time in my 10 years of street riding life I’m having a motorcycle accident!

The bike washes out from under me and I slam hard into the ground.  The impact peels the visor off one side of the helmet, while the SASTec armour inserts in my gear absorb the rest.  When I finally come to a stop the bike had done a few pirouettes, and something didn’t feel right in my shoulder.

I remember that a van was a few hundred meters behind me prior to the incident, and I’m now laying precariously in a blind spot in the middle of the road, at the bottom of a switchback.  I stand up waving my arm (the other won’t move) to alert the van that I’m where he can’t see me.  Moments later he casually drives around me and my bike in the oncoming lane.  To my amazement the next car a few minutes later does the same thing.  Neither driver stop to help the downed motorcyclist with one arm dangling.  Unbelievable!

Somehow I manage with one arm to get the bike upright.  The next challenge is trying to do a hill start, with no front brake, and a right arm that although I’m able to get in onto the handlebars, isn’t doing everything I’m asking of it.

I limp the bike and myself the 2 minutes back home.

Coming in the bedroom, Rebecca wakes up asking what I’ve forgotten.  I inform her that I’m going to need a hand getting my gear off.  That I didn’t get hurt at the GS Challenge.  It all happened long before I got there!

Categories: Accidents and Incidents, Events and Rallies | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Towing the line

As the owner of a few vehicles I carry the largest, most robust package that CAA (AAA’s Canadian equivalent) offers.  I give them a call to see about getting a flat deck to haul the bike the short 5 minute drive down to the local motorcycle shop.  When asked what the problem is, rather then tell them the batter is dead, I stupidly tell them that I need to get it down to the shop for a safety inspection.  They immediately ask if the bike is plated.  Of course not, I say.  That’s why I need the safety cert, so I can get it plated.

That’s when I find out that CAA will not tow an unlicensed vehicle.  When I get off the phone I debate whether or not I should put a plate off one of my other bikes on it, and call back in to CAA hoping to get a different operator.

Instead, I call a local towing service that lists in their add experience with motorcycles.  $125 later I’m introducing myself to the staff at Dualsport Plus.

Categories: Misc | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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