I decided to ride home a different route today to avoid a traffic mess on Highway 520. My deviated route took me through some back-roads, and then onto another highway that was slightly less congested. I navigated my way though and was just entering the exit to the highway when all the alarms went off in my head. “You left something important at the Studio!!”.
My plan was simple. I would pull over onto the shoulder of the exit, get off my bike, and check my backpack to see if I indeed left something behind. I was close enough that turning back wouldn’t be a big deal. The exit I was on was one of those round exits, that starts from one highway above the other. So I was traveling down hill, and turning to my right in the curve of the exit. When I started to pull off onto the shoulder, I saw just as I hit, that the shoulder was covered in mud that had run onto the road. My bike started to lay down so that the handle bars would have faced in towards the road, and away from the void of the exit “hole”. I kicked up the RPM’s to keep the bike upright, and kicked my left foot down HARD to keep the bike from laying down, as I also shifted my weight from left side to right side to straighten the bike out. The bike tipped up all proper, for a second. Maybe because I kicked so hard, and was coming to a stop, I must have over corrected. Either way, the bike now wanted to lay down towards the inside of the hole.
Big problem #1. The inside of the hole is a hole. (Maybe more of a hill, with the incline running away from me) So as the bike laid down in that direction (handlebars towards the hole) my foot that should have been on pavement was in space.
The next part (me falling off the bike into the crevice) happened really fast, and slow at the same time. By the time I looked back at the bike it was on it’s side, with the wheels facing upward slightly due to the incline that it was laying in. The handlebars/seat were towards the muddy slope, lower then they would be on a level surface.
Big problem #2. This bike if fucking heavy. 700 pounds plus anything I have in it heavy. A friend of mine (Thanks Robert) showed me a great technique for walking/lifting the bike up that works great on flat, solid ground. The bike was sitting on neither.
I got into the lifting position, and started to walk it up, uphill. I was able to get it to a 45 degree angle, and then my boots started slipping down the muddy hill. This was a no-go, and I just blew a ton of adrenalin/energy trying to lift it. I set it back down, and realized that I need to put the kickstand down, just in case I do get this mother lifted correctly so it doesn’t just fall to the other side. I again tried to lift the bike, and it wasn’t going anywhere.
Just about that time a car pulls over and a very old gentleman jumps out. I’d guess him at 85-90 years old, with jet black dyed hair. The first words out of his mouth were “Hey Brother! I’m a biker too! Can I give you a hand, and are you OK?” I assured him that I was fine, just a bruised ego. I explained that I was pulling over, and took it into the mud. Again, his response “Hey Brother, don’t let that lick your ego. This isn’t the first time, and won’t be the last time this happens to us bikers. We just need to stick together to help each other out!”. Then he proceeded to help me lift the bike back on it’s two wheels, and push it out of the mud.
He looked the bike over, asked some questions about it, and noted that the engine and bag bars sure did their job. (and they really did….) He offered a phone or ride if I needed it. I assured him I was good, and that the bike would start. I thanked him profusely, and shook his hand. He gave me one of those well gripped shakes, with a slap on the shoulder and said “I hope to see you on the track one day!”, got in his car and drove off.
I think it’s awesome how a shitty thing can create a great opportunity. I’m glad to have met this old biker if even just for a second. He proved to me that WE do need to stick together. I know I’ll be pulling over the next time I see a fellow biker in trouble, even if it’s just to offer a reassuring hand.
Thanks stranger, you won’t be forgotten.