Joined: Feb 2005
Location: Ottawa, Canada
It was all going so well.... until....
For those of you that have been following along I’m the one cruising around on the F650GS Dakar.
I had that poor bike packed like an old beaten mule. I had never felt it weigh that much and as I started down the North Road thought “ I must be insane riding gravel with this much weight.” Strange thing happens though, I got used to it and after a couple of hours of being puckered right up, started to relax. It’s either that or I simply couldn’t stay puckered any longer! I tell you, after you’ve done 1900 km of gravel you'll learn to read every pebble, color change and nuance of the road while you’re riding. But I’m getting ahead of myself, by the 3rd day I still had a lot to learn about gravel roads, especially one that was often mixed with sand like the North road. Don’t misunderstand , I have ridden many gravel roads before, but frankly this seemed way more technical.
So what happened to John the 3rd day. The day was gorgeous and I was really starting to get into the gravel and dirt riding. Unlike Ted, I had had a wonderful sleep the night before on my air mattress, you know the type, the ones that don’t leak! Being bright an alert I though… “I’ve got this gravel/sand thing mastered… no worries. The irony of that thought was to echo in my head in short order. As I’m happily touring along I come into a downhill left-hander. Not too sharp but it did look a little bit soft so I dutifully slowed down to around 50 km/h. I started around the turn and was just starting to apply throttle when… WTF!! My front wheel shot instantly to the right causing my rear wheel to skid left. Then the front decided to go left, (probably me over-correcting), causing my rear now to skid right. This continued for 3 or 4 iterations until all that weight on the rear of my bike pendulumed around causing the back end to pass the front end of my bike while still moving forward down the road. I gotta tell you, that’s some weird ass feeling sliding backwards, on your back, with the bike down the road. My reverse low-side came to rest in a cloud of dust, gravel and sand. Laying there I thought several things in the blink of an eye. Are all my body parts still attached, how long are my riding mates going to leave me laying here, what happens if a transport comes around that corner right now, how bad is my bike screwed up and finally, what idiot said that he had this gravel/sand thing mastered? Oh ya, that was me. One thing I have to say is, damn, that riding gear really works! ATGATT!! After extricating myself from under that bike I found not a mark, not a scrape, no gravel burn or embedding, nothing broken, halleluiah, I’m in one piece. The only complaint later on was a sprained left finger and couple of sore muscles.
So now that I’m out from under the bike, alive and well, I’m standing there thinking how the hell am I going to lift this thing? It’s laying past 90 degrees on its side, in gravel and sand, no way I can pick this up. So I stand there waiting… and waiting… and waiting, you get the idea. Turns out Dan (the rider in front of me) thought I had just stopped for a leak or other bodily function and was off in the woods! As I’m just about to start unpacking my bike so I can lift it, along came a Caterpillar repair man in his truck. After the obvious “are you all right” and “what happened” questions, we managed to pick the beast up. I thank him profusely and after a quick assessment and realization that my bike is still good to go, off I went. I catch up to Dan just as he’s turned around to see where heck I am. He looks at me in stunned silence while I tell him what happened… then off we ride.
At this point I have to admit I was not in the best of moods. Dan and I get to the end of the North road and nobody!! Where the freaking heck are they. So Dan and I figure they’ve gone up the road to the next meeting place. So off we go. After a couple of minutes I think I feel something so I stop just to double check my bike, nothing wrong. Poor Dan parks behind me wondering if everything’s alright, off his bike he gets and BAM… down goes his 1150GS on the road. I think we both said the same thing at that moment, SHIT! His side stand was not quite all the way forward and let his bike drop. So just as were picking his bike up along comes Ted from behind us and says “What are you guys doing”. I’m not sure exactly what we said, but I know our “frustration” of the moment may have come through a little… well maybe more than a little…ok, ok a lot. I don’t think Ted knew quite what to say at this point but looking back on it now, it all was pretty damn funny!
One last note, the cause of my backwards adventure turned out to be a deep ridge in the road which my front tire glanced off of. I went back and looked after I got my bike up. Unfortunately I didn’t think till later of getting pictures of the event. The crisscrossing tracks my bike made were quite entertaining to look at. Damage to my bike; dent and grind marks on the right Jesse pannier and end of my handle bar. Way better than I could have reasonably expected. Next farkle for my bike... say it with me... Steering Damper.
The rest of the day was great especially the gourmet meal and motel room that night in Radisson!
Jlsa screwed with this post 09-16-2009 at 06:56 PM