|08-04-2007, 11:18 PM||#1|
Joined: Apr 2006
Location: Humboldt County California
Bandit vs. Bambi - long
I have a renewed joy and gratitude for every breath I take. I feel so fortunate to be alive. Sh!t happens and on July 19, 2007 I slipped in it.This is my story.
I live in Humboldt County California which is in the far northern part of the state on the coast. A friend of mine and I were making our yearly trip to the Moto GP at Laguna Seca in Monterey, CA. It was about 7:30 PM and we were enjoying our ride on Rt 1 along the coast. It was beautiful, sunny and warm and the scenery was first rate. Things couldn’t be better and we had less than an hour to go before we would reach our destination for the night. Jay was riding in front of me on his BMW GS1150S and I was about 2 seconds behind on my 2005 Suzuki Bandit 1200S. I knew this was a bad time of the day for deer movement and there had been deer warning signs so I was keeping my eyes peeled and riding in the left center of my lane so I felt I would be able to swerve to either side if a deer needed to use the road too. We were just past Bodega Bay when the car in front of us traveling at 55mph waved us to pass him. It was a double yellow but the road was straight, long and clear. Jay passed first and then it was my turn. Now I do know that passing on a double yellow is illegal but I could see there were no cross streets and the big Bandit just makes passing so easy. I bumped it up to 70-75mph and breezed around the car. We stayed traveling at that speed to put a little distance between us and the car and probably got about an eighth of a mile in front of him.
Jay never even saw the deer. It hopped onto the road just as he passed and stopped in the middle of my lane. I still thought I could still miss it although I knew I would probably clip him. I started to swerve left and as I was doing so Bambi decided to take two steps forward and then I knew we were going to meet. At this point I was still feeling I could ride it out as it was a small deer.
BAM……Bambi and I briefly occupied the same space at the same time as I hit him square in the middle and rode through him. As I exited the deer I realized I was still going straight but the bike and I were banked WAY over to the right almost laying on the side of the bike. Then I WAS laying completely on the side as the bike went onto its case guards. It was time for me to get off the bike as I realized I was in the middle of a motorcycle wreck. I vividly remember sliding along the road and thinking
“ This isn’t so bad.”
This is the point of my story……..a zillion thanks to the Advrider face plant forum for ATGATT (all the gear all the time).
Me……It didn’t hurt…..then…..stupid me…..I tried to get up……..unfortunately ……I wasn’t done sliding yet. That stupid move put me into a tumble over and over and over. It didn’t seem like it would ever end but it finally did. Now I have 8 years of martial arts training (danzan ryu jujitsu) and I am used to rolling so I like to think that helped me but realistically things happen so fast that there was no control on my end at all. What saved me was the gear. No ifs, ands, or buts. The gear made this whole accident no big deal. After I stopped rolling I felt perfectly fine and just got up. I didn’t feel the need to lay in the road. As I was walking towards my bike I did another assessment of myself and realized again that I was completely OK . I had just stepped off a motorcycle at 70-75mph and survived unscathed. Actually I did have a dime size piece of road rash on the back of my wrist where my Joe Rocket armored glove burned through but that was it. Unbelievable. I slid and tumbled over 200 ft.
The Gear…….The road was a very coarse open pavement and it shredded my gear. My 4 year old, red faded to pink, Technic armored jacket was all ripped up in the elbows and forearms and my Fieldsheer overpants took their beating on the knee armor and down the outside of my legs. I scuffed up my brand new metal toe guards on my Sidi Discovery boots but no other damage to them. Thank you gear!! Better you than me. My helmet didn’t even have a scratch on it.
The Bandit…….I was not looking forward to seeing it at all. Jay had come back by this time and the car that we had passed had stopped with flashers on and the three of us are standing there staring at the bike laying on the side of the road. I was glad it had stopped running. The up side of the Bandit did not look to bad and I realized it didn’t tumble. The three of us lifted the bike up and after a minute of checking it out I remarked that the Bandit looked pretty good considering it had just slid over 300 ft down a very course road on its side. It even crossed a bridge. The bike slid on its Suzuki case guards (ground them down to maybe half an inch thick). I was really glad that I had installed them as the motor was unscathed. The back half of the bike wasn’t to bad either since I had on Cortech saddlebags and tailbag. The right side saddlebag wore off the two outside pockets but the main compartment was still intact and I didn’t lose anything. I even had a laptop computer in the tailbag which is fine as I am typing on it now. The Cortech bags didn’t shift at all and were in exactly the same place as I mounted them. The Cortech tank bag left the bike and skidded along its top but everything inside including my expensive digital camera was fine although the tank bag itself was toast. The stock muffler has a little rash on it but is still useable. The front of the bike did grind down the right side fairing and broke the turn signal and front brake lever but that was ALL the damage I could see. Bambi left a lot of its gook on my bike so the Bandit was looking a bit roughed up but still rideable. Bambi also left quite a bit of deer hair in the bead of my front tire.
So…. Lucky me……I took some pictures of the whole scene and bike, paid my respects to the deer I just killed while Jay pulled it off the road, cut the shredded pockets off the saddlebags and then we were off. We lost about 45 minutes and we did have to ride slow as I had no front brakes but I was so happy to be alive that I was counting my blessings with each passing mile.
We were able to continue on for a great weekend at Laguna Seca and I have already ridden it over a thousand miles since. The Bandit is all cleaned and repaired and is looking pretty good for its 21,000 miles. The only thing left is we are waiting for our new Yoshimura exhaust to arrive. That will be my lemonade from my lemons. The deer hair is still in my front tire as I now prepare the bike for a 9-10,000 mile coast to coast to coast trip to leave this month. The funny thing is that I wanted all new gear for my trip but I had decided against it for financial reasons. Now I have all new gear…..ask and you will receive. Just not the way I thought I would.
Lesson…….While traveling on my trip I am going to only travel from about 9AM-4PM. I think the odds will be better. When I see deer warning signs I am going to just slow down.
So………thank you, thank you, thank you advrider for the ATGATT mantra. You guys drilled it into my head and I am so glad I listened. I hope my story helps at least one other person do the same.
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