This Easter here in the Mid-Atlantic, many riders were faced with a difficult decision. You see, unfortunately, sometimes we have to travel with our loved ones who may not be in the mood to ride at that particular time, or have too much stuff to bring on a motorcycle. Which is the precise situation I found myself in. So as a good boyfriend, I decided we’d take the car to brunch with my parents, and head home a bit early so I could enjoy a day of riding. Only, my day didn’t turn out as enjoyable as I hoped…
My riding group starts most of our rides heading up Falls Road north of Baltimore, and then branching off to whichever road seems enjoyable and appropriate for our group. Since I was flying solo after missing the morning group ride, I had decided to explore the area, and find some new roads to traverse in the coming weeks.
I headed north and used my normal strategy of riding a road until I got bored, then turning onto whichever next one looks appealing. Its a freedom that only motorcyclists truly understand: the ability to get lost in a moment’s notice, and be perfectly happy having no idea where you are heading. This is what most bikers would consider Nirvana. 60 degrees, not a cloud in sight, and seemingly endless supply of curvy roads to chew up underfoot.
I was somewhere North of the Mason-Dixon line, on Brodbeck Rd. and heading further North. I came to a 4-way stop at the intersection of a few old farms. The cross-road name caught my eye “Grave Run Rd”. Now, while, you are probably thinking I should have taken this as some kind of omen, you also know that to a 25 year old on a sport-bike, it was almost too much to resist. I stopped and snapped a quick picture to show the riding buddies.
As I put my phone away, an F250 diesel quad cab drove past with a little girl in the back seat, she began waving at me. Riding a sport bike, kids wave all the time, but this one just seemed…creepy. But I buckled up, snapped in, zipped up, an threw my leg over my steed. I took off down the road and was in bliss. Not pushing to hard because there seemed to be a lot of driveways and I wasn’t familiar with the area. I came up to a wooded area, and a right-hand turn with about a 2-foot tall berm on the shoulder. This berm, it turns out, was just tall enough to hide a large pile of gravel that had been washed into the middle of the road by the recent rains. The gravel was all it took. My front wheel washed out from under me and I low-sided the bike on the throttle side.
Being more concerned with my baby than my body, evidently I made the decision to sacrifice myself. My forehead and right shoulder took the brunt of the impact, while my leg stayed under the bike in hopes of protecting my paint. When I got up, I was speechless, furious, upset, and as you’d expect, a bit spacey, I mean I had just absorbed the impact of a 35 mph fall with my head. Seeing my baby on her side, I shed a tear, then went about assessing damages. didn’t waste any time worrying about myself, so I ran directly over to my bike. I stood her up and was upset that my oil-pump cover and lower fairing were rashed. But much to my pleasure, the frame-slider did it’s job, and managed to keep the tail, upper, and handlebars all from contacting the pavement. As I analyzed myself, I could feel some stinging in my knees, a bit of a breeze on my left wrist, and a nice sting from my right hip. Aside from that, my visor was hanging off of my helmet, and I could feel a headache coming. As 2 cars drove past, I picked the bike up, fired the motor, grabbed the diffuser that fell off my helmet, and rode the bike home to lick my wounds and asses the damage further.
To skip ahead a bit, I ended up in the hospital that night. They wouldn’t let me walk, took chest x-rays, and a CT scan as apparently ANY motorcycle crash is automatically escalated to a trauma. despite me walking in under my own power. I chatted with the docs/ nurses and about an hour later, was discharged with a mild concussion and some minor scrapes/ bruises. I truly believe my gear saved me in this wreck. My AGV K3 Gothic took the majority of the head impact, while my Alpinestars Stage jacket saved my shoulder from becoming minced-meat. Likewise, my Decade medium-length gloves saved my hands/ knuckles, but a full-gauntlet style would have kept the scrapes off of my wrist. The Joe Rocket Meteor boots kept my feet from being crushed and my ankles scraped, but my biggest change would definitely have been a pair of zip-in riding pants. My bruise on my right hip and both knees were to me wearing normal jeans like an idiot. The hip was a result of the jacket riding-up on me during the slide and exposing the skin, which would not have been possible, had my jacket been zipped in to a pair of riding pants.
Overall, I got very lucky on this one. Everyone says “There are two types of riders, those who have been down, and those who re going down”. I’m here to tell you, that may not be fully true. Even the most experienced riders kiss the pavement every now and then. Even Rossi and Marquez have felt the resistance of asphalt more than one in their lives. Sometimes, we just get into situations beyond our control, and in those times, our best bet is to prepare how we can: by gearing up. My leather and plastic armor allowed not only me, but also y bike to get back up, dust ourselves off, and make it back home. Which anyone with a bike will tell you after a wreck, is a victory within itself.
So gear up, get out there, and expect the unexpected. I’m bruised, but not broken, and the parts are already on their way to get back on the road. Enjoy the weather for m, and I’ll see you back on 2 wheels soon.