14 Nov 12
When someone buys a motorbike there is always one question that keeps floating around their head: when am I going to drop it? That question was answered for me last night when I pulled over to check the map (because I still hadn’t bought a GPS mount). I pulled off the I95 heading North from Jacksonville into Georgia, and in a hurry I pulled over into a lay-by with an uneven surface on the edge of a ditch. As soon as I pulled up on the edge of the ditch and put the side stand down I knew I was making a mistake, but for some reason (male stubbiness) I carried on saying to myself “it’ll be OK” (good job there wasn’t a woman there to witness my stubborn stupidity).
With the ditch to my right, the minute the side stand went down I knew it was too high and the centre of gravity would topple the bike over, and sure enough, it was. Any (and probably every) biker out there knows that horrible feeling as the centre of gravity tips past the point of no return and your pride and joy starts to fall away from you…. The next split second then assumed slow motion as I sat helplessly while my machine fell into the ditch. On the way down I thought about each and every item of damage that would occur at least 10 times each. As it turned out, she fell rather gently onto her right pannier and engine guard, with no damage (well, except for my pride of course). The biggest lesson one can learn from this is that it’s bloomin’ heavy to pick up again! This alone convinced me not to do it again, pretending I had a choice in the matter.
Anyway, like most accidents or bad things that happen, something good can materialise, and this something was in the form of 87 year old Carlos who was a Road King rider from Puerto Rico. On this cold, dark night, Carlos pulled over his car (and his family) and helped me pick that great hulk of a British Bike up, which was great because it meant I didn’t have to take all the luggage off to do it myself. At 87 yrs old, he certainly was an inspiration, and insisted on remaining there until he saw me drive off safely. Thanks Carlos!
Pleased to have escaped any major embarrassment & bike damage, I suddenly realized I still hadn’t looked at the map, and so I pulled over again a couple of miles down the road; this time on a flat, hard layby. Over the next 10 minutes, as I inspected the bike for damage again, and found out I was nowhere near where I should be, 2 more friendly Americans pulled up next to me to find out if I needed any help (or if I was about to rob their house). And this is how a minor disaster restored my faith in human kind. For a while anyway.