by Victor Wanchena
Aren’t stories great? With the colder weather, it’s not uncommon to find riders congregated in a garage or coffee shop telling tales. Inevitably, the topic of the stories turns to crashes. Everyone has been there or at least knows someone who has. “So there I was… there was nothing I could do, I had to lay ‘er down…” The stories abound, each person trying to outdo the last. The range goes from the simple to the sublime.
Not being shy about my misfortunes (see MMM #70 3-2-1 Crash), I thought I would share another time I didn’t keep the shiny side up. It was a cold and stormy evening north of the metro area. I was heading home, tired from work. As I approached a freeway on-ramp, my attention was grabbed by the flashing lights of a squad car that had apprehended some heinous felon at the top of the off-ramp. My gaze was fixated on the bright flashing lights like deer caught in the headlights. Somewhere in the back of my head, I realized I needed to turn shortly and resumed paying attention to the road. Or so I thought. I leaned left and made a fast left hand corner, immediately rolling on the gas.
I hadn’t even finished the corner, when the realization hit me that I was not traveling in my intended direction. My brain reverted to a caveman like, “This bad.” My tires gave up their battle with gravity and I promptly found myself siding along the ground. The bike did a great impersonation of a party machine with shooting sparks and spinning lights. I slid to a stop and cringed as I felt a pair of headlights bearing down on me. I hopped up, only find to that the officer on the off-ramp had finished with heinous felon number one, and was about to investigate number two.
As he approached I, was beginning to lift my up-ended bike to vertical. He asked politely, “Are you all right?” I was still a little shaken, but was uninjured. Instead of answering him with some reassuring words about being well protected in my full protective gear, I blurted out, “Ah… yeah, I do this all the time.” Well, as might be expected he stood and watched me closely, the question clearly on his face, “So you ride around hurling yourself to the pavement in front cops for work, or for pleasure?”
The postmortem of my run at concrete surfing was, I had not seen a strip of antifreeze strategically placed by an ailing car, easily avoidable if I would have paid attention. Since most riders have a story like this and I really like to hear them, MMM is proud to announce the “I Had To Lay Her Down” Contest. Send us your best or worse tale of two-wheeled woe. The best story selected by our panel of highly subjective judges will win a highly coveted prize. The rest will receive our warmest personal regards. We will compile your stories of mayhem, and might even publish our favorites. Those wishing to forego the earthly treasures of this contest may remain anonymous. Remember the judges can be bought. Bribes are accepted and encouraged (I prefer 100 proof bribes). Email your story to firstname.lastname@example.org.