Thursday, 16 May 2013

A reminder of how quickly things can go horribly wrong...

When I arrived for training today it had been sunny all morning. As I relaxed with a coffee cutting the chase with a couple of the instructors and a couple of my fellow learners I noticed a few grey clouds gathering. It was a bit of a toss-up as to whether or not I'd pull on the waterproof over trousers. In the event I'm glad I did as the last half an hour or so of the afternoon's ride was in the rain. I'll come back to that.

Two of us went out with one instructor. For my fellow learner it was his first road ride, his previous session had been practicing for Mod1. As we were preparing to set off I pointed out to the instructor that my bike's fuel guage was showing almost empty. So, first stop was the garage for some juice.

Coming off the forecourt we were turning right onto the road. I was last off and after checking the traffic I was about to move off when I saw my fellow learner lying in the road with his right leg trapped under the bike. It happened so quickly that I didn't even see it happen.

Fortunately he was OK but the right boot of his brand new and expensive pair of motorcycle boots had taken a battering (thereby saving him from a broken toe at the very least). His bike was quickly checked over and then it was a steady ride of a couple of miles to the workshop where the bikes are serviced and repaired.

While bent brake pedal and loose mirror were fixed I chatted to my unfortunate riding companion, whose main injury, thankfully, was his pride. Even he didn't really know what had happened. He said that he felt the back wheel slide and then he was off.

Repairs done and we were off. Thankfully the next two hours or so were without any trauma. As my test is forthcoming I took the lead for most of the way. I'm pleased to say I rode well and even more pleasingly the instructor concurred.

Back to the rain; We had stopped for a quick break and a chat just next to the test centre, which is logical as we were riding test routes, and the rain started. Apart from discovering that my cordura jacket is not 100% waterproof (but my £7.90 over trousers are), I also discovered how different riding on newly wetted roads can be. Felt the back tyre slip once or twice.

On the final stages of the ride as we came back in to Strensall, where Ride-4-Life is based, we approached a rather nasty junction, something of a staggered crossroads. As I live nearby I know the junction well and approach with caution on four wheels. Fortunately that knowledge and a little bit of presience made me ease off a little. That was a good thing as a van pulled out from my right when I was much too close.

Into the village and a woman in a car played a similar trick from my left. They were those sort of incidents where half a second could have made a great deal of difference.

A lesson learned today: If you're not absolutely on top of your game things can very quickly go horribly wrong. 

1 comment:

  1. That last sentence is absolutely correct. In the years I have been motorcycling, I have learned that you simply must concentrate all of the time. Not 99% of the time, but 100%. When something goes wrong, it happens very fast, so always be prepared.