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LESSONS FROM LIFE EXPERIENCES

by BaddBob

[Article originally posted to the Women Riders International forum.]

To all my friends, I guess we never get too old to learn new lessons or to get a dose of humility. Bev and I are both OK, no injuries other than some bruises and bumps. This past Saturday we rode about 10 miles to the local donut bank, a regular Saturday meeting place, for a lot of our friends that ride, for coffee and donuts. Our son Bryan had ridden his bike up from Tennessee on Friday to spend the weekend and hopefully get some riding in with us. On the way home from the donut bank, and only about 3 miles from home the following situation unfolded.

Bev is leading, left side of the lane, (a two lane country highway) then me on the right and Bryan on the left behind me. Me, the guy who is always preaching, "you have to be alert, drive defensively, anticipate the unexpected, etc, etc, etc," allowed myself to have a mental lapse. I was looking in my rear view mirror, wondering why Bryan was not keeping up and wondering if he had some kind of trouble as he had dropped back further than the normal spacing we ride. When I looked up at road ahead of me, I first noticed that Bev was kind of drifting to the right into my area of the roadway. My first thought was that perhaps she was having some kind of mechanical problem and was pulling over to the shoulder of the road. I then realized she was going pretty slow, I was going about 50 MPH at the time. I got on the brakes pretty hard, trying to slow enough to get on her left and pass her, realized I was not going to be able to slow down enough to get around her on the left (I was almost on her).

I very clearly remember thinking, well I'm on my back, shoulder and hip. I'm sliding OK, doesn't look like I'm going to tumble or roll, then clearly thinking, oh - this is good, the bike is sliding away from me, always glad when that happens. The next thought is oh-oh, I was going much faster than she was, I don't know if she is down or not, sure hope she doesn't run over me while I'm sliding down the blacktop. Then I remember thinking, um-m-m, legs feel ok, arms feel ok, think my head must be up because I don't feel it bouncing on the highway. (Not a scratch on the helmet by the way, must have been holding my head up.) I may be able to come out of this somewhat OK unless I slide into something or Bev or another car comes along and runs over me.

Next thing I remember I am standing up, see both bikes in about a 3 foot ditch with mud and water in it, looking for Bev, she comes running around me, grabs me by the front of my leather jacket, her eyes as big as coffee saucers, she starts shaking me by the jacket saying "I'm so sorry, are you ok?" I told her I'd be a lot better if she would stop shaking me. (humor?) Long story short, we got the bikes up, with help from people who stopped along the way to help. I rode mine out of the ditch, Bryan rode Bev's up to the road. Bev's was not damaged much, the crash bar was bent back a little and one of the leather bags had a hole rubbed thru it. My, new to me, 2000 Venture didn't fare as well, all the Tupperware (plastic) fairing, lowers, bags crash bars, windshield were pretty much destroyed. We rode both bikes home, emptied them out and rode them to the dealer.

Have to tell you the comment Bryan made after telling the shop what happened. "My mom and dad do more by 9:00 AM than most people do all day". Poor Bryan was kind of traumatized by this whole situation, he said it is not a good feeling to watch your parents run into each other and go sliding down the highway, not knowing if they were going to be severely injured or not. This is the first time I have been down, on the highway in over 30 years, didn't get hurt the first time either.

The reason Bev was coming over to the right was she was planning on taking a different route home in order to show Bryan a beautiful new house that was being built, and was going to make a right hand turn, Bryan said she had her signal on, but in all the excitement in trying to stay off her I just didn't see it.

I want everyone to know that I am right in preaching, you have to drive defensively, you have to expect the unexpected, you cannot assume that the leader is going to do what you think they will do. etc etc. So having said that I'm going to continue to preach that to everyone that will listen and hopefully I'll pay a little close attention to my own advice. Absolutely my fault, rider error, I did not have my bike under control. I think I have finally convinced Bev that it was not her fault, I think she did learn the reason I am always telling her she needs to look in her rear view mirror more often.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, We are OK ,if a little humility is good for you than I have learned a lesson and am better off for it.

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Left to right: Bev & Bryan, Bev on her bike, BaddBob & Bev

From Bob:
"I'll be 61 years old this year, been riding since 1968 or 69. I had my first street accident in 1970 or 71, just went down on a slick curve, not much damage to me or the bike. Did a lot of riding in the dirt in the 70's, then back to mostly street riding. Lot's and Lot's of street miles, cross country etc... Married 35 years this year to Bev who started riding 3 years ago and loves it. (She did suggest that perhaps I should ride in front in the future though.) Have considered myself a "good" rider until this incident.

I am usually very safety conscious, the lesson here as I see it is you can't afford to relax, you have to be "ON" all the time." Bob spends more time riding than posting, but you can visit his favorite forum, Women Riders International (WRI).


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