Why Bikes Shouldn’t Land In Saplings

Posted on June 10, 2010


Jesse On "The Tail Of The Dragon", Highway 129 in East Tennessee

This looks like fun and it is, but fun on a bike doesn’t always come without expense. it’s not just the road rash suffered by your body if you over-cook it into a tight corner, but also the modifications you make to the bike to get it to perform at a higher level in various conditions.

Plus there is always the unexpected lurking around every corner. More than half of motorcycle accidents are “rider error”, usually caused by going too fast for conditions or momentary distraction at any speed. See this corner below.

Tight turn on Wayah Bald Rd., Western North Carolina

You can see two tiny figures over on the far right looking down a nearly vertical bank. Guess what they’re looking at.

That tiny red dot in the saplings is the tail light of a KLR 650, 40 feet away.

I took two friends for a ride through the north Georgia/western North Carolina mountains a few weeks ago to show them the roads in the area. It was a slow, low pressure ride over tight cornered byways seldom seen by tourists, but beloved by the two-wheeled set. One corner was too tight for my friend, and one nano-second’s inattention had him on the small gravel shoulder where he bailed off the bike just as it sailed into the trees. He stayed on the side of the road, thankfully, and was not injured. But how were we going to get the bike back?

That's Rudi tying borrowed straps onto the rear of the Kawasaki.

The bald headed guy is Rudi G himself tying straps onto the back of the KLR. Riders come from all over the world to sample these challenging roads. A group of three Canadian riders stopped to help and one of them provided the straps. These pictures were taken by them. Thanks guys for your help on the road.

You can read their excellent ride report on their blog on ADVRider at : http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=583573

One, Two, Three, PULL! Over & Over Again

It took us a while, but more and more riders kept stopping until we had enough muscle to bring the bike back up. Rudi stopped every so often to pick up broken parts of the bike and stuff them into his pockets. ‘Cause you never know …

Rudi Pushes The KLR To His Roadside Garage For Repairs

Hard to believe if you are not a dirt rider, but repairing the bike was not a serious problem. Rudi twisted bent parts back into shape, used zip ties to repair broken turn signals and tail lights, and duct tape to fix a broken fairing and windshield. The bike fired up after the flooded carb cured itself and Rudi rode down the road to check to see if it would turn and stop like it should. It did and the ride resumed.

We stopped at a Kawasaki dealer near Waynesville, NC, to talk them into selling us a mirror off one of their showroom bikes and my friends enjoyed two more days of sweet riding on the Blue Ridge Parkway before returning to Atlanta with some tall tales to tell.

It will cost several hundred dollars to repair the fairing and windshield, replace the second mirror and the broken turn signals, but the rider escaped without injury, All in all a good lesson learned. Focus, focus, focus.

Motorcycle riding on pavement is about 90% mental. Stop often to enjoy the surroundings, don’t drink alcohol and ride, be hyper aware of your surroundings, and ride with a twelve second “bubble” around you, giving you time to plan and act accordingly as conditions constantly change. Sounds exhausting and it can be, so take those frequent breaks for pictures, walks, naps, chow, whatever.

Ride safe, gang, and Rudi may take you along next time.

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Thank you.

Rudi G  & Jesse