Sunday, June 19, 2011

Lucky Smokel*

Whenever I make a Bad Gun Mistake, which is thankfully not very often, I always make sure I tell my gunny friends about it, and my good friends who are not gunnies too. I believe the retelling serves as both a nice plate of crow for myself and a lesson for others, and also helps make it real. A mistake kept to oneself can, through the mists of time, become something else entirely - with enough time, not a mistake at all.

We are, each of us, fabulously successful at rewriting our own histories for ourselves.

Today it wasn't a Bad Gun Mistake, it was a Bad Motorcycle Mistake. And Jay or any other rider reading, please feel free to berate me, because a broken neck is just as deadifying as a .XX caliber hole in one's insides.

The Leadup:

Had a GREAT day on the bike. I mean great. Energized as all get-out at the end of it, I took a side route to a buddy's house (rider and gunnie too) to tell him about it. Happened upon an intersection that I've passed through many times, but NEVER with a green. Heretofore I'd always had to stop and accelerate from zero MPH through it and into the


that immediately follows.

Today, pumped-up and jumped-up and spoiling for fun, I noted the green, checked oncoming traffic across Route 10, noted none, pictured the turn in my head and judged my speed, and thought "no problem".

The Event:

I crossed 10, leaned into the left-hand portion of the turn, saw the right-hand coming quick, realized I was going too fast, eased a bit on the throttle and started to straighten, checked traffic - all clear, saw that I was going to cross the center line


right after the median point, tapped the brakes fore & aft to help me cut the turn, and started to lose the rear wheel.

Horrible feeling, that.

I immediately goosed the throttle, which straightened me out, but now I'm going, at speed, in the far opposite lane. A quick check of traffic ahead shows some sort of SUV/minivan ahead. I'd say it was headed for me, but we all know I was headed towards it. In motorcycle jargon, we call this "trying to get yourself killed."

The Result:

Looked like plenty of space ahead, and a quick over-the-shoulder confirmed nothing else around, so I cut back over onto my own GORRAMMED SIDE OF THE ROAD, waved feebly at the SUV/minivan who passed me a LOT closer than I'd figured for, unpuckered, and continued at a fair and measured pace to my destination.

The Lesson:

Well, I'd never hit that intersection greened before, but that should have been all the more reason to not go too gorrammed fast.

Sure, there was probably sand from the median point right where I tapped brakes, but if I wasn't going too gorramed fast, I'd've never been near that sand in the first place, now would I?

Sand or not, what the hell was I doing hitting a tight dogleg at 20+ MPH? Going too gorrammed fast, that's what I was doing.

Hey, I made it, right? Well Hell's Bells, the only reason I get to ask that question is because I was going too gorrammed fast.

I didn't panic, right? Well, extra sparkly kudos for me, because I wouldn't have had a chance to panic if I'd not been going too gorrammed fast.

But at least I remembered "THROTTLE THROTTLE THROTTLE" when I needed too, right?




So, anonymous SUV/minivan driver, thank you for being alert and I'm sorry for probably scaring the bejesus out of you; and fellow riders, let the admonishment begin.

* When I was a wee lad, I couldn't pronounce "motorcyle" so I called them smokels. Still do.


Jay G said...

No beratement here; sounds like you got enough of a scare to do that for me.

You got lucky, no question about it; however good riding skills helped bring about that good luck.

It's the same way I managed to avoid T-boning the uber luxoSUV that made a left turn across my lane of traffic one night.

I saw the directional; I saw the soccer mom happily yapping on her cell phone; I dropped a gear to bleed off speed and moved to the very center of the road.

When she cut across my path I swerved around her, hitting the horn and letting loose with a string of obscenties that I hope her precious snowflakes in the back seats heard...

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