Thursday, 4 October 2007

Pretending to be brave

Having recently acquired a multi-function printer, I thought I'd play around with scanning in some old photographs, and came across these, which are of me and my bike after I crashed it in November, 1997. I'd fitted electrically heated handlebar grips, to keep my fingers toasty on cold winter nights, and the next day was riding home from work. Sadly, the grip on the throttle dragged against the switch cluster next to it, but I thought that was OK, as I could easily open and close the throttle.

In quite heavy traffic, I was overtaking one car at a time, making good progress, but at one point changed my mind about passing, so let go the throttle. Which stayed wide open. As I closed rapidly on the car I'd been about to overtake, I panicked and grabbed a handful of brake, the front wheel locked up, and down I went at about 60 mph. I was incredibly lucky to bounce straight down the road, neither veering off into the hedge on the left, nor the oncoming traffic on the right.

But I learned the value of proper biking gear that day. I was wearing kevlar scuff resistant overtrousers, which were damaged but OK, a leather jacket which acquired a new hole in one shoulder, and Derriboots (lined, plastic waterproof boots, a bit like fancy wellington boots), which kept my feet nice and dry, but gave no support whatever to my ankle as I tumbled down the road. The ankle was not broken, but took a year to recover as much as it ever would. It was my only injury - the jacket and trousers, designed for the job, protected me brilliantly. First thing I did when I started riding the next spring was to buy a decent pair of motorcycling boots!

The bike flipped over when it bounced off the hedge and ended up back in the road. All the plastic bodywork had to be replaced (thank you, Norwich Union!) but amazingly, there was no structural damage at all, and I'm still riding the same bike.

Once the hospital had established that my ankle was only sprained, I took a taxi home. Jenny opened a bottle of champagne to celebrate my making it over the threshold under my own steam!


ArcticFox said...

Looks painful.... Maybe as painful as the injuries I have inflicted upon myself with a brand new set of lethal "clackers" - Were they invented by a long lost ancestor of yours I wonder?

I look like I have extra wristbones sticking out now!!


Rob Clack said...

Mea most definitely non culpa! If required, I can produce witnesses to prove I was miles away!

Why would you want to do that, anyway, other than to drive anyone near you completely bonkers?

ArcticFox said...

Purely a seventies nostalgic kickback..... They were banned when I was a kid and I never got to play with them....

Would you ask a gaucho why they use a bolas??

I am hunter, killer, destroyer of mice!!