Sunday, September 5, 2010

It Happens

As veterans say, it’s not a question of whether it will happen or not, it’s a question of when it will happen.

I have the answer now - September 4, 2010 at 6:14 PM.  Blue River Road, 2,000 feet west of Fine Lane, Pekin, Indiana.    


As it can be seen on this aerial photo, it was a nice right-hander.    I suspect that because of a relatively high speed, I needed to achieve a lean angle greater than my bike was capable of.  Or perhaps a release compound on the sidewall of my brand new front tire contributed to the crash.  Or a little bit of gravel on the road.  In any case I low-sided.   It’s hard to say at which point I separated from the bike, and how long the slide was.  I stopped on the grass by the edge of the road.  My bike ended up in the middle of the field sliding under an electric fence. 

This is how my GPS recorded trajectory of the bike during the crash. 


Damage to my gear
First, this is what I was wearing during the crash:
  • Nolan 102 modular helmet
  • Olympia Airglide jacket (back, shoulder, and elbow armor) 
  • Cortech Mod Jeans ( leather reinforced knees and rear)
  • H-D Miner boots
  • Olympia Monsoon gloves


Jacket, pants, and boots will need to be replaced.  There’s no visible damage to the helmet, but common sense is telling me to replace it anyway.

Overall, my gear fulfilled its purpose and saved my skin.  However, as a result of several compromises, I was still hurt.  Compromise #1: pants without hip and thigh armor.  I have a huge bruise on the left hip and outer thigh.  Compromise #2: no knee armor.   Reinforced knees in my jeans held, but the right knee is now twice as big as the left one, and there’s a couple of quarter-size rug burns on it.  Also, my right calf is huge.  I hope the fibula is not broken.
I also slid by a large poll, a collision with which would have changed my story.

The response of Pekin’s fire department was amazing.  They showed up almost immediately (or it took me some time to regain clear thinking?) with a helicopter on stand-by.   Fortunately, their help was not needed.  As I learned later, motorcycle accidents were common in this area, especially deer collisions.  I think my gear impressed them.  They usually deal with riders wearing t-shirts and doo rags.

I was mostly satisfied with the performance of my gear.  But I don’t think that those little conveniences I achieved by removing some “optional” armor were worth the price.

The bike sustained pretty significant damage, especially to the right side – all panels, mirror, break lever, etc.   However, it didn’t  look like there was a lot of structural damage.  Mostly tupperware.  I hope it’s all fixable, and I will be back on the road in a couple of weeks.


Three weeks later…
My insurance company decided to total the bike and send me a check instead. 
Le Roi est mort, vive le Roi!
Here’s my new ride - 2006 Suzuki Burgman 650.    See you on the road.



Anonymous said...

My first thought seeing Alex seemingly resting in the grass on the side of the road, why here. A fraction of a second later and seeing his scooter about 30 feet away on its side, I realized this was no planed stop.
We both gave an extra thank you this night and grateful how things worked out.

GraysonH said...

Sorry it happened. Glad you are OK.

Anonymous said...

Yikes! You seem to have taken it in stride well. Seems scary to me...


Anonymous said...

Heck of a way to "test" your riding gear... So very glad you were not seriously hurt!


Anonymous said...


So happy to hear you are OK!
The bike and your gear, all replaceable.
Praise the Lord!!!


Anonymous said...

Lovin the new bike...all shiny and new!
Thinking about you, and hoping your'e feeling better.


Anonymous said...

Hey Alex,

I am glad your are fine and out riding again. I had not checked your blog until today. Wow the helicopter and all those pics sound really scary. I am glad that you are cautious and used your gear. Happy Riding and Take care.


Renee Chlopek said...


After reading your story, which was appropriately titled :) I am still wondering WHY would you would want to get on the road again. I get it, it's a "scooter" thing :)

I am glad that you are FULLY recovered and none of your injuries were permanent.

I am looking forward to reading about your future adventures.

Happy riding!