The weather was shite on Thursday, absolutely bucketing it down. I had to work on site at a client near Cambridge. On the way home, rather than brave the M11 in the torrential rain, deal with the spray and sudden bunching up; I decided to take a cross country route via Saffron Walden, Thaxted, Dunmow, Ongar, Abridge and Hainault. It poured down the whole way, but the roads were reasonably quiet. By the time I got to Abridge 1.5 hours later, I was getting a bit cold, my one boot was leaking (sole recently worn through) and I was probably getting more tired than I realised.
I took a narrow right hander up a hill (on Gravel Lane), not too progressive, but the back end slipped a bit. Then it started jumped side to side – possibly from chopping throttle or uneven road surface. I then must have tensed up, as the wobble all transferred to the front and grew into a tank slapper. At which point I just couldn’t save it and down I went before sliding off the tarmac into the muddy verge.
Looking back, the corner had a long line of patched tarmac from previous roadworks, running the length of the bend. It’s possible this was slightly uneven at the edge, or the join was particularly smooth and slippery. This could well have unsettled the back tyre, kick starting a chain effect. I believe there is an upper maximum to the width of this smooth tarmac edging, beyond which there could be a claim…
Armour and gear did their job, with Rukka stuff still in one piece!
Thankfully, I walked away fairly unscathed. Woke up this morning with an achy arm, wrist and hip, but fine otherwise. Armour and gear did their job, with Rukka stuff still in one piece, just the jacket-trouser waist joining zip has come unstitched a bit and a couple of loose threads in places. Hi-viz top has some holes in it and my Alpinestars gloves have the knuckle armour thoroughly bashed in.
Bike is a bit worse for wear: Smashed fairing and light cluster, mirror snapped off, a radiator hose is leaking, exhaust scuffed, scratches/dents to tank, forks feel out of alignment and I suspect the handles bars are slightly bent. Crash bars protected the engine though. Even so, some friendly folk helped me lift he bike out of the mud and pick up the pieces so I could nurse it home. So, now I’m debated best plan to move forward; repair it, rat it, street-fighter it or replace it.
- Take a break, don’t underestimate fatigue especially when cold and wet.
- My rear tyre is getting low on tread, still legal, but possibly contributed. It’s a false economy to delay replacing a tyre.
- Pay attention to road surface and avoid joins in the tarmac, especially in the wet.
- Keep them arms and grip on bars loose. I’m pretty sure I transferred the rear end wobble to the front by tensing up my arms.
- Less speed may have helped keep traction on the back or allowed me to settle the wobble and rescue it. However I don’t believe I broke the ‘able to stop in the distance you can see to be clear’ rule.
- Decent protective gear works!
The most gutting thing however, is I didn’t catch it on film as my camera was flat by this point!
Seasoned London commuter, doing my best to stay rubber side down and never stop moving forward.