Wednesday 19 December 2007

Slip sliding away

Travelling by motorbike is a risky pursuit at the best of times. When travelling upright the combined area of contact between the road and your tyres, the source of all grip, is roughly the size of the palm of one hand.

Although a little reckless when younger, I would like to think that I have developed into a mature sensible biker who doesn't put himself directly in harms way. For the most part this is more down to bike-preservation instincts rather than ones of a self-preservation variety.

This does not mean that my heart doesn't leap out of my chest at least twice a day. Sometimes its because a driver decides to changes lanes without checking their blind spot. Sometimes its because the guy pulling out of the side street simply doesn't see the man in a dayglo vest on top of a quarter ton lump of moving metal with a great big headlight. Sometimes its because I goof and misjudge the situation. Then sometimes, like this morning, its nobody's fault...

Thanks to the current M50 works at the N7 junction, just beyond the red cow roundabout there is a short stretch of road that dips and turns sharply. It is immense fun to negotiate on a motorbike when traffic is light - you flick the handlebars causing the bike to flip over sharply onto its right hand side as you turn, drop and accelerate out of the bend. It strikes me as being not unlike the Corkscrew corner at the Laguna Seca circuit.

This morning, traffic being quite heavy, I approached it in a sensible manner - so sensible it may have warranted wearing slippers. I was in the middle of 3 lanes travelling at about 50kmh and, when it came to flipping the bike down into the right hand bend nothing happened. Sure the bike was leaning over slightly but I was still going straight - I couldn't brake and I certainly wasn't in a position to accelerate.

Thankfully easing off the throttle slightly allowed the wheels to grip and pull the bike back onto my intended course... but not before convincing me that I would soon be more acquainted than I would normally like with the side of the Ford Focus in the lane beside me.

Still a little bit shaken but thankfully the bike (and me I suppose) are in one piece.

Good morning!


Stonedog said...

Glad you're ok !.

Brings back scary memories of Volvo drivers pulling out of side streets, not good for bikers or their passengers (me) !!.

Caro said...

Glad you managed to keep it under control!

I hate those "OH JESUS" moments, they leave you with a bad taste in your mouth for days.

The Bad Ambassador said...

Thanks. It has been a fun month commute wise.

In winter as the roads get a bit greasy it is not uncommon to feel the back of the bike wobble a bit - particularly when you accelerate suddenly.

The wind is always fun too - last week I'm sure I made 80 to 90 percent of my journeys at a 45 degree angle.

Wouldn't have it any other way though.

Caro said...

My Vespa had shit for front brakes and really sharp back ones so I was a master of the arse-end sliding out stop.

I had to drive to work yesterday and as it took me over an hour from when I arrived at the outskirts of Milan to do the few kilometres to get to vaguely near where I work and park (a near impossible feat), I missed my Vespa so much... Two wheels are so much better than four...

The Bad Ambassador said...

The arse-end sliding out stop eh? Maybe we should swap some white-knuckle, hair-raising stories some day.

Medbh said...

Helmets are a must. People in cars feel invincible and don't give a shit about you.
Be safe.

John said...

This is true.. Gloves as well, make sure they are armoured, can be nasty otherwise!