07 May 2016

Life Ain't Safe.

Yesterday, weather was gorgeous. We woke and, after checking the weather, had smiles on our faces because we had planned a "Christian Bike Ride"...
Four bikes would depart from our Church at 0930 with the planned destination of Patti's 1880 Settlement at Grand Rivers, KY, in the beautiful Land Between the Lakes area.
At the appointed hour the contingent was "all present and accounted for"...
Sara Jean and me on our '03 GoldWing, the other three bikes were H-D "Ultra Classics" with husband and wife teams on each. We chatted a bit in the Church parking lot, then, after a prayer for safe riding, at about 0950 we set off.

We made it all of about 8 miles before coming to a stop...
Third in an "echelon right" formation, we watched as Harley #1 first put on his flashing warning lights, then slowed to a stop at a safe spot alongside the road.
"My cruise control is stuck ON" said the Harley pilot.
He pulled his front brake lever full on, (which normally would automatically disable the cruise control), released it, then started the bike. The engine would have screamed to full throttle had he not immediately turned the ignition key to "off".
He pressed on the rear brake lever then started the engine again... same result.
He scratched his head, then pulled the side cover on the left side of the bike that granted access to the fuse panel and searched for a placard indicating which of the fuses might disable the errant accessory... to no avail.
One of the other Ultra riders walked over and closed his throttle...
"Try it now *****", he said.
Success! Turns out most bikes today with throttles controlled by cable actually have TWO cables...
One to open the throttle, and another, for safety purposes, to close the throttle should it stick open.
Problem resolved, we set off again for our destination.

We rode the Interstate, mostly.
Yeah, I know... boring as watching paint dry.
But still, this was beautiful country, beautiful weather, and Sara Jean and I were surrounded by the staccato sound of three H-D's with moderately loud exhaust pipes.

We ate a great meal and had great fellowship, catching up on one another's lives, then, surprised to see we'd been chatting for two hours, realized we had to start home to let Lucy out to do her business.
We mounted up, rode to the first gas station we could find, topped off our bikes, and set off.
We had agreed our trip home would be off the concrete slab as much as possible, and jumped off the Interstate onto a nice two-lane highway at our earliest chance.
This is more to my liking...
Up and down rolling hills, sweeping left and right turns following the paths laid down by our forebears years ago. Breathtaking.

But riding the two-lanes DOES mean extra risk-
Stopped behind a car with its left turn signal on waiting for oncoming traffic, we watched terrified as the oncoming car crossed into our lane in front of the car in front of us, departed the road to our right, then, still going about 30 mph, crossed between the stopped car and the first two bikes in our formation, only to run up into an available driveway there and crash to a stop after colliding with a car in that drive.
The event stunned my wife to the point she wanted to flee the scene...
"Go, Go, Go!" she urgently shouted.
And we all dropped our bikes into gear and did just that.

What could cause an incident like this?
Driving under the influence?
Brake, or other mechanical failure?
Inattention to the task?
Since we didn't stop to investigate, there's just no way to know.

But it once again points out the obvious...
If the gal driving that out-of-control car had not expertly divided the gap between the car we were stopped for and our formation of bikes, several people COULD have been seriously hurt, not to mention the damage to a bunch of fine machines.
The pilot and wife on one of the lead machines were helmetless.

Life is a risk.
We choose to ride because we enjoy riding immensely, and realize the risk we take doing it.
No matter how safe you are, personally, there's always the chance someone else is gonna come along and mess up your day.
Be prepared for that. Try to protect yourself from the mistakes of others as much as possible.

Yesterday was beautiful.
And now we have a couple more "ADVENTURE!" stories to share with friends.


Unknown said...

Stay safe out there!

Old NFO said...

The man upstairs gave you a break. :-)