I was a crazy guy back in the Navy.
They called me Mad Dog
I've ridden in every kind of weather and all year round, ice,
snow, rain, hail and you won't really believe it, I even rode in
clear weather too. One day my boss told me to take the day off of work
and drive to the mountains, "Slowly, and enjoy the view". He said
that if I don't slow down I'm going to kill myself. So I drove from
Lemoore NAS in California to Mineral King, in the Sequoias. I did
exactly like he said. It was absolutely beautiful because it was my
first time to Mineral King. The road was a dead end and there was a
large parking area with a beautiful vista. The temperature was
pretty cool so I kept my toes behind the cylinders to keep them
warm, I did that often. But when I got to the stopping point, I put
my foot on the ground and my pants leg got caught on the kick
starter and I couldn't quite reach the ground. I started yelling,
"Oh Shit, Oh Shit, Oh Shit" then hit the ground. There was a CHP
officer just two cars down from me and everyone in the parking lot,
including him, turned around when I screamed and looked and saw the
whole thing. I was really embarrassed.
On the way back home, the road was a fine sand over old asphalt.
I was looking at the beautiful views and driving slow, just as my
boss told me to. All of a sudden a motor home came around the corner
and I was surprised and jerked the bike out of the way and crashed.
It broke my windjammer windshield off and I got a pretty good case
of body rash. The motor-home stopped and everyone ran out to see if
I was ok. There was enough blood and my shirt and pants were both
torn. They wanted to take me to the hospital, but I said to forget
it because it would stop bleeding pretty quickly in the rushing
air. They kept insisting, but I convinced them that it was just
road rash and nothing serous. There are those who have and those
who will, when you are talking about motorcycle riding, and I'm one
of those who have.
So I drove back home to Hanford and got there just after dark. I
stopped at Taco Bell and bought my usual two burritos with lettuce
and a coke. I put them in the dashboard of the faring and when I
drove out of their parking lot, one of them started to slip. I was
going so slow I couldn't keep balance and fell over again, just a
half of a block from my house.
Back to the
motor home, if I was going fast, I would have been
paying total attention to the road and not the scenic views. If I
was going fast on the way up to Mineral King, I would have had my
feet on the foot pegs and not behind the engine. If I would have
screamed out of the Taco Bell parking lot, I would have lost my
burritos, not my balance.
I got back to work the next day all skinned up and with a broken
windshield. The boss started screaming at me for not following his
instructions and then I told him the story. I never slowed down
after that. Going slow lets the brain drift and that only works for
highways. In the mountains, if you aren't scraping the foot
you're not going fast enough to keep putting your full
concentration on what you are doing and it just gets dangerous.
I have a million bike stories, but I was always safer going
faster. That is, once I learned how to go fast. Learning is the
most dangerous part of bike riding. The bad thing is, when you
first feel like you are getting good at riding, that's when you are
in the most serious trouble. It takes many of years of riding
to really be good at it and the very best place to learn is in the
dirt. Once you have become good at dirt riding, then you will
be much safer on the street.
Going Slow, in this case, caused me to have three
accidents. The photo on the right is before I broke the
windshield. In fact I was always breaking windshields from one
reason or another so a man named Ron Clawson, now owner of Clawson
Kawasaki in Tulare, kept an extra windshield in stock for me and
sold it to me at cost.
C. Jeff Dyrek, Webmaster