Everyone knows you don’t go green-laning on your own. Would you go down a byway on your own that you’ve never been down before, while on a bike that weighs 575lbs, dry, and has road tyres on?
How about if the bike was pretty much brand new (you’re riding it home from its first service) and you’ve just spent a small fortune on it, would that keep you on the road?
If you saw this would you be tempted?That entrance looks idyllic, doesn’t it? It did to me so off I went!
Let me backtrack a little. I’ve got a problem with my arm which I damaged 22 years ago crashing a ZZR11 at Cadwell Park on a track day. The surgeon who did the first operation told me I’d never ride a bike again but he was eventually proved wrong. It’s quite painful at the moment, especially when I ride. In fact when I got back from a 60 mile ride on Wednesday it was so painful I could hardly turn the garage door key. Not good news when you consider I’m supposed to be riding in the Brit Butt Light rally on Saturday which will be several hundred miles. So I did what any right-thinking person would do, I dosed myself up with painkillers and, after the bike was serviced, went for a ride round some local lanes to see how it felt because I really want to ride on Saturday. It felt pretty good. In fact it felt so good I thought I might have a look at a byway I pass the bottom of on one of my local walks.
The idyll didn’t last very long and I found myself riding in deep, mud-filled ruts with no space to turn round. It was still OK, sort of, until the rut got so narrow and deep it knocked the bike out of gear, a gear I couldn’t re-engage because the gear lever was jammed against the bank. I then found myself in the predicament below, with water and mud pretty much up to the discs. I laid the bike down, got off and eventually had it standing upright with room to move the gear lever but all the rear wheel would do is spin.
Thirty minutes later, after my arm had got a lot more exercise than I’d anticipated, I knew there was no way I was going to be able to get it out on my own. (On a related note, why is the front mudguard so close to the wheel and why doesn’t MachineArtMoto do a Mudsling for the Ténéré?)
Thank you Carla, Jane, Mark and Matt for interrupting your afternoon to come and help me drag the bike back to the beginning of the ruts then turn it round so I could ride out. Sorry you got a bit muddy but I wish I’d taken a picture of you all afterwards!
Oh and my arm? Well this incident didn’t really affect it and the jury was still out until a friend said to me “Painkillers are a bad way to convince the body all is fine”. I’ve been using painkillers for years when riding long distance because of a coccyx injury from years ago but I know what the coccyx problem is. I won’t know what’s going on with my arm until I see the specialist so thank you for the advice Gerhard, unfortunately I have to agree. It’s stupid to risk it and there will hopefully be other BBLs so I’m not going to ride on Saturday (probably!).
Making the decision to turn around is always difficult. As riders we tend to be optimists…
Kevin – did a similar thing myself once. Was out on my almost new BMW GS and was riding past one of the farm fields that had a decent track ( I thought). Rode in and managed about 200 yards before realising it was very rutted, muddy and slippery. I was on the bike upright, unable to move, couldn’t get the side stand down, mobile phone in the pannier. After a while I realised I had no option but to just go for it and ride it out. Didn’t do that again in a hurry!
Well it’s good to know it’s not just me!
A story out of the real life, in the truest sense of the word.
But remember: “He who makes no mistakes, makes nothing”
If you’re still planning to do the ” 4 Corneers Germany” please don’t underestimate the last 998 meters to the most eastern point ;especially in wet conditions :-). The mean thing is; at the beginning, it looks as simple and idyllic as shown on your first pic…..
Thanks Werner and we are. I shall bear that in mind when we get there.
Enjoyed your little ‘off road’ story. Next time take the GS…..
Mine involved a canal tow path.
doing a RBR LM I turned off a road onto the tow path which was about 3 yards wide, with canal on left and stout hawthorne hedge on right., seemed ok for about 1/2 a mile, took a slow turn to the left, then suddenly the hedge got very close to the canal (about 1 yard) but silly me kept on riding…….then I suddenly thought, how do I turn round…I went on for another mile when suddenly the LM appeared (a memorial to a Bomber crew) and a wide opening , a quick photo, turn round and leg it back quick.
Now I do a reccey on foot.
Just chanced upon this and hooked to your site now 🙂 Awesome short RR. and thanks for sharing all the pics and taking the time to write and share. Awesome.
Thank you for the positive feedback 🙂