Yesterday I watched an 800 pounds of chrome, fiberglass, metal, and plastic spinning through the air. Sunlight reflected in movie-like highlights off of the long chromed pipes. The Harley did things other Harleys have only ever dreamed of… in their nightmares.
I saw the whole thing, from start to finish. Dachary only saw the grand finale of flying metal, but her brain came to the obvious conclusion: “That’s a cruiser [spinning through the air]. He was probably wearing jeans and a t-shirt.”
Let’s back up, a fraction of a second earlier.
Two “Harley guys”, out for a ride. Each wearing a Yarmulke style black skull cap (too small to deserve the title of “helmet” in my book), t-shirts and jeans. Cruising along at maybe forty miles an hour. The rear one, obviously not paying attention, gets too close to the front, and as his front tire is almost in line with his friend’s rear, does something I can’t explain. Maybe he clipped the panniers. Maybe he screwed up and hit his wheel into his friends. I’m not quite sure. But the rest was clear.
Uncontrolled front wheel wobble, followed by a lowside (when you “lay the bike down”). I watched as the left side of his torso approached the ground. Some small part of his brain told him to keep his hand up, which was good, because while his hands did have leather gloves on, I’m pretty sure they were fingerless. It’s cooler that way. So, he proffered his bare elbow to the gods of asphalt.
His bike was better at keeping its speed on its side than he was, but after an instant it decided that it didn’t like sliding, and figured maybe flying would hurt less, so eight hundred plus pounds of metal went from sliding on its side, uprighted itself (sideways) and lept two feet into the air, where it began it’s pirouette.
I didn’t see it come down. I was heading in the other direction on the divided road, and didn’t feel like performing a re-enactment. There was a light ahead, and I planned to turn around there to help out, because there’s a camaraderie amongst motorcyclists, and we watch out for each other, even when the others are idiots. Also, I had a first aid kit in my panniers. But, just before I got to the light, a police car passed, lights on, heading for the scene. And, as cops are way better trained at handling bleeding idiots than I am, I let them too it. Also, he probably had a better first aid kit than mine, although I wonder if his had a splint too…
It is said that there are two kinds of motorcycle riders in the world. Those who have crashed, and those who haven’t crashed yet. It’s safe to say that he will have a serious scar on that elbow, and he may have mobility issues with it for the rest of his life. Depending on how the rest of him fell and if he rolled or slid there may be much a broken shoulder and much more skin ground off by the road. There’s probably a couple grand worth of damage to his bike, and his friend may never ride with him again. I know I’d be hesitant to let someone that careless ride beside me.
If he was paying attention it would have never happened. If he was wearing protective gear I honestly believe the worst he’d suffer would be a bruise and maybe a week of aching.