October 25, 2003 at 12:35 am #8418RadarModerator
By the summer of 1984 I was two years into my biking career and still I had not crashed even once. I felt almost humiliated by my lack of good, wildly exaggerated fodder for pub boasting – you know the sort of thing:
“I was doing 140 right, when I changed down two gears and blew the Porsche Turbo away, but the cops cut me up and down I went, bike smashed to pieces…”
So it was almost with a sense of relief that I finally came off! However I wasn't exactly doing 140, or 40 or even 14mph come that. Nope I was riding at virtually walking pace on my Honda CB250N Superdream (no “flat out then” jibes please),riding up to the entrance of Brum Polly (Now rather grandly called the University of Central England don’t you know!), in the pouring rain. The CB250N boasted a front disc brake that had all the power of a Alan Carr death grip, but somehow I managed to brake hard enough to lock the front wheel in a bid to avoid a Ford Cortina coming the other way. I went down (don’t…), like a sack of spuds, the crash bars saving both me and the bike. I even missed the car only for the next one coming out the car park to bump up the kerb to drive past me and the fallen Honda rather than stop and help me up. Cheers mate.
So I had finally done it, I was no longer a so called 'crash-virgin', at last I was a real biker! Still the crash was only at walking pace, I was riding CB250N, suffered no injuries and didn't even wreck the bike. What a useless crash, in the words of so many of my school reports:
“Must try harder”
Fast forward a couple of months and I was now a despatch rider. Now if I can’t crash doing this then there really was no hope. Then comes what I now dub the 'Golden Fortnight' ~ in the space of only 14 days I managed to crash no less than 4 times! This is more like it! In a nice touch I achieved this great feat on 4 different bikes, only one of which was actually mine! However this happened to be the only one that I manage to write off – Doh!
First attempt to kill myself came on a Honda H100 of all things, a miserable two stroke single of 1982 vintage. It belonged to the girlfriend of a mate and I was sent off to get the chips for everybody’s dinner. One moment I am riding along happily with the smell of fish and chips wafting behind me, the next thing I know I have been taken out by a Ford Capri and I am sliding down the road after the Honda…and the chips. My radio pager took the brunt of the force, like an early form of body armour. The bloke in the Capri stopped, got out of the car and when saw me get up promptly got back in and cleared off! Cheers mate, aren’t car drivers a lovely lot?
Whilst this represented a big improvement on the first crash, I actually managed a collision this time, I was still pretty low: Think about it for a minute; I was on somebody else's bike, didn’t hurt myself and the damage to the bike was kicked straight in five minutes. In the meantime the boss made me cough up for the flattened pager too. Even worse the chips were ruined and nobody spoke to me all afternoon! Doh!
So it was time to 'up the ante' so to speak, so for my next attempt at true biker credibility, only a few days later, I tried to see how Honda’s then legendary 'Plastic Maggot' (the CX500) bounced. This was a particularly dog eared example with a mere 108,000 miles on the clock. The poor thing was, to put it politely, shagged. This was the company bike we all tried to avoid and I was stuck with it for the whole day. It turned out to be a long and gruelling slog too and by the time I decided enough was enough and actually crashed I had added another 700 miles onto odometer of the clapped out V twin. It was at this point, somewhere in Leicestershire, that the sheer boredom of all day (and night) on CX just became too much and I actually nodded off! One minute I was barrelling along the A512, the next I was sitting in a hedge with only a large Honda for company. From somewhere I found the strength to dig the bike out of the hedge and even knocked up another 100 miles before finally getting back to base 23 hours after I set out.
This, yet again, was a poor effort, falling asleep is hardly cool is it? Nothing else for it but to have another go…
A few more days tick by and peach run to London comes up. All the bosses favourite riders are out so I get the job, and just to top it off nicely I also got the pride of the fleet on which to do the run –a new Kawasaki GT750. So I charge off to collect the parcel doing my best “CHiPs” impression (it was still a big, big show in 1985!) as I leave the depot. It all went horribly wrong…did I get to London? No. Did I get out of Birmingham? No…Did I fall off before even collecting the parcel? Yes. What a turkey! Mind you it was in the middle of the city centre and I did send shoppers sprawling for cover as the Kawasaki was punted up onto the pavement by a moron in a lane changing Ford Sierra. I went one way the bike another. Amazingly I wasn’t hurt and the big Kawasaki, whilst a bit bent, could still be ridden. Time for another go then.
Not wanting to waste time the very next day I stuffed my own bike, a Yamaha RD350YPVS, straight into the side of a Bedford Lorry. This was about 30 seconds after a mate piled his Kawasaki GPz1100 into the same truck! Much better! We had just been having a bit of fun with a Porsche driver too and humbled them comprehensively. They did have last laugh as both the Kawasaki and the Yam were written off! Amazingly neither of us were hurt and we even walked the remaining half a mile to the pub we were heading for when we crashed. Finally I had a cool pub story and could tell it straight away! Well worth wrecking my bike and nearly killing myself for! Maybe not.
Anyway that was enough crashing for a while and apart from taking a Honda VF1000 for a brief, unplanned tour of the Norfolk countryside I have stayed on the tarmac ever since. I am off to touch the biggest piece of wood I can find! 
So always remember…
“Its not what you ride its the way that you crash it!”October 26, 2003 at 8:29 pm #16903imperialdataKeymaster
Wow. Watch me EVER accept a lift on the back of your bike November 10, 2003 at 8:35 pm #16904ScouserParticipant
What’s all this about giving up crashing? You crash your work and home PC every time you log on! “Still got those extrusion blues……”August 23, 2004 at 10:56 pm #16905LexParticipant
Jeez, I bet you can be found at the end of the worl’d shortest pillion queue! Do you like the taste of tarmac or something!!??August 24, 2004 at 11:32 pm #16906RadarModerator
Thanks for the vote of confidence Lex, surely you have fell off sometime??
Anybody out there not crashed yet!!??
Donate – it makes you feel good!
October 29, 2006 at 7:23 pm #16907HippoDronesParticipant
Hahaha, its funny reminising on old stories! Fallen off too many times to keep count I think, at least once per bike and thats more than I have fingers! Even fell off me Trumpet the other weekend!October 10, 2009 at 4:40 pm #16908imperialdataKeymaster
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