Our day started off with much anticipation. The previous week my buddy Jeff procured himself a “new to him” Suzuki V Strom 650. I think the adventure riding bug has been nagging at him and he has decided to give it a go! Plus, he says "He doesn't want to go faster, just be able to get further in a day." I started laughing the first time he told me that, it's kind of the same thing!
Jeff and I worked together to build a route and I wanted to work in some sites that Stretch has taken me by in the past. In other words, I wanted Jeff’s first adventure ride to be epic. Here’s the route we had planned.
You may recall a story I posted up called Too Cold To Slay The Dragon. Well, the guy I was going to join on that ride is named Andrew and we have been trying to work another ride out ever since that one fell through. This ride is the first one that was going to work so Andrew was joining Jeff and I for a good days ride. It was good we were sticking to decent gravel roads and pavement because Andrew was on his SV650. When we got to the gas station we all just got to know one another and we installed a SENA headset in Andrew’s helmet so he could join in on the conversation with Jeff and I.
Shortly after we left the gas station we were getting into our first twisty roads. It was a nice warm up. We couldn't ride it too hard because the roads are kind of beat up from the winter and there were bicyclists everywhere! As we made it out of the crowd of bicycles we got our first gravel road. Reasonover Road is a great road to get used to gravel. The road is in nice condition and offers a very scenic ride through a typical Appalachian mountain environment.
At the end of Reasonover Road we are back on pavement. We took a very common route for us going up 276 to East Fork Road. We often use East Fork Road to cut back over to Hwy 178 and keep heading North. During the winter East Fork Road was used as a detour because of a big washout on Hwy 178. This little road was not meant to handle that kind of traffic so the pavement has become a bit rutted and deformed. I think this was messing with Andrew a little bit. I was in the lead, Andrew in the middle, and Jeff bringing up the rear. We came around a fairly tight decreasing radius turn and for some reason Andrew got freaked out and panic braked. Jeff was a bit too close and when Jeff dodged Andrew it put him in a dire situation. Jeff managed to scrub off some speed before he crossed the outside lane and went into the grass. Over the headset we heard “I'm Down, I'm DOWN, I'M DOWN!” My heart sank! This is a terrible feeling to know your friend has just wrecked and you don't know what has happened yet. We quickly turned around and went to help him.
As soon as we got to Jeff we saw he was pinned under his bike. Andrew and I lifted his bike off of him and helped Jeff to his feet. Jeff said his right ankle was hurting pretty bad. We got the bikes parked on the side of the road and when we knew Jeff was Ok we started assessing the situation. Jeff kept it on two wheels in the dirt for about a bike length, then you could see his tire tracks separating in the dirt. There was a bit of a pause in the dirt and then a large divot where the bike went down and started sliding. His crash guards performed perfectly. Not even a scratch! His Givi side bag did get a busted latch, but the bag was in good shape. His HJC modular helmet and his Olympia jacket and pants were muddy, but completely intact. ATGATT saved his bacon too!
In an effort to calm down and give his ankle a few minutes to settle Jeff lit up a cigar and we took a break. When he was done Jeff decided he would try and ride his bike to the end of East Fork Road and then decide if he was going home or not. When we got there, he was sure that he was going home. We offered to follow him, but he insisted that he was Ok and me and Andrew should finish the ride. With Jeff’s insistence we took a right and Jeff took a left.
The rest of the ride was pretty awesome! We had some more gravel and more twisty roads. I wanted to show them the waterfall you can park your bike in from Leaf Peeping Adventure Style , but when we got to the forest road it was closed until March.
We took a break and headed back towards home. We had some very scenic gravel roads back to 215 and Andrew got to do his first water crossing on his SV650! I even managed to find the creepy bus again and get some more pics. That thing will make you do a double take when you are riding down the road.
Our next stop was Hawg Wild BBQ in Brevard, NC for a late lunch and then we headed back over Caesar’s Head on the way home.
Later that day I found out that Jeff broke his fibula in the crash. I asked him if it was a fracture. Remember, he was walking on it and he rode his bike home. Jeff informed me that it was a pretty clean break. I couldn't believe it. That’s hardcore right there. Then on Monday Jeff told me that he is going to need surgery and have a plate installed. I would like to ask you guys to send prayers and positive thoughts his way. Hopefully, he will heal quickly and completely.
What I Learned:
- I don't ride off road alone, but having a buddy with you is a good idea even on the street.
- Jeff is calm in an emergency and apparently has a high tolerance for pain.
Phillipians 2:4 ESV “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
It’s obvious that you would help a friend who has just gone down, but we can apply that willingness to help others across our lives. In the motorcycle community there is an unspoken code that riders will always help other riders. Even if it is just to lend moral support, we always look out for each other.
When you see somebody that needs help outside of the motorcycle community, are you as willing to lend a hand?