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November 15, 2007

Riding doesn’t always go without a (trailer) hitch

Expect the unexpected!

By Andrée Lamarche, French translator, Yamaha Motor Canada

The sun was shining, the breeze was refreshing, the road was just too inviting to pass up… Sound familiar? Early one warm morning this past summer, I went out to enjoy a ride on a V-Star 650. No arm-twisting necessary!

VStar 650The fact that a windshield had not yet been installed on the bike I was riding that day ended up contributing greatly to averting a serious accident. After almost two hours of riding and a good many long curves and winding roads, I found myself heading south on a rural highway. (Can you smell the fresh country air? Feel the freedom? Heaven on earth!)

Well, as usual, my helmet visor was up because I like to feel the wind on my face. (My contacts haven’t blown off yet!). Then grains of dirt began to disrupt my perfect world – and my vision. I thought maybe the pickup truck ahead of me had veered a bit off the asphalted surface and disturbed the soft stuff on the shoulder of the road.

Without a windshield and with my visor up, my face had no protection, so I lowered the visor. Bits of grit kept coming up through the bottom of my helmet. I increased the buffering distance between the pickup truck/old trailer unit and my V-Star, blinked a few times to wash my eyes of the bothersome grains.

All of a sudden, there was a sharp cracking noise… and I found myself watching the old trailer slowly moving away from thelamarche.jpg pickup truck. It took a few seconds for me to realize that this very unexpected scenario was really happening… in my lane, a short distance in front of me!!

Luckily, there were no vehicles in the oncoming lane to my left, so I whipped over and watched the trailer dance by me and auger crash into the ditch. There was a huge thump and an impressive cloud of dust.

Look ahead, plan ahead, keep a safe distance

By the time I stopped up ahead and walked back to the crash scene, the driver of the pickup and his passenger were looking at the heap of broken wood that used to be their trailer. We were all unharmed, just a little shaken up and very thankful! (Apparently, the safety chains had broken as well as the receiver.)

In the end, these few seconds taught me in a very real lesson – to look ahead, plan ahead, and keep a respectful safety zone around my bike, out of harm’s way of unexpected flying cigarette butts, gum wads, tire chunks… and runaway trailers!

Guess that’s what the motorcycle course instructors mean when they told us to expect the unexpected!!

Have you had any ‘close ones’ where you learned a lesson in safety?

Ride safe, Andrée

Posted @ 8:45 am in Cruisers,Ladies Only,Travel Stories,Yamaha Insights   
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