The article is dedicated to its late author Aaron Green.
The following is about a topic that I never intended to do any “research” on, but I did end up with some “research” on the subject, even though I did not want to.
A friend of mine that races a Top Fuel Harley has told me several times over the years…….. “There are two kinds of motorcycle riders, those that have crashed and those that will crash”. He usually would bring that line up when I would tell him how long I had ridden street bikes without ever crashing. Anyway, let me offer you a hypothetical situation…….
Let’s just say you are getting up one morning planning on going for a ride on your street bike, and God comes and talks to you and tells you that you have to go motorcycle riding that day, and you will crash your motorcycle. No doubt about it, you are going to crash today. What would you do? I live in Florida where helmets are optional. The crash is going to happen. So would you put on the best helmet you could find, along with boots, long pants, gloves, and a leather jacket? Or would you go riding in shorts, with a tank top and flip flops with no helmet and no gloves? After all you are going to crash!! Maybe stuff your face into a curb. What would be your pick?
The first motorcycle I ever had was one I bought when I was eleven years old, I was always a big kid, taller than most of the other kids in my school, so I did not have a problem riding a motorcycle even at eleven years of age. My first motorcycle was a dirt bike, Yeah, I crashed that dirt bike a few times, because like most kid’s, I thought I was bulletproof back in those days. I started out with the dirt bike like a lot of people did. The first time I rode a street legal motorcycle I was sixteen. It was thirty two years later when my friends “prediction” finally came true for me, the date was November 1, 2008. The “prediction” I am refering to is my friends old line about “there are two kinds of motorcycle riders……” mentioned earlier above.
Now I have always been a conservative street bike rider overall, usually I just run the speed limit or close to it, I do not dart and weave in and out of cars or anything. I did used to have a Ducati 900 SS I rode too fast on a few occasions years ago, problem was that bike ran smoother at 110 or 120 than it did at 55. The faster I rode that Ducati the faster I wanted to ride it. I even figured out how to make that Ducati spin the rear tire in a turn and “black track” like I would see Scott Russell or Miguel Duhamel do at the Daytona Speedway during the motorcycle road races. Back then, we had a basically wide open, brand new, six lane road built just a couple of miles from here between Orlando and Kissimmee. No buildings around this road (at the time), no traffic on Sunday mornings,no cops, no nothing. With the dry clutch that Ducati 900 SS had it was not much good for drag racing, but it handled great!! Stopped great too!! I did that “black tracking” nonsense until I got to thinking one day that if I ever did crash out there nobody would have found me for hours, or maybe even a day or two. So that (and being sensible) ended my “black tracking” days, probably a good thing.
Back to the fateful day of November 1, 2008. It was a Saturday night, close to midnight. I had been at a big car race out at the Orlando drag strip the day before, Friday, until it was real late. With only two hours sleep, I went back to the track for the Saturday part of the car race and was on the road riding my Suzuki back to the track at 7 a.m., then spending all day at the drag strip and I finally left after 11 p.m. Saturday night. The Suzuki needed gas so I stopped at a gas station about three miles from the track and filled up. Little did I know I would only ride my Suzuki about another five miles that night, while the total mileage of a trip from the house to the track is thirty miles. I made the rest of the trip back to Orlando that night in a life flight helicopter.
When I stopped for gas I had felt sort of light headed. I just chalked it up to having a long day after not much sleep, so I just figured I was tired. Plus, I had not eaten anything all day at the track. Fact is I was more than just tired. Now, I had heard for years to stay “hydrated” when you are out in the heat, and to avoid caffine drinks. So I drank water. I drank lots of water. A gallon and a half of water. Water was the only thing I drank all day. I know how much water I had consumed because I had taken three one gallon jugs of water to the track with me, I had drank the water straight out of the jugs, and I was the only one drinking it. Later, when I retrieved the water that was left out there at the track, only a gallon and a half was left in the remaining jugs. That is how I know how much water I drank that Saturday. I found out later you can drink too much water and it can mess you up, so much for staying “hydrated”.
The deal is that I had consumed so much water in one day that my sodium levels and electrolytes were screwed up in my body. How screwed up? How about pass out screwed up? Craziest thing I had ever heard, I have since verified that you can drink too much water as fact with four different doctors. I passed out on State Road 50 outside Orlando running 50 miles per hour on my bike because I had consumed too much water. The Florida Highway Patrol trooper that worked the crash naturally had the hospital people blood test me for drinking and driving, but since I was only drinking water all day, I was clean as a whistle. Did not even get a ticket because it was a single vehicle crash, the only damage caused by the crash was to my motorcycle and my safety equipment. As far as injuries go, I did not get any broken bones, and even no road rash. Hard to believe, but true. There is no way I think I could ever pull that off again. I did have my Shoei helmet on, and I am sure it saved me, along with my Arlen Ness road racing gloves, and my Hein Gericke leather jacket. My head took a pretty good hit on the tarmac out on State Road 50, as I was knocked out. The Shoei helmet did its job though, it looks like it was attacked with a body shop grinder, but it did not even crack or break. I still keep that helmet around as a “reminder” of what can happen, I will never wear that helmet again while riding though. The E.M.T.’s that came to the crash site cut my leather jacket all up with their “happy scissors”. They cut my pants off too, they told me later that is “standard procedure”, because they said I may have had broken bones, and I was knocked out. The hospital people did two CAT scans on me because I was knocked out. They told me I had no brain damage, so I told them that I have some friends that might want to argue that point with them!!
When I got out of the hospital after a couple of days, I checked out the bike, it really was not that bad damage wise. Since I knew I was going to have to bail off the bike, I had gotten it over near the median, so most of the bike hit the grass, not the tarmac. It only cost right around $600 to fix the damage done to the bike in the crash with new Suzuki parts. It cost me another $600 to replace the safety equipment that got fouled up. I have always believed in using the proper safety equipment, it definitely saved me pain and injury when I did crash. Shoei helmets, Arlen Ness gloves, and Hein Gericke leather jackets have a customer for life, because their stuff does the job!! I was my own “crash test dummy”, so I can honestly (or unfortunately) say I have tested their stuff myself, it works!!
After going through the crash and consulting with medical people, if there is a “moral to the story” of my crash experience, I guess it is as follows………..
1. Don’t drink too much water and risk messing up your body’s electrolyte and sodium levels. Switch off between water and Gatorade instead to keep you body’s electrolyte and sodium levels where they need to be. If you drink a quart of water, switch to a quart of Gatorade next.
2. Always wear the proper safety equipment, in the event you get involved in a bad deal (like a crash) you will be glad that you wore the right safety equipment. The hide you save might be your own!!
3. Make it a point to eat something during the day to keep your energy level up. Even some fruit like a banana or an apple would help.
4. Get a good nights sleep. Burning the candle at “both ends” might bite you!!
Anyway, I hope relating my experience with crashing might save someone’s hide, or prevent someone else from having to deal with a crash and all the garbage that goes along with it. It is no fun. It can happen to you. Think about it!! Ride safe!!