Sunday, April 27, 2008

A Bad Day Riding?

I've often wondered if there was ever a bad day riding. Yesterday, Saturday, April, 26 I found out and it will go down as a bad day riding.

I met up with a group I sometimes ride with for a ride to Mount Lemmon in Tucson. There we were meeting some more riders for a 28 mile, twisty, fun filled ride to the 9,000 foot elevation. The weather was perfect and I met three new people who were terrific. So, off we go at the appointed time. Traffic was a bit congested leaving the city, but running a traffic break got us all into the HOV lane with clear sailing. Out of town and turning onto State Route 79 we headed to Florence. Well past Florence is where the ride took a turn. One of our riders forgot the rule of filling up before leaving on a ride. The dreaded dry tank in the middle of no where. Two of us left them in search of gas and a can. MsHog made a call to the folks in Tucson we were meeting to tell them we would be delayed and they were cool with it. We finally made Tucson about an hour, or so, late.

Laura took her ribbing, in Tucson, in good nature and was her jovial self. Truth is if the worst thing she ever does is run out of gas she will get to heaven. Remember good girls go to heaven, bad girls get to go everywhere, Plus the group will be able to make fun of her for months now and luckily for the rest of us we won't soon forget to gas up.

So, we leave the Safeway parking lot to head to a Safeway parking lot down the road. It seems we need to stop to get lunch for a picnic at the top of Mount Lemmon. Well, along the way this group of twenty to thirty motorcycles becomes invisible. Mr. Cage Man, driving in the center lane, passes half of the bikes in the line, wakes up, realizes this is his turn, and turns. Right through the line of bikes. You can't make this stuff up folks. Stupidity is alive and well in the heads of some cagers. The unlikely victim of this action was Laura. Yep, Laura of running out of gas fame. The chances of that happening to the same person in the space of two hours is enormous.

Somehow Mr. Cager only managed to take out one of the group, which is a good thing. Laura has some road rash, but nothing is broken, which is a good thing. We made the bike rideable, which is a good thing. Laura was wearing a helmet, which was a very, very good thing because there was visual evidence of what would have happened to her head and face. After all the checking out process Laura refused to be fender fluff and have someone else ride her bike home. She rode it back to Phoenix, which is a good thing.

We didn't get to Mount Lemmon, which is a bad thing. Mr. Cager's excuse for his stupidity was, "I needed to turn here," which is a bad thing. Wait, that might be a good thing because at least he didn't claim he didn't see the thirty bikes.

Seeing one of your own laying in the street bleeding, bike twisted is a really bad feeling. Your heart jumps into your throat and you can't get stopped and to them fast enough. Standing around after the fact talking and analyzing what just happened has the possibility to make folks nuts. Reflecting on the events on the way home and this morning Laura was a victim and I can't see anything she could have done to prevent this from happening. Riding in a group, at or under the speed limit, safety gear on, curb lane, sunny day, a person would assume they were safe.

Maybe, just maybe, the entire group was at fault for the accident. Maybe there was an implied assumption that group riding is safe and we, as a collective group, let our guard down. There are more stupid cagers on the road than smart motorcyclists. I need to decide if we became stupid motorcyclist because we were safely riding in a group.

So, it was a bad day riding. Not because we didn't make our planned destination, I have that happen all the time. It was a bad day because one of our group went down and I'm thinking somehow the entire group played a part. Awareness of this issue will make me a better rider in the group next time.


  1. OMG! I'm so glad everyone is ok! Scary stuff, Paul, be careful out there. Love, sis

  2. Wow. Sounds like you were dealt a bad hand of cards that day. Well, Laura was anyway.

    It is good that you think of yourself as being partly responsible for the incident. Saftey must always come first. And motorcyclists need to always be thinking of what they can do to improve for the next time. (If only cagers would do that too)

    I found you from Irondad's site. Great blog you have here! Stop by mine some time.