All the Gear, All The Time!
Nancy Van Voorhis
Finding yourself sliding down the road is not an ideal situation but when you’re in full protective riding gear your chances are much better! First, I want to say that I’ve seen people ride without their usual gear because they were just going a short distance or it was really hot! I think it’s better to sweat than bleed! Now on with my story. We were out for a ride during the BMW MOA Get-a-Way Weekend at Fontana Village with 2 other bikes (Pete & Cindy Duncanson from Nashville and Rod Claude from S.C.) on the Cherohala. It was great riding weather and after a few overlook stops we all agreed to go back Service Road 210 along the river to see Bald River Falls. Bill was leading with me following, then the two other bikes behind me. It was a scenic, leisurely, ride back the road with dapples of sun & shade playing across the road and the river running right alongside the road. I noticed the pavement suddenly changed from gray to a brownish, almost dirt looking color. At first, I thought maybe they were doing some road work. Then all of a sudden across my helmet intercom, Bill says “Sh--, Watch out for the” ---- and as he said “pothole”, my front tire landed in the pothole camouflaged by the shade and reportedly 6” deep! My bike swerved right then left and at that point I think I went flying off the bike as both of us slid separately on down the road a reported 36 feet! I could literally feel myself skidding along on the pads and I remember thinking, “This could be my skin!”. It appears my bike flipped as it has damage on the windshield & brake fluid reservoir. As I got to my feet, Cindy did a quick dismount from the back of Pete’s bike to get to me. I think my first words to her were, “Thank God for Protective Gear!” She said she thought she was going to be picking up pieces of me the way I flew off that bike! However, I miraculously didn’t seem to be seriously injured, shook up certainly and my left shoulder that took the brunt of the slide was sore but nothing major! As Bill watched the slide in his rearview mirror he wasn’t sure what he’d find but was relieved when he saw me standing up. (He did say I didn’t scream!). My left jacket sleeve was torn, front pocket (from my phone) was torn, some skid marks & tension tears on my pants, and leather gloves are pretty scraped up! Now the bike on the other hand……crooked handlebars, and lots of scrapes. After going over it & determining there didn’t appear to be anything major, we tried to start it with success! I was able to ride it although it was a little strange as the handlebars were off-center but we went to the waterfall and then into Tellico Plains for lunch & to re-group. Bill & I decided to head home as I didn’t care to re-ride the Cherohala or any twisties with those handlebars! We got home safely, traded the bikes for the car and headed back to Fontana Village for dinner----with my gear in tow as a testimony! It was quite the talk of the event that night! I am so thankful that I upgraded the often “standard” armor ….backpad in the jacket & hip pads in the pants to the CE amour rather than the foam stuff some manufacturers put in gear. Otherwise, I’m convinced I would have had a broken hip & arm or shoulder! After insurance review - $8200 in damage to bike & protective gear! But not a scratch or bruise on me! No matter how hot the weather or how short the ride, you can be assured I will always have on my protective gear! As he was looking at the damaged bike, Bill commented “That’s a tough bike!” to which I commented, “And I’m one tough broad !”