Popping out

It’s said that a great many accidents happen within a mile of either home, or a destination. This is something we’ve all heard before, and also something many have suffered from in the past. For me, my most recent faux pas just underlined the need for wearing decent protective kit, at all times.

Picture one blazing hot Saturday morning, and a group of lads all out for a howl before MotoGP kicked off at Assen. For hours we tore up the West, a belting ride full of excitement, fun and the odd minor scare. So far, so normal. Arriving back at home base just before the GP started, I then realised I’d forgotten to pick up enough food for lunch.

Already half undressed; I toyed with the idea of getting the one-piece suit off entirely, slinging on some jeans and a jacket and popping to the local Supermarket, just half a mile away. It’s so hot, do I even need gloves? However, I have tried to turn this safety conscious thought into everyday practice for years, so back on went the suit, the gloves, everything. I’d just have to look like a knobber standing in whatever queue.

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So, pulling off the roundabout in thick traffic, following a line of cars into the supermarket at not even 20mph, gently braking with a tiny bit of lean and then, crash! The front suddenly goes; I stick my hands out and manage to push myself up off the floor so I’m standing before the bike’s even stopped sliding. It only slides less than ten yards because of the slow speed, and the fact it went down on shellgrip, as did my hands.

I was wearing a brand new pair of Spidi Carbosix gloves, which took the brunt of the fall. Only a small scuff on my boot and suit-knee shows any other evidence of an off. However, after getting over the sheer disbelief of how the hell I’d ended up on the deck for no apparent reason, my thoughts turned to a decision I’d made only minutes before – to put my gloves on. Shellgrip would have mullered my bare hands in inches, it was a good call.

It also reminds me of the attitude to wearing clothing on bikes, and how it differs depending on the person. Sure, wear whatever the hell you like; we may cringe when we see someone riding a GSX-R1000 in flip-flops and shorts, but each to their own. In my case, the reason I always kit-up even if I’m only riding yards, is that I enjoy riding motorbikes. And, I want to continue riding motorbikes whether I’ve had a crash or not. The chances of that are far higher if I can get back up and on without any injuries, moreso if I continue to dress in what I’d consider ‘appropriate’ clothing. Had I not be wearing my gloves, I’d of been out of action for weeks or perhaps more, but I walked away unscathed. Food for thought.

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