Friday, September 4, 2009


July 17, 2009 - Friday

It means wild boar sausage and an excuse to add 100 klicks to the Beastie's tacho, make use of the last warm, dry evening until next week, and go see people.
The SwissBikers forum, which I joined about two years ago to ask for help in deciding between a Ninja, the little Buell or something else as my first bike, was having a meet at PSM Parts, a motorcycle outfitter located a good hour's drive away from Zürich. The proprietor who's also an SBler occasionally holds a grill and SwissBikers get together to chat and look at each other's bikes and such.
The SwissBikers forum took on a new format this year and people had to reregister themselves to be a part of it. I didn't do so. There are too many Germans, too many BMWs, too much drama on that site, and since becoming a member of United I've found where I fit in best. Still, most of the other United members are also part of the SB forum, and the funniest and juiciest episodes seep through to me too, as I can read along o nthe SB forum without being tempted to occasionally give them a piece of my mind.
Anyway, that's the introduction to the people behind the wild boar sausage grill. Susanne suggested I come along too because it wasn't a closed SB event, and I figured it was a good way to make use of the warm weather before the storm broke today (which it has).
So off I went. There were about forty people there, including Remo, Octi, Roger and Susanne. Susanne had reserved a spot for me by laying her still-healing leg in its cast out on the bench. I hadn't intended to stay long but two hours were gone before Roger said he was going and I figured it was a good time to get loose too.
I took the side roads home and got back around 2130 hours.
Dad was still up when I got back, and he showed me a picture in the paper from Tuesday. Here's the story to that:
Tuesday evening was lovely and warm, so I donned my Beastie Driver jacket for the first drive and headed off to Schwyz - my regular lone drive hunting grounds - to break it in. Well, around 2030 hours, just as I was about to head home, I got a call from Florian.
"Hey, are you okay? Where are you?"
"Schwyz. Heading home right now."
"Not on the Buchenegg?"
"No, but I will be in twenty minutes."
"Somebody wiped out pretty bad up there."
"Okay, I'll go see."
I saw nothing, except that the the Buchenegg was blocked by police and the fire department from both sides.
The next morning some details came through. A 37-year-old Speed Triple driver lost control in right curve. From the way the article described it, I guessed he'd crashed in the curve combo above the animal shelter. That's the best stretch on the whole Buchenegg, but if you don't know it or are going to fast, it's easy to mess up.
I was right. When I drove Florian to the airport that morning, we saw the broken reflector post and a smear on the pavement.
Then yesterday, Thursday, when I went to work in the morning, I took a better look at that splotch on the ground. Oil, gas and blood. Lots of blood.
The internet and newspaper articles reported the Speedy driver had "serious leg injuries." What they meant is that he lost both legs.
Dad told me Opa's physiotherapist had been driving ahead of the biker, who then passed him on the short straight stretch that immediately precedes that curve combination. And after the first right curve he came upon this:

He had to administer first aid; a tourniquet on each leg.

I consider myself, and have heard others say, that despite being speedy I'm a pretty safe driver. I will not, after the loss of Silver, drive faster than what I'm comfortable with and know I can handle. I don't want to push my luck again. As a biker, whether you're the slowest brake-before-through-and-around-every-curve driver on a Kilo-Gixxer or the fastest devil-may-care Endurist on a beatup old XT, getting through a drive involves a certain amount of luck. You can do everything right and still get shot down.
I don't know why the Speed Triple driver lost control of his 135-PS bike and smashed into that wall. There's bitumen on the road, but if you take that curve with the proper driveline is doesn't get in your way. Most likely he was going to fast, didn't know the stretch, saw the wall and looked at it - and where you look is where you drive. I can't imagine how he could have crashed to lose both legs.
Of course the pictures made me think, and driving through that spot yesterday afternoon on the way home from work I was a bit slower. But I was back to my usual speed of... 80 or 100, I think, when I headed to the grill half an hour later. I don't know how fast I take those curves; I don't usually watch the speedometer when I'm driving.
Point being, if I were afraid of potential harm to my person, I wouldn't drive at all. If I'm ever the victim of accident like that, there'll be nothing I can do about it anyway. There's no foreboding or fear of harm to myself after hearing the details of the Speed Triple driver's crash.
What bothers me now, after hearing Dad tell about Opa's physiotherapist, is wondering whether I'd have the presence of mind, fortitude and material to help in a situation like that. I've done a course in first aid; in theory I know what to do; I can mount a tourniquet.
I hope to God I never have to, but if I drive into a scene like that, I pray I can.

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