It’s Christmas come early!
Online motorcycle toy store “LeatherUp.com” wants to let the world know about its house-brand line of helmets called “Xelement”, and has been kind enough to send us one of their ”2-IN-1″ Evolution models for evaluation.
And while it’s a bit cold here in Boston for an on-road test, it will be my pleasure to walk you through my initial impressions of the product as I open the box.
See below for the traditional box-opening video, where I record the revealing of the item fresh out of the shipping container so as to capture the most genuine first impression possible. If you’re in the market for a new road-riding dome piece, read on for a more complete review of the helmet.
The shape of the helmet is decidedly angular. The subtle peak at the top actually reminds me of the hood on my Acura, and the cascading ridges on the back of the helmet give some depth making it a bit more visually engaging than a standard “bowling ball” helmet.
But it doesn’t look (or feel) like it was designed in Minecraft. On the contrary the angles are rounded off, giving the design an “aggressive-but-subdued” kind of vibe. I find these smooth edges match the rubberized matte black spray-job nicely, though that may be my color bias coming out.
Fit & Finish
The rubberization you get with a matte finish really helps make any helmet feel solid, and that’s the case here too. The body itself feels well-reenforced and is plenty thick. The face shield is robust and its up/down operation feels great… once you figure out the locking mechanism.
The plastic toggle switches on the vents and retractable sun visor aren’t the sturdiest I’ve seen, but they’re perfectly acceptable. Frankly, I was pleasantly surprised with the overall build quality at this price point.
The helmet is well-sized; I demo’ed a Medium and it was consistent with my other Mediums from other brands. The head-entry hole at the bottom is a bit on the snug side, making it easier to don the thing with the visor up, but once it’s fitted this gives you a nice feeling of snug security.
The chin strap is a different design than I’ve seen in this application. Like a modern ski boot it’s a plastic locking-clip rather than a D-Ring, which I typically see on motorsport helmets.
The plastic here feels solid but I’ll be closely monitoring how well this mechanism survives in long-term testing. The design takes plenty of punishment in the ski boot application so I’m confident it should hold up just fine in the wind. In a crash, well, let’s hope I don’t have to report back on that one. As an added bonus it’s quite a bit easier to put on while wearing gloves. A huge plus if you like to ride in cooler temperatures!
The first thing you notice about this helmet is the giant visor. Fortunately, it doesn’t look goofy in real life like you might imagine but it will get noticed by other riders when the lower face-shield is in position. Of course, the benefits of a large visor are obvious- visibility through this thing is excellent! In fact, the best I’ve experienced on any full-faced helmet. And as I mentioned earlier the construction is solid. With the locking feature of the slide, you won’t have to worry about it flying up or down with the will of the wind.
That brings me to the second-most noteworthy feature- the removable face shield. This aspect is in fact what renders the helmet a “2-IN-1″… with it in place, you get the style of a full-face. Without it, the wind is yours for the swallowing.
It’s easy to connect-and-disconnect, which is great for accessibility. But as a result, I’m sure it won’t give quite the same level of chin and lower-face protection as a solid one-piece helmet. That said, it does feel strong enough to withstand a direct blow… I just don’t think the locking tabs are up to the task of keeping this little shield in place during a lateral impact.
The third and my favorite feature I want to share is the retractable sun visor. Tucked within the forehead area is a small dark-tinted shield that snaps down with the push of the top-mounted toggle switch.
The feature isn’t unique to this helmet or brand, but I love it nonetheless.
For some reason I can’t help but associate it with Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing helmet visor. Which of course, makes it super cool.
And it actually is rather useful. For all those times you forget/lose/break your sunglasses, the retractable shield will be there to keep me from getting blinded by the sun and the police strobes I invariably encounter when I ride. The only downside here is that it does’t cover your entire field of vision, so your eyes may have trouble keeping up if you look at your gauges a lot.
The Xelement Evolution 2-IN-1 is a stylish, versatile helmet with plenty of features and more than reasonable construction quality. A much better package than you’d expect for the price- you can’t go wrong with that!”
• On sale now for $89.95
• Sprayed in Flat Black, Gloss Black, White, Yellow, or Gun Metal
• Fitted at S through 2XL
• Available today at LeatherUp.com
Stay tuned for on-road testing in the spring!
It’s always an emotional day.
The leaves have fallen, average temperature has dropped to “f’ing cold”, and it officially becomes time to hibernate the summer toys.
Three out of the seven vehicles that make berth at my parent’s house are carbureted, rear-wheel-drive, and old; very much unfit for the harsh salts that swathe the roads of Massachusetts come winter.
On top of that, they’re bloody miserable to use below freezing.
Up until this year, the Collins winterization ritual included parking the machines in a line, throwing a few ounces of Sta-Bil in the fuel tanks and cracking a beer.
This still seems to work fine for dad’s vehicles, which inexplicably start immediately after months of neglect, but the prissy engine in my air-cooled GSXR gave me such grief getting started this summer that I’ve been inclined to abide the process illustrated in the Haynes manual this year.
Battery removed, fuel stabilized, carburetors drained, bike lifted onto storage stand. I’m even adding Captain Jeff Hattabaugh’s technique of flooding the crankcase with oil, in an effort to prevent corrosion to the engine’s internal components.
Step one; drop some stabilizer in the gas, top off tank, and run for a bit. Easy.
Step two; remove battery and install in trickle-charger. Done.
Step three; drain carbs…
In theory, this is this simplest task of all. Turn the little screw at the bottom of each carburetor lefty-loosey, watch gas trickle out.
However, there is the practical complication of ‘where the gas will go’ once it’s escaped the confines of the combustion cycle.
Each carburetor holds about two ounces of fuel, all up that’s more than half a beer’s worth of liquid. Dad didn’t want it on the floor of his driveway, and I didn’t want it dripping into my stator.
Thus began the engineering process.
Idea one began as logically as any; with a Dixie cup and a turkey baster.
We cut the squeezy end of the baster so that it could envelop the drain plug of a carb while I opened it with a screwdriver. Gravity would send the fuel down the baster and into the cup.
It worked perfectly, right up to the point at which it didn’t. Though the baster seemed to be firmly in place, I observed gas flowing through it and onto the lower components of the engine.
The turkey baster, which was meant for basting turkeys and not holding gasoline, had been structurally compromised by the fuel- which had quite literally burned through it.
“Who knew petrol was so abrasive,” I said sarcastically… thinking back to previous experiments I had conducted with similar results.
So, one carb drained- about 50% on the ground. With three carbs to go and the baster now completely melted, further innovation was required.
We returned to the garage; a proverbial “cave of wonders” for those who reckon an eclectic pile of refuse could be classified as “wonders”.
Dad emerged with a pair of massive Bosch windshield wipers… used, but occupying the box of a new set. No doubt having been discarded from a vehicle years ago and returned to the box from which the replacement set came. You know, just in case.
He dumped the old wiper blades onto the ground and held forth the boxes.
“Dude. Gas luge.”
I put together his intention immediately; cut the wiper-box to the shape of a long tray, then slope the tray and direct the liquid into another container a la vodka luge.
“Let’s do it.”
He sprinted to the house to steal mom’s scissors from the cabinet and I readied the next carb for draining.
We set up the luge and I opened the plug. Much to our satisfaction, the thick plastic of the wiper box survived the river of gas running down it for all three remaining carburetors.
We drained the cup into a jerry can in the corner of the garage with a big “X” on it… an ever-heavier “discard can” full of used automotive liquids unfit for disposal in the sink.
As I dumped the spent fuel in I thought aloud; “So what happens when this ‘bad gas’ can gets full?”
“Shoot it with a flaming arrow, obviously.”
Thus begins the countdown until Moto Season 2013; T minus fourish months. Time to break out those skis…
The seemingly endless saga of restoring my old GSXR brought my father and I to Drum Hill Cycles in Nashua, New Hampshire- a massive warehouse full old motorcycle parts, basically a Cave of Wonders to a couple retro-moto enthusiasts.
Aside from a small banner on the road-facing wall, there’s not much to tip you off about this treasure-trove unless you already know the address. But if you’re in the neighborhood, the railroad crossing right next to it is a good landmark to defer to.
Say what you will about ours being a “disposable” culture, but from what we saw Drum Hill had plenty of business keeping old bikes alive.
In the thirty or so minutes we were there, at least five other people showed up looking for various miscellanea for their motorcycle projects. It was encouraging to see that the restoration business is still running, and that I’m not the only one with a soft spot for “modern classics.”
Bikes and cars from the 80′s and 90′s used to get written-off by the collector and restoration community for being “too modern” or “bland”. But now that people like myself, who grew up dreaming about the vehicles from that era, are starting their own projects we’re seeing a renaissance of these machines we now call- modern classics.
The nostalgia of riding something I fantasized about while I was supposed to be learning my times-tables is without a doubt part of the appeal of the 80′s/90′s iron, but I also love the blend of modern-ish design with the primitive brutality and rudimentary interface of say, my ’91 GSXR.
While we didn’t end up buying anything this trip, it was a lot of fun to walk through the canyons of fairings, fuel tanks and every other motorcycle accessory you can imagine for bikes from bygone decades.
The proprietor was most agreeable, talking over the issues my bike was having with me and dumping out a few boxes of parts to sift through pounds of plastic to try and find what I was looking for. Unfortunate it appeared that the ignition control box I was seeking had been “sold yesterday”, and so continued my less-than-ideal luck with my project.
Drum Hill isn’t a completely unreasonable drive from Boston, but if you don’t feel like picking parts yourself they’re website has just about everything they stock in their expansive collection.
Be sure to check them out if you’re spinning spanners on a bike from the forgotten era of modern classics, and help them keep the old school spirit alive.
Cape York Solo: Part V of VwCaptain Billy’s Landing is a well-known camp spot on the eastern side of Cape York. Many bypass it because it requires a sixty-kilometer detour (thirty in, thirty out) but like much of Far North Queensland it’s something spectacular to behold.
A seemingly infinite beach with soft surf, heaps of tidal caves, and exotic marine life running all over the place. Just don’t stay on the beach too long or you’ll get skin cancer. And don’t go in the caves either, because the fumes emitted by the fungus in there are extremely toxic. And for the love of god don’t go in the water- a crocodile will eat you for sure. Other than that it’s a brilliant spot. Did I mention I’m pretty sure it’s haunted?
So I was holding the place down by myself… not that big of a surprise, since the high season is pretty well over. I turn on my phone to check the time and it rings straight away. Now I know there’s no cell service up there, so I get a bit weirded out. Naturally the Caller ID isn’t helpful, reporting just “Unknown Caller.” I pick up and nobody’s on the line.
A’ight, kinda freaky but at least I know what time it is.
I pick a spot to camp facing the ocean (but not too close) so I’ll wake up to sunrise over the waves. Which was a great plan… until I woke up around midnight to strobe lights blinking every minute or so. Emerging from the tent I solved this mystery pretty quick- the clouds had formed up and were mounting a fierce lighting strike on my location.
The thunder hit hard. I don’t know if Captain Billy was a pirate or just the leader of a baseball team, but it sure did sound like eighteenth-century nautical warfare was taking place on top of my tent.
I scrambled my gear into the shelter of the welcome kiosk, which had just enough roof to cover myself and an informative poster on the area’s birds.
I thought about the road I had taken in here. It was twisty and chock full of loose dirt… dirt that would turn into mud. Mud, which would be impassible. Worse than that I was still north of the mighty Wenlock River- the “Point of No Return” when the wet season beings.
I started to panic a little (just a little) and seriously considered packing up and sprinting south. Was this just a passing storm, or the beginning of the imposing wet season? And if the latter, could I make it south of the Wenlock before it rose too far over the road?
I decided to wait it out. Trying to ride in this dump in the middle of the night would be suicide. Plus, packing up is a real pain in the ass.
So I hunkered down under the tiny roof and finally feel asleep. When I woke up about six hours later, I crept out of my tent into the halcyon slice of paradise I had known before the sun went down complete with gentle breeze, dry ground and not a cloud in the sky. It was as if I had dreamed the evening’s calamity. Hell, I’d been living off beef jerky and instant coffee for the last week… maybe I did.
In any case I was happy to have my fears of becoming stranded allayed, and even happier to crack into a fresh mango for breakfast on the beach.
The fruits were growing in excess at the Archer River fuel depot where I had camped a couple nights prior, and the cute Scottish chick working the till there had been kind enough to pick a few for me. Way better than the pot of plain rice I would have eaten otherwise.
After breakfast I was staring into the sea pondering space and time when I gathered more evidence for the haunting of Captain Billy’s Landing.
Out of the blue and clear as day, I heard the sound of a boatswain’s whistle cut through the wind.
You know, one of those two-tone pipes they blew on old ships to get the attention of the crew?
Yes I’m sure it wasn’t the wind.
It was definitely the ghost of Captain Billy calling his crew of the damned to rise out of Davy Jones’ locker and download a copy of my Jimmy Buffet playlist… or whatever it is tropical ghosts might do.
In any case I wasn’t trying to stick around and find out so I loaded up the bike and burned rubber back to the development road. Southbound on the last couple days of a big solo ride at this point and eager for some greasy urban food… let’s motor!
Our second trip across Australia (eastbound) was unusually slick, easy, and relatively disaster free.
No, I’m serious!
We had a group of six riders from all over the world that all knew how to handle a bike, got on well and loved every minute of the trip.
I cooked up my famous chili twice, and had a few more cracks at damper in the camp oven. Magnus’ signature curry went down brilliantly as well… something I reckon I’ll miss between seasons.
The only major disappointment- and it was a big one- was the fact that one of our DR-Z’s dropped a big end bearing on the first day. That’s one thing we just can’t fix in the bush… so I had to give up the guide bike I was riding and once again was relegated to the passenger seat of the support truck for the entire six thousand kilometer punt across the world’s biggest island.
But…. at least I wasn’t in searing pain this time.
It was Magnus’ turn for that. The poor bastard was still nursing a sore abdomen and hip from his crash at Safari, having broken multiple ribs just ten days before driving over the Simpson desert.
True to his living legend status he toughed it out and muscled the truck, broke chains, and changed tires like an absolute animal without complaining. Too much.
The desert had a much different look to it this time around. More time had passed since the unusually wet rain season, and bush fires had ripped through a lot of the spindly camel grass that had covered nearly all of the Simpson when I rode it in August.
“Now that’s what I expected this place to look like.”
On the second to last day we came to the spot where I hit the kangaroo that put me in the Barcaldine hospital months earlier. Sure enough the carcass was still there, although it had almost completely returned to the Earth. I took a photo with him but resisted the temptation to grab a bike and do a burnout on his body… wouldn’t want the tire to stink for the rest of the ride.
When we arrived at Airlie Beach two days later, we hit the Mexican restaurant for one last team dinner and a celebration- it was the first year in OAT history for a Perfect 100% Season. Every client who started a trip, finished. The only people who bought nights in the hospital all year were Magnus and myself.
You know you’re in an exciting industry when every member of your staff gets hospitalized on the job.
That night we partied hard… apparently, because I have no clue how I got back into my hotel downtown when I woke up there the next day.
It was hard to believe the season was over. With literally tens of thousands of kilometers in trucks, bikes, and ambulances behind me since April, cruising around this giant country seems like just another day in the office.
Which, I guess, it is.
Now I’m off for one more assault on Cape York- hoping to have a go at the Starcke Track, Frenchman’s Track and the Old Telegraph Line…. Solo. Before the rain season starts and the entire region becomes inaccessible.
Just returned from seven weeks on tour that had my team and I crossing Australia east-to-west, playing the longest golf course in the world, spelunking, competing in the Australasian Safari Desert Race, riding the infamous John Holland Track solo, then finally bringing a team of bikers across the country again west-to-east.
Tour season’s over, but I’m going to try and squeeze one more Cape York in before the wet season sets in.
When I get back, I’ll publish the last two months worth of triumph and tragedy.
Can’t wait for more moto-madness? Here’s a preview of what I’ve been up to…
The Simpson Desert. Vast, untamed expanse of sand in the middle of the world’s largest island. Taking three times as long to cross as the Sahara, the French Line across the Simpson is one of the most epic rides to be had in Australia.
It’s the fucking Catalina Wine Mixer of my season with OAT.
And with the floods subsided and my shoulder healed, I was finally getting my shot.
Each morning on the track felt like Christmas… I woke up with a giddy anticipation I hadn’t known since I was a rugrat tearing through wrapping paper. And with each day I got a little bit better at managing the sand, the dunes, the Simpson.
I was determined to finish the track with my body and bike in as good condition as they had been when I began, keen to prove Mags wrong that I could in fact return one of his vehicles in usable condition.
So what’s so great about riding a motorcycle across the desert?
Imagine skiing the best run of your life; lots of speed, deep powder, sweeping turns. Now imagine that never ending until you release the throttle.
Thanks to the miracle of the internal combustion engine, a motorcycle can ski up the hills as well. Each kilometers is more fun than the last and after an hour or two in the saddle the balance, engine control and focus just clicks.
When we pulled up for the night, I collapsed into my chair at the fire with the kind of spent-satisfaction you have after a six-hour shag session.
We passed a few other groups of interest along the way. A group of blokes on Suzuki DR650’s, a big pack of camels, and a team of journalists reviewing 4x4s… including a four wheel drive Mini and a Chinese Great Wall SUV. Our riders reckoned they were wasting their time and ruining the track, but I was glad to see someone try something different.
The west-to-east crossing (which we took) is easier than the other way because the dunes aren’t as steep. Shaped by the prevailing wind, heading eastbound allows you to enjoy a long run-up up the dune, then a steep drop into the next gully. The dunes also get bigger as you head east, giving a nice and linear progression of difficulty.
Right up to the boss: Big Red.
Whether you’re on a motorcycle, 4×4, camel, or unicycle, Big Red is one of those “boxes to tick” if you’re off roading in Australia. Just about thirty kilometers from Birdsville, it’s fairly easy to get to but a proper monolith to behold.
The last time I had seen it was from the passenger seat of the Isuzu, chocking back winces as pain shot through my recently-destroyed AC joint.
Now I was back. On a bike. And I wanted revenge.
By the time we reached Big Red the hour was late, shadows were long, and everyone was dying for a beer.
I sensed that Carl and Bruce, having already surmounted Big Red years before, would be content to bypass it and head straight to the pub. But I knew I’d only be back here once, and I’d be driving the truck. There was no way I was going to get this close without having a go.
I stabbed the throttle ceremonially.
But I resisted a sandy burnout, and walked up to speed.
I heard Magnus’ voice in my head, like Obi-Wan Kenobi guiding Luke Skywalker out of the Hoth;
“…Up straight, steady application of power…”
I was getting closer and Big Red was growing.
It looked far bigger from the saddle of this bike than the cockpit of our truck.
Hands were starting to sweat as I picked up speed.
I strangled the horn to scatter the desert pigeons out of my path, the dune was towering over me like a tidal wave and I was experiencing genuine fear.
The front wheel hit the dune and I powered-on all the way, yelling into my helmet and leaning as hard as I could against the force of acceleration.
“GIVE IT HELL!”
It was all over in seconds… I was standing on the top, heart still racing at full throttle, stomach still at the bottom of the hill, and the bike idling calmly as though nothing had happened.
I allowed myself a fist pump and shut the bike down to avoid overheating.
After some photos it was time to hit the bar. An easy descent and a fun 30 kilometers later we were riding out of the sunset and pulling up once again at the famous Birdsville Pub, where people with names like “Wizard” tell you about the time they crossed the Simpson in a nitrogen-powered rickshaw.
But no matter how tall the tales get in that bar, I knew I had made it across and that’s all I needed.
In a couple months time I’ll be back… on twice as many wheels, which will be ten times as hard. I can only hope for as much success as the desert allows.
The second half of the Darwin to Longreach expedition was to have a decidedly… different tone.
We would be picking up the ‘significant others’ of our riders, who would be crossing the Simpson with us in the truck.
That means no more potty mouth, sexist jokes or peeing in the middle of the road.
Now, I’m not licensed to drive a vehicle with paying passengers in this country. So it also means that I get to swap a steering wheel for handlebars, and my Billu Barber playlist for the the screech of a 400cc thumper.
Remember how we had to rebuild the guide bike in the woods?
When the boys put it back together, they had the good sense to ditch the stock piston for a high-compression Wiesco affair that eats fuel and shits power like an NFL player on a dialysis machine.
I masterfully backed the truck into its space at the caravan park we were staying and handed Magnus the keys… he was already shaking his head for any one of a million reasons.
The next day was go time.
Before we took off Magnus looked at the souped-up DR-Z, then to me; “It’s perfectly straight. No dents, no dings.”
“I aim to keep it that way, sir” I replied, folding my arms and straightening my back.
He looked bike at the bike, and with half a laugh; “You won’t.”
We powered out of town and headed toward Finke, following the route of the race we had spectated about two months prior. The race track is right next to the main road. I mean, right next to it. They criss-cross at a handful of points, and there’s not much more than a few scruffs of camel grass between road and rack for the rest of the time.
Carl and Bruce were into it straight away. Carl had completed the actual race years prior, and came into his element as soon as his wheels hit the bumps. I heard the crack of his exhaust, then barely had time to yield as a blur of blue riding gear and black plastic flew past me and into the horizon. There was no question he was on familiar territory.
With my pledge to keep the motorcycle intact at the front of my mind, I approached the course with a bit more caution.
Hunched over the bars going just fast enough to clear the whoops, I picked my way down the course at peewee pace.
Sweating and scrambling to stay straight, I heard a familiar voice come through the helmet comm.
buzzbuzz “How you goin’ mate? You don’t have to respond, but let me tell you something- straighten up and drop a gear. It’ll get a whole lot easier.”
It was Magnus- I was so wrapped up in staying upright I hadn’t even noticed the truck running parallel to me on the main road.
I heeded the tip and indeed, picked up another ten KPH easily.
buzz “That’s the way, you’ll catch Grabbo [2011 Finke Champion] in no time.”
Here I was, riding a superenduro bike on the Finke Desert Race track, getting tips in my helmet radio from a motorcycling guru in a support truck. Bloody. Brilliant.
The truck steamed ahead and crossed the track to head for a campsite near Finke river, the other riders and I following over a few deep dunes.
By the time we pulled up I had an all new level of respect for the Finke competitors… I had ridden a quarter of the track at a fifth of race speed and I was knackered. I can no longer deny the size of kahunas necessary to complete the race.
The river we camped near was bone dry; a wide stream of sand cutting through the desert gully.
We tried to tow some firewood out, but the power-to-weight ratio just wasn’t there.
But since the bike was already in the sand, Magnus took the opportunity to put on a clinic.
He had me hop on the bike in the middle of the river to see how far I could get. But after all the revving and pushing I could muster, the only movement I got out of the rear wheel was down into the sand.
The captain took the reigns and showed us how the pros do it.
“Start in second, and rev the piss out of it.”
Words that would ring true in my head for the rest of the trip.
He released the clutch and took off down the river, made an easy 180 and was next to me again facing the other way before I was finished shaking my head.
I mirrored the technique, and sure enough the tire bit and propelled me down the river. Using about four times the space Mags had to make the turn, I slowly gained steering control of the bike by shifting my weigh on the pegs rather than turning the bars.
“Aaand that’s sand riding.”
Returning to the camp site I felt like I was getting the hang of this… and was happy to have kept the bike intact as promised so far.
Magnus’ guide bike had been running like a squirrel caught in a sewing machine since somebody took it for a bath in one of Cape York’s many bog holes.
But after just one day trying to stay ahead of Carl and Bruce, the clamor from the engine was so connotative of catastrophe that we had no choice but to pull the thing apart the first night of the tour.
So the tools came out, the lights came on, and the spanners started to swing.
The top end of the engine came apart piece by piece as Magnus and Bruce dived deeper into the project, and we all dived into a third bottle of Kahlua.
I was admittedly nervous from the get-go, but when the clutch was exposed and the cam chain was being held up with a string my sentiments were shared by the whole team. It was getting to the point where more of the motorcycle was on the table than on the frame, and BAC levels were creeping past the legal limit.
The boys had the bike nearly back together by midnight, but when nobody could remember which point the cam gears were meant to line up at we wrapped it up for the night and finished in the morning.
The next day the remaining ironmongery came together beautifully, and after a few tedious minutes of making sure the machine started we had officially transformed the poorest running bike in the fleet to a high-compression, power-pumping monster.
Share the elation of the moment in this clip of the first fireup:
I’ve been out of WiFi range for weeks and have racked up quite a few adventures since I was last able to post.
Now I have a few days off-duty before Magnus and I head south to play the longest golf course in the world (yep) and compete in the 2011 Australian Safari, so I have a chance to catch up.
But I made the mistake of checking in to a hostel with a bar opens at 10AM… so I wouldn’t get my hopes up regarding productivity this weekend.
So as a preview of what’s to come I whipped up a trailer of our last trip, an epic ride from Darwin to Longreach through some great terrain. Most notably, the Simpson Desert.
Everyone said to go north from Fremantle this time of year. That makes sense, because here in upside-down America north is where the warm this. I know, I still haven’t gotten used to it.
But the 4×4 book I had requisitioned tempted me with a “circuit designed for off-roading and great places to camp” near the town of Waroona, about 150 kilometers south of Perth.
That’s less than 100 miles. How different could the climate be?
If that sounds like another ironically foreshadowing lead-in… it is one.
Waking up at the crack of noon on whatever day it was, I saddled up and headed south. I was no more than five minutes on the road before I started bitching to myself in my head.
My shoulder ached from the Camelbak full of tools I was wearing. My payload of camping gear and food was taking up some prime seat real estate, and consequentially my man gear was being vice-gripped between the fuel tank and myself. Since I couldn’t fit my jeans and MX pants in a bag, I had them both on at once which was not helping the scrotal suffocation situation one bit.
By the time I got over that I had forgotten which highway I was looking for to get to Waroona. Luckily that situation resolved itself when I realized there was indeed only one option, and down it I went.
After about 60 kilometers I had to get off the highway. It was noisy, wobbly and boring. Not to mention the tires I had fitted were heavily off-road biased and did not wear well on pavement.
So I hit an exit and ticked “Avoid Highways” on my GPS, hoping there’d be a more colorful route to this supposed 4×4 circuit I was heading for. I wasn’t disappointed as the bitumen quickly gave way to dirt. Even better, after about 20 minutes I was on a sandy little farm track that was somehow declared a road by my basic Garmin map set.
My first real solo off-roading, how exciting! Where will this track go? What would I find? How long would it be until I did serious damage to my body or equipment?
I came up on a water crossing and stopped the bike for a butcher’s. What I guessed was usually a bee’s dick brook had turned into a full-blown pond on the track due to all the recent rain. I figured it was well worth walking before attempting to cross with the bike.
I took a few steps and sank two feet down into a sticky, poopy, mud pit.
“Godamit,” I grumbled as my boot took on water. I was less than pleased with the additional discomfort.
“Well… that’s why we walk obstacles first,” I said to the cows enjoying the show from behind a fence. I decided to stuff it and find another way around. There was at least another 15 meters of water to negotiate beyond where I walked. Plus the triumph of a successful crossing would pale in insignificance compared to the inconvenience of dumping the bike in the cow poop creek, and with an attitude like that I knew I had better take a step back.
Can always give it a go on the way home if I feel so inclined, I thought as I showering frogs with sand in an aggressive retreat 180.
It wasn’t hard to find a bigger track heading my direction, and I arrived in Waroona mid-afternoon.
Stopped for a fuel up I was approached by an old guy on some massive road-touring bike. The thing was ugly as sin and sounded like it was powered by an electric razor, but I’ll always entertain a yarn with another rider.
“You’ve come a long way, mate,” he said “and on those tires!”
Who was this, the Obi-Wan Kenobi of motorcycling? How did he know where I was coming from? Fortunately my idiocy was trumped by deductive reasoning before I opened my mouth. Of course; the DR-Z was wearing a Queensland license plate which was indeed a very long way away.
I thought about talking about my job and how I had gotten there, but my tank was almost full and I really didn’t feel like yapping.
Nah, let him think I just crossed the country with a 17 liter fuel tank and a gym bag.
“Aye, it’s been a bit of a ride,”
He just shook his head and laughed as he pushed off like a sea barge with the wrenching of his throttle, which caused me to have the same reaction.
I buzzed over to a billboard-sized map of the area that was conveniently located across the street from the Caltex.
There was a maze of turns from “You Are Here” to where the roads became dotted lines, which I interpreted to mean dirt tracks.
Okay take a left there, straight for a bit, a few bends… I am never going to remember this.
From the looks of the map, the dirt roads were as plentiful as promised by the book that had lead me here. Memorizing directions would be boring, and getting my own map out would take time so I decided just to head east, where the dirt roads were, and worry about specific roads or routes later. If at all.
I started looking for a camp spot as soon I was out of shouting distance from Waroona. I knew it would take donkey’s years for me to get set up and I wanted to minimize post-sunset firewood collection- cause we all know dark forests are scary.
I found a nice dry, rocky spot about 50 meters off the road and shut the bike down. Seemed good a place as any. Setting to break out my payload, I discovered my bag had melted where it was resting on the taillight. Guess that little globe retained a bit more heat than I would have expected… and my waterproof bag no longer was.
No matter, I bought a roll of 100 MPH tape just for this purpose.
Zip, rip, slap, done. Sorted.
I unrolled my tent in all its K-Mart blue-and-red glory, had it up and loaded my gear in within seconds. Climbing in, I was dismayed to realize it taken all of 90 seconds for the tent to stink of foot and ass… as if it wasn’t hard enough to bring a chick home when you live in a tent. But, such is life on the road.
Firewood collected, cooking gear splayed out and noodles ready to boil, I had just one last thing on the agenda for the day- lighting a fire.
Which, of course, took hours.
My thumb was getting charred from flicking my lighter so many times when I considered giving up. But I had only brought heat-dependent food on purpose. I was going to cook out here, godamit.
I finally got the right combination of wind, leaves, and noodle packet wrappers going to make a wee blaze.
With my tin billy boiling, I triumphantly wolfed two packets of the hardest-earned $0.69 noodles I’d ever eaten.
I woke up the next day and got a proper fire going much more easily than I had the night before. I relaxed, cooked, ate, cooked some more. I was so pleased with myself that I had slept on rocks and made my own coffee in the bush that I hardly wanted to leave.
I made an early lunch of curried-spam with basmati rice, a recommendation from my boss that went off brilliantly.
But I was there to ride, so after a lengthy re-pack I was on my way down the track again, searching for some engaging off-roading.
A truck-sized path veering away from the main track that engaged my interest, so down it I went.
It got tighter and steeper, as paths do, and soon I was into an easy-but-stimulating ride, perfect start to the day.
As I mentioned earlier, the area is littered with similar trails. I explored the network for hours seeing great climbs, dips, ruts and even a few kangaroos (which I managed not to kill).
Just as I started hunting for the night’s campsite I passed a picture of a tent with an X through it, below the text; “Camp Only In Designated Areas”. Fair enough… I figured I must have been coming up on a campground.
I was, but not before the track opened up to a huge dry riverbed. A “5 Knots” speed limit sign looked strange in the middle of the dirt- the river was a kilometer wide at some points but there was hardly enough water to fill a jerry can.
It was a strange and beautiful sight, and made for an easy crossing. I hardly compressed the suspension as I bumped over the trickle of water flow at the river’s center.
On the other side of the river I found campfire pits, grilles and even a toilet. As far as campsites go, this was as “designated” as it gets. The place was empty as Chernobyl, so I figured I might as well take advantage.
A sign told me I was at Lake Navarino, and that the Waroona Dam was responsible for the lack of water. I didn’t investigate further, but I imagine they re-route the water in summertime for boat use.
There was no firewood to be seen near where I pitched my tent, so I grabbed some from the trail. Riding was sketchy at best holding down a pile of sticks on the back of the seat with a bungee cord and balancing a log on my knee, so I kept it in first gear but managed to retain almost all of the wood I had harvested.
With firewood collected and the tent set up, I took the opportunity to ditch my gear and go for a cruise down the 4×4 tracks unencumbered.
I had almost forgotten how much better the bike was to ride without gear on it. Almost.
I buzzed all over the place with a Joker-sized smile under my helmet, kicking up dirt and chasing kangaroos. The tracks near the camp were the perfect size for the DR-Z and I was really enjoying getting a feel for the dirt again.
In the evening I managed to get another proper fire going, boiled up some soup and went to sleep.
But the night was only just about to get interesting.
The wind, which had been a kitten’s sneeze when I went to bed, started hollowing like an Everglades fan boat.
And then even harder.
The tiny tent quivered, rattled, clung to the Earth for dear life.
I prayed that the slave children who sewed my tent had mastered their craft, because this evening would be a true test of the little nylon dome’s robustness.
I woke up again around six and noticed it was quiet.
Yes, too quiet.
I peered out of tent to look for the motorcycle- thank god, it was still upright.
But overhead thick, dark clouds cloaked the stars I had sought constellations in before bed.
No sooner had I decided that rain was inevitable when a crack of lightening ripped across the sky, followed waaay too closely by a gunshot thunderclap.
Like a thousand ball bearings dropping on an airplane wing, rain came down harder than I thought possible.
Wwwwwwow. That’s loud.
Should I bail now or wait it out?
In a few minutes the decision was made for me- those tent seams I had prayed for just a few hours earlier had had enough, and water was pouring into the tent at an alarming rate. Stay or go, I was going to be soaked in less than ten minutes.
I started packing my gear up as quick as I could. The rain showed no signs of subsiding and I seriously considered ditching the tent and making a run for it.
But leaving equipment behind would be both wasteful and pussyish; neither sort of behavior would be authorized on one of my expeditions.
Using the toilet as a staging-area I sprinted one piece of gear at a time into the handicapped-accessible dunny.
Next I pushed in the bike, tail-first so I could stay dry while loading my gear.
I had originally planned on staying one more night, but I had no way of cooking in this kind of rain and I was getting hungry.
Stuff it, I’ll head back to town.
Blasting out of the bathroom on a motorcycle like some kind of low-budget superhero I braced for wetness and snuck a peek at my GPS… only to be greeted by the “Acquiring Satellites” message.
The river I had crossed to get to the campground would be impassible in this much wet; the whole area would be sloppy and I’d never make it fully laden.
I had to find another way, so I struck into the forest in the direction I thought Waroona and the highway must have been in.
After three turns I started getting nervous. There were so many forks! I had almost forgotten which I had taken since leaving the campground, let alone how to get back. I looked to the GPS again, safely wrapped in a Zip-lock bag.
No go; still “Acquiring Satellites.”
I cursed into my helmet. My outermost level of gear was saturated with water, my fleece jacket was next to go.
Alright, time to relax. I need more experience riding in the rain anyway. This is what adventure riding’s all about, isn’t it?
I decided to turn around and retrace my steps… the trail was getting too skinny to be nearer to town.
I thought about giving the riverbed crossing a go after all. Worst case, I could take off the gear and walk it across. But mercifully, a sign I had missed earlier made itself apparent and I saw my way out on a nice, wide dirt track.
Creeping to the highway I emerged from the forest sopping wet to see my first waypoint; “Perth: 110.”
Alright. Let’s do it.
No cute little dirt roads this time, I just wanted this ride to be over as soon as possible.
Before I even made it to Route 2 my visor lens was impossibly fogged, teeth were chattering and every single article of clothing I had on was waterlogged.
The next 110 kilometers were every kind of miserable. But I’m glad for the experience, at least now I know I can ride in the wet.
It seemed like an eternity before I made it back to the hostel I had left from but make it I did, shaking off like a wet dog as I stormed reception.
“Please god tell me you’ve got a bed open,”
The guy behind the desk laughed; “Ya ya man, go get a shower and warm up I’ll check you in later.” Now that’s customer service.
Back in my room I inspected the gear, discovering the tape I had patched my bag with hadn’t been the most effective repair.
My clothes, x-rays and other documents were soaked. Luckily my computer was wrapped in a case wrapped in a waterproof bag wrapped in another waterproof bag and was okay.
I treated myself to laundry and a $4 coffee, leaving gear strewn all over the hostel to dry.
My next hospital appointment was the day after tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll be approved for further riding, in which case the next trip will definitely be north.
A week and day had passed since my crash when we arrived at Ayer’s Rock. You could feel the milieu changing as soon as we got within 100 kilometers of the iconic monolith. The washboard road that claimed one of our rider’s license plates turned into glassy-smooth bitumen. We were passing rental cars and tour buses instead of sand, sand and little specs of camel grass poking through more sand.
But until you get within 30 kilometers of the rock, the new road and signs seem like the result of pork-barrel government spending. “Bridge to nowhere” kind of deal.
Then you round that last dune and boom; it’s just there. Hanging on the horizon like the spaceship in Independence Day.
I had a much better view than the bikers from the cockpit of the Isuzu- one minor advantage to my “benched” status. And what a view it was. Even from miles and miles away I could tell this place was special.
I’ve seen a few of the world’s icons, but for some reason this stands out as one of the most astounding things I’ve ever had my eyes on.
“Fucking Ayer’s Rock, man!”
Magnus looked over from the driver’s seat and cracked a smile- he wouldn’t bother feigning enthusiasm, he had seen the damn thing almost fifty times.
We rolled into Yulara, the miniature city dedicate to serving the hoardes of Germans and Japanese that fly in, take a few peace-sign photos, and make tracks for Sydney to tick the next box on their itinerary. Mags told me it was shaped like a crocodile when viewed from the air, but since I’ve learned to take everything he says with a bowl of salt I’ll have to let you look that one up for yourself.
The team had a day off at the campground, which meant Mags and I would be running around all day provisioning and fixing bikes.
The day drew to a close and I still hadn’t been within 10 kilometers of the rock. “Looks like you’ll have to see it another time, just like my last drivers” Mags said as we spun wrenches into late afternoon.
We finished up as the sun was setting, throwing the most incredible range of colors across the sand and sky. There wasn’t a cloud visible and a full moon was due up.
“I wish there was some way I could get a better look before the sun goes down,” I said, ogling our row of freshly tuned DR-Z 400’s.
“Ehy, take a ticket and ride over!” Mags replied.
“Yeah! Take my helmet. Just, please, don’t hit any roos,”
Saw that one coming.
“I won’t!” I said as I scrambled into the truck cab for Mags’ lid.
Ayer’s Rock. I was going to see it, up close, alone, and on a motorcycle. This is as good as it gets sportsfans; my first ride since the crash would be a triumphant one indeed. I hopped on the first bike in line. Fired it up, mounted and clicked into first. No gloves, thin jacket and work boots. Totally appropriate riding gear for a place that would drop to 0 degrees C in less than an hour.
I poked the throttle.
God is there anything better than that sound?
Before I could take off Mags walked over to offer one last piece of advice.
I really needed to work on my reputation. “Starting tonight” I vowed.
I powered out of the campground and toward the rock. Passing more than a few Watch Out For Wildlife signs, I kept the bike 5 KPH below the speed limit.
I had seen how incredible Ayer’s Rock looked from 30 kilometers away. But as I got closer, the magnitude of the thing completely bent the throttle on “wow” factor.
10 kilometers; “Holy shit.”
5 kilometers; “Ho. Ly. Shit.”
You’ve seen photos of this thing since you were a kid but I promise you it is way, way bigger than it looks on that Qantas ad in the subway.
By the time I got to the last viewing pull-off I had to have a photo. Low light, hand quivering in the cold, and a bee’s dick worth of battery power left… perfect conditions for a photoshoot.
Since I knew I could Google-image way better pictures of the rock than I could ever take, I allocated the last of the electricity to a self-shot of my helmeted-mug with the rock behind.
I squeezed the button to collect a few images and then beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep; the all-too-familiar cry of a stone dead power source.
So all I got was this shithouse picture of myself flouting the “No Stopping” sign, and one DR-Z glamor pose.
Orbiting the most iconic pile of sandstone on Earth with my spare battery in the truck was a minor buzzkill, but being just a kilometer away from this thing was too awesome to have me worried long.
I had to get closer.
I followed the road as it continued on to the rock. Finally I was skirting the base less than 100 meters away, and a wall of sediment occupied the entirety of my view.
Absolutely unlike anything I had ever seen. Old Ayer must have pooped his pants right off when he found this thing on his way to the pub… or wherever he was going in the middle of Australia a hundred years ago.
I had to touch it.
Pulled into the parking lot where two Land Cruisers were sitting, waiting for the Germans who rented them to bring them back to the hotel.
Walked up to, then a few meters up the rock, sat down and surveyed the landscape. Even from just a short distance up I could see the Olgas (another striking landform in the middle of nowhere) a few hotels and a whole lot of desert.
The setting sun threw an intense orange-fading-to-dark-blue light that reminded me of a JIC Magic titanium exhaust pipe.
I had to get a little higher.
I scrambled up the rock to the point where you have to start holding a chain to climb. This thing is steep.
The owners of the two 4WD’s passed me on their way down; both families with tiny kids who could barely walk. Damn those Germans and their fitness.
Looking up the rock was pretty intimidating. It was clearly a long way, and it was getting dark.
On the other hand, there was a full moon out. And if those kïnder-climbers could do it, surely I wouldn’t have a problem.
So I went for it. Charging at first, then slowing down, then stopping, another charge, then a slow and steady trudge.
Man I was getting tired. My shoulder, which had faired well on the motorcycle, was starting to remind me I had torn it in a few pieces as the climb got to hands-and-knees grade.
I thought I would text my team to let them know I’d be a minute, as one of the nearby resorts had a tower and even my Chinatown Special cellphone was working.
That would have been a great idea, if I hadn’t left my phone in the truck.
Hmm, I had kind of been counting on that as my flashlight as well.
But at this point I was so close to the top…
I pressed on. It was a sanctioned park-path for christsake, not Everest.
When I could finally stop climbing, the now-substantial pain in my shoulder and soreness of legs paid for themselves a hundred times over.
I felt the same intense absence of noise I had experienced in the Swedish Arctic as I took in a boundless desertscape frosted in moonlight. The wind breathed all around me and I was sure the ghost of Mustafa would manifest itself any second.
Unfortunately, all that manifested was the realization that I was cold as hell. Time to bounce.
Looking down the path I had just crawled up I was griped by another unpleasant realization; while the moon was beautifully illuminating the desert to the east of the rock, my path forced me down the west side… which was pitch black.
I climbed, slid, and crab-walked the entire face of Ayer’s Rock until I reached the bottom of the chain.
I headed for the parking lot. I could barely make out the glint of my motorcycle’s wheel, but seeing it was reassuring.
As I made my way toward the bike I encountered my next obstacle- a massive gate locking me behind a fence with the rock.
I put my shoulder through one last gauntlet as I scaled the stupid thing. While pain seared through my upper left I read the sign on the gate; “Do Not Enter After Hours. Penalties Apply.”
That wasn’t in place when I started, I swear.
I powered up the bike and headed home, feeling colder every meter. I shook my head at myself- even I’m not usually dumb enough to take off without gloves.
But I had, and now I was paying the price for my haste. I was puttering down the dark road at 40 KPH with my left hand in my pocket, right hand scrunched up in my sleeve, and balls about to solidify and shatter on the pavement behind me.
What felt like hours later I rolled into camp to the expectable comments of “we were about to send the search party” and “we thought the ‘roos had the last laugh after all.” But Magnus had saved some excellent dinner for me, and had even taken care of the dishes in my absence- a true champion move.
I wolfed down my grub, washed down a few painkillers with a finger of scotch and crawled into my swag. Hundreds of kilometers to cover the next day, and we were already halfway to Perth.
Here are a few photos from the two expeditions to the tip of Cape York (and back) we did in May. Click the picture below to be take through to the album.
After enduring karaoke performances at the Seisia Fishing Club from our riders, we dropped them off at the Bamaga airstrip and dropped the hammer back to Cairns.
Between expeditions Magnus and I had a few days off to kick back and drink beers. Unfortunately, we also had to resupply our food and tools, buy a new motorcycle, repair about five other motorcycles, wash our underwear, change about 50 liters of fluids and replace the radiator on the Isuzu.
Better make those beers “to go.”
We drained the rear differential and about five liters of a fetid gear oil/water amalgamation poured out of the drain plug.
Guess the river rescue wasn’t done haunting me just yet.
“You were parked in that water for a long time, man,” said Mags.
I got to feel like a dick all over again as I watched dollar signs flow from the diff as I prayed the component wasn’t permanently damaged.
Mercifully the seals held when we poured in fresh oil, and the rotting carrion smell of gear oil dissipated.
We ran all over Cairns picking up equipment, making adjustments to our loadout and spending a small fortune at the Suzuki dealer.
It was a flat-out few days, but I found a Suzuki-branded keychain and jacket patch that matched the colors on my GSXR perfectly… which I convinced the dealer to throw in with our new bike and hoard of parts. Who cares if I might not see that bike for years, what could be better than color-matching motorcycle paraphernalia?
The Isuzu dealer was quite a bit less helpful, offering not so much as an apology for the failure of their equipment we had to replace to the tune of over $3,000. But the new radiator slipped into the engine bay easily and after the rest of our business was done it was time to pick up the next set of riders.
“Reckon you can drive with a broken collar bone?”
There are pretty much only two businesses that ask that in a job interview- the mafia, and apparently outback touring companies.
March 24th had me at the Whitsunday Sailing Club finally meeting Magnus, the man in charge of Outback Adventure Treks (OAT) and my new boss for the 2011 touring season.
The preseason expedition to Cape York he had planned was scrapped due to rain: access roads to the area were three meters (meters) under water. So a few pints and sandwiches would have to give us enough time to get familiar.
Magnus told me a few stories of epic roads, chasing wild camels and the inevitability of crashes. I only started to feel a bit nervous when he laid out the average injury report on his tours. I learned that broken bones are commonplace, and helicopter evacuations were hardly out of the question. Looks like I’ll have a chance to blow the dust off my Wilderness First Responder training after all.
OAT adopts one “foreigner” a year, and I guess I’m the first American to hold the honor. My tasks will range from the very sexy (riding point in motorcycle convoys) to the less glamorous role of making sandwiches.
I was told I’d have to drive a support truck for about half the road time.
Fair enough. I imagined OAT used something like the modified Land Cruiser that Magnus rolled up to the bar in to carry extra fuel and water. But when he showed me a photo on his iPhone I was looking at a full-on, Dakar-ready diesel support truck with a seven-seat cab, and full kitchen, not to mention room to carry multiple motorcycles and about a thousand gallons of petrol.
Check out the video for a few glimpses of that beast and an idea of what OAT is all about:
The 2011 season is to last about six months. During that time I’ll be covering living in a swag (Australian sleeping bag/tent) and riding/driving between 1,000 and 2,500 kilometers a week.
First task is to meet back in Airlie Beach on April 18th to prepare for a desert endurance race called the Condo 750 in New South Wales, where Magnus will be racing and I’ll be driving support.
Now heading to Cairns, Queensland to soak up one last bit of urban living and Domino’s pizza I’ll get until Halloween.
While auditing the 1986 movie “Cobra” as the potential Car Chase Of The Day (don’t watch it, it’s terrible) Terminator II came up as one of the links after the clip ended and I couldn’t resist.
Not the most profound chase you’ll see, but the robot-chasing-dirtbike in the beginning is pretty intense, and Arnie’s one handed shotgun reload is downright badass. He might not be able to keep an economy together, but he can definitely manage a firearm while riding a motorcycle.
After a long two months of great convertible weather passed, Nino finally relinquished dad’s FIAT Spider 2000.
While it still may not be perfect, it sure looks good.
We decided to immortalize it while we could, before some jackass in the Crosby’s parking lot opens the door of their QX56 too close and squashes it.
These photos were taken at Castle Hill in Ipswich, MA. If only my camera were a bit sharper…
I’ve been waiting a long time to get back on a bike.
Our humble GS450 has been sitting in the garage crammed between a non-starting scooter, a rusted convertible, a canoe, piles of trash, and lots of junk for many cold months and it needed some exercise.
And since I had a ton of work to do that day I jumped at the first break in the clouds to go for a ride.
So yesterday I rolled it out, poured a little Seafoam in the gas tank and topped if off with gasoline.
I’m taking about salt water, you should read up on this magical liquid and then you might even consider running a can through your own engine.
Not to sound sponsored or anything (I wish) but this chemical does seem to improve an engine’s flow. You can think of it as really high octane gasoline that runs your engine clean as it burns. It has an incredible range of uses in 4-stroke, 2-stoke, gas and diesel engines. It’s a purely petroleum product so you can pour it into your fuel tank, directly into the throat of your throttle body or even shoot it into your intake manifold as an aerosol. Pretty wild.
Check out the website for a more complete rundown of what it’s all about, but I can attest that I’ve seen results in my Land Rover, FIAT and friend’s cars.
A t $10 a pint it is a bit expensive… just pretend you’re buying a beer in Sweden or something… but a little goes a long way, as just one ounce will treat a gallon of gasoline.
In my tiny little motorcycle, just four ounces were necessary.
Since the bottle doesn’t have a level marking on the side and my mum wouldn’t let me pour petroleum on her cooking utensils, I had to improvise how to get the right amount of Seafoam into the Suzuki’s gas tank.
A run to the gas station and the bike was ready to go.
But, now the weather wasn’t.
I made it about a quarter mile down the road and the sky opened up like it was Noah’s flood.
So I had to scrap the operation.
Next day the sun was out again… but the motorcycle wouldn’t start.
The sun’s finally coming out in New England, and so are the motorcycles. I know I’m excited, look for a “Motorcycle Season Opener” post in the near future.
But before you get all jacked up and enter yourself in a motocross race, I’ve aggregated a few images to scare you straight and make sure you don’t splatter your guts all over the highway or buy a Hayabusa before your dad lets you take the training wheels off your Vespa. Cause that gives all us bikers a bad name.
Take this guy for example. One second he’s the man, letting his bike hit redline without anybody sitting on it… a few seconds later he’s coddling his boo-boos and most certainly not getting laid anytime soon.
Or this poor bastard… so proud of his fresh ride. This is actually not that hard to do with new and/or cold tires so watch yourself leaving the parking lot.
At least the cameraman was nice enough to start running to help instead of getting a better picture.
This dude might have looked like an idiot in front of all his Norwegian biker buddies, but I think his recovery is pretty impressive.
If that doesn’t give you your motorcycle fail fix… check out this compilation our friends at break.com came up with all by themselves!
The slowmotion laughter might be the best part of that one.
Don’t worry… biking’s not all bad. Actually, it’s really awesome. But let’s all learn a lesson from these jackasses and take it easy those first couple days out.