“Shit happens. It could have been worse,” was my contribution. It was about all I could think to say at the time.
The couple in question, armed with a Jucy Rentals Toyota Estima of which they had lost control, had spun onto my side of the road, knocking me off my motorcycle, ending my otherwise idyllic holiday.
“So how’s your bike, Brett?” I hear you ask.
My recently acquired Yamaha FJR1300 has been written off. This is a usual outcome for bikes that have been completely munted. Even red ones with cruise control that talk to your soul.
“And your fair self?”
I managed a ride in an ambulance with some fantastic paramedics to Nelson hospital’s A&E department. A deep gash in my right leg was sutured and taped back together. I was given some crutches, a belly full of paracetamol and ibuprofen and discharged.
Thank goodness for the crutches. These were provided so that I wouldn’t strain my newly acquired leg embroidery. In reality I would have had some difficulty hobbling without them for the next few days. Having about 350kg of motorcycle fall on top of oneself doesn’t do much to enhance the general well being of the parts of one’s body pressed lovingly between said motorcycle and Planet Earth. Dealing with these strains and contusions has been a big part of my recovery.
Despite being fully insured and covered by ACC, I am out of pocket. This is generally the outcome of such events, of which I have had a few. This is even more galling when one has been the innocent party. My German assailants, on the other hand, will have completed their New Zealand adventure holiday and returned home with a careless driving conviction to embellish their stories. Apart from a short delay to their day’s journey, they are completely unscathed by this event.
And so, gentle readers, ends my 15 years of motorcycling. My midlife enhancement.
In that time I’ve managed to have about four similar freakish no-fault motorcycle accidents that have seen bikes munted and me banged up to varying degrees. Enough is enough.
This isn’t a decision that makes me happy. Jane and I were on our way from Nelson to the Picton ferry home, after having had a brilliant biking holiday around the South Island. I had owned my new bike for a couple of months, had set it up for touring needs and had plans.
My confidence has taken a bit of a bang and I am in no hurry to repeat a collision that could easily have been much worse. But am able to savour the memories of several hundred thousand kilometres ridden around New Zealand in all weathers, Australia, the USA, Canada, Slovenia, Italy and Switzerland. Experiences shared with my Bestest Riding Buddy, who has also decided to hang up her helmet.
Motorcycling is a wonderfully liberating experience that makes riders part of the scenery they’re travelling through. Heat, cold, smells, noises, sights and travel moments that cannot be embraced any other way. You meet great people who are happy to talk and share experiences. It’s amazing how many non-motorcyclists have brilliant stories to tell about bikes and people they know who’ve ridden. Perhaps an awareness that things could go pear-shaped at any time adds to the sense of liberating enjoyment. Or not.
A New Year begins. On Wednesday 3 January I made a resolution that was a bit different from one I may have made on New Year’s Day. I shall keep it.