First Motorcycle Injury

This past weekend, I took the Duke out for a group ride. It was a mild day and the roads were dry. We met up in the late morning and headed out with plans on hitting up Alice's and then continuing on a to-be-determined route. Everything was going fine as we made our way down I-280. Little did I know, I was going to suffer my first moving motorcycle accident.

It happened as I was turning into the parking lot at the intersection of Highway 35 and the south end of Highway 92. I was turning left from the eastbound lane of Highway 35. After clearing the westbound lane and entering the parking lot, I went over a large patch of gravel. As many motorcyclists know, going over gravel while turning is just a wreck waiting to happen. I would have been super lucky to have come out of that scenario unscathed.

But, I'm not that lucky. My motorcycle low sided on its left side with my leg trapped underneath it, and the bike and I slid a mere 5 feet or so. It happened so fast that I didn't register what happened until the bike stopped sliding. I remember feeling all 400 pounds of the bike crushing my left ankle. My friend had to lift the bike up for me to escape its mighty hold. Once I got up and put weight on my left leg, I immediately winced in pain. It was extremely tender. I didn't go to the hospital though since I felt it was just a bad sprain. It didn't feel like anything was broken. In addition, my left knee was also pretty tender and felt like it was bleeding from road burn (but it wasn't).

The group I was with—being the awesome people they are—took care of me. After we got my motorcycle upright, we examined the damage. There were no leaks and the engine started up fine. The only visible damage we noticed were a broken gear change lever and footpeg. The backing of the rear view mirror got sratched up and the bar end looks as if it got chewed up by a dog. My frame slider did its job and prevented damage to the frame and fuel tank. I'm so glad I have frame sliders.

Broken gear change lever and footpeg

Since the foot instruments on the left side broke and my left ankle being as banged up as it was, I was not able to ride back home on the Monster. We tried to call someone to tow the bike back on his pickup truck, but being that it was my lucky day, he sold the truck a week earlier. We didn't want to spend money on calling a tow truck, so we got creative.

Two people went to a nearby Safeway to pick up a cold pack and some ibuprofen for me. They also bought duct tape. When I was in college, duct tape solved pretty much everything. That day didn't prove any different, as we made our own makeshift footpeg and gear change lever. We took some branches from the ground and taped them to the bike to replicate the footpeg and lever.

Makeshift gear change lever and footpeg using branches and duct tape (1 of 2)

Makeshift gear change lever and footpeg using branches and duct tape (2 of 2)

However, the initial setup wasn't sturdy enough to handle both upshifts and downshifts. We didn't want to risk our makeshift gear change lever falling off on the ride back, so we improvised some more and decided it would be best to just tape the rider's foot to the new gear change lever.

Since my ankle hurt like a mofo and it didn't have its full range of motion, my friend took the plunge and volunteered to ride my bike back with his foot taped to the bike while I rode his R6.

Foot taped to the gear change lever

Full picture of my friend taped to the M796

Everyone got back home safely. For the past couple of days, I've just been a couch potato resting my ankle and icing it here and there. It's gotten a bit better. I'm still walking like an old man with a limp though. I just hope I'll be well enough by next week, since that's when I start going back to school!

My ankle wrapped up

All in all, I'm fortunate it was only a sprained ankle. Kids, make sure you wear proper gear. I had all my motorcycle gear on—leather jacket, padded pants, gloves, helmet, motorcycle boots. My boots have ankle protection. It's not the sturdiest, but it definitely helped. If I didn't have boots, I probably would have suffered broken bones. There was a small tear in the knee area of the pants, and the left arm of my jacket got scuffed up, but both the pants and jacket are still in working condition.

I'm also grateful for my friends and my girlfriend who took care and is taking care of me. They made everything oh so much easier. I feel like a king.

Now, I have to get replacement parts, heal up, and find the time to repair my Ducati.