On Saturday, September 29, I was knocked out cold, had the old metal pulled out of my left arm and much stronger, more comprehensive titanium installed, repairing “an acute fracture of the mid radial shaft.” That was the least painful in a list of injuries that also include a bruised tailbone, two fractured ribs and some significant road rash on my ass and knee. This Saturday, I zipped up my Roadcrafter, hopped on a Moto Guzzi and headed out for the best road in Southern California.
I don’t really have time to be injured right now. We’re in the midst of launching a new company, shooting season two of the show and I just moved into a new house and have a list of DIY projects that need doing taking up the entire front of the fridge. I need to be going to meetings, moving bikes around, having adventures while a camera’s pointed at me, wielding power tools and just generally makings stuff happen. In short, there’s no time to lay around feeling sorry for myself.
I’ve also spent the last year and a half of my life learning how to eat well and exercise properly. At 31, just being a naturally skinny guy isn’t enough anymore and a lifestyle that was mostly active a decade ago is now mostly in front of a computer.
Being motivated combined with being in good shape seems to equal quick healing. Saw the doctor yesterday for a checkup and to get my stitches out and even he agreed, “Damn, you’re healing fast!”
Told him I was lifting (light) weights and doing my own PT and he just told me to keep doing whatever it is I was doing since it was clearly working. Can’t tell you how great it is not being in a cast this time.
But healed enough to ride?
Jamie came by on Friday after shooting an episode with Miguel Galluzzi and had a V7 with him. Feeling pretty confident after three days back in the gym, I asked him to leave it with me to see if I could manage a little ride on it. Nik, the cameraman, looked green as he climbed on the back of a Speed Triple R with Jamie. We half joked about starting a video log series in which we documented our emotions a la Blair Witch while riding on the back with Jamie. It’d be a mixture of terror, man tears, little girl screams and the sheer elation of realizing you’re still alive when you’ve arrived some place. I’m not ready to get on the back with him again yet.
The status report on my healing is that the arm is pretty much A OK. The doc keeps reminding me it is actually broken, but it’s not swollen, the bruising has gone mostly away, I have full articulation of my wrist and I can just about straighten the thing out fully. My hand’s a little weak from an impact it took, but there’s not real damage there, so no big deal. Knee’s almost healed, all the road rash has disappeared from my ass, but the tailbone’s still pretty sore and my ribs can still hurt sometimes and still limit my movement. All in all, not bad. Figured I’d hop on the bike and see how it went.
Ridden a Moto Guzzi V7? It’s much more than just an Italian Bonneville. To start, it’s 100lbs lighter than the Triumph. 394lbs (wet) versus 495lbs (wet). That makes all the difference in the world, where the Bonnie feels heavy and a bit awkward at low speed as a result, the Guzzi is light and natural. It’s also incredibly, impossibly slim. Combine that with the low seat and this thing’s about as hard to ride as a scooter. The flat bars sit at a neutral height, high enough to keep weight off my injured arm, but low enough to still give good feedback and control.
48bhp may sound a little unimpressive, but along with the 44lb/ft, it’s spread over a broad power band, making for easy, deceptively fast progress. Galluzzi likes to say it’s not meant to be sporty, it’s not meant to be fast, it’s just meant to be a nice, evocative bike to ride around on. Perfect, then, for a guy just hoping he can get back on something and ride.
So, on with the race boots, the Roadcrafter, the armored gauntlets and the $800 full-face, it’s time to toodle about like a n00b.
Angeles Crest in the Rain
It didn’t really occur to me that it might be rainy up in the mountains. I mean there were black clouds hovering over them and, as I got closer, the thermometer was dropping from the mid 70s to the high 50s. But I was mostly concentrating on my riding, the road and traffic, gripping the bars with white knuckles and focusing ahead with wide eyes. Any time it’s driven home that the world is a place that can hurt you, it takes a little while to adapt back into feeling the risks we take every day are simply natural.
So all of a sudden, there I was climbing out of the ‘burbs and into the mountains and it was raining. That’s one of many times it’s nice to have the Roadcrafter. I just pulled over, zipped close the pit vents, velcro’d up the neck and carried on warm and dry.
I feel like car drivers always have trouble on this road and its endless corners. It must be annoying not to be able to text once they lose their cell phone signal and having to actually apply brain cells to steering around corners will be new and confusing. Doubly so in the wet. Of course, the rain also keeps 99 percent of motorcycle riders away. Typically this place is a crowded mess on weekends, but today I have it largely to myself. Did see one Street Triple that’d eaten shit in a corner, getting a ride back down on a tow truck, but that wasn’t until I reached Newcomb’s.
Up the western side of the mountains, through fog so dense I could barely see the edge of the road, then, over the peak and the sun came out, revealing totally dry, totally clear roads the rest of the way. The upside of getting a little wet was that it made me forget I was supposed to be timid and hurt and just get on with riding. By the time I got to Newcomb’s I actually looked like a motorcycle rider again. Well, one with a limp.
A burger, a hot cup of coffee and a nice, warm break, then it was time to head back down the hill to Hollywood. A black 1198 SP was leaving at the same time as me. Its rider provided incompetent enough that I was able to use my 48bhp to hang with him the whole way down and LA traffic wasn’t half as terrifying on the way back as it was on the way there. It feels good to be back.