Germany september 19, 2000.

Lunch in Czech the day before. Still smiling...

There once was a guy who attended a Eurocis rallye in Germany.. This is a part of the email message he sent a week or so later to a friend in the US:

Q: When you feel better, email me with the details of your get-off. I'd like to know what happened.

A: On pleasure rides with the old beemer, or while commuting on the Honda, I'm a pretty sedate rider. However, when I'm abroad having fun with friends on wide open curvy roads, I cannot resist getting my adrenaline to a higher level. Last week tuesday we decided to ride the GrossGlockner, an impressive mountain in Austria. There's a toll, about 10$, to ride this road. The positive thing about this is they use all that money maintaining and improving this mountain road. So, the road is very attractive to us motorcyclists.

We headed out from Thurmansbang with five bikes: three dutchmen, one brit and one german, Martin Hildebrandt. Martin has decided to be a Iron Butt contender next year for the third time, this time aiming to get the record for oldest finishing bike. (He already has finished on the lightest bike ever, a Zundapp 175cc, and as best rookie, finishing second on his ST1100). He recently finished restoring his oldtimer, a 1938 600cc BMW. BTW, the engine he is using is brandnew, he managed to get it from a police museum in France. It doesn't even have a serial number on it! The frame was bought in Sweden, fork in Norway etc. He ended up with a bike looking, and for most part being, brandnew; and he wanted to test it on altitude as well, hence the GrossGlockner trip.

So we headed of. The roads weren't very exciting, but the views got prettier and prettier as we approached the austrian mountains. Clouds changed into sunshine, and except for the relatively slow speed (Martin was braking the engine in, but still managed to do 60-70mph with his girlfriend Brigitte on the back, not bad of course, unless you have to follow on a VFR or RT1100) it was a nice ride.

The climb to the top of the GrossGlockner was awesome. The group split up as we would meet on the top anyway, and I opened the throttle big time! Fun fun fun. We had lunch in a restaurant just over the top on the other side of the mountain, having Kaiserschmarn as desert. My friend Dook, who usually has more than a healthy appetite, got so "filled up" that his eyes almost popped out of his head...

Down again, back to the hotel. Riding down the GrossGlockner was even more fun than riding up. It took me 15 min. to get down, the next guy, our english friend Dave Wright was second 2 minutes later. As you may have guessed, this was again a hoodlum ride. Then the straight roads and low speed again for many hours. I got bored, and so did Dook on his VFR750. We started to play: who accellerates fastest from 3500rpm in 5th, stuff like that. Then the autobahn (motorway / highway) again. Sigh sigh...

A once very useful helmet.

Then came the end of the autobahn part. We saw the junction from far away: a righthander, then a lefthander disappearing under a tunnel beneath the autobahn. Dook and I (we are the playful/stupid/childish couple) dropped back to create some space between Martin and Hans (my dutch friend on the R1100RT) and us: this was our last chance this day to have some fun. Approaching the righthander I closed in on Dook, we shifted back two gears and dived into the righthander. Great. Now to the left into the tunnel. Great sound these two V4's in the tunnel! Exiting the tunnel apparently another righthander. No problem. While I was still leaned over, Dook hit the brakes very hard. I reacted quickly to do the same. Then, while exiting the tunnel and still braking pretty hard, I saw the problem: the runway up to the bundesstrasse (b-road) was very much shorter than usual, and blocking the exit were Martin and Hans who for some reason had come to a full stop. They were standing in such a way that there was no chance shooting between them while still leaned over. Worse, as Dook had started to brake before me, I was closing in on him. If I just carried on; I would hit him. So I released the brakes for a moment, leaned the bike even further over, and started braking again to avoid hitting Hans and Martin. Then the wheels blocked, the bike slid out from under me and got stuck under the guardrail.

I was rewarded a VFR-red dustpan and brush. Mmm...

The damage was considerable as you may guess. A bone in my hand turned out to be broken, so I had to return home by train. The bike was in bad shape, as was the hand, but the worst thing of all was the pain in my "ego".

It's december 2000 now. After 11 weeks without a bike and effectively without the use of my left hand, both are restored now. Fortunately all damage was paid for by the insurance company, but the renewed experience of not being invulnerable will keep me decent for a while (I hope). Mounted with a nice new (Bos) exhaust, a bagster tankbag, a new set of bridgestones (BT010 and BT020) and new shiny plastic I hope to keep the rubber side down for a while!