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Thursday, 29 October 2009

A spanner in the works...

The trip preparation had been going well. Mike and I had pretty much been meeting every weekend to work on our bikes and prepare them as best we could for the journey ahead. The weekend of the 26th of September saw me over at Mike’s place with a list of things to do. Mike was fitting his new crash bars and side stand and I was giving the cooling system on the XRV a bit of an overhall.

On the way home that evening, heading up Wandsworth Road back towards East London I had my first proper ‘off’. A pretty decent one for my first. Motorcycle vs car vs brick wall. I was lucky. No serious injuries, a sprained thumb, bruising on my left hip and knee and at least one cracked rib. It all happened so damn quick! One second I was riding along and the next I felt like I was flying through the air. I had no time to brake or even decelerate before hitting the car that turned in front of me. I just hit it, then carried on towards the wall. Whilst flying though the air I remember thinking, ‘this is gonna hurt’. And it did. However after landing my first reaction was to spring to my feet, almost instantly. I think I wanted to reassure myself that I wasn’t too badly injured.

Adrenalin and shock are funny things. At the scene I was pretty calm and lucid. Spent a lot of time with the other driver trying to reassure her that I was actually okay. Managed to collect all my tools which were sprayed all over the side of the road. Three hours later when the salvage truck finally dropped my bike and me off at home, I could hardly move. My body, where I had taken a knock, had seized up like a rusty old bucket.

At about this time the implications on the trip started to sink in. Sitting in A&E at 11.30pm that night at Newham hospital amongst a few drunken brawlers and a stabbing I wasn’t sure I would still be able to do. Particularly because time was running out in terms of the window I had to leave the UK in order to miss the worst of the Sahara heat and rainy season further south. In the end doubt gave way to certainty that I would still make the trip happen. I’d need to sort and few things out though. The first being a new bike. More specifically, a new Honda XRV750 Africa Twin!

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