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Monday, August 25. 2008
I've always warn Olympia Gel gloves in warm weather. Since I started riding I've had two pairs. At the beginning of the summer I went through both thumbs of my current pair and started going through the leather in a couple of other places too. I really didn't have the money to spend on gloves so went as long as I could. Eventually my thumbs were out of the glove more than they were in the glove and this became and incredible nuisance and distraction and distractions on a bike aren't a good thing.
I visited Cycle Gear a store I am not really all that fond of, but a store that usually has gear in my price range. Took a look through the Olympia gloves and they didn't have the right kind in the right size. I looked at some of the other stuff available and tried a few items on, but given the size of my hands, finding gloves that are comfortable is often quite difficult. Then I found a pair that looked like they might be large enough and tried them on. Tried them on before checking the price, and that was a mistake, because they are definitely the most comfortable riding gloves I have ever warn. The fact that they're well made, make effective use of Kevlar and have many other nice features was secondary. Then I looked at the price. There was no way I could afford the $130 price tag. So I left despondent.
A week later I returned, hoping that they'd have some of the trusty Olympia Gels that have spent so many miles on my hands over the past eight years. Once again they were out of my size. Once again I tried on those other gloves. This time I said screw-it, I'll eat a bit more Top Ramen for a while and shelled out the money.
So far it's been a good decision. I haven't warn the Frank Thomas XTi's on any extended trips yet, but they've been great on my daily commute. I'm hoping that they will be warm enough to last me a bit deeper into winter than the Olympias usually did. Because when it gets too cold I have to get a new set of winter riding gloves too, and given my new taste for more expensive gloves, I don't want to think about those funds yet.
Thursday, August 31. 2000
I wrecked my motorcycle on August 30, 2000. The victim of a driver that was not paying attention. I couldn't sleep the night I got hit, so I got up and wrote an e-mail to the MIG mailing list It appears, edited for correctness, below.
Date: Thu, 31 Aug 2000 00:47:44 -0700
I'm hoping that writing this will help clear my mind so I can get to sleep tonight.
It was a beautiful day here in Portland. I had the privilege of having to visit a client in one of our outlying communities so I got to ride and extra twenty or so miles today. Had a great ride. with every mile that Craigelachie and I travel together I get more confident and more at home in the saddle (yep, even the stock seat).
Today I was running so late that I even took the freeway home. I hate the freeway at rush hour, but it was after 6:00 traffic was thinning, and I wanted to be at my seven year-old's first soccer practice of the season. It was an uneventful freeway ride. I can tell I am improving because I was able to take the exit ramp almost at full speed.
Got off the freeway, and ran along the frontage road to my turn. Two lanes turn left there. There are lovely white lanes painted in the road to show which lane you should travel in as you turn the corner. I'm in the outside lane. The very pretty Dodge Ram in the inside lane takes the turn faster than I. The gal driving knows where I am and stays in her lane. The midsize behind the truck doesn't understand the concept of staying within the alotted lane and swings wide into my lane. I see her coming, let her hear my horn, see the disabled permit on her dash, see her looking straight at me. We make eye contact, but the old gal obviously sees no need to make room for my bike and refuses to shift back into her own lane. Fortunately I have room to manouever, swing wide out of my lane, slow down and let her go by. I think that is the longest I have ever held my horn button down.
My heart is beating a little, and I would love to pull up along side her and give her a piece of my mind, but my cooler half prevails and I go merrily on my way for another block. The street is one way heading east and four lanes wide, I'm in the left of the two center lanes. All of a sudden I see a white object moving fast in my left mirror, it turns out to be some maniac driving far to fast, but he doesn't appear to be a threat. I thumb my right blinker so that I can move over two lanes to make a right turn in a few blocks. I then look to my right. Somebody is obviously trying to get two lanes to the left to make a left turn in a couple of blocks. Unfortunately they need to go through me to make their turn...
...Not quite sure what all happened. I remember my thumb looking for my horn button, but having just turned my signal on, the button wasn't where my thumb thought it was. I have a vivid memory of watching the rear door on the car barely slide past my right foot peg. I can remember thinking I can't go left the maniac going too fast is there. I can remember my handlebars starting to twist out of my grip. I can remember sliding across the pavement thinking how glad I was to be in full leather with a full-face helmet on. The bike slid several feet farther than I did. I jumped up the minute I quit sliding. I noticed a little pain in my right hand and my left elbow, but mostly I was angry. The car that hit me didn't even stop. I thought at the time that they were oblivious to the damage they had caused.
The guy in the car behind me was out his door before I was even able to get to my feet. We picked up Craigelachie. The most obvious damage was to my Memphis Fats shield--the one with the gradient blue tint that matches the blue on Craigelachie so well. The bike wouldn't start, so I pushed him over to the side, and threw my gloves on the ground in disgust. My right hand was bleeding from a small cut, felt a little sore, but seemed pretty much operational. I called my friend and partner John--the KLR guy--and said I needed help and a trailer. I took off my coat and found that the pain in my elbow was a fairly small road-rash that was bleeding quite nicely.
There was a small store in the corner of strip mall where I parked my wounded bike. Two nice young ladies came out and provided me with some bandages and bandaids, they said they saw it, I said can you ID the car, they said it was a tan Camry, but that's all they could tell. I unrapped the bandage and tried to apply it to my elbow but couldn't manage it. Two older ladies appeared and asked me if I was ok. I said yes, but could one of them please help me with the bandage. They hung around quite a while. I didn't pay enough attention, but I now think they were in the car that hit me, and that they came back to see if I was alright.
I called the answering machine at home to explain why I wouldn't be home when they got back from soccer practice.
I stripped off my leather pants, to see what damage had been done, quite abraded, but I hope still serviceable. My left boot is somewhat the worse for wear, the laces were cut in two places, and some stitching came out, I have small hope that they are still waterproof. My coat is covered in abrasions, none as severe as the pants, it is defitely still serviceable.
I'm a big guy (freakishly large). I had a terrible time finding a helmet, but when I thought all hope was lost, I found an $80 Cyber full-face 2XL that fit beautifully. It didn't get too beaten up, but the visor and the right temple definitely spent some time on the pavement. I wasn't kidding when I said that one of the thoughts running through my mind as I slid on the pavement was how glad I was to be well outfitted. If I had a 3/4 or 1/2 helmet on, much of the right side of my face would still be on the eastbound lanes of Washington Street.
John showed up and we rolled Craigelachie onto his trailer and tied him down.
I got home and my wife and three boys came out to greet us. My eldest, Travis, was so worried that he was close to throwing up. The younger two were pretty much oblivious to the situation. We rolled Craigelachie off the trailer, and John was able to start him up immediately. Once the windshield was off he looked much better, though the headlight is messed up, the speedo is broken open, and the steering column was out of alignment. Some twisting on the handlebars put the column pretty much back in alignment, but it will have to be checked thoroughly at the shop. My left saddlebag is scuffed pretty badly, and my left rear turn-signal is too. The worst thing other than the windshield is the big dent in the front of the gas tank.
As time has progressed, I have discovered that the road-rash is going to be the least painful of my injuries. I banged my knee and hip up pretty well. I don't know if I will be able to move in the morning.
I was planning a big ride with some friends next Thursday night. I wonder if they can have him put back together by then.
This has been really long. If you make it this far I'm impressed. I guess this is what's known as catharsis. I think I can sleep now.
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