One thing’s for sure, irrespective of how many miles you’ve travelled or how many years you’ve had that dog-eared licence in your pocket, you never stop learning. Sometimes the lesson hurts, sometimes it’s so subtle it’s easy to miss and sometimes the lesson leaves your blood-stream swimming in the hormonal avalanche from the Adrenal medulla. You know what it’s like, you’ve been there yourself – a close call, a near miss, a white knuckler, call it what you will …. and you know how it brings a fresh new perspective to the day!
Yesterday I went back to school ………
Scrubbing off speed, I approached a mini round-about where I needed to double back on myself to enter a hardware store car-park. It was a beautiful sunny day with just the right amount of breeze and all was good in my little world. Down a couple of gears, a tickle of brake and I’m eye-balling the ongoing passion play of traffic already negotiating the roundabout as I started to roll in to the left, but immediately it all went horribly wrong. The turn was too shallow, I was spiraling outwards – the steering wouldn’t turn to the left!!
Instinct (or more likely blind panic 😯 ) had me kicking in a heap of counter-steer to abort the left turn before I ran into the oncoming vehicles – swinging the bike away to the right with the left pannier a hair’s breadth from some poor sod’s pride and joy. Pulling over with my heart fit to burst, I tried the steering. Full lock to the right – fine, but it locked solid 20-30° to the left. Peering over the handlebars everything looked OK, no loose bolts in the triple-clamp …… nothing. A Scooby-Doo mystery for sure!
As I was putting it on the main stand, I heard something fall from the bike. Looking down I found this fella, an innocuous little GoPro thumbscrew. Eyes snapped up to the GoPro wireless-remote mount on the left handlebar, the thumbscrew was missing. It had worked loose during the journey and bounced down into the bowels of the steering mechanism waiting for the right moment to wreak havoc …… and it very nearly got away with it too (if it hadn’t been for you meddling kids! – A little Scooby in-joke!).
The lesson? Firstly make sure I do things up properly! 😕 Secondly make sure that ANYTHING added to the cockpit / handlebars can’t work loose and interfere with the steering. Sounds obvious, so obvious I haven’t given it a second thought in countless years of riding, but as an ex-RAF engineer I should know better than most the catastrophic implications of our old arch-enemy FOD (Foreign Object Damage). Complacency is no excuse ……. From now on ALL GoPro thumbscrews will be tethered!
In this instance only my pride took a bashing, but it could have so easily been much worse – hero to zero in a heartbeat. Today I’ve had a whizz around the bike and checked that everything is tickerty-boo, put in a new thumbscrew and nut and said a bunch of Hail Marys just for good measure! But how about you …..
…. are YOU 100% sure that nothing can foul your steering / suspension or drive chain ….. And is that luggage really secure? 😉