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Indian Chief 1947

Stick to Riding

(from the Travels with Guido series, MT242 Oct 2011, posted May 2020)

by Guy 'Guido' Allen

Proof that riding is much safer than dog-walking (and most other things)

All I did was hop, in a sprightly way (okay, I’m around 190cm tall and weigh over 110kg, but go with me on this), into a boat. For a second there you could feel the knee twist, momentarily dislocate, snap back, and then there was a world of pain. Bugger.

My view is that if you play rough games, eventually you’ll get hit. The odd injury is a given.

What I hate though is the questions. I’ve been limping for the last few weeks – not a normal state – and have had to answer the inevitable inquiries. “Fall off your bike, mate?” No.

This injury is identical to the one I copped a decade ago, acting as anchor in a tug-of-war. Then I had to ride 700km home from the Snowy Mountains.

It eventually sorted itself out, as this one is. In the meantime, I’m copping all the usual solicitous attention: recommending doctors, acupuncture, physiotherapists and, if Misses M & A jnr have any say, psychiatrists.

I prefer a little Tiger Balm, a good stiff whiskey, and time. It works.

The whole episurd got muggins thinking – not a common event –about injuries and how they happen.

Okay, let’s exclude acts of Gawd-knows-who for the time being, such as being hit by falling Bimotas. How do you hurt yourself?

Other than the usual scars and burns that happen variously in the kitchen and the shed, I’ve had three smack-in-the-head whacks in the last decade.

They have been the tug-of-war incident, the boat screw-up and (drumroll) the thongs and dogs disaster. The latter involved a full shoulder dislocation because I was walking the dogs up a slope and fell off my thongs (or flip-flops for some of you). True. And inexplicably stupid.

Note the common factor: none involved the use of a motorcycle.

I’ve seen this syndrome before. You’re absolutely fine when doing something that, to the untrained eye, looks hideously dangerous. That’s because you’re actually paying attention, focussing whatever meagre brain power is left at you disposal on not cocking it up.

Beware the moment you step off the bike, however, as that’s when it all goes to hell in a handcart. Do something pedestrian like boil a kettle or (heavens forbid) walk a dog and you’ll be visiting the local casualty department faster than you can say “snapped camshaft”.

Naturally I tested the theory. Though I couldn’t make the Lemmings MC (motto: death before courtesy) trail weekend, I joined an equally stupid (but shorter) ride, which was the Iron Indian Riders Midnight Express Run.

We started in Mill Park, north of Melbourne, at (coincidentally) midnight, and blundered around in the dark for a few hours.

Travelling at well past the witching hour with a couple of 60-plus-year-old Indians is a little surreal, and not something you’ll ever find in a How to Live Longer manual. But it worked. I slithered home at 4.30am, tired, cold, and happy with all my limbs still attached and pointing in the correct directions. So, the moral to the story? If you value your health, stick to riding.





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