This was going to be a cheerful post about my New Year’s day ride-out with a group of Harley owners, and how life looked as part of a different tribe. And particularly how life looked from the pillion seat of the Capo Nord Rally Raid. Why was I on an Aprilia? Because Ruby has problems that I will tell you about once I’ve had the chance to ask those responsible for them to put them right. I got as far as the house of the Harley-riding couple who’d organised the route for the day, having survived one lurid tail-end slide and feeling like someone had been kicking me in the kidneys for the last 10 miles. Unable to endure a day of the same I was going to go home, but accepted instead the suggestion that I come on the ride-out as a pillion. Now, I’m not really built to ride Harleys so I went on the Aprilia while the lady who should have been on the Aprilia went on the Harley.
We had a lovely day. It was wet, and cold, but we had a cracking fry-up at The Flame in Thetford and we rode past happy ginger pigs and through misty forests. Then 2 miles from home it all went wrong.
Riding Tail-End-Charlie, we came round a corner to find what I think must be one of the worst sights you can see in your life – one of your friends flat out and motionless on the muddy tarmac, a bike pointing the wrong way up the road, and people running to get help.
The person in the verge was the friend whose seat – with the big, safe handles and the experienced rider – I’d taken. The Harley she was on had fishtailed on a greasy road and in the fight to stay shiny side up she’d been bounced right off. If she’d been on the Aprilia it wouldn’t have happened.
The universe has been kind. The word from the hospital is that x-rays are all clear apart from a broken nose.
If it had been otherwise, what could I ever have done to make amends?
Massive appreciation to the paramedics, the ambulance service and the police. And to the first few car drivers who stopped to offer mobile phones, tissues to soak up the blood and blankets to keep her warm. And to the other car drivers who complied with requests to slow down and drive carefully past the scene. And to the ones who stopped completely and waited patiently while the ambulance crew wheeled out the spinal board and the stretcher.