To celebrate Halloween we thought we’d share our five biggest frights on a motorcycle.
Cross winds can be a frightening thing, but add hail, massive Yank tanks and limited vision and it really is a fright worthy of Halloween. It occurred riding a Victory Cross Country to Laramie, Wyoming. The fully laden full dresser with the pillion-in-a-million on board was a real handful, being pushed sideways on a slippery road in a hail storm, jumping from lane to lane without notice. I couldn’t see through the windscreen and all of a sudden we were sharing a lane with a massive Dodge pick-up truck doing about 130mph while we were struggling at 80mph.
Suddenly seeing a pair of feet on either side of my handlebars was a fright I won’t forget. I had taken a mate into BrisVegas to go Halloween clubbing and he had imbibed a fair amount of alcohol, etc. I should have put him in a taxi, but threw him on the back of the bike and set off home to Ipswich. When his feet suddenly appeared either side of me on the highway, I took my hands of the bars and pushed them back down, realising he had passed out and was falling off. He lurched forward and whacked me on the back of the helmet which forced my hands to miss the bars. We wobbled around at 100km/h for some time until we both miraculously gained control.
Unannounced roadworks! These days we get roadworks warning signs up to 1km before roadworks imploring us to slow down. However, in the ‘80s roadworks crews were obviously slack. I was riding from Ipswich to Toowoomba about midnight and at the top of the Minden Range, I hit loose gravel roadworks at about 120km/h. There was no warning sign! The BMW R65 slewed this way and that and bucked me around, but because it was cold, my wrist was locked in position and I stayed on the throttle which got me out the other side of the 150m roadworks. It really was fright night!
North of Bedourie in outback Queensland, my friend and I hit a long section of deep bull dust at about 80km/h. I got a fright. However, my friend got a bigger fright. Bull dust doesn’t trail behind you like normal dust. It billows out sideways and my mate beside me was slightly behind, so he was immediately blinded by the dust. He and his BMW juggernaut cartwheeled, but thankfully the only injury was a smashed mirror.
You don’t know the meaning of fright until you return to find your pride and joy is missing, presumed stolen! I had parked it among about 100 other bikes under a flyover in the CBD. But when I returned, my Bonneville T100 was not there. Like a Halloween fright, my mouth went dry and my heart stopped. Then I realised I had ridden the Scrambler into the city.