It’s getting cold. In a few weeks it will be way too cold to ride my Vulcan 500, so I’m trying to make use of it as much as I can before I have to put it into storage for a half a year. Now it’s 2 AM and I just came back from a bit of an adventure.
I went north (as I usually do when going on a joyride) at about 22:00. North of Major Mac it’s quite pretty. And at night it’s nice because there isn’t much traffic.
I went North on Jane, turned east on some little street, and eventually ended up on Yonge Street. So far everything was great, though it was cold in some places (it’s strange how much the temperature ranges).
Then I turned back. Yonge street was boring, so I figured I should go back on Bathurst or Dufferin. I turned west somewhere, and then south on Bathurst. At least at the time I thought that was south, now I don’t know any more.
After a few minutes (didn’t pay attention to the time) I saw a sign saying the road’s ending in 5km. I thought that was strange, but there’s a lot of construction going on, and I always wanted to ride on a ‘closed’ road, just because a bike can handle more than a cage. So went on.
Hardly a minute later the pavement was gone. And a couple minutes later, the road did end. And though I couldn’t see much in the dark, I had a strong feeling this wasn’t a costruction type of ending, it was permanently closed.
I thought damn, I guess better turn back now, but that didn’t feel right. So I got off the bike and looked around. Past the 1-meter tall bump at the end there was a path going downhill. Not paved, but it looked decently smooth.
I got the bike on top of the bump and shone the high beam down into there. The dirt path had some grass on it by the bottom, but I saw some house lights not so far in the distance, so I figured what the hell, it will be just a bit bumpy and then I’ll be back on a real road.
And I rolled down. Very quickly the path I went on dissapeared, or at least turned in the wrong direction – so I had to go on the grass. That wasn’t so bad, I thought at the time. Then it really went down hill. I held the front brake and the front wheel was locked, but the bike was accelerating anyway. I couldn’t take my foot off the ground to use the rear brake, cause I would have lost the balance.
That should have given me an idea of what’s about to happen, but I wasn’t thinking yet. At the bottom of the hill I found a house, the lights I saw from the top. And I realised I’m not on a road, I’m on private property. Most likely a farmer, cause I could see a plowed field next to the house.
And again I said what the hell, the bike will get dirty, but it should be able to handle the stress, and I really want to get off these people’s property right now, so I directed it straight into the field. In less than a second the bike was stuck. It can go pretty far in a second, I think it was about 3 meters. The plowed land is impossible for a cruiser to go on, it’s too heavy. I had to rock it back and forth, and that worked for about a meter, then I had to go push the bike backwards from the front, and that worked for about a meter, then I almost gave up cause it became so hard, but I put some heart into it and it came back out.
At this point I’m pretty freaked out. I’m within 20-30m of a house, with the motorcycle engine roaring, and the high beams turning this way and that. Just imagine how freaked out you would be if that happend in your back yard (remember, this is the middle of nowhere, no neighbours, not the type of place where you’d dare come out and face an unwelcome biker). So I decided to go back the way I came.
Big mistake. A cruiser is way too heavy to go up a steep hill covered with grass. I felt that and tried to go up at an angle, but eventually I had to turn all the way up, and the bike fell onto its left side. This was the first time I dropped the bike completely (since I bought it). I killed the engine, and started raising the bike. I’ve had to raise it half way once when I put it down with the stand up and that was easy, but this was really really hard. The bike wasn’t even horisontal, it was a bit upside down (I’m on a hill, remember?). So I tried this and that, and eventually just found the right angle and the right force to put it up.
Then, yes of course, it started rolling down the hill. Backwards. And the front brake didn’t work, just as it didn’t work earlier. But I managed to put my foot on the rear brake, and stopped it. Wooh.
Key, start, start, start? The engine wouldn’t start any more. God dammit. I was freaking out already, and this made it worse. What would I do, knock on these people’s front door at midnight and ask for help? I’d get the police in the best scenario, but more likely shot or stabbed (these are farmers, they must have guns).
Then I got an interesting idea – roll down hill in gear and start the bike as I’m doing that. And amazingly that worked. I was so relieved. In retrospect I think the gear wasn’t engaged so rolling downhill had nothing to do with it, but whatever.
Now I’m seriously worried, and very pissed. No more mister nice guy. I point the bike straight at the hill and go in full first. Yes, I was that stupid. It’s easy to say so in retrospect. When very cold, very tired, and worried to death your brain doesn’t work so well, trust me.
This time the bike fell on its right side. And trying to start it while in gear and rolling down hill didn’t work. Shit!
But now I noticed that the house I kept trying not to look at had 3 garage doors. Garage doors? Cars? Paved road? Yes indeed. So I rolled the bike all the way down the hill onto the road. At least now in the worst case I won’t need to leave the bike on its side in the grass.
Now I’m on a paved road, and reasonably sure that if the bike starts, I’ll be able to get out. That’s when I remembered that I smelled gas while lifting it the second time, and that reminded me of ‘flooded’, and how to deal with it. Key, clutch all the way in, full throttle, start. It started the first time like a charm.
I went towards the house first, found that was a dead end, and had the lights turned on on me (I think they were sensor-activated). Going to the other side I got out. I still had no idea where I was, but the way back home was straight-forward.
Now I’m wondering if I should figure out whose back yard I was in, and maybe call and apologise. I could maybe find it again. I’m guessing it was somewhere around Bathurst and Green La W, but that’s a really rough guess. I don’t think I’m going to bother.
But in the unlikely case that an inhabitant of the house reads this blog post, or someone who knows them does – I apologise. If I had any reason to believe that downhill was going into private property, I wouldn’t have even considered going there. And I must have messed up your lawn too. Mostly I hope I didn’t scare anybody, and for what it’s worth – I’m sorry if I did.