Skip to content

Sometimes We Fall

Sometimes We Fall


Deal's Gap

My cronies and I departed from Knoxville on what appeared to be a perfectly dry and clear roadway
WORDS: Jim West

It was a beautiful, cool September day in eastern Tennessee. It also happened to be my wife’s birthday (age undisclosed!). I asked my bride for permission to take a little breakfast ride to the top of Deal’s Gap in eastern North Carolina (US129) with some fellow motorcycle junkies. Being the kind hearted, motorcycle-wife she that she is, my request was granted.

My cronies and I departed from Knoxville on what appeared to be a perfectly dry and clear roadway – a beautiful morning for some 2-wheeled fun! I was leading the pack on my Ducati ST2 and set a fairly aggressive pace. My good buddy Rick followed closely as not to let me separate from the group. As we neared the mountain roads I noticed a bit of fog – just enough to be a pain in the visor. No sooner did I realize that the heavy humidity in the air had adhered to the road the unthinkable happened. I tipped it into a medium speed left-hander and uh-oh….the road was quite WET! What happened next is somewhat of a blur, however no sooner had I thought about looking through the turn and using gentle steering inputs my front tire washed-out and down I went. Unfortunately, my buddy Ric who was following closely behind me was also collected in my tumble. Both of us cart-wheeled down the road tumbling until we came to rest in a nice soft ditch. After each of us sounded-off a few expletives we picked up our mangled machines and phoned home for the crash truck. That wasn’t a pleasant conversation! What a perfect birthday present I gave my wife; she got to drive a pick-up into the middle of nowhere and collect a couple now-dirty thugs and our mangled bikes. Thank God she’s so understanding!

The moral of this story is that sometimes we fall. We cannot always predict when it will occur, but it’s fairly likely it will happen at some point in our motorcycling future either by our own fault (as in my case) or some outside source (such as a cell phone toting cager pulling into our path). Fortunately, my friend Ric and I were in full gear which enabled us to go pavement surfing without suffering any injuries (besides an injury to our pride). Friends, please dress for the crash and not the ride – you’ll thank me later!

Categories: Events  


  1. airbornemp19
    Posted on: January 8, 2007 3:01 pm

    Hey G_K! Take it Easy! You are rubbing salt in the wound. Besides, part of the exciting rush a bike brings is the danger, the riding fast, and the possibility of the crash. These riders obviously didn’t injure anyone else, so giv’em a break?

  2. grandevil
    Posted on: January 4, 2007 2:24 pm

    The Dragon (also Deal’s Gap and HWY129) must be so named because it is indeed a beast of a road. I’m not sure how many riding destinations boast their own “tree of shame” but the Dragon is famous for it and I’d be lying if I said a piece of my bike wasn’t hanging on it along with my pride.

  3. cmoore
    Posted on: January 2, 2007 5:14 am

    Thanks for the post. No matter how long we have been riding we can learn. The pavement can be amazingly slippery when it is in the condition that you described. There is just enough moisture on the surface of the road to mix the oil, dust and whatever else is in there to a toxic brew for a motorcyclist. In full on rain that crap gets washed away. Thanks for the reminder. Ride safe.

  4. gk
    Posted on: December 31, 2006 12:39 pm

    Not to rub salt in your wounds, and I’m glad you and your buddy weren’t hurt, but the tone of this post implies (to me) that such crashes really are inevitable for riders like yourself. Let’s see – you set a “fairly aggressive pace,” you failed to react after noticing that the road was wet, and your buddy, in order to not lose contact with you, was riding closely enough to join your accident. I would suggest that that sort of riding will provide you with future opportunities to post descriptions of accidents.

  5. fugitiveorphan
    Posted on: December 28, 2006 4:50 am

    Thanks for the great read, Jim. It often seems that absolutely nothing good comes from crashes like this one. However, I feel that we are all “students” of riding, and if we take the best out of tough events like this one as you have, we come out of it as a smarter and safer rider.

    By the way, I love the quote at the end: “Dress for the crash and not the ride.” My personal favorite was always, “Cowhide or your hide!” Safe riding to you, bro!