Bump In A Long Road

She ran her hands over her leather-clad thighs, flexed her fingers.

Her trusty Bell helmet had been knocked askew in the tumble but seemed sound enough. She pulled it around so she could see her situation.

Her motorbike was on its side, about six feet from the cliff edge.

She breathed a sigh of relief, felt a sharp stab of bruised or broken rib.

She closed her eyes in silent prayer, then slowly climbed to her feet. Everything seemed to be okay.

She took off her helmet and inspected it. No cracks, but the side had a deep gouge where it had dragged along the road.

The left handlebars bent upward at a sharp angle, the headlight shattered to shards. Two of the custom aluminum cargo boxes were still attached to the back, the third one nowhere in sight. It must have gone over the edge, dropped a thousand feet or more.

She’d not expected the patch of gravel, a rookie mistake if ever there was one.

What Pegman Saw: Switzerland

Elspeth Beard is the first Englishwoman to ride a motorcycle around the world solo.Her bike was a 1974 BMW R 60/6 flat-twin, for which she paid 900 ($1800) in 1980 – a substantial sum for a bike with 30,000 miles on it. She had many adventures and a few wrecks, but not this one.


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  1. Joy Pixley

    Like the details in this one.

    A friend of mine who rode used to say that there are two kinds of bikers: those who have gone down, and those who haven’t gone down yet. If I had a close call like this — especially one so close to the edge of a cliff — that would probably turn me into the third type: the kind who doesn’t ride anymore.

Don't just stand there.