It's OK, I'm still here ...
Last night I decided to take the Sprint to work instead of the XT. The Sprint has a slight problem with a sticky head bearing, meaning that steering is not as smooth as it might be. Main roads are fine, but roundabouts become threepenny bits (or should I say 50p pieces?) and slow-speed manoeuvring is a bit of a jerky and imprecise affair. No matter: the night was dry and I felt like giving the old girl a run out. Mistake 1: I should have fixed the steering first.
I got to work and, as it was dark, took a naughty short-cut which ended with having to get the bike through a pedestrian gate. It's quite passable on a bike, provided you meet it at 90° - narrower angles don't work. And the surface there is loose earth and gravel. Mistake 2: I should have gone the long way round, on tarmac.
As I approached the gate, I realised that I was at the wrong angle for it and needed to straighten the bike up a bit to get through. Easy-peasy, but the steering decided at that moment to become reluctant to turn and I found I was heading for the gatepost. No problem - stop and realign. But my feet were already down on the floor (I was doing about 3 mph at this point) and nowhere near the rear brake, so I reached for the front one. Mistake 3: never touch the front brake on a loose surface.
The front wheel shot from under me (amazing how quickly it happens) and, when the bike got to 45° from the vertical, I realised that I was not going to be able to hold it, so I stepped off. Sound of scraping paintwork on gravel and cracking plastics as the not inconsiderable weight of the Sprint came to rest on a few square centimetres of flimsy bodywork. I killed the engine and then stood for a while watching petrol slowly dripping onto the ground and listening to the engine ticking in remonstration.
I was totally unable to pick it up. Every time I took the weight and tried to roll it onto its wheels, the wheels slid in the soft surface and the bike just scraped another few inches sideways, causing even more damage. Even the time-honoured method of putting your back to the bike and using your legs (by which an 8-st female can lift a Harley, seen it on Youtube) did no more than displace the bike sideways. In the end, a mate was clocking off the day shift, and with his help we got it back upright. The one bright candle in the surrounding darkness was that I remembered to put the side-stand out before we lifted it. Nothing worse than getting it upright and then doing the damn same thing on the other side!
Looking at it in daylight, it's not so bad. A lot of scratches in the paint like a rash (red over white primer, so it shows), a crack in the side panel which can probably be ignored, and minor scuffs to the mirror and exhaust can.
Looks better here than in the flesh/plastic/metal
Crack and scrapes
That was a lovely curve, once
Decals always take a hit
That bike is going back in the garage until the steering is fixed.
Moral 1: never put off essential maintenance. Moral 2: if in doubt, take the XT.
I am unharmed except for a few aching muscles from my dead-lift exertions. The bike is hardly a wreck, but it has gone from 'ten-year-old bike in remarkably good condition for its age' to 'ten-year-old bike in rather average condition for its age', and that's a big disappointment. It would cost a lot to have it professionally repaired, so I will probably live with it. Sick Transits, and all that.