Did I happen to mention that I got
hit by a car the other day going up to
my secret dam in the Adelaide Hills?
Every bike ride is different. Even
if you ride the same road twice a day,
it's different every time. While most people hop in their cages and turn on
radio talkback, we on bikes are having conversations in our helmets. Lots
of things go through your mind on a bike ride, even a ride to work, even up
the face of the Adelaide Hills.
I left the suburbs this day, and
kept to the speed limit until the 100
zone, when I kicked it down a gear and my right wrist showed knuckles to
the blue. It was fang time.
The V50 loves this road. Rock face
on the left, armco guarding the deep
valleys on the right. Traffic, steep sections, narrow tarmac, blind
corners, and lots of double lines. It demands concentration, caution,
control, and cunning. A fang up Greenhill Road always exhilarates.
I was seldom less than wound full
open or stomped hard on the brake during
the first section, and then half-way I settled down to moderate. I noticed
bird calls, bark on gum trees, and the sun on the quarry. Then there was
another speedy section, some more calm, and a car hit me.
I came around a tight right-hander
and noticed a Magna, green, metallic. I
noticed its outside front wheel over the double while line. Not much over,
just over. The car seemed in perfect control. I was in the right hand track
of my lane, if you know what I mean - there are always two sets of
generally oil-free tracks in a lane, with the middle a gunk of guzztrap.
So I was close to the centre-line myself.
But motorbikes lean when they corner.
And this was, you'll remember, a
I heard a loud noise, a sting to my throat, and the bars wobbled.
I noticed my right hand mirror bent around, and the mirrorglass gone.
I looked in the left hand mirror and saw blood on my throat.
I also saw blood metaphorically. I did a U-turn and went after the Manga.
I didn't have to go far. It was coming back in the other direction..
I stopped in a safe place.
The Magna pulled in behind me.
"Are you alright?" asked the driver as he hopped out.
I pulled the bike up on its centrestand. "I'm a bit shaky," I said.
I took off my helmet. "You're ok?" he asked again.
"Shaky," I said again.
"Do you want to change names
and addresses, in case there's something?" he
I don't like giving my name and address
at the scene of a crime, but in
this instance I thought I'd risk it.
He went to his car and started writing. I inspected my bike.
"I can't believe it," I said to him. "All you hit was the mirror."
He inspected my bike. "All I hit was the mirror?"
"I'm glad you came back,"
I said. "I wouldn't have wanted to meet you
He took that in.
"I thought you might be dead," he said very quietly.
We both looked at the view. It was
a very engrossing view. Neither of us
spoke for some minutes.
"You were over the line, you know," I said.
"I knew I was close."
"Over," I said evenly.
We looked from the view to the bike
and then to the car and then to each
other. Then we both looked at the view again.
"I've never been so close to a bike in my life," he said.
We looked at the view some more. I lit a cigarette.
"I've never been so close to a car," I said.
He looked me in the face. "Have a nice life," he said.
"I will," I said. I promised
myself I would have a nice life, then and
there. We looked at the view some more.
I looked at his car. "What part of your car hit the bike?" I asked.
"Oh, the mirror."
I looked at his mirror, which was
undamaged. Then I looked at the view some
He asked me where I had been going,
and I told him, and I asked what took
him to the Adelaide Hills on a workday. He asked me if I lived in the Hills
and I asked where his office was. Then he said, "That could have been so
"A mirror, and a few scratches on my neck," I said. "Nothing at all."
"I'll pay for your mirror, of course," he said.
"And when I put it on I'll give
you a call and you can give me the money,
and we'll have a beer," I said.
He said, "OK." I pulled
on my helmet, touched my throat so make sure there
were no glass slivers, and hopped on the bike.
"They don't cost much, mirrors," I said.
"OK," he said, and gave
a wave as I U-turned back up the hill and into the
rest of an afternoon I almost didn't have.
I've bought the new mirror, and afixed
it. I haven't rung him yet to
collect my $29, or my beer.
But I'm sure there'll be time. And
it might be a good time to stop taking
And I've realised, you can't smoke while you ride.
V50 - no need to exaggerate