It happened here


In Rotorua we are in the middle of the hottest, driest spring since records began, or at least as long as we can remember.

Trails are perfect in the trees, or dusty and falling apart where the sun can get at them.

These conditions may have contributed to a spectacular near death experience I had the night before last.

I was hooning down one of my favourite trails, at what constitutes top speed on my planet, and starting to feel like I was on my game.

Got to a short bony bit, where the trail curves gently left and there are a bunch of roots and holes on the main line, but an inside line is available which is quite smooth if it can be accessed. 

Which we nearly did.

Put the front tyre in a dust filled pocket instead, which was bordered by what must have been a very well-rooted root. This was positioned at the correct angle to turn my front wheel left almost ninety degrees, which pretty much stopped my bike.

My body, and all its flailing appendages, continued on the original course, at more or less the original speed, out the front window.

I can’t say my life flashed before my eyes, but I may have had time to review the last couple of weeks.

Blind luck and basic physics saved the day. As I went over the bars my left knee connected with the left brake lever mount hard enough to drive the front wheel back into line, and I performed what motorcyclists call a ‘tank slapper’completely unaided by any input on my part, it just happened.

A couple of milliseconds later I was back on board, both feet on the pedals, eyes re-focused, looking at the trail, which was half a metre to the left of where my tyres were now ploughing their course through the trailside debris.

Unusually for Hot X Buns, there was nothing solid to run into and we got back onto the correct line before we got to the bit where the trailside becomes a steep downslope festooned with tree stumps, downed branches, and other stabby things.

I stopped to twist my brake levers back to where they belong, peer at the newly gouged hole in my knee, and generally take stock. All good, off we go again.

Now it is a few days later, my left shoulder is more grumpy than usual, my knee is still a bit sore, and I am exceedingly grateful for both



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