Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Karma Falls

I was paying for petrol...standing in line with a bottle of water in my hand. I like looking at my Karma (my Kawasaki ER-6F), from a distance she bares a passing resemblance to the Triumph Sprint ST, but today was slightly different as it was the dirty white pick-up that caught my eye. Only because after he had gone around Karma and pulled up to the free set of pumps in front of her he decided to reverse.

I saw him hit her and thought, "you twat". Yet he did not stop! Just kept reversing, knocked her over and then pushed her along the ground. By this stage I was waiting for the automatic doors to open...like a set of gates swinging open to release an angry bull that had seen red. Except this big black bull was also wearing a day-glow vest! I think the driver of the van was aware of me before he was the state of the bike as I charged towards him.

He was hesitant to get out of the cab at first, maybe there was something about my demeanor that concerned him? Maybe he was right to give me those few seconds. Staring at my poor Karma on the ground, like some wounded animal I was feeling her pain. After 10 years of riding this was the closest I had ever come to an accident and there was nothing I could have done.

As the red mist cleared from my eyes and the panic/anxiety kicked in I could just hear this voice in the back of my head saying "sorry, I did not see it"..."it"..."IT"...that "it" is my pride and joy, my mistress, my escape from this word. I spend every Sunday cleaning, lubing and giving praise for another week of mile munching. Before I opened my mouth in response the chap who had been fuelling his car on the other side responded with a laugh, "what do you mean you could not see that?".

I got under her and got her up onto the rubber. Only then did the damage become apparent. The scars, cracks and twisted metal. My poor Karma. The pick-up man kept talking at me, finally I responded, "I do not f*@$king care, just get me your details and piss off". After he obliged with shaking hands I wheeled her out to the side of the petrol station. Sitting down on the grass verge beside my wounded companion I reached for my mobile and started dialling.

The insurance company, Carole Nash, were very good and we were both recovered within the hour. At home and in the garage I could spend some time reviewing the damage while trying to console both of us. That night my partner would come around and the first thing she said upon seeing Karma was "she looks sad"...indeed, we all did.

It has been 2 weeks now since this happened. Has taken me this long to be able to piece it all together in my mind and to get over the shock. I hate myself whenever I sell a bike, but this felt even worse. Every day I have to contend with being invisible on the roads while every other driver seems hell bent on trying to kill me. Yet with some degree of apprehension I have accepted this as the norm, I swerve, dodge, brake & sound my horn just to keep rubber side down & paint side up. Yet for this accident to happen to my bike like this! Without a doubt we on two wheels truly go unnoticed in this world, like a minority of free spirits who legislators would rather get off the roads then actually recognise us.

The good news from this is that all the damage was superficial, Karma will be back with me within the next 3 weeks with all the plastics replaced. For this period I have been given a Kawasaki ER-6N as a hire bike, though it is restricted to 33bhp, so expect my first road test in the near future.

So with that please try to keep the rubber side down and the paint side up!