So a little ride into the countryside the other day ended up being quite an interesting adventure for this intrepid adventurer on his adventure bike. The sun was shining, the back roads had lots of twisting turns and the byways and dirt trails were simply glorious. Not too challenging or indeed technical, as any bike could have been used to ride most of them as they were all dry and compacted hard.
It sounds like the perfect afternoon ride. Lots of great scenery and the rumble of an assured engine beneath me, made everything seem fine and dandy…until I came across an area where a river ran through it…but I wasn’t there to do any fly fishing.
Yes, I had come across a shallow ford and the water was clear. In fact the road beneath it was level concrete…it was an easy passage and the water was barely deeper than the tyre depth…so it was a confident passage and nothing ill toward occurred…however it was this false sense of security that led me to almost come unstuck a few moments later.
Riding thorough the back roads, looking for more hidden trails…I came across another ford. However this time it was a lot wider and seemingly only a little bit deeper, so shouldn’t have been a problem.
At first I hesitated and contemplated not going through it as I could see quite clearly there was some broken roadway under the water and a couple of boulders that were hidden just beneath the surface…the bright shimmer reflecting off of the river’s surface barely allowing and good view.
However, after a quick ponder again, I decided that it didn’t look too deep and I’d be able to navigate may way around the boulders as I got near them. This was a great plan indeed, worth of giving myself a nice pat on the back.
So like a lemon I rode slowly but with purpose into the water and headed in a straight line for the other side of the river. I was feeling confident that I could get past the broken roadway with ease and the water would barely get above my engine bang plate…how wrong was I.
Now, in fairness…this was more of a miscalculation than a total disregard for good technique and practice…however the near shambolic result was much the same. Only a few weeks earlier, had I ridden through a flooded rut thinking it would only be a foot deep…but as I rode through…the front wheel dropped down way below the water’s surface which came up to near the base of the tank. Needless to say my feet and legs got very wet but I still managed to get through to the other side.
Surely it could not happen again so soon…but it did! As I continued across the ford within the slow moving waters, it suddenly dawned on me that the depth was considerably more than I had expected and certainly so because the area had not seen any rainfall in over two weeks.
I knew I had to push on through, otherwise it would be more than just my legs that would get wet. So keep the revs up and feeling my way along, I powered through but the water got deeper and deeper…this time reaching half way up the tank, my knees and thighs were submerged in water and all I could thin of was to just keep the revs up to not stall the engine.
In the blink of an eye I was approaching the far side of the river and the water got a little shallower too. Thank heavens for that…all was well…all was wet…but then a final slap round the face as the front wheel hit another bit of broken road and the front wheel dropped about a foot again…getting me wetter in the crotch area than my knees were…how fortunate to have this cooling liquid to surround my nether regions on such a hot day.
Suffice to say, I barely made it to the other side in one piece, as wet as a drowned rat and with steam billowing from the engine and exhaust as the water drained from the bike. However, I did not fret about soaking trousers or squelching boots, but just reflected on the fact I lucked out there.
Anyway, so the lesson here is never to do as I did and be very cautious when riding through fords…even in the summertime. I usually get off the bike and try to walk through the water before attempting it, but I think I was fooled by the easy crossing of the earlier ford…well, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. Suffice to say I dried out very quickly in the soaring temperatures and went on to have a great ride on more backroads and along some more logging trails.
It’s probably best I stay away from deep water for a while now as riding and drowning is not the best combination.