(written June 2005)
Speaking about not happy occurance, I made an assumption – that the right hand control was for the back brake and the left for the front. I always favour the back over the front, motorbikes can be funny if you do it the other way around. So, I always “lead with the right brake” and supplement with the left……
But of course I had it backwards…..
Now earlier, following our noses, the two of us on the little motorbike, we were exploring the roads and side roads that are found on the wee Greek island of Patmos. On one occasion, the simple road we were following turned and before we knew it we were coming into someone’s garden. It was no longer a road, more a trail. I’m not sure what happened, but we stopped and T came off the back. We were going slowly and it wasn’t serious – she didn’t enjoy it, but got up, dusted off, turned around from the garden and we carried on (on the road). This was most likely due to this mix up of mine – but I was ignorant of it at the time.
Another day we had seen on a map a remote Greek Orthodox chapel and decided to go and have a look see. It was at a distance, well, as much of a distance as you can have on such a small island. You follow the paved road towards the northeastern point. Nearing the end, a gravel road branches off, over the ridge and down to the seaside on the opposite side.
We crested the ridge and were going down the descending side, it was a relatively steep gravel road. Behind me on the motorbike T. thought I was going too fast, and maybe I was. In any event I definitely was going too fast for her. The road was going down and around a blind corner. As you couldn’t see around the corner, it just sort of disappeared, it was a bit disconcerting for the passenger. Additionally, we were reasonably high up on a spur of land and off to the right it just, well, dropped off…..
So T. suggested, in rather emphatic terms, that I slow down, so I strongly applied pressure to the “back brake” – favouring it as my wont over the “front”….
….except I had them backwards…..
And we stopped….
Well, the front tyre stopped, and rather abruptly, I lost steerage and then we spilled off –
but we stopped. No longer was I going “too fast”.
Now I was closer to the bank than the cliff and the spill was bankside. We went to the left, but it was my right hand that came up bloody – can’t figure that out. Nothing serious, it just didn’t look pretty.
I will freely confess that I don’t like giving blood, especially this way.
My left leg had some scrapes and such – but again nothing serious. I still didn’t know at that time why we had the tumble. Anyway, we gathered ourselves and carried on down the gravel road (T. selected to walk the rest of the way down the hill) to the small Greek Orthodox Chapel on the seaside. Whilst there I washed my bloody hand in sea water.
Then we turned and headed back up the long gravel road which would take to the paved road which would lead us back to where we were staying. It was on the downside of the gravel road, I am driving with rather more care and I notice that the front tyre was again, kind of locking. As I we were travelling very slowly experimented and dynamited what turned out to be the true back brakes, and the back tyre locked and I still had steerage – well, that settled that.
Not everything we ‘know’ is true. We can be innocently mistaken, but however we come to be in the mistaken position, innocent or otherwise, we are still mistaken. It is good to test, even that which we ‘know’… there is no harm. More often than not, the cause of our struggles and problems lies much closer to home than we would like to think….