The Triumph Tiger 1050 is often referred to as an “adventure bike” – a motorcycle that does most things very well and will go almost anywhere though in it’s most recent iteration it is far more biased towards the road than previous incarnations. I have taken that “adventure” heritage to extremes – I’ve laid it down at highway speeds on the Interstate, ridden it through deserts, floods, and snow, and once completely submerged it in a river. All these things it has shaken off like a wet dog after a cold swim, though it has accumulated a collection of scrapes, scratches, and minor blemishes that tell the story of it’s travels. Only a close inspection reveals them and amazingly few parts have ever broken. They are proudly worn like badges of honor boasting the invincibility built into this machine.
I should have turned back when I reached the bridge. Blocked with huge concrete barriers and orange warning signs, it spanned a deep gulch over a railroad track. I stopped to ponder the situation closer to discover a narrow pathway weaving between the barriers. I walked out on the bridge, the pavement and concrete irregular and broken, and jumped up and down vigorously to test it’s soundness. The road on the far side led out into the farmlands. I could do this.
I took a moment to summon my resolve, studied the line I would follow, focused on the point I would emerge, and released the clutch with a measured amount of throttle open. The front wheel rushed forward, bounded over the obstacle, and passed through the gap dead center just as planned. Unfortunately, the rear wheel was not quite on the same path and as it encountered the hump it slipped and skirted violently towards the slope. As momentum carried me trough, a loud SNAP occurred and while I slowed to a stop half way across the bridge my left luggage case spun along on the pavement beside me. When the bike leaned, it had caught on the edge of a barrier and broken off.
I carefully threaded through the barriers on the far side of the bridge and kept one hand reaching back to insure the case was still there as I proceeded down the road. As expected, this next section of road was uninteresting but the promising part lay ahead. The case stayed in place as I crossed the countryside. I watched the GPS as the curvy parts drew ever closer. My heart sank as I reached it passing a sign that indicated unpaved road ahead.
The next 12 miles or so was a bumpy gravel forest road, steep and twisty as it threaded through the trees and rocks of some obscure Virginia hilltop. My hand kept flashing back to confirm the case was still attached with every rough climb or big rock crossed. Were it to come off here, it would tumble down some steep slope and both the case and contents would likely be lost. It was still there as I emerged on the back side of a bleak and impoverished factory town, the umber brick relics of long abandoned mills and plants overgrown with weeds and rust, windows broken, once bustling factories now silent and abandoned to time.
Things did improve, and I covered a lot of miles through the rest of the day. Periodically, I put my hand behind me to feel the case still loose, but in place, and it remained there until I got home. I’d hoped to somehow drill, screw, and glue things back together, but it’s hopeless. I’m going to need to buy a new side case. For the first time, I returned to my maps and completely removed any trace of that road. I don’t want any chance you’ll follow in my tire tracks. There are far better roads to ride.Wayne@americaridesmaps.com