Copenhagen, Denmark -> Gothenburg, Sweden
505 km dep: 09:38 arr: 19:00
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Today, I dropped my motorcycle. It was a stupid accident due to a lack of judgment and could have costed me my trip. I had stopped over by the side of the road to lubricate my driving chain (something that is to be donne every thousand kilometers) and had raised my bike on its center stand so the rear wheel could rotate freely. However, I had overlooked the fact that there was a slope in the pavement so when I took it of the stand, I lost balance and the bike went down on the pavement with the engine still running.
Dropping a motorcycle is not like dropping a bicycle, it is a big deal. The machines are so heavy that they might very well sustain some damage and so do you if you try to stop one from going down. But that is just half the problem, raising it back up is incredibly hard and in my case took a fair amount of adrenaline so much that my hip and my arms are still aching right now.
Once I got mine up, I noticed some oil had spilled on the road but could not find any dripping part under the bike. When I attempted to restart the engine, nothing happened. At this point, I started to get really mad at myself for letting such and incident happen and just went on cursing for a few minutes when I remembered that when the machine was on the ground still running, I had hit the engine kill switch and had forgotten to reset it. With this done, the engine restarted and went on running like nothing ever happened.
When you thing about it, motorcycles are certainly not meant to be dropped (with the exception of trial bikes maybe) but on the other end, it is something that is expected to happen at least a couple times within a machine’s lifetime so manufacturers must take this into consideration in their design. It does not mean that it should come unscathed, there is a real danger of bending many parts, but the most critical one are kept of out harm so that if it happens, you will make it to a garage.
Later on that day at a gas station, I was wondering what E85 fuel was (40% cheaper than normal fuel). I knew it contained ethanol but I wanted to know what quantity. Then another motorcyclist parked beside me so I tought it to be good idea to ask him. We both went to ask the cashier but he did know so that leaves the mystery whole but while waiting in line, I told him about my earlier incident and he jockingly replied “Welcome to the club!” and went on saying that it happens to everyone and that those who have never ever dropped their bikes are usually newbies. Somewhat reassuring but I would very well had prefered it happening at home rather than 2000 km away.
I would not call this a lesson learned in using the center stand but more a usual case of overconfidence gone wrong. I know perfectly well that when changing tires on cars, you have to be on even ground, so I it was just idiotic on my part not to have verified that the pavement was flat because with cars, I know I always do it.
Onto the road now. I left Copenhagen quite early and made it to the Oresund bridge in no time. Interestingly enough, there was not traffic at all this morning; in Copenhagen, everyone commutes using public transport or bicyles. I really enjoyed my time there and would have gladly spent a few more days. The Danish have an history that while strongly related to that of southern Europe, finds its roots in the Vikings and as most of us are aware, Vikings are cool stuff.
The tip of Sweden was mostly agricultural fields, but about 50 kms south of Gothenburg, it starts to really look like the canadian shield: rocks, lakes and forests. This makes for some really fun driving but not for straightfoward roads. I got lost a few times so I ended up doing about 100km more of distance than Google Map’s estimate.
The man I spoke with earlier told me that Bruce Springsteen was in town but still getting into downtown Gothenburg was not problem at all. I walked around the city for two hours or so and left its premises in order to find a place for the night which, even tough Sweden is packed with wilderness, turned out to be harder than expected. Everything that is flat has constructions on it and with the night falling, it was not a good idea to go venture too deep in the forest roads. I settled for a grassy fields; comfortable but with and unobstructed view of the highway.
It is midnight and there is still a bit of light on the horizon.