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Friday, February 19, 2010

The encounter with the slippery log.

Well, here's the picture worth a thousand words. It's been a long time since I've fallen off of an ATV but I did during a trip up into the snow testing the 550XP Touring. We took it and the long term Outlander Max 800. We could talk a lot about the advantages of power in deep snow, or the advantages of Carlisle's great ACTs in the snow. But this is about 2 things; always being aware of the dangers of slippery surfaces, and always being ready should the unexpected happen.

As you can see from the tracks, I was only clipping the very end of this downed tree. Unfortunately as soon as the tire hit the frozen surface it slipped to head up the log. Then, once it did that, the lower a-arm made contact with the frozen tree and the party was over. Or was that just starting ;-)

Fortunately I wasn't going very fast, but it didn't take long for the XP to make the trip up the tree. I was doomed. Fortunately I was also prepared. Once I saw what was happening and that I had few choices, I prepared to abandon ship. What I mean was that I loaded the muscles in my legs to spring clear of the ATV. I also looked at the area where I would most likely land. So, as the ATV began to tip over I was ready to leap off safely. I did.

My point is that while riding, the unexpected can happen, no matter how good of a rider you are, or how much experience you have. So always be ready for it. Have the muscles in your legs geared up and ready. You never know when you might need them ;-)

Another interesting thing about this is I was leading. Kenny, the other tester, was back down the trail by a stream taking some beauty shots - that's of the snow, the creek, and the trees, not of him ;-) So, it took him a while to get to me. Although I was just fine, I was standing there looking at the ATV and realizing that the only way to lift it back on its wheels was uphill, and the XP out-weights me almost 5 to 1. I wasn't going to budge it. 

Amazingly enough it just laid there on its side idling away. Oh yeah, the beauty of fuel injection. I shut it off when I realized that there is no injection system that assured the oil would circulate at angles 90 degrees from what they were intended to do.

I unzipped the bag, grabbed my camera, and took the pictures (one of which you see here). And I waited wondering what I'd do if I had been here by myself. I guess this is a good reason why you should never ride alone. Or with another rider no younger, bigger, or stronger than me. Kenny was no help in tipping the XP uphill and onto its wheels. 

But the Outlander was an XP. That means it had a winch, and that proved to be the saving factor.
Always ride with a friend.
Always have an ATV with a winch.
Always stay clear of slippery trees.

Later my friends —

1 comment:

  1. This should to be fun.

    Glad you didn't get hurt and like you said everyone is vulnerable to an accident regardless of your experience.

    We have a lot of miles on our ATV and I'll bet more than half of them we’re out there by ourselves and fortunately nothing serious has happened so far.

    We ride a lot by ourselves because we have a hard time finding “anyone we know” to go riding with us even after taking showers and using deoderant.

    We travel as safely and as cautious as we can and we are always prepared taking with us what we consider the necessities to overcome any situation that might arise but you NEVER know what’s around the next corner; it might just be a slippery log.