The other hairy situation left me short-handed, literally. One chill autumn afternoon I was ripping through the trails and, fueled by the Bravado of a full summer of shredding, I was going a bit faster than would have been logically reasonable… Having just come off a nice extended rainfall, the terrain was a comely combination of slippery and sticky, offering just enough give to let the wheels dig in and tear it up. Coming around one corner that I had ripped up dozens of times before, I found a tree had fallen and was blocking the path, directly perpendicular to my route… Fuck. It happened so fats and I was carrying so much sped, that there were only two options…
- Bail off the bike and most certainly crash… HARD.
- Rev the engine, pull up the front end, lean back and hope the bike got over the tree.
Of course, I chose option #2, instinctively. I charged at that tree, and hoped for the best, and what happened next was just about… the… worst… thing… that could have happened. The front wheel never came up. I just hit that tree head on, like a brick wall, and got thrown over my handlebars. I rolled over three or four times and the damp forest floor and finally came to a stop and collected my wildly spread senses. Well, that was a new one. Id never been felled by an errant tree, but then again, Id never even ridden a motorcade as of a year ago… When. I finally managed to get back to my feet, I did the normal checklist for a bike crash… Arms, fingers, knees and toes… They all work. Neck and head… check. Shoulder shrug. Well, done, so… shoulders shrug. But then it came to what makes us human… the Thumbs! My left thumb want mobile.. it wasn’t responsive… in fact it was FUCKED. Its couldn’t move, or grab, or grip… Which was going to be a significant problem, soldiering that the left hand is what controls the clutch, aka the gear shifting, aka what makes a motorcycle actually MOVE! And here I was, down, and almost out, but not quite, in the middle of nowhere in the woods, and I was gonna have to figure out how to get back to the Emerald city of York, New comma York.
I wrestled the bike back auto upright position, no easy feat, con siding my simian digits were compromised, but when it was finally pointed back at the the sun, is when I felt the burn… the burn of torn ligaments and broken bones. There was no question. It was my thumb, and it was toast. I wasn’t going to be able to squeeze any life out of this clutch, much less any gears. Which was going to be a huge fucking problem, since I was 17 miles from home, and buried deep into a wooded area I was legally prohibited from being inside of, especially when in control of a motor vehicle. So I stood up straight, and dusted myself off, and thought, what would Seth Enslow do. And then it came to me, sudden as a lighting strike during a drunken dusk dawn… He would man the fuck up and get that bike home. So thats what I decided to do.
I lopped my right leg over the seat, found neutral and fired then engine up. It started with out a problem, so I already knew that a lot less than half the battle had already been won. And then I tried to grab the clutch, so I could drop it into first. My first and second fingers pulled the cloth lever ever so slightly forward, and then my thumb tried to complete the transaction… But nope. There was nothing doin. It wasn’t gonna happen. Pain shot through my left thumb and hand and splayed out like splintered sunlight Ito my forearm and right up through my entire arm and shoulder, sending the completely indelible message that… YOURE FUCKED! But I knew there was no way I was gonna give up… I was gonna get this bike back to 150th street,. Tow Trucks were for Sucka Ducks and I was a god damned G. So I swept the left of the bike and got it back up and two wheels and I commanded it to head back to Manhattan. It was super slow going at first, became I could barely get it to even move through all the dirt and brush. I had to slam the shift lever down into first without being able to engage the clutch… or more accurately I engaged it by using my 4 fingers and using them in the reverse way to pull it back to slam the bike into first and then let the clutch out and let the engine do what it did in first gear and then let the bike run out at 1st gear speed… This meant having to tumble above the rustic of leave and branches and sticks at a heavy controlled speed with not room for nuance… which also meant hanging on and trying to maintain control w with one and one half hands… Which worked pretty fine for a while, until I finally made it out of the woods (explain here how I had found alternate ways out of the woods…) and one I made it to the main road, it was a whole other challenge. Then it became rumbling among the breakdown lane, in first gear and just getting ny as fast as the gears would allow me… and every now and then I would juts dry fifth into 2nd gear… which was obviously bad for the engine, base don all the grinding sounds it made, but at least it allowed me to go a little bit faster… And then having to dry shift back into first gear to undo the speed when traffic swelled up…. all that herky jerky motion was rough on my hand, and my thumb. And to this day it’s never healed properly. It gets sore after a long day of riding. playing catch with a baseball mitt. Ah, the horror!