Scoot Commute

How I spent the last day of my summer vacation or how to pick up your bike out of a ditch

Posted in Daily Commute, Pleasure Ride, Suzuki DR-Z400SM (Elsa) by sbahn on 2010/08/30

Today is the last day of the summer where I have no obligations after work. At the end of the day I mapped out a jaunt to Arcadia Management Area in Exeter, Rhode Island to do a little off-road riding. Mild off-road as I would 1) be alone; 2) be on the DRZ400SM with Distanzias; and 3) be relying on my very limited skillz.

Arcadia Loop started out ok, but ...

Arcadia Loop started out ok, but ...

I had a map of “the loop” in Arcadia which is about 18-19 miles of what I thought was dirt. I decided I would take I-95 down so I would get there at a decent hour and still have a couple hours of daylight. I absolutely hate riding on highways / Interstates / freeways but sometimes ya gotta bite the bullet. The traffic at rush hour wasn’t too bad (seriously, what is rush hour in Rhode Island, 10 minutes of slowness because the morons don’t know how to merge?) and I rode down to Exit 5B which put me on Route 102. I took the first left onto Breakheart Hill Road which would lead me onto dirt and onto the loop.

There were some rocks, gravel and pine needles, but nothing bad. A short ways up I come across a felled tree. I decided it was easier to drag some of it out of the way than try to get up over it.

I’m continuing down the beautiful wooded path and I meet another rider headed in the opposite direction. I wish he had stopped me to tell me I was an idiot for trying this path on street tires. This trail was ok, but at the next gate, where Austin Farm Road took off into the forest, I struggled to get the bike around the gate. That should have been an omen. I still managed to get through. But this is what greeted me.

Austin Farm Road, aka a washed out river bed

Austin Farm Road, aka a washed out river bed

I picked my line up and to the left of the wash-out and was doing ok. I don’t really know what happened, maybe I was going too slow, or overthinking it, I don’t know, but the bike wound up lying on its left side, trapped in the rut of rocks.

I took off my jacket, helmet and gloves and got to work. Heaving and pulling and pushing and heaving, I managed to get the bike upright and on normal ground. I won’t say flat because nothing was flat; everything was on an upwards incline. I drank some water and thought about the best course of action. Here I am, in the middle of nowhere, on a street bike in my work clothes with no cellphone and with this to look forward to.

Austin Farm Road...the future

Austin Farm Road...the future

I decided it was best to turn around. After almost dropping it and getting it stuck in the rut, I eventually got the bike turned around and rode back out to the gate. I was so happy to get onto the regular Austin Farm Road that was sprinkled with houses and farms and made of tarmac.

Elsa the DRZ400SM on the Blitzkrieg Trail, Arcadia Management Area, Rhode Island

Elsa the DRZ400SM on the Blitzkrieg Trail, Arcadia Management Area, Rhode Island

The road led me onto Route 165 which I knew would get me into the main entrance to Arcadia where I could still try the Blitzkrieg Trail. Erik and I had been down to Arcadia last year and mistook the signs that say “no motorcycles” to mean that we couldn’t ride motorcycles on the trail. Apparently the sign actually means “no non-street legal motorcycles.” Lemme tell ya, Blitzkrieg is exactly what I was looking for. A nice dirt road through the woods. Trees, cool air, a pond, no traffic. Not a rocky death trap. I was on the wrong bike for a rocky death trap.

I got home around 8pm, so all in all, about 3 hours of after-work riding (well, riding, and pushing, heaving and pulling). Blitzkrieg it is.

Blitzkrieg Trail, Arcadia, Exeter, RI

Blitzkrieg Trail, Arcadia, Exeter, RI


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