Andretti test 1: 2sb crashes the Andretti

I’ve mentioned a few times that PowerSportsFactory has given us a Benelli/Andretti 150XT for a long-term test. I also bought a used Blur around the same time to replace the one stolen at the MotoGP race in Indianapolis, and thanks to a few minor snafus in both transactions, a busy schedule, and a little bad luck, I finally obtained plates and titles for both bikes yesterday. Yesterday it was 46°F and sunny, probably the last decent riding day we’ll see until Spring in Chicago, so it would have made sense to pick up the Andretti that’s been blocking a hallway inside my office for weeks now. But what fun is that? I decided to ride it home in the 34° sleet today instead.

After bolting on the license plate, mirrors, and windscreen and checking the fluids and cables and such, I wheeled the bike out the freight elevator and hit the electric start. Apparently it wasn’t happy I’d ignored it so long, and didn’t want to idle even once I got it started, but Vina and Mina were waiting in the 2sb urban assault vehicle, and I wanted to get it home where I had better tools and a dry, well-lit garage to look it over.

The bike was handling well and accelerating nicely on the familiar roads of my daily commute, but obviously I was taking it easy because the weather was dismal. Then, about 2/3rds of the 10-mile trip home, I made a left turn and found myself lying on my back in the middle of the street, listening to the bike sliding away from me.

Vina, who was following me in the car, she said I lost traction when my rear tire hit a wet frozen manhole cover just as I was accellerating out of the turn.

I’ve dropped bikes a couple times, and as always, it happened so fast that there was no time to react. You have no idea what’s happening, yet once you’ve entirely lost control, things happen in surreal slow motion, and you remember strange details. One moment everything’s normal, the next, you just see sky in your visor and you’re just waiting to see what part of you hits the ground first.

I landed on my left side, with most of my weight on my elbow and hip. I was wearing an armored jacket, a full-face helmet, boots, winter gauntlets, leather boots, and jeans with thermals and pajama bottoms underneath. I don’t think my head ever hit the ground. I felt no pain other than my left lower abdomen, which hurt pretty badly. I ended up on my back with both feet on the ground, holding my butt in the air, for some reason afraid to put my butt on the ground. I was already feeling pretty serious pain in my left abdomen, but felt OK otherwise. Head pain? Nope. Breathing? Check. Arms? Working. Toes? All attached and working. Eventually, as faces started to look down at me through my visor, I lowered my butt to the ground, determined that my coccyx was intact, and decided that there was nothing critically wrong with me. I saw Vina and told her I was OK, and asked her to hit the killswitch on the bike.

I almost feel like the abdominal injury happened before impact, either because I involuntarily tensed up before I hit the ground, or because the bike whipped me in that direction so abruptly. In any case, my rib cage didn’t hit the ground, it would have been the force of my arm crushing it. Armor can (and in this case, almost certainly did) keep elbows from shattering, but it’s not going to absorb the full force of impact, even in a very low-speed solo accident like this.

I knew the bottom half of my body was OK, and I just really wanted to get on my feet, so a few pedestrians and Vina helped me to my feet just as two police cars arrived. A couple minutes later, a fire truck came too. By the time I was up, someone had picked up the bike and had it on the stand next to the curb. Amazingly, aside from a very minor scratch on the lower left fairing, it took no damage, which is amazing. The greasy slush must have lubricated its five-or-ten-foot slide.

Just to be clear, the bike played no part in the accident, it was a dumb choice to ride any bike, let alone an unfamiliar bike, in that weather and I should have taken the time to dial in the idle perfectly before riding it, I was thinking too much about keeping the bike idling and not thinking enough about safe riding.

The paramedics looked me over, but at that point, I felt allright and I just wanted to get the bike home. They gave me some treatment tips and warned me about possible complications. By the time I got home, I was in a lot more pain, and after a long nap, it’s hurting pretty badly, but it’s stable. I can’t take narcotics, they make me cry during Gilligan’s Island, so I’m doing OK with Tylenol and alternating heat and cold. I’m breathing fine (though I have a cold, so sneezing and coughing are not pretty.)

I’m really happy it wasn’t worse, and that I was wearing good gear. I’m especially happy that the bike wasn’t damaged. I’ve been staring at it for weeks waiting to ride it. I let impatience get the best of me, but luckily I’ll have plenty more chances to put it through its paces.

The worst part of the incident was seeing Mina crying in her car seat worrying about me. When she saw me walking towards her, she stopped crying and smiled one of the best smiles I’ve ever seen. I told her I was OK and she didn’t have to worry, and she put a big lip gloss smudge on my helmet that I will never wash off.

I’ve been riding a lot less since I’ve been a parent, partially because of the logistics, but also because when you’re responsible for the well-being of a child, you have to re-assess your risky behavior and let’s face it, motorcycle and scooter riding is risky. Seeing that girl crying and worrying about me is going to make it hard to get back on a scooter, but hopefully I’ll learn from this and make better decisions and stay that much more focused on safety and responsibility. Riding is great, but it’s not more important to me than Vina and Mina.

Sorry for that melodramatic turn there, sorry that I don’t have any photos in this long, long post, and sorry my first report on the Benelli Andretti 150XT includes just about nothing about the bike itself. It was a fun ride, even with the cruddy weather, until the crashy part. Hopefully the next time I ride it–which may not be until spring, damn you Chicago–yields some more useful information about the scooter itself. Thanks again to Steve and PSF for the bike, sorry I haven’t been able to talk about it more and that my first report isn’t quite going to send anyone running to their local Benelli dealer.

And (duh) thanks to Vina and Mina for putting up with me, helping me sit up and lay down, and making me soup and cookies.

19 thoughts on “Andretti test 1: 2sb crashes the Andretti”

  1. Best wishes, Beeb. Glad to hear that the kid wasn’t too traumatized.

  2. Glad you’re not injured any worse. Thanks for linking this in that crash thread on MB.

  3. Bryan, glad you escaped relatively unscathed… any landing you can walk away from and all that.
    I hope Mina wasn’t too traumatized by the experience. Having kids does certainly make the algebra of risk more complex. One of the first things I did when I found out Zoe was on her way this Spring was purchase a white helmet and hi-viz yellow jacket.
    I think responsible riders with kids have to take a similar attitude to responsible gun owners with kids. I don’t want my daughter to be afraid of the world, and neither do I want her to take foolhardy risks. Riding will be one way for me to discuss with her the fine art of balancing risk.

  4. Dude,
    You were pretty lucky, I will say. Bravo for being mindful to ride with all the safety gear. Last time I crashed due to some gravel on a slow right turn, I had internal bleeding for weeks and the worse case of GD const#p%tion ever!
    Take it easy, for you and the family. Get well soon, we need you, 2sb, and look forward to more great posts!

  5. I was lucky, for sure, and I’ve had several friends get banged up worse in the last few months. I think the big lesson for me is it doesn’t take a 70mph collision with a truck to get injured, even a slow left turn with no traffic around can f**k you up pretty good. You gotta be on the ball ALL THE TIME.

  6. Eeeesh! Props out to your girls. And now you’ve made me want to get armor.
    And a floating butt.

    Hope you AND Vina’s ribs feel better by Spring.

  7. Bryan,

    Sorry to read about your fall. I am glad that you are intact. As I read your description I could certainly relate to the sudden developments that can occur when riding in those kinds of conditions. Frozen manholes, while not common in the rural area I ride in, do appear in towns and are like little riding landmines, even when dry. Just like painted lines, leaves, flattened aluminum cans, manure, and springs that flow across a road. No good way to manage them other than going slow.

    You’re right about not needing to go fast to really get injured.

    Get well soon!

    Steve Williams
    Scooter in the Sticks

  8. Glad to hear you made it out “ok.” After a similar accident earlier this year (a parked car pulled out in front of me and I dumped the bike; I walked away with only torn jeans) I took your recommendation and bought the Corazzo shop jacket, and so far so good (actually, I love it).

  9. OUCH! Well, thanks for always gearing up! When I hear a friend has dropped their bike and I know it’s someone who normally wears their protective gear I usually breath a half-sigh of relief. I breath the other half when I hear them pissin’ and moanin’ about how they dropped their scoot. “Damn it! I just repainted that cowl!”

  10. One of the realities of life is that as you get older, you don’t heal as well—or as quickly. I’ll have to tell you about the Segway Incident sometime…

  11. Glad to hear you’re okay and recovering. Normally, I would say something witty to make you laugh and talk your mind off being hurt but rib injuries make LOL; OUCH!

    Get well soon!


  12. Orin, the age thing is too true. Also, modern scooters are heavier and you sit higher up on the machine. This was much hurtier than the similar accident I had on the Primavera wearing a half helmet and t-shirt 12 years ago.

  13. “Also, modern scooters are heavier and you sit higher up on the machine. ”

    Yes. And as you know, I blame poor design around under-seat storage. The world would be a better place if not for under-seat storage.

  14. glad you are OK! My alley is already iced-in but I was thinking of riding tonite anyway–your article convinced me otherwise. Take care!

Comments are closed.