We all have that romantic notion of taking off from the safe confines of domestic life and hitting the road solo in search of new trails and unknown destinations. No plan, no schedule and no responsibility with no limitations to the road we take within our fuel range.
However, it was a short excursion over the bars of my new WR250F back in 2004 that may me realise that I don’t bounce like I used to. As a result I spent the rest of the day in the hospital casualty department. By the way, here’s a tip. If you make it to the hospital under your own steam and they ask you what happen then always say you fell off your mountain bike not motorbike. Tip number too. If you were silly enough too say motorbike and they take a blood sample to measure your blood alcohol level the police will eventually call. When they do they will ask you a multiple-choice question. Where were you riding? ‘A’, A public road or ‘B’ On private property. The correct answer is ‘B’ and this will end questioning… hopefully. Tip number three. If during an extended brain fade you admit that you were riding a motorbike on a public road then say some form of wildlife ran out in front of you or you clipped a large farm animal that ran off and is unavailable for a statement.
The point is, that injury and recovery from injury, takes a lot longer as the years go by and from what I’ve seen of the adventure riding demographic there is enough adventure riding years out there to outlast the Old Testament. So if that means we now have less chance of getting up after a get off, then the idea of solo adventure may be escaping us as the years roll on.
Seriously. Take the 2011 BMW Safari. At the welcome party there were plenty of participants who looked like they had just been let off the leash for the first time in years and without domestic supervision. The next morning riders launched into the following day as if it was the penultimate stage of the Dakar. We all know how day one turned out.
So it sort of came as no surprise when reports of carnage started coming in via SMS and Facebook from Clubby on the Team Trail Zone AdventureMoto APC Rally shakedown. As a navigational rally without a cornerman system nobody is waiting for anybody so it makes sense to have a buddy system or as we’ve discussed before, a Wingman. Naturally the purpose of a wingman is to have someone looking out for you. Having ridden with the worlds worst wingman the only solution I can see is to have a Wingman Agreement.
- A wingman won’t turn up on a R1200 GSA. It takes more than two people to get one upright.
- The wingman will always bring enough jelly snakes for both riders.
- A wingman must know how to use a puncture repair kit.
- A wingman must religiously back every bench-racing story during bench racing at the end of the day.
- The wingman will carry the spare tubes.
- If it’s found that there’s no pump then it’s the wingmans fault.
- The wingman has to know how to use a GPS.
- A wingman never says, 'What does your GPS say?'
- It’s OK for the wingman to ride a V Strom. They always accept an invitation to come riding as it’s rare and they are always happy to carry spares and tubes.
- A wingman who carries a map can't necessarily be trusted to know where he's going.
- A wingman has a balanced diet and doesn't stop at every fried chicken eatery. Seriously. There's nothing more inconvenient than a wingman having an unexpected heart attack. Then again with enough fried chicken, potatoes and gravy it is expected.
- Failure to comply with any of the previous points will result in be permanently labelled the worlds worst wingman.