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what do you do when your bike dies or breaks in the middle of the woods?

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I've been riding for about 20 years and in the last couple I've been doing a lot of solo riding. I'm never out of cell range so I could always call someone, but a lot of places I ride it would be hard for someone to find me because there are lots of trails. Then you still have the problem of how to get the bike out if, say, the front wheel is bent up or you're at the bottom of a huge hill.

I have roadside assistance through AMA and my insurance, so all I have to do is get it to a paved road and I can get it towed. I'm just wondering what some of you have done when you were stranded in the woods due to a breakdown, out of gas, etc. I've been thinking of carrying my motorcycle lock with me so worst case I could chain it to a tree until I can come back and get it.

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I always pack a tow rope in my truck. I have used it a couple times to pull folks who ran out of gas or got stuck in a mud whole and what not. I haven't had to use it on my bike yet, but its always there just in case I need someone to tow me back to the parking lot. Now it wont do much good if you bent up a wheel, but thats a petty extreme example and your likely to have bigger problems (injuries) if that happens - or so I would think.

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Fingers crossed, knock on wood (and keep my bike in tip top shape), I've never been stranded. But I've seen bikes being towed back to the truck (tow strap, or strap made from 2 or more tie downs hooked together) by quads or other bikes. Not a fun thing to do, but the only way sometimes.

If I'm going to be riding by myself, I always stay out on the main trails. Since it's a fairly busy use area, someone will be along in a bit.

My main nightmare isn't a broken bike, but the ride up out of the woods on a stretcher, lashed to the back of a quad. I've seen that happen too, several times. It can be ugly.

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I don't ride by myself except for a few short trails near my house. Best thing to do is to keep up the maintenance on your bikes, if you do, they will almost never break down. I know guys that I will not ride with because their bikes are always breaking down, because of a lack of maintenance. That being said, when riding alone, only ride areas that you know that you could walk your bike out if need be.

My best suggestion would be to do some networking and find some more riding friends. A few years ago, I had the problem of friends that were losing interest in riding. I was lucky if I could get anyone who wanted to go riding. Finally I met a couple guys that were as dirtbike addicted as I am. Pretty soon, I got introduced to their friends and the friends of those friends. Nowadays, I have multiple people calling every weekend who want to go riding. My problem is now having too many people wanting to go on one of my rides or having to choose who's ride I want to go on. It's a really good dilemma IMO.:busted:

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I ride with my son, a buddy, or when there are other people on the trail if at all possible. There have been times I've ridden alone, but not often, and I always slow down and be careful if alone. The times we've had mechanical failures, I towed out, had a tow rope with me and tools back at the truck. There isn't much you can do if you get hurt on the trail. I recently fell hard and broke bones, but friends at the trail got me out.

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I ride solo a lot, have for years. Keeping the bike in top shape means I have never had a breakdown. Running out of gas, well that's just as preventable. I keep my head on straight too, never a crash when soloing.

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I've been stranded more times than I can remember. Usually figure out something eventually, and limp the bike out. Had to leave it and walk out a few times. I keep a small flashlight and a BIC lighter in my pack nowadays. Gotta put the BIC somewhere it won't spew it's fuel before it's time. Woods are easier to deal with than dunes, but I had one of my most trying days in the woods here in WA about 15yrs ago. First time at a new location, took off and found my way to the lookout...then bike wouldn't start. It was late in the afternoon so I figured walk back to truck. Didn't realize how far away I was, and in the blackness I kinda lost it a few times. Just sat down and ran through every emotion I got. Finally got it together and zombie walked out to what I thought was the staging area...my truck was gone. Figuring it was stolen, I had another little 'sit down'. Then I saw the light of a campfire through the trees, so I wandered that way. A scene straight out of deliverance...3 fellas sittin around drinkin. I stepped up and got greeted rather gruffly when I somewhat spooked them. One grabbed the shotgun. Turns out they were cool, offered me beer and went to bed. Next morning they drove me up to get my bike, and showed me how far I was away from my truck. Woods in the dark with no moon ain't cool.

Just sayin :busted:

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broken bones... reminds me I should pack a splint, ACE wrap, and sling in my camelbak. A broken ankle would splint in place well inside an MX boot but a wrist, forearm, or humerus would need something more for sure.

I try to ride with friends but it's hard to coordinate. Everyone has a lot going on, as do I- school, child, etc. I do maintain my bike well and I take it easy when I'm going solo to reduce the chance of injury or damage to the bike. I also stay local and ride in places I'm familiar with so I could direct friends or rescuers to my location over the phone.

As a medic I've had to extricate people from gorges and the woods. It's a pain and those people are usually there for a while until we find them. Then we have to put them on a backboard or in a Stokes basket and carry them out.

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i had a stick hit my radiator hose while out on some fire trails with mates, split the hose and steam was going everywhere, i leaned my bike against a tree and hopped on the back of a mates bike and we went for a ride back maybe 5 kms to where people were logging, borrowed a rope and went back and started towing my bike back (about 35kms) got half way home and my mate towing me decided to stop while going maybe 40-50km/h, as i went to hit the brakes, i ran over the rope and locked the wheel and i went over the bars landing on my shoulder on a gravel road, broke my collar bone, it all happened so fast. we swapped bikes so i wast riding a towed bike or a towing bike and took it steading the rest of the way back.

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Out here in the west it is pretty easy to find yourself 20 miles from a decent road in an area that other people are not likely to cross anytime soon. A breakdown can make for an interesting situation. In many areas it is hard enough to ride out, let alone tow another bike out. We never ride alone, always ride well maintained bikes, and make sure carry essential items within the group. Essentials include: JB Weld, spare levers, tow strap, Duct tape, wire, zip ties, hose clamps, lighter, water, tool selection, and items needed to fix a flat. That is a lot of stuff to carry yourself but when spread across a group it is pretty easy to carry. Many items are easily attached to the bike in out of the way locations.

CoKTM

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Definitely keep the bike maintained so it doesn't die on you in the woods.

Carry the tools you'll need to fix it if something does go wrong. When I work on my bike in the garage, I work out of the toolkit I carry with me. If there's a tool that I need (within reason, i'm not going to carry an air compressor and impact gun with) that isn't in my pack, it'll be in there by the time I'm done.

I've had a few crashes that damaged my bike, but never left me in a situation where I couldn't ride it at least to the road or back home.

I don't ride as hard solo as I do when I'm in a group.

:busted:

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I too ride alone most of the time. I also cool it a little when I'm alone which, BTW, makes it hard (or useless) to "practice" for events when you're alone because you can't, or shouldn't ride at 110%. As for what you carry, a good selection of tools can cover most small situations. You can't carry enough to cover EVERYTHING though. As has said, maintainence is SOOO important. Since I went thru my teens and found out exactly what cycle maintainence was all about, I haven't had a "maintainence related" failure since. One thing I should read up on, here on TT, is how to tow a bike with another bike OR an ATV.

(BTW, This has been discussed a couple of times in the "DUAL SPORT/ADVENTURE" area.)

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I rarely ride w/o a group, if I do I ride cautiously. We generally don't bring a tow rope when we ride, but I suppose we could double back for a tiedown or 2 if needed. All the guys I ride with are good about maintenance, so we rarely have any issues. The only one I can remember recently was me wrapping my pipe around the frame from clipping a stump. It was bad enough the pipe was no longer even connected to the cyclinder, fortunately it happened 100 yards from the road.

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Rope is cheap, packs down pretty easily, and can really save you if you get a bike caught down in a valley or need to make shelter for the night. I carry a long-ish chunk, probably ~40ft, and a smaller ~2ft section, both with Fig8 knot loops in teh end.

If you need to use a tree as an anchor, I can throw the 2ft section around it and use a carabiner as a pulley pulling the other rope through it. Won't tear up the rope, or gouge into the tree as it slides across.

I use it a lot more snowmobiling than I do on the moto, but it has been used to get up some really messy sections of trail (Steep, loose rocks, trail cut into the hill and somewhat washed-out, and a big-ass tree down in the steepest part of the climb).

Ropes and carabiners all go into a nylon stuff sack at the bottom of my pack.

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I do a lot of solo riding. I try to pack as many easily replaceable and pack-able parts but you can't for see everything. I carry my SPOT but like others have said you might not easily get a pickup into the areas I am going. I guess good maintenance and prep before the ride, having my wits about me and some luck has kept me from serious breakdowns.

Vid from a recent ride. Not an "expert/double black diamond" ride but if a serious break down happened it would be difficult for the average 4 wheel drive driver to come and help me out.

http://teammgr.weebly.com/red-cone-and-webster-pass-offroad-ride.html

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i uselly light a smoke, sit down, cuss a few times, then procide to beat the **** out of it with the biggest log i can find. crack the gastank so that the fuel is leaking everywere, and then light it on fire and go clame my insurance money for it.

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o right, i uselly crack my self with the log a few times, just in case, so if i go to court, i can say someone beat me up and took my bike.

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I ride alone in the deep woods from time to time. Most of the time it's just the two of us (me and mrs llama). We ride the same as we do when with a big group, because it's not acceptable to ruin everyone else's ride by getting hurt or breaking the bike either.

Step 1, avoid crashing. Step 2, carry tools to fix normal stuff. Step 3, know where you are, so if you have to walk 10-15 miles, you'll at least walk in the right direction. Step 4, carry some extra snacks and a lighter to make a fire if necessary.

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