Rear-Ended & Man-Hole w/o Cover...

January 9, Cancun, Quintana Roo.

            Today I rode over a manhole without a cover AND was rear-ended and no, that's not the beginning of a nasty gay joke...

            My guide book has been wrong several times on a range of topics.  Today it was wrong about a sea turtle farm, supposedly 5km south of town.  I spent a couple of hours looking for this fictional place - I've never seen a sea turtle up close and I thought it would be a good photo op.  There is no sea turtle farm, simple as that.  The name of the beach where the guide book says the sea turtle farm resides is actually about 65km south of town (not 5km like the book said) and there is a zoo between Cancun and that beach, with no sea turtles.  I asked many many people and they all looked at me like I was asking where the magic unicorn farm is located.

            My entire 65km return to Cancun was met with one of the worst rain storms I've ever experienced on a bike.  Coming into town I was fighting water, 3-6 inches deep, heavy wind and traffic.  At one point I was going about 20mph and noticed that I was approaching two circles in the road - one was grey and the other was brown.  They were right next to each other and they were the exact same size but it was hard to see clearly through the deep, dirty, flooded road water.  Almost immediately, but not soon enough, I realized that the grey circle was the manhole cover and the brown circle was the uncovered manhole that I was heading straight for.  It was too late to turn or stop, especially in those conditions, so I gunned it to get the front wheel over the hole safely.  That worked but of course the back wheel hit the inside rim of the hole pretty hard.  I pulled over to check and everything looked okay, I think the volume of water coming out of the manhole actually acted as a cushion.

            10 minutes later I was near the city center on one of the slippery brick roads.  I was thinking about the fact that I'd ridden over an uncovered manhole and was feeling a bit lucky about coming out of that experience unharmed but at the same time I was concerned about the slippery bricks under my tires at the moment.  I don't know whose idea it was to use this type of brick for a road - they're slippery as hell when dry and of course they are much worse when wet. 

            I was stopped at a red light when I heard a skidding noise from directly behind me that immediately triggered the butt pucker reflex.  I braced myself and for a fraction of a second I just hoped that my initial guess was wrong, but it wasn't.  The very next moment I was simply trying to hold on and regain control of my bike, which had shot forward from the impact of a front bumper on my back tire.  The impact tore my hands off the handle bars and my back was hit hard by the upper, center bag behind me (the only one my of three bags I had on the bike at the moment).  The bike had been in gear but since my hand was no longer holding the clutch it stalled the engine shortly after the impact, which stopped the back wheel and acted as a very abrupt brake, which then threw me forward toward the handlebars and through some combination of reflexes and dumb luck my hands landed perfectly on the hand grips and I was able to brace myself and keep my body from continuing forward, over or into the handlebars.  I was able to keep from hitting anyone else and regained control of the motorcycle and the pucker reflex performed its function well because nothing came out but I thought for sure there would be something wrong with the motorcycle. 

            Long story short, there was nothing wrong.  The guy who hit me felt bad and gave me his drivers license for me to copy his info, and gave me his phone number.  I returned to the hotel and checked the back rim, tire and alignment and was unable to detect the slightest wobble or find any indication that anything had been broken or bent.  I'm glad those things happened when my heavy side-bags were back in my hotel room, not on the bike.  I'm impressed with the bikes ability to take a beating, that is if there really is nothing wrong with it...

            That's all for now, I just had to tell someone.  I'm pretty sure the rest of my day will go a little easier.