Hot weather slippery roads up North

Discussion in 'Touring Northern Thailand - Trip Reports Forum' started by Franz, Apr 5, 2010.

  1. Franz

    Franz Ol'Timer

    Decided on Sunday to do a blast on the DR650 to see an old friend in Mae Hong Son, so off I went on my own and usual pace. Was quickly in Pai as the DR is fun on mountain roads. Filled up petrol and went up the next mountain and then down. and with down I mean really onto the tarmac. Anyone out there riding to MHS via Pai or back should be very aware that not onlny it's hot but the road surfaces sometimes get like the surface of ice. I experienced this on my way down towards Pang Ma Pha when in a turn with about 60 km/h suddenly both wheels lost grip. No I didn't brake nor accelerate. First I hit the road but in trying to get the bike stabilised with my outstretched left foot (left turn) it got somehow mangled and stuck on the bike. When hitting the tarmac, the bike then came down on me with the handlebars hitting the left side of my breast. Could't breathe and the bike towed me further down the road. After some very nice local Lisu helped me and loaded the bike onto a pick-up (clutchlever was gone but repaired in Pang Ma Pha) I walked onto the spot where I slipped and it was nearly impossible to walk there; luckily I wore my bodyarmour which has also re-inforced hard breast-plates, helmet, gloves, riding boots and an amazing stretchable jeans protected me from serious injury. I was told then that I was already the 3rd bike that day to go down there, still no warning provided for other the end they would have to put one up at every turn. Problem is that Thailand uses very thin tarmac and not to have it crack quickly they use smaller aggregate and more bitumina which makes it more elastic but also very smooth in hot days like today as the aggregate is pushed deeper into the mix and on top stays just the bitumina. Grip get's less and less then. SO A WARNING TO ALL OF YOU, LOWER YOUR SPEEDS AS YOU CANNOT RIDE AS QUICKLY AS AFTER THE RAINS OR IN THE COLD SEASON !!!! Another problem in this hot weather is engines also getting hotter, that means they are gonna leak more oils as metals expand more and might open up some small fissures, oil gets thinner and more ''fluid''. Especially on the downward slopes, all the pick-up's use their engines to brake, old as they are they will leak more unburnt engine oil through worn piston rings or sleeves which then goes straight onto the tarmac. In the end it was oil, tyreleftovers and a mixture of diesel fume particles that made me slip as my jeans are undamaged, could wash off the stains easily with strong Attack-detergent so that wasn't bitumina on them...........
    Luckily nothing's broken just some small cracks in my ribs and a very very painful swelling around them. A little rash where the skin was unprotected and of course a lesson that I need from time to time in reminding me that I am not 25 years anymore and should take it a little easier......another lesson was that the DR with it's flimsy fronttyre shouldn't be ridden like the FJR.........and also a little scratch on my confidence, but only for my good. The DR ? Well that pig rested on top of me and got only 3 minor scratches.....
    Cheers & ride safe !!!! Franz
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  3. Ally

    Ally Ol'Timer

    Franz, good to hear you came away with only a few damages, maybe your experience will save someone suffering a worse fate.

    You didn't mention anything about food, drink or include any photos in your report, very disappointing :wink:

  4. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Glad to know you're "Ok" & now back in Chiang Mai. It must have been weird talking to me on the phone when you were in the x-ray room at the hospital in Pang Mapha eh?
    That must have been quite a painful ride back from Mae Hong Son too I must say. So well done.

    Seriously though I reckon you must be happy & consider it good luck - nothing broken & only a slow speed "low side." It could have been high speed on the FJR = O-U-C-H!

    Get well soon & if you need anything in the next few days please ring or SMS me.
  5. Captain Wally

    Captain Wally Ol'Timer

    I did almost the same thing in almost the same place back in February. I took out a road-side post and put Mrs Mechanic's brand new ER6N into the ditch :oops: . Spent Chinese New year (Feb14) in Pai hospital.
    I was feeling quite embarrassed about my first 'lose' in over 30 years but don't feel quite so bad now that an experienced local has had a similar experience.

    I too was helped out by some local Lisu.- Great people.

    I'm 100% in agreement there. I was pleasantly surprised though, to discover that at 55, the body seems to recover almost as quickly as at 25.
  6. Kiwi Cruiser

    Kiwi Cruiser Ben Kemp Staff Member

    Hi Franz - a lesson indeed! Glad to hear you are ok!!! You are SO right about the wisdom of wearing "ALL The Gear, ALL The Time!" We've been out there in the heat, wearing what The Goddess refers to as "all the furniture" and we've got sweat trickling all over...


    BUT - there's a great deal of comfort in knowing that if one of us does fall off, we'll do the minimum of damage to ourselves in the process. Its not pleasant wearing a heavy armoured jacket in Hot Season, when the temperature is close to 40C, but it sure beats the hell out of skin grafts... :lol:

    Road conditions are the same, if not worse, in the Chiang Rai area. Surface conditions are lethal at both highway or in-town intersections. Even the heavy-tread soles on my bike boots have minimal traction on the road when you put your feet down at an intersection. The roads are slippery from accumulated oil, diesel fume particles and rubber etc, after virtually no significant rains for the last 5 months.

    Riding carefully, I've had the rear wheel lock on the Vulcan at least once on almost every outing! I've seen a few of the locals picking themselves up off the street lately - its almost become "normal" to see someone fall off. :oops:
  7. Jurgen

    Jurgen Moderator

    Creepy story ! But a rather happy end. Good to hear that you are well Franz and that you came out of the adventure in quite good conditions. You are so right about the equipment, and such a slide might expect us just next door, even so it's difficult to drive to the local market fully covered :(
    Getting to know about such unfortunate experiences are very valuable to me. Sometimes it's good to loose a little confidence and to remember that I am in no hurry to arrive, particularly at the hospital. Thank you for sharing the lesson.
  8. Franz

    Franz Ol'Timer

    Many thanks for the replies guys !! Well I'm getting better but still going in and out of bed is a nightmare. Spending yesterday on the sofa in front of the TV and only had to get up to walk to the toilet nearly did the job on the spot as my ribcage and already badly damaged left knee had pain shooting trough my whole body. Sorry, didn't take any fotos as not being able to breathe for minutes took out all the pleasure of the day......ride to MHS from the hospital wasn't that bad, you know it takes some time for the pain to establish itself.
    One scary thing just came to my mind, I would rather ditch the bikes the whole next week than going on a ride for these reasons: on my way back from MHS I lost count on the xxx tyremarks from cars going right into the ditch in each and every turn. Just imagine the accidents going to happen next week when all the Vigo's, Fortuners and Vioses from the 'Big Smog' are up here and going to Pai or other will be a real massacre. On the FJR I can't leave any junction without spinning the back wheel and as above also having troubles in keeping the balance when stopping as also my riding boots have no grip.
    Another observation that made me shake my head were all the young farangs in & from Pai who were on their Wave's & Sparks and NONE of them had any riding gear, not even helmets, what stupid people there are out on these roads.......
    I even wear my helmet when going on the Step 125 for cigarettes to the nearest 7-11 which is only 1 km away. Better safe 'n' hot than sorry....
    Ride safe, Franz
  9. David Learmonth

    David Learmonth Ol'Timer

    Glad to hear you are improving! Fully agree with your comments re. wearing good riding gear at all times - I do, even though sometimes it can be very uncomfortable, my thinking is : it's easier to replace sweat than skin. Was in Pai in early February & I also noted the farangs riding about with no crash hat, shorts,Tshirts, flipflops etc., not only in the town but out on the open road. Its been noted here by Kiwi Cruiser re. the condition of all the roads & junctions in ChiangRai & I will second this - they were bad enough two weeks ago when I was last there.He was not exagerating when he said even good motorcycle boot soles offered no grip on the tarmac! Will be avoiding riding altogether until the nonsense is over & only making essential car journeys.
  10. feejer

    feejer Ol'Timer

    I saw this as well in late '08 while in Pai. Then saw the result of such idiocy. Couldn't help but talk to the victim while having dinner on the main avenue. Poor girl crashed her scooter and was skinned from shoulder to ankle on one side with her arm in a sling and a few missing teeth. Was a painful thing to see but could have been much worse. She was lucky she didn't split her melon.
  11. johngooding

    johngooding Ol'Timer

    Hi Franz, Sorry I missed your original post, so late hearing of your slipping and sliding. I hope your discomfort eases quickly, as you and others have said. Iam glad you have come out reasonably OK, it could have been so much worse and hopefully your timely post prevents some others having the same problems.
    The conditions in Isaan and even places like Lomsak and Nam Nao seem to be better. Despite a number of 40C days and almost no rain, the roads seem to be holding up well and we are not seeing the sort of conditions you are. Not sure why, Maybe much lighter traffic on the bendy roads. Also any burning down this way seems to have a very short time effect on the atmosphere and our air is very clear. So sounds as if I have not missed out too much not visiting the North in the last few weeks, but I hope it improves in the next 3 weeks as I will try and make your house party. Thanks for sharing your experience. Cheers, John
  12. oldbloke

    oldbloke Ol'Timer

    How brand new?...I wonder if it was the black one I ran in, back in November? or is she getting more of them these days?...bloody good bikes!

    Hmm that's reassuring but I'd rather not test the theory - aiming to be back in December, when only the usual hazards, not melted tarmac :shock: exist.

    Get well soon, Franz
  13. Captain Wally

    Captain Wally Ol'Timer

    It was black but I doubt it was the same one. It had only 1,200k's on the clock. Didn't have a numberplate yet. I'd guess it was only a few weeks old in mid February.

    I agree. I had a great time :happy5: until I pushed things a little too far :oops: .
  14. oldbloke

    oldbloke Ol'Timer

    Yep must have been a different one, I put the 1st 1000ks on the one I rented (down to Suhkothai and up to Nan) - and same story, no number-plate. Carried the papers under the seat, but was never pulled up by police. Got a lot more admiration on it, too, than when riding the CB400 I previously rented!! :D . Sounds like you really weren't pushing it at all - that sort of surface can catch anyone out
  15. burnjr

    burnjr Ol'Timer

    take bro especially mea hong son road.. :happy3:
  16. Franz

    Franz Ol'Timer

    John, many thanks, still aching a lot in my ribcage..... see you then at my house on 24/4, have a safe trip !! More details to be posted within today at the Houseparty post. cheers, Franz

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