The day started out great. I spent the morning dialing in the Ohlins on the back of the 748, finishing up the clutch installation, and generally waiting for the roads to dry. Finally, about 1:00 or so I headed east out of Pittsburgh, picking up PA22 and then PA286. The ride along E286 was laid back and pleasant. The weather was perfect and the traffic light. About 5 miles east of Saltsburg, I'm behind a car doing about 45-50. Out of the corner of my left eye, I spy some movement in the brush and tap the brake to bleed off 10mph or so.
Next thing I know, I'm feeling a *big* impact on my left side. That is quckly followed by the weird sight of a big black Goldwing crashing to my front and left. The rider immediately separated from the bike and is now sliding left to right, directly in front of me. What I remember most clearly is the sight of the white open face helmet sliding directly in front of my front wheel.
So now I'm not only trying so stay upright, I'm trying to avoid running over this guy's head and making a bad situation much, much worse. A bit of brake here, a bit of bar input there, and I slip between the sliding head and the sliding Wing.The Duc does not miss a beat.
I pull over to the right and slowly I piece together what has just happened. I have just been rear ended/side swiped by a Gold Wing. I look back and see the fallen rider being tended to by some stopped cars, so I take a minute to assess my situation. It quickly becomes clear that I have danced that fine line that exists between disaster and being just missed by a flying Goldwing. The left side of my bike is scraped from tail to front. The left foot peg is bent outwards at a 90 degree angle, breaking a mounting weld from the frame. In other words, had he been a little to the right this would have been much much worse. My only pain is a sore left ankle. I think his foot peg clipped my ankle bone. My Oxnar boot did it's work here, without it I'm sure I'd be in a cast, at least.
Enter the PA highway patrol. Goldwing guy fails field sobriety, but comes in under the limit after breathalyzer. He gets multiple citations for following too close, careless driving, etc. He apparently has a broken wrist and can't ride his Wing (which isn't too worse for wear). Cop asks me nicely to move the Wing off of the rode, I oblige, and I'm off for home.
Damn, motorcycling is a harsh mistress.