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Bogie

Rhine in Flames Day 2

Having woken uncharacteristically early, we walked down flights of steep steps, past vegetable gardens and a man coming the other way with a bag of bread, to the town proper, had a look at the river and back up at the hotel, then returned. Following a splendid buffet breakfast which included DIY pancakes, we hit the road.

This morning I put my bike in manual mode, and the added control allowed me to enjoy the Belgian bends a little more than I had the day before. By the time I was called upon to mark a junction, I was far enough ahead of the pack (thanks to an aggressive overtaking policy) to whip my camera out and take some action shots of the other riders approaching.

Coffee-and-petrol time found us on the border with Luxembourg, parked outside an enormous duty free booze emporium which Howard and I found time to explore. When we set off again, I, unusually, went in front of Howard, so he could film my ride. We spent a happy twenty minutes in pursuit of Jen before we came to a junction and I was dropped off as marker.

Pointless though it is, I have spent a good deal of time since then thinking up scenarios in which things might have been different if I'd been in my customary spot behind Howard, and regretting the fact that being left at the junction meant I was one of the last to round a nice, wide downhill bend, only to see Howard's bike on its side in the middle of the road and Howard sitting against the barrier being helped to take his helmet off.

I confidently expected him to be up and running again in minutes, very cross about the fuss everyone had made. Instead, First Responders arrived, summoned by a car driver who witnessed the off, then the police and an ambulance, which I announced my intention of following on the bike.

"Don't stop for anything, Alice," Jen told me, after checking I was in a fit state to ride. "If the ambulance goes through a red light, you go too." I positioned my bike behind the ambulance in a state of readiness; a helpful Luxembourgeois policewoman told me the ambulance would in fact be going in the opposite direction; I turned around again; and we were off.

We made a stop in a layby so a doctor could join us and make an inspection, then we set off again. I rode between the ambulance and the doctor's car, both with their flashing lights on. Strangely, none of the bikers I saw going the other way returned my waves.

I have nothing but praise for the medical staff, all of whom spoke four languages and were incredibly nice to me, keeping me up to date on what was happening - including which town and what hospital we were headed for. I did mislay the ambulance shortly before our destination of Ettelbruck when a coach made way for it, but spotted it again and found a safe place to park in time to watch Howard getting unloaded and wheeled off. I was taken away to fill in forms, then instructed to wait in the waiting-room.

Bike Normandy's John, who had stayed behind to sort out the police and a local garage while Jen led the rest of the group onward, found me there an hour later and immediately went off to the cafe to buy me a Coke and a sandwich. Eventually a doctor appeared ("I go fetch your woman," I learned Howard had been told), and once all documents had been produced we were allowed to leave, Howard with a souvenir X-ray of his floating shoulder.

The next three nights would be spent in the same hotel in Germany, which was lucky. Howard went as a passenger in the Bike Normandy van, and I followed up the motorway to Boppard, on the Rhine - arriving minutes after the rest of the group, who had got lost on the way. I wanted a bath and a bucket of gin, but at last everyone was where they should be.

Miles: 186.8

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Comments

Oh man.... that must have been a VERY scary, and worrying, moment when you came around the corner, and saw that scene! 😯

Although I am sorry that he broke his collarbone (& the state of the bike ), I am soooo relieved that he wasn't more badly hurt.

Also, am glad that you were well looked after by everyone, as it must have been quite overwhelming for you both.

Although it was not how he wanted to continue the trip, I am glad that he was able to ride on the bus, rather than having to end the holiday early.

How is he doing now??? 😕

What an eventful day for you both. So relieved that you are both home safely! 💗 *hugs*
Those kinds of events stick around, and replay themselves whether you like it or not. Not fun at all. Very glad Howard's injuries were no worse.
Yeah - I'm sure one day I'll stop going over how I could have done everything BETTER. Thanks!
Holy jeez, so glad it was okay in the end!
Yes, I need to remember the alternatives when I get upset about the effect on my holiday!

Edited at 2015-08-19 06:29 am (UTC)
Oh gosh, I missed the earlier post. Very glad Howard's OK, and hope he's healing well.
Thank you!
DIY pancakes

I have visions of something resembling a classic Blue Peter episode, with a line of guests all attempting pancake tossing, with varying degrees of success. ^_^

But FFS, I can only shiver at the thought of that sight, fearing the worst.. it goes without saying, I'm tremendously relieved he's more or less okay.

Thank you! Sorry some of my other replies have been a bit curt; I felt obliged to record events in the customary writeup, but there are bits of the holiday I'm not yet ready to think about.
Good to hear nothing even worse happened, but still — that sucks. :/

I'm curious, are you supposed to take off bikers' helmets after they've had an accident? I've always been told not to in case of head injuries, notably skull fractures, where the helmet might be the only thing holding everything together, as it were.
It's best if the rider is conscious and can take their own helmet off. However, you can take a helmet off someone else safely - and you definitely should if they're not breathing or the airway is blocked. I was taught to do it on a First Aid course aimed at motorcyclists. Ideally, one person supports the rider's neck and the other eases the helmet off.
Good to know! I'll have to keep this in mind. (And perhaps I should attend a first aid refresher course, it's been ages since I've had one.)
I've been thinking I should probably go on another one, too.

Also get a medical ID bracelet; I've always thought "but what would I put on it?", now I think passport and EHIC numbers would be really useful.
That sounds useful, yes. I have a Notfallausweis in my wallet, listing such things as contact details for close relatives, relevant medical information, and more. I've also got my blood donor card (and my organ donor card, but by the time that becomes relevant I've obviously expired, gone to meet my maker, joined the bleedin' choire invisible and become an ex-wolf).
I have my blood group on a keyring attached to the zip of my bike jacket, but I hope medical personnel would conduct tests rather than rely on that!
Oh yes, they definitely will; your blood group's always verified before you get a transfusion. However, if you carry a card or keyring or so that identifies it, they will already order it while they conduct the tests so that they'll have it available sooner, able to be administered as soon as the test results are there. Without the card/keyring they wouldn't know what to order — they'd have to wait for the results first, and then the whole thing would take longer.
That's really good to know - thanks!