Got myself into and out a pickle...lessons learned
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Thread: Got myself into and out a pickle...lessons learned

  1. #1
    Junior Member ElevenTSeven's Avatar
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    Oct 2018
    Longview, Texas

    Got myself into and out a pickle...lessons learned

    Got myself in a bit of a pickle, and back out again.

    Mistake number one was going to an atv trail after two rainstorms, but I figured if I was careful and stuck to the high ground trails I'd be fine. I was making sure to check out ominous puddles beforehand and pick lines.

    Well I got to this one hill and there was a puddle at the bottom but didn't look too bad, and the slope on the other side looked relatively dry. (the pics below look really soupy but either there was a dry crust I busted through or the angle and lighting deceived me, but either way my main concern was the puddle and I was wasn't expecting mud on the incline past it). I made it through the puddle fine, but as soon as I hit middle of upper slope...BAM, axle deep in mud. I fought with it for a bit and finally started rotating the bike around by picking up the front and nudging inch by inch, figured fighting downhill would be better. I got it 90 degrees (first pic).

    This is when I started getting really tired and wondering if I could do this on my own. It was late afternoon so I decided to go back to the entrance (bit more than a quarter mile maybe) and see if the 4-wheelers I saw earlier were still around. They had left. There was a family with one Honda Grom and the dad was teaching the kids how to ride, it was actually awesome to see, but they didn't have the gear to help and the father said he recently had hand surgery so wouldn't be any good trying to help pull me out. I decided I'd try one more time to get it out myself before calling friends.

    When I got back to my bike I realized that in my stressed state I had left the key and light on. It started a few times while I was battling to get it out but eventually the engine would not start (in hindsight I should not have kept starting it when I wasn't able to leave it on to charge the battery). I eventually was able to basically just squat-lift the rear end out of the pit and forward enough to be able to push the bike out of the mud. This is the second time I have been so glad the TW "only" weighs a bit under 300lbs.
    This picture shows a little better how the mud didn't look as bad from this angle (It does look muddy here but this is after I kicked up all the water and ruts going in and getting out).

    Getting out of the pit was a huge relief but I still couldn't start the engine. I tried pushing the bike up the hill pictured behind it because there was a nice flat area to bump start it, but it wasn't happening. So I pushed it back towards where I came from and up to a flat area. Then, I decided I was gonna try one more time to start the engine before attempting a bump start (never have done that before, now I'm thinking I ought to practice). I said a quick prayer and pushed the starter button and...*chick**chick**VROOOM* IT STARTED. All I have to say is "God is good".

    I was free at last, and had enough adventure for the day.

    Learned some lessons for sure: I think I'm done riding in muddy areas alone, better to have someone to help you out of those situations. I'm also thinking one of those self recovery pulley strap systems would be great for that type of predicament. Most importantly I learned to stop for a second and collect myself to think of solutions (and not leave key on). Fortunately I was not in any real danger here, as I was only 15-20 minutes from my house and worst case scenario I could walk back 1/4 mile and get my roommate to pick me up. But yeah for offroad riding I think I need to be better prepared with gear and/or be riding with others.
    Last edited by ElevenTSeven; 04-20-2019 at 02:56 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Miaugi's Avatar
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    Oct 2017
    Alfred, On
    Glad to hear you got out Ok and learned a few lessons. It sounds like you did have options given that you were still close to home and friends to call for help. Now imagine you were 10 or 20 miles in and couldn't free the bike, maybe not life threatening but certainly not a good way to spend the night.

    Of course anyone who has ridden has likely been in your shoes, I know I have but that was back when I was a much younger. I remember all to well that sinking feeling with literally both wheels in up to the axles. The worst time was with my XL650 which was a beast even for young me. Thankfully I have not had this happen with the TW, yet that is.
    admiral likes this.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Michael Bryce Winnick's Avatar
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    Oct 2015
    Another lesson...beg, borrow, scavenge...put a kick start on your bike. I bought my kickstarter about 2 months before I bought my TW. I knew I would get one of these things one of these days. Wasn't that time out there still better than being at work?
    Miaugi, Darth, admiral and 1 others like this.

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  5. #4
    Senior Member ejfranz's Avatar
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    Feb 2015
    Maple Ridge, BC, Canada
    A cheaper solution to buying a kick start kit is to get a lithium jump start battery.
    Fred, troll, Tweaker and 1 others like this.
    2001 TW200 sporting a MT43 up front. Duro has gone to a good home. 2015 VStrom XT, 1996 DT 200, Broken 2010 Xingue 400 XY. 2009 WR250r now shared with my son.

  6. #5
    Senior Member Sthrnromr's Avatar
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    Oct 2018
    Rural, South Carolina
    +1 on adding the kickstarter. Glad you were able to get out ok and achieved some learning on the way. Good post. Thanks for sharing.
    admiral likes this.
    TW200 - The Goat
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    Way too many past bikes and builds to list. I won't bore you. Questions? Just ask.

  7. #6
    Senior Member stagewex's Avatar
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    Jun 2016
    New Rochelle, New York
    Riding alone you'll have to debate with yourself are you going to be able to extract yourself alone too. It's always a risk and if something more serious than getting stuck in the mud or your bike not starting... well you gotta think about that. When I ride woods by myself I will stick to Jeep & 4X4 roads only and that's not very often. Usually it'll be when I break away from the group to head home or back to the campsite. Think of the buddy-system of going swimming by yourself... you really shouldn't.

    Couple things to consider:
    I carry a small tow rope nowadays in my rear bag after getting stuck unable to start my bike after a fall. We (yes, 2 other guys) were able to push start the bike but not easy in the sand. Got lucky. Without them (2 other guys) I'd have been f*cked.

    Even a small amount of clothesline is better than nothing for starting and or towing you out of the woods. Of course you still need someone with you or passing by to make that happen.

    Then there's the stress of physical extraction itself, by yourself. Who knows how much you (or your heart) can really take? I'll leave that to debate as to what physical shape you really are in and I don't care how young or old your are. Everybody can be Baryshisnikov when riding and moving.

    Kick Starter. You are blessed with a bike that CAN accept a kick starter mod/install. Anyone riding off-road with these little fun clown-bikes should absolutely have one. A higher degree of riding insurance than a new battery or accessory battery charge packs. Nothing more to carry, just an upside down "L" lever on the side of your motor, HaHa.
    There are very few makes and models of any kind able to do this and it's a shame that Yamaha does not even offer this as perhaps a $300.00 option or just charge another $300.00 more to make it standard again. Look below at my signature line of bikes and type of starting I prefer. No-Brainer!

    Glad you got out ok. Your post was a great description of the simplicity of what can go wrong in an instant and when alone... your luck prior to panic. Alway keep (and you did) your wits.
    Last edited by stagewex; 04-20-2019 at 07:36 AM.
    admiral, Darth and Ken like this.
    2008 Vespa 150"S" (Elec & Kick Start)
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    1969 BMW r60/2, US Model (Kick Start Only)

  8. #7
    Super Moderator JerseyJeeper's Avatar
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    Mar 2011
    NJ Shore / Pine Barrens
    Many times laying the bike on its side and dragging it out when stuck in mud works. Even lifting it up and flipping it backwards is an option. I've had to do both. Once we had three people and a bike was so deeply stuck we had no choice but to flip it over backwards crunching the rear fender to get it out. There's some mud here that has suction you wouldn't believe. But yes as in any survival situation (barring an immediate threat) stopping to evaluate first is the best. If a bear is charging there's not a lot of time to think and running generally is not a solution. So preplanning on how to handle a possible or likely situation makes sense. I carry a pretty heavy pack. It's a bitch at times but it's like having a bat belt. I'm generally at least a twenty mile walk from help so its warranted.
    admiral, Darth and Xracer like this.
    Husqvarna TE300i Fuel Injected 2-Stroke 2019
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  9. #8
    Senior Member ejfranz's Avatar
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    Feb 2015
    Maple Ridge, BC, Canada
    I think kickstarters have gone the way of the dodo. KTM dropped them from their bikes a few years back.
    The only bike I have that has a kickstarter is the DT and it is a pain in the ass when you stall in a tight situation.

    For many of us, riding with a group or another person is not always an option. This has been discussed on many forums.
    Having a personal locator (SPOT for myself) provides some peace of mind.
    Peterb and admiral like this.
    2001 TW200 sporting a MT43 up front. Duro has gone to a good home. 2015 VStrom XT, 1996 DT 200, Broken 2010 Xingue 400 XY. 2009 WR250r now shared with my son.

  10. #9
    Senior Member Darth's Avatar
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    Nov 2013
    Timbercreek Canyon, Texas
    And this..."I'd rather be lucky than good!"

    And in cases such as this, Paul Newman said it best..."Luck is an art!"
    I firmly believe in this one.
    admiral likes this.
    "Faster, faster, faster, until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death."
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    and wad up my bike somethin' awful...
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  11. #10
    Senior Member DARIVS ARCHITECTVS's Avatar
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    Nov 2016
    Ramsey, MN USA
    I have to bump start my 546 lb. WWII German motorcycle every time the battery is run down, which is very often because it's a 6 volt system, and idling the bike draw from the battery. It's a 1944 DKW NZ-350/1, 347 cc 2-stroke. The old bike was designed to run, not walk. I have lots of practice on level ground usually on grass, and boy, it's TIRING if you aren't successful after three tries. And try it with it the hot sun in a wool uniform, your bread bag full of food, all your ammo in pouches and canteen on your belt, and a gas mask cannister, and rifle slung across your back.
    It helps if you have comrads to help by pushing...
    admiral and JerseyJeeper like this.
    (Darius the Engineer)

    1944 DKW NZ350-1 11. Panzerdivision
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