Wildlife photographer ‘Will' knows all too well whats its like being on the edge in some of the most extreme environments. Here’s his story on going up against a different beast - the road!
Once, sometimes twice a year, I get a phone call but more often a text message from my good friend George. It often reads, "Time to hit the road again." This past summer was no different from the last several years and I replied to him with a message along the lines of, "Tell me what day works for you and I'll be there."
George and I both have jobs that allow us a little more freedom with schedules, He has a radio and television show focused on music and arts and anything that the world might be interested in and I work as a wildlife photographer and documentary film maker, primarily filming sharks in various shark hot spots around the world. After George's show is done filming for the year he and I embark on a cross country (Montreal-Los Angeles) motorcycle road trip and sometimes back later in the summer. This particular year when I arrived at his place he tossed me a pair of Saint Unbreakable Jeans, which we'd talked about for some time and they had arrived at his place a day or two before the trip. He paired the toss with the phrase, "It's time we start dressing the part, dress for the slide, not the ride." I agreed. Between the two of us we do at least 18 000km's a year on our various bikes, mainly during our ride across the continent.
This trip is essentially our reset button as we like, or I, like to call it. I had recently been working on a sequel documentary called Shark Water 2 and it had been a lot of travel and very little rest and very little time home in between, but the open road clears my head and is a very important part of my year, so right before another shoot scheduled in Florida for a collaboration with Discovery's Shark week I decided to sneak in the annual bike trip.
I met George in Toronto and we hit the road from there often having no idea where we were to end up by the end of the day, just hoping it was warm and had a flat spot to park the bikes. This trip Nashville was on the list, we zig zag our way across America and try to find interesting spots along the way. Nashville was on my list, via Louisville to pay our respects to the greatest, Muhammad Ali, who had recently passed.
After a short stay in each place we started west towards California where I was to hop on a plane and fly to Florida to meet the team for our shark dive. Unfortunately while running through Oklahoma I had a major set back. Feeling a periodic wobble in the bike at certain speeds and sometimes rougher roads I had been very cautious on my BMW F800. This particular day in the extreme heat of the south at 110 degrees F I managed to find out just how bad that wobble could get. I had just accelorated past an old pick up truck with a girl and a cute border collie in it and the bike went into a massive death wobble at around 125km/h. I'm not sure if it was due to the heat being so extreme or a lost wheel weight but there was no way out of it. I tried blipping the gas and loosening my grip and it only got worse. George and I use a com system when we ride to warn each other of things along the way or tell jokes or point out cool stuff but this time my words were..."I'm crashing!" He responded with an abrupt "No, can you get out of it?" and I said "NO!" and I went down.
The bike bucked me off to the right and the right rear luggage box which was made of aluminum hit the ground with my left foot stuck under the top luggage box located over the rear of the bike. Once I realized I was getting dragged down the highway by my foot I shoved the bike off myself and spun around on my back and sped past the bike on my back. I had enough time in the roughly 70 feet I slid to think, "WOW, I'm alive." and "Holy Sh&* these pants are amazing!" No joke, I thought that. Once I started to slow down I spun around and faced traffic, the guardian angel driving the pickup truck had already gotten traffic to slow and stop and I jumped up and ran off the road immediately. I then tried to walk off my broken pelvis, which was my main injury, and obviously the most serious, to no avail. My knuckles were scrapped down and I had a patch of road rash on my lower back where my jacket slid up, and where the seam split on the pants in one spot I had a quarter sized scrap on my left knee. No, I wasn't wearing my gloves that day, it was bloody hot and hence forth left me bloody because of that poor decision. But that was it. I spent a month in bed recovering from the broken pelvis but I was back on another bike 2 and a half months later, not without pain, but I was.
So there is the story of how a pair of pants and a jacket saved my ass, literally.
Will Allen - @willallenexplore
Saint Unbreakable jeans are 133 times tougher* than a standard denim jean and are designed to be worn all day and all night.