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When Smart People Do Stupid Things

Everybody in Ghana rides motorcycles…EVERYBODY… the old ladies, the young men….entire families can often be seen screeching around the streets of Tamale taking their lives in their own hands.

Seriously, it can’t be that hard.

And last week, I was hoping to confirm this.

So I asked Jesse, our roommate, if he would give me-the humble volunteer- a 60 second course on how to drive this beast….and so he did.

And I got to tell you, I thought the lesson was actually pretty good. Covered all the basics, really.

I spent thirty seconds going up the quiet dirt road in front of our home, and another thirty seconds coming back. Cool…I had this cased.

Now for the test. Driving about 500m to get water. Simple enough right?


How I actually crashed…I’ll never tell. But for the record, when you are alone on a very quiet road, even in a split second of panic it is seldom necessary to jam on the brakes at full speed.

It was a pretty nasty header…. The bike crashed hard on its side as I was thrown out onto the ground. Again, at least I was smart enough to take this practice run inside our small village as opposed to the centre of town, that could have been worse.

I had some nasty road rash on my hands and legs, and my left shoulder seized up every time I tried moving my arm, sending me down to the ground in pain. Not good.

How embarrassing. I was so pissed at myself.

The rest of the day was spent at the doctor’s clinic and getting x-rays. He told me I fractured my collar bone and should be in a sling for three weeks.

Two days later, the second doctor I went to said my collar bone was fine, and that I needed to slowly start stretching out my shoulder. I was a little nervous as every time I stretched it too far, my arm seized up to the point where I was sure my shoulder was dislocating. But so far, I am taking his advice and things seem to be slowly working themselves out.

The good news is, I will be fine. I am sure of it. My goal is to have full range of motion for the Christmas week surf camp Shawna and I had signed up for, three days before the crash.

More good news, although the bike repairs and doctor visits weren’t free, they were much less than I thought they would be… totalling about $300 CDN.

And the last bit of good news….I now know one thing NOT to do when riding a motorcycle.

I will be much smarter next time!

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9 Responses to “When Smart People Do Stupid Things”

  1. Shahan & Donna-Lee Fancy December 11, 2011 at 4:00 am #

    Yow-za Skott! We’re glad to hear that you are on the mend… I guess on the bright side it could have been a lot worse?!?!?!

    Hopefully you are fully recovered for your surf camp, we took a lesson once in Hawaii and all I can remember is how tired/sore my arms were from paddling out to the waves.

    Hey if you are headed to Busua try to stop in at the African Rainbow Resort the owner’s are former Saskatchewanians! If you do make it there tell Akwasi that Donna-Lee says hi! :)

    Travel safe and Happy Holidays!!!
    Shahan & Donna-Lee Fancy recently posted..Our Itinerary (subject to change daily!)

    • Skott December 12, 2011 at 7:20 pm #

      Thanks guys – and yes it could have been much worse…a sketchy shoulder in a sling and a few scrapes are pretty minor compared to the other possibilities. Thanks for the heads up on African Rainbow – we have already sent them an email, hopefully the will have a drink with us. Hope your planning is going well!

      Happy holidays!

  2. Phil December 11, 2011 at 1:22 pm #

    Oh man.. ouch. Once you head south, you will see them less and less. The motos are really popular in the north, they are sort of a Hausa import. In Accra, you only see them in Hausa neighborhoods and with DHL employees ;) Heading to Cote d’Ivoire this week, so don’t think will be able to meet up :( But enjoy the rest of your time in Ghana and where ever else you go in West Africa. Safe travels!
    Phil recently posted..Drawing Camels with Ghana’s Young Female Aviators

    • Skott December 12, 2011 at 7:18 pm #

      Crap! We were totally hoping that us heading south a little early would allow us to meet…We would have even bought the beer! We will be in Accra Thursday or Friday and on the Coast on the 21st.I repeat, we will buy the beer!

  3. Annette | Bucket List Journey December 12, 2011 at 7:57 am #

    Ouch! That looks like it was a painful lesson. Hope you have a speedy recovery!
    Annette | Bucket List Journey recently posted..365 Thought Provoking Questions. Answered.

    • Skott December 12, 2011 at 7:17 pm #

      Thanks Annette – appreciated!

  4. Guy December 14, 2011 at 7:58 am #

    As I was saying….so at the wedding I mentioned that, in my opinion, Skott is not a natural athlete. I think Skotts Dad Rick may have taken some exception to that comment. however an incident like this one does give weight to my argument. I think this is why I was very nervous when i saw the picture of Skott straddling an Alligator. One unfortunate slip and Floyd could be gator chum!!
    Love following your Adventures. Have fun guys!!

    • Skott December 14, 2011 at 1:37 pm #

      Wow Dad-in-law…way to kick a man when he is down!! :)
      I have no idea what you are talking about…. I coulda been a contenda….really, I coulda!


  1. 365 Days of Get Up and Globing! | Get Up and Globe - June 17, 2012

    [...] – Carrion de los Condes, Spain: Skott had a 24 hour flu – Tamale, Ghana (2): Skott throws himself of a motorbike, and needs several opinions on what he has done to his shoulder – Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam [...]

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