Jason Homewood » Motorcycle travel story

Motorcycle travel story by Jason Homewood

Falling off a bridge in Laos

Jason Homewood is 36 years old, but not his bike - BMW R1150 GS. In November 2000, he started a trip in Mexico and then travelled down through Central and South America. His trip continued as Jason and his bike found themselves shipped to Australia and then to Indonesia and travelled all the way through South East Asia. The total by Laos was 75 000 kilometers! Read below what happened there.

So the moral is: If you're travelling alone in remote places on a motorbike, don't do something stupid. Tonight I feel very, very lucky.

Today I did something really stupid.

Arrived in Laos yesterday and had 200kms of dirt to do today to get across to a town on the 'main' drag. 160kms on and everything is going well. The conditions are perfect and I'm really having fun riding this beautiful dirt track. I get to the umpteet river crossing and it's another long one which I can't see the bottom of. I am just about to get off the bike for a look when to the left I see a disused log bridge 2m above the water. The last few meters of planks are missing but I think I can ride it on the logs at the side. Too lazy to get off the bike again. So I start off but decide to stop half way for a look. I put my foot down but the plank just falls away and before I know it I'm falling of the bike, helmet first into the river. For a split second I think the bike has somehow managed to stay on the bridge but then there's a big splash and the bike tumbles in on my back. The water was only about 18 inches deep but I find myself pressed to the bottom face down. I really struggle hard but can't get free and then I think I am going to drown. I put my hands under my chest and with all my strength I do a big press up and stretch my neck as far as I can. My helmet is still full of water and I don't know whether to try for a breath. I have to, but as well as some water I also get some air. I cough it out and push up again. This time it's all air, so it's back under water and I manage to get a knee up and twist out from under the bike. I can't describe the feeling! I was so elated. The bike is upside down in the river but still running. I get the bike up, and feel that soon it's going to hurt. I work to get the bags and boxes up on the bank, have a quick look to the bike - the clocks and mirrors are damaged and the rack is broken, a few marks but it all looks OK. I use the remaining adrenalin to dig a track up the river bank and then wait for help. After 45 mins 2 men turn up on a rotorvator, and after laughing their heads off we set to to drive and push the bike up the bank. I tip all the water out of the boxes and my boots and slowly strap everything back to the bike. I give the guys 10 dollars each, a lot, but I feel so grateful to still be here I could have made it 100.

So tonight I have a 3rd arise cheek growing on my back and I ache everywhere else. The bike will be OK. Nothing I can't fix. Stuff will dry out, but unfortunately my camera's had it. I hope when I get to a shop they can save the film as I finally took some pictures of the bike in a long-tail boat when we went across the Mekong.

So the moral is: If you're traveling alone in remote places on a motorbike, don't do something stupid. Tonight I feel very, very lucky.