Water crossings: Don’t do this

I had a choice: Ride over a two-foot-wide bridge or plunge through a river of unknown depth. You can guess which I chose — and how it went.

At least Sacha was shooting pictures.

All was fine until my CRF450X started to float. I use a trials tire on the rear, and while the sticky rubber grips rocks and dirt very well, it apparently doesn’t move very much water. The bike started to float, it got hard to steer, I veered to the right and — sploosh — it was over.

The first thought to cross my mind: “Aw man, my boots are wet.”

The aftermath

Sacha has been through this. With his leadership, we:

– Removed and wrung out my soggy air filter.

– Removed the bolt on the bottom of the carburetor. Let the water drain out.

– Removed the gas tank and radiator shrouds to get to the spark plug.

– Removed the spark plug.

– Cranked the kick starter. Water SHOT out of the cylinder!

– Checked the engine oil. Thankfully, no water contamination. That would be the deal breaker.

– Turned the bike on end to drain the exhaust.

– Let everything sit in the sun for a while.

The bike didn’t exactly roar to life, but it started, and after a few hiccups it ran fine.


Next time I’ll try the bridge. Worst case scenario: I fall in the river.

17 replies
  1. T-Coop says:

    Lee, next time take a helicopter over the water! You are so lucky not to have hydro locked the motor. I’ve seen guys, while out in my rock buggy crossing water, get a big drink down the intake and blow a rod right out the side of the block. You are VERY lucky old wise man! T-Coop

  2. james says:

    hahaha, lee that is brilliant. Hope the bike works ok.

    Been following your books somemore and im really getting better. Thanks, I still dont get wheelies but i guess its practice, is the front suposed to be really light when you get to the right point? I get there and then loose my nerve and slam it back down to earth


  3. Scott says:

    Looks like fun. Hope your boots dried out too. If you try the bridge, make sure you have someone shooting that event too. I’d love to see you fall off the bridge.

    Thanks for your site.

  4. leelikesbikes says:

    T-Coop – hydrolock –> yikes!!! This one was traumatic enough.

    Scott – thanks for the love, man.

    James – Run flat pedals and loop out on purpose. Just hop off the back of the bike. Over time you’ll stop freaking out when you reach the balance point. Steve Wentz used this trick on me, and it works!

  5. leelikesbikes says:

    Camp Dick.

    Yeah, har har. I said Dick.

    It’s up above Ward. Lots of trails. Steep, rocky style.

  6. FMJeff says:

    Wish I would have been there. At least you made those peoples day that were watching in the back ground. Next time maybe ride it naked so your clothes stay dry. Helmet and boots of course, safety first. (insert Camp Dick joke here)

  7. leelikesbikes says:

    Fireman Jeff, if you were there, I’d have asked you to ride my moto across the bridge!

    Sacha was busy capturing the magic on film …

  8. FMJeff says:

    Scarry enough the first time I did it. And you know what they say, new and borrowed bikes get crashed. Besides this is the stuff that makes your site so much FUN.

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