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.

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