How to Lose a Motorcycle in a Flash Flood

09/26/2013 @ 2:28 pm, by Jensen Beeler14 COMMENTS


During our Broventure, one of the things Tim and I worried while we were off-roading in Moab, Utah was the prospect of a flash flood. With heavy rain storms looming in the distance, and a forecast for afternoon showers in our location, the dry and rocky canyons and river beds that we were riding through were highly susceptible to flash flood conditions. This idea was only reinforced further by the weather alerts from NOAA, and reports of earlier flash floods from local officials

In a trip where we joked about “what could go wrong” on a regular basis, the real prospect of being caught off-guard by a flash flood in a remote location was something very real that could go wrong very quickly. Lucky for us, we were out of the canyons before the rain really started coming down, and the Moab area in general was relatively unaffected by the storms.

Meanwhile in Colorado though, things of course were very different, and it wasn’t until we got home that we could appreciate the full extent of the flooding that was occurring in The Centennial State.

That brings us to this video on YouTube, which shows a man attempting to cross the wash of a flash flood in Boulder, Colorado on his Suzuki DRZ. Things of course start out as well as one can hope, but like any situation with large volumes of moving water, things can get out of hand quite quickly.

Note the speed and intensity shown when the rider first starts fording the water, and how quickly that translates into a lost motorcycle (and phone). This video easily could have become a snuff film, but luckily our protagonist will live to ride another day. Thanks for the tip Gigi!

Source: YouTube

  • Shinigami

    No sympathy for the incredibly stupid.

  • “No sympathy for the incredibly stupid.”

    +1. At no point did it ever look as though he had a chance to making it across that wash. The guy was incredibly lucky. Not only did he make it out in one piece, he found the bike a couple of days later. I hope he learned a lesson.

  • “chance to making it”

    Bleargh. My kingdom for an edit feature. :(

  • kww

    I pulled this stunt in the 90’s on a CL450 – water up to the cylinders, but still below airbox – but the velocities were lower and the road wasn’t washed out…

  • jzj

    Here’s what’s interesting: the thought process. Clearly he identifies the situation as a serious risk. Yet, stopping to take in the information, stopping to think about the pros and cons, stopping to consider everything he sees, he nonetheless comes to what is not only proven to be the wrong decision, but a decision that should have been clearly wrong when he was contemplating it. I can only guess that somehow, despite all the information to the contrary, he actually talked himself into the wrong decision.

    You know that gut reaction that says, “no”? Heed it.

  • Buzzsaw

    What the heck was with all the hands flailing about off the bars as he began to cross. I’m talking before he got into trouble. Strange…

  • Slangbuster

    Good thing there were no little reverse barbed fish that like to swim up the urine stream into the urethra in that water.

  • smiler

    Nationality & location again? Oh yes……..

  • Talk about a Major Brain Fart!!!

  • Chaz Michael Michaels

    “snuff film”–is there a creepier term than that?

    its very easy to misjudge how strong that water is. This mistake happens a lot.

    Smiler wth? nationality and location? Floods don’t happen where you’re from: Dumbassikstan? it was a bad decision…the rider clearly had a european-brained moment.

  • Uberbox

    I live here in the Boulder area and I have to say this guy wasn’t alone in his stupidity. I can’t tell you how many SUV soccer dads I saw trying to ford flood water in their luxury SUVs. Hell, in the city of Boulder college kids where floating around on inner tubes and playing in the flood water.

    I’m always shocked by how disconnected from reality people can be.

  • Spamtasticus

    1. Never cross water you can not see the bottom of.
    2. If you absolutely must and cant see, either do it very very slowly so if you hit a bolder you don’t get hurt, or in a situation where slow would be worse, like this one, lean back on the bike while accelerating to lighten the front wheel.
    3. Always get off the seat, legs extended but not locked, head over the handle bars, arms at a 90 deg. angle as if you were going to do a pushup on the bars (attack position) when riding over harsh terrain. This allows you to absorb any unseens forces with your legs and if your front wheel hits something like a bolder or angled trunk under water your arms are in a position they can actually save it.
    4. If you did not know 1, 2, and 3 to begin with and you just learned about them from a motorcycle blog, you should not be fording flooded roads.

  • james

    Years ago while living at Ft. Hood Texas, waiting for the army to decide if they needed me in Vietnam or not we had what was called rain rescue duty. For some reason, every time it rained, the good folks in Texas couldn’t resist trying to cross flooded streets. We hauled them out by the dozens.

  • Ryno49

    So I know this guy… In fact, he was on his way to meet up with my friends and I so we could take that bike to a race. He called us several hours after this all happened. So I can fill in some of the questions you might have… But, if you knew and raced with him, he is the type that is ‘Jump first, see if you can make it while you’re in the air!’

    All this happened outside of Boulder.

    We joked that he got swept away in the flood when he didn’t call or show up… So we felt a little bad we he told us what happened.