Moto Vlogger Loses Foot After Sleeping Bag Gets Caught In Wheel

Having something go deadly wrong with the bags you’ve packed on your motorcycle is a fate that could strike any of us, just ask veteran adventure rider Don Redman who told his story from a hospital bed, minus one toe and one foot after his sleeping bag got sucked into the rear wheel of his bike. 

Redman, known to many riders as MotoGiant for his series of YouTube videos encouraging riders to embrace travel and camping on their motorcycles, was returning home on May 25th to Brookwood, Alabama, after a quick getaway in Kentucky, when his sleeping bag snuck out of its compression sack. As loose gear will, the bag got sucked into the rear wheel of his bike, instantly locking it up. 

Unfortunately for Redman, he was traveling around 80 mph on eastbound Interstate 24 at the time. He remembers the bike going into a tank slapper, fishtailing back and forth until it high-sided and landed on his feet before he and the motorcycle continued to slide down the freeway. By the time attrition won out and he came to a stop his foot was gone and one toe on the other foot was irreparably mangled.

Rider loses foot after sleeping bag gets lodge in wheel

He was first taken to a regional hospital then was later flown out of state to Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, where he began reporting, one side of his face covered in road rash, about the ordeal. That broadcast quickly turned into a series of videos, an unflinching and solemn public service announcement that shows us up close the potential consequences of slipshod packing, made worse by lackadaisical gear application.

Redman is no stranger to loading a bunch of gear onto the many bikes he rides, which in postings include a Suzuki V-Strom and a Yamaha Tenere on which he rode parts of the 4,253-mile Trans-America Trail last year. According to the police report, however, he was on a 2008 Triumph when the mishap occurred.

For 14 years now Redman has been making videos about motorcycle riding, most intended to inspire other riders to hit the road, showing them how to camp and cook cheaply in order to save money so they can travel farther. His packing style is saddlebags with duffles battened down with bungees, a habit he’ll likely give up after his wild get-off on the interstate.   

Rider loses foot after sleeping bag gets lodge in wheel
Don’s Triumph Tiger on an adventure before the serious crash.

In the initial post-crash video, newcomers will immediately recognize this is man who is both unflappable and good natured, even working a bit of humor into his delivery of heart-crushing news. He’s also blatantly honest about how he ended up in his current condition, now having his right leg surgically amputated mid-calf in order to create a more stable base for his future prosthetic (he says he’s already chosen a furry Sasquatch model). 

He admits straight-out, even going into detail in the video, about how his poor choices around gear greatly contributed to his major injuries. He had been wearing a modular helmet, but at the time was riding with its chin bar up, hence the road-rashed face. Worse, because he was riding straight to work that morning he’d opted not to wear his protective Alpinestars boots, a choice that has left him permanently disabled. 

On the positive side he was wearing a protective jacket and pants, which he credits for saving him from even greater peril, his “10-12 year old Tour Master jacket” saving his arms from road rash, while the pants left him with only a couple friction strawberries on one knee. 

Rider loses foot after sleeping bag gets lodge in wheel
Photo of one of Don’s past adventures.

“It all comes down to choices,” says Redman in a May 29th video, as he pledges to make a series of future videos about gear choices. No doubt there will also be videos about properly securing luggage and loose bags to a bike.

Whatever good can come from this horrific crash, Redman is sure to embrace it, be it messaging that might save other riders from a similar fate, or simply by showing by example how a positive attitude is always the best medicine. If you’d like to help Redman in the short term with impending hospital bills and recovery costs a gofundme has been set up in his name, but to help him over the long haul, let’s all subscribe to his MotoGiant YouTube channel, where we hope he continues to spread the joy (and lessons) of moto adventuring.

Author: Jamie Elvidge

Jamie has been a motorcycle journalist for more than 30 years, testing the entire range of bikes for the major print magazines and specializing in adventure-travel related stories. To date she’s written and supplied photography for articles describing what it’s like to ride in all 50 states and 43 foreign countries, receiving two Lowell Thomas Society of American Travel Writer’s Awards along the way. Her most-challenging adventure yet has been riding in the 2018 GS Trophy in Mongolia as Team AusAmerica’s embedded journalist.

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