My first crash
Well, it happened. I still don’t subscribe to the theory that it’s necessary for every rider to drop a motorcycle, but Sunday afternoon I became «one that has» instead of «one that will.»
The cause? My pride, pure and simple. I was trying to keep up with better riders. We took off from a brief stop and I ended up third with a couple of faster people behind me and a couple much faster people in front of me. I was excited to tail a couple of really good riders and I wanted to hang with them.
Next cause: what Turnsignal Tim called «panic… I mean brake failure.» As I approached the end of a straightaway, I knew I was coming in too hot and that I needed to scrub off some speed. I got on both brakes, but began to skid the rear.
In the MSF classes, we’re taught that in the event of a front tire skid to get off the brake immediately and in the event of a rear tire skid to stay on it until the bike comes to a stop. Yet I felt the rear end go out to the right and I knew that I couldn’t keep the bike upright while skidding to a stop. Hitting the pavement was an unappealing option, so I let off the rear brake and subsequently locked the front.
All this time I was moving closer and closer to the edge of the road at an alarming rate of speed. Off the front and back on the rear brake and once again the rear was sliding out to the right and right off the side of the road. I lowsided and hit the gravel going almost sideways.
The next few instants I don’t even remember in order. I remember hitting the engine killswitch, I remember taking my gloves and helmet off, I remember pushing the bike upright and resting it on the sidestand. Someone asked me if I were all right and I said «I think so,» and proceeded to check myself out. Which of those happened first or last, I don’t know. I bet I wouldn’t have been able to get the bike back upright on the first try without help if I hadn’t had adrenaline coursing through me.
Both myself and my bike are almost totally unharmed. My left knee has an abrasion about a half-inch wide and an inch and a half long, and the underside of my left saddlebag is pretty scratched up, but that’s purely cosmetic. The toe of my left boot is torn up with the steel toecage visible, which to me confirms the value of steeltoes. It’s almost 36 hours after I went down, and I can feel the soreness and stiffness in my hips and legs. And that’s the full extent of the damage.
There’s plenty I did wrong, but I feel pretty good about being able to keep the bike upright long enough that I went down in the dirt instead of the asphalt. The bike was pointed back up the road when I set it back upright. I walked back up the road and sure enough, I left three seperate skidmarks to tell the story. Two from the rear tires, and one from the front.
I’m very fortunate, and also need to remember to keep the speed down out there. Maybe time for me to take the next Experienced RiderCourse and learn a bit more about what I’m doing out there.
3 Replies to “My first crash”
Speed kills…be careful out
Speed kills…be careful out there. Overconfidence is a open invitation to battle the laws of physics (note- the laws of physics are undefeated in these contests). I’m glad to hear that you are OK, because you are my West Coast Soul Brotha, and all.
On a related note- I haven’t had time to tell you about this, but I had a little wreck myself. Just a bicycle accident, but significant enough to fracture my elbow. It’s a minor fracture, but enough to sideline me for most if not all of the riding season. Details to follow in my blog.
Not to get all overly
Not to get all overly concerned, and sound like Iâm admonishing you or anything. But for chrissakesâ¦Dmanhaus speaks the truth , â¦Speed does kill.
Take it easy out there!
I’m glad you managed to
I’m glad you managed to mitigate the consequences that well. It could so easily have been much worse.