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”

  1. 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.

  2. Not to get all over­ly
    Not to get all over­ly con­cerned, and sound like I’m admon­ish­ing you or any­thing. But for chrissakes…Dmanhaus speaks the truth , …Speed does kill.

    Take it easy out there!

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