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After The fall
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otb
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After The fall - January 25, 2011, 07:04 AM

So you've crashed.... ...now make it work for you.

NOBODY with any sanity wants to crash and I know the old saw about "there are two types of riders, those that have crashed and those that are going to."

Well, I dunno about that, 'cause I've met a few folks with many hundreds of thousands of miles who've never forgotten to keep the rubber side down, (but there aren't a BUNCH), but what I do know is that if you've crashed and assuming you haven't been badly or permanently injured, you are probably thinking about quitting. Don't. Not yet.

Crashing is a traumatic experience. Especially the first time. I've had my share, and afterwords I was filled with a multitude of feelings; from remorse, to self-anger, to fear, to despondency (especially when I looked at the damage to my bike). After my first crash (drunk driver changed lanes into me at 2 am), I figured I'd take the insurance money, fix the bike, and take up something safe, like nekkid skydiving.

Putting the helmet back on the first time after the crash, my hands were sweaty and shaking...I thought I'd just take a quick spin around the block to make certain everything was ok, put it in the front yard with a For Sale sign on it, and get on with my life. A year and a half and 20,000 miles later I finally got rid of that bike for a bigger one.........

Give it half a chance. Get back on, go ride, and if the whim whams don't go away, or it's lost it's charm, or you can't shake the feeling of impending doom, well, go ahead and sell the damn thing. But, if you throw the leg back over and wobble out of the driveway, and the old magic comes back.........if you get back home with a big stupid grin on your face........if you forget about the horror of the grinding of metal and plastic and the shock of the sudden fall....... and instead find yourself smelling the smells and SEEING things again, FEELING things again, ...well.....

....you can always list it in CL next week.

BUT. If you decide to keep on keepin' on, then take the crash as a warning. A warning that something in your routine is lacking, something in your skillset needs attention, something in your riding habits or attitude needs examination.

When I got over the emotions of my first crash, I learned to take away lessons from my mistakes. I examined all the circumstances from that first crash, from time of day, road conditions, my own physical, emotional and mental states, to the state of my training or lack thereof, to the type of gear I wore, to the shape of my mount. And I owned my part in contributing to the crash. (If you want to stay in one piece, don't be on the road on two wheels when the bars let out Friday night, and if you do have to be there, keep your head on a 360 swivel and be REAL paranoid about every car in your space...don't be there and they can't hit you.)

I've had crashes since then, and each time, I spent a good deal of energy looking for my fault(s) in the process. I haven't (knocks on wood) crashed in a long time and many miles. I like to think I can remain teachable without pain.

Today, I mentally critique each ride in the aftermath. What did I do well, what did I hack at, what did I miss, how can I be better? Where are the holes in my skills, how has getting older handicapped my riding (eyes, ears, stamina, attention, concentration). Don't get me wrong, I don't sit and contemplate my navel....I just do a mental run through as I'm putting my bike and gear away....no big deal.

And then I make a plan to deal with my faults......and stick to it.......


See ya out there.


Riding fast bikes slowly since 1969....
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someone adopt a newb
 
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January 25, 2011, 07:10 AM

Great post.


Originally Posted by vonstallin
That shit is like wearing a condom your whole life while living in DC, but going to brazil and going bare back with all the chicks because they look better.

derilict:
So next time you feel the need to prove to the world that you should have been euthanized as a child, do it in someone else's thread.

"No such thing as to pretty to ride. The prettier they are the harder you should ride them. This is also true when it comes to woman." Nubbs

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January 25, 2011, 07:26 AM

thank you for this great write up. this is so beneficial to everybody.


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January 25, 2011, 08:33 AM

Unfortunately, geriatric drivers will get you when they decide they want to get you, even when you are doing almost everything by the book.

I look back at my recent geriatric-induced crash and can identify one big mistake, albeit not a traffic violation. I got in front of traffic and put a little distance between me and them. However, had I kept some cars right along side or immediately behind me, I doubt the octogenarian coming from Kaser Permanente would have cut across my right of way. It's doubtful they would have been successful in fleeing the scene too.


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January 25, 2011, 03:14 PM

Take Heart...... I spent some time on the phone the a couple of weeks ago with a tweener friend of mine; "tweener", cause he's not a newb anymore, but he's still in the accelerated learning mode but he's put about 10,000 miles on in the last couple years...he's not an expert, not a newb; he's a tweener......

...like me. Anyway, he rides with a group of REALLY fast guys on the street; these guys love to tear up the twisties and they are really good at it. And they make it look so easy. I ride with them on occasion, but I have to work to keep up, so it's not what I would call a relaxing ride. And I don't have the stamina of these young hot shots. And they are all "naturals". They took to it like ducks to water, do regular track days, and generally run circles around everybody else. Anyway, my tweener friend was lamenting that he had to work so hard to get what these guys considered "basic" or "just common sense" techniques; concentration, body position, setting up for turns, ect. He said he enjoyed riding, but then when he rode with these guys, he felt so inadequate that he felt like selling the bike and giving it up.

As a teenager I had poor coordination for team sports: I was the kid nobody wanted on their team. Thick glasses, poor hand/eye coordination for ball sports and an intolerance for having other guys slap me on the ass...................anywho....

Not exactly your prime candidate for high-speed motorsports, right?

I won't say I discovered I was a "natural" for bikes, either. Just the opposite. And to top it off, this was the days before MSF, the Hurt Report, Sportbike Magazine, Twist of the Wrist(I and II) and Nick Einatch was but a tender babe...trust to say that there was a dearth of training and literature on proper riding.

Let's see...klutzy kid, no training, little info and that which there was was mostly wrong; bikes had more engine than frames or brakes. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, eh?

I was lucky in that I hooked up with a group of guys that were experimenting with roadracing on the club level; I got to follow around some folks that could truly rock, on some truly scary machinery (not because it was so fast, but because it was so fast and shimmied and shook and tankslapped and seized and spit us off..... a lot). We got to figure out how stuff worked on a basic level...because our stuff was so basic. "Adjustable suspension" meant cranking up the preload collar on our shocks (one on each side) or adding 15cc of 10 wt to the forks. The rest was up to the rider. There was only one DOT tire you could use on the track, it was a trigonic section Dunlop K81 and they wore out quickly on our 50 HP wonderbikes......simple times meant things mebbe didn't work so well, but things were also much simpler.

I dropped a few bikes, crashed a few times, read everything I could and experimented through the same set of turns, over and over. I spent hours and sparkplugs in the parking lot of my school, running through problems set up with sand-filled paper cups as cones. I practiced, I rode every chance I got in all types of weather.....

I got to see most of this great country on two wheels, met great people, had (and still have) great times and I'm still a tweener; I'm no expert and I learn something new every time I go out; I love motorcycling and plan to do it as long as I'm able.

I made up for my lack of innate ability with practice and effort and got out of it the greatest experiences of my life. So if you've dumped your bike and are discouraged, or been scared by a few close calls, or always feel like you are "chasing the bike"; ie. always one step behind, and that you think you'll really like this thing, but mebbe you should forget it and take up golf......

...remember that if I can "get it" , you can, too.

Read a book on riding techniques, take another class, go out and practice in the parking lot, ride instead of driving....come ON!


I'll see ya out there.........


OTB


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January 25, 2011, 04:21 PM

I tell you, I really enjoy reading your posts. With all the crap and clutter that gets posted on this site on a regular basis, its nice to read posts like yours that actually teach, encourage, and inspire people. Keep up the great work!
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January 25, 2011, 05:30 PM

I don't mean to be preachy or teachy...I just REALLY love riding and want to share the experiences I've had.

I don't really give a rats ass about an iPod, or who did what to who(m)...I wanna talk about riding......I always LEARN something from others when I share and then listen....


Riding fast bikes slowly since 1969....
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January 25, 2011, 05:49 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by otb View Post
I don't mean to be preachy or teachy...I just REALLY love riding and want to share the experiences I've had.

I don't really give a rats ass about an iPod, or who did what to who(m)...I wanna talk about riding......I always LEARN something from others when I share and then listen....
Amen to that.
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January 25, 2011, 07:43 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by CantGetCaught View Post
I tell you, I really enjoy reading your posts. With all the crap and clutter that gets posted on this site on a regular basis, its nice to read posts like yours that actually teach, encourage, and inspire people. Keep up the great work!
Couldn't have said it better myself.

I still need some practice to get my confidence back after wrecking a few years ago. For some reason I still haven't been able to take turns as fast as before the crash, even though it was most likely due to fatigue and panic braking when I realized that the curve tightened up more than expected.
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January 25, 2011, 09:15 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by otb View Post
I don't mean to be preachy or teachy...I just REALLY love riding and want to share the experiences I've had.

I don't really give a rats ass about an iPod, or who did what to who(m)...I wanna talk about riding......I always LEARN something from others when I share and then listen....
Sir you ARE preaching...its ok, don't stop. I'm always willing to lend an ear to words of experience. Thanks for sharing another insightful perspective and outlook on motorcycles.


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January 25, 2011, 11:06 PM

Good stuff. I'm just glad they have track-days. When I want to pop it on the street I always remember that I'll be heading for the track soon enough. Then I just chill and take it all in...


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January 25, 2011, 11:33 PM

More great stuff otb, you're single handedly raising the goodness level of this site

I use tennis balls cut in half for parking lot drills.


BECAUSE I GET OFF ON IT!
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April 25, 2011, 10:22 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by CantGetCaught View Post
I tell you, I really enjoy reading your posts. With all the crap and clutter that gets posted on this site on a regular basis, its nice to read posts like yours that actually teach, encourage, and inspire people. Keep up the great work!
+1
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April 25, 2011, 10:37 AM

I knew I was hooked after I took my first fall. Not and hour after taking my first spill I was watching some goofy ass movie with bikes in it......just for the bikes, not for the story (I think it was Torque.....shudder).

Knock on wood.....hopefully it will be a reallllllllllllly long time before I have to look back to figure out what I did wrong again. Sometimes it really is not you, my second accident, which happened last summer, I was rear ended after coming to a stop. I do own up to the fact that I should have kept my head on a 360 swivel and checked my mirrors. Still, not much I could have done to avoid little miss 20 year old on her cell phone who slid into the back of me. Even after that traumatic experience nothing was keeping me off a bike and I make it a point to locate my 'spot' on 28 where the back rim of my bike dug into the road and left a permanent mark every time I ride by (which is everyday since it a part of my commute).

Always room to learn and appreciate.


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April 25, 2011, 11:05 AM

my first crash was funny. my only major injury is that my shoulder never really fully recovered and it gets stiff sometimes...which could be a carry over from the fall or from years of playing football and lifting weights...I don't know. I do remember that the next day my shoulder was killing me.

Anyways, after that incident, I got right back on the bike. I wasn't scared. I simply fell off, slid across some pavement, stood up dazed in the middle of the road then realized oh....go pick up my bike. I cursed it and myself out for a good 10 minutes until I figured out how to limp her home in 1st and 2nd with a broken shifter.

What SCARES me MORE than that crash is the thought that IT COULD HAPPEN AGAIN AND IT COULD BE A LOT WORSE!!!!

They say that riders experience can be classified in thirds...during your first third of 30K miles exp you are so fresh, so new that more than likely any accident you get into is usually slow speed tipover. You haven't yet developed the riding skill to put you in great, fatal danger. During the 2nd third, more than 10K less than 30K miles experience, you have developed enough skill to go fast enough around corners and comfortable enough to ride fast often that any accident you have is at a higher risk to be MORE catastrophic than anyhthing you could have done with less than 10K exp. Your skills are settling but not quite at EXPERT level....then there is the over 30K mark where MOST likely any accident you are involved in typically isn't one of single rider error, but a freak occurance. Obviously, this theroy that I read someone isn't flawless but it makes sense to me.

I just hope that I'm as strong as others who have been down HARD before to get back up and have the same (or better) confidence on the bike that I have now. I'm not expecting an accident to happen, I'm not letting it control my thoughts, I'm just stating that anything can happen each time you throw a leg over.....(or step foot outside your front door for that matter!).


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