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otb
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Lessons - June 10, 2013, 06:49 AM

Woke up this morning to rain patter; reminded me of this, which I posted on another forum years ago:

Woke up to light showers this AM after many weeks of dryness; I wasn't planning to ride as I had to go to the warehouse with the Sprinter to load up for the store. When you are as old as I am, everything reminds you of something else in your past and today was no exception.

The rain was a cross between mist and showers; really, really light showers.
It brought me back to my (hopefully) last crash; the one that left me with a permanent limp, one shoulder higher than the other, a deep, abiding respect for the role of changing conditions, the role of my mental state of mind and riding and a determination to never do the sky-ground-sky-ground-samba ever again.

Back in 1980 I was still living in my home state of Minnesota and I had just purchased a brand-new GS650G (shaft drive). I'd put a few hundred miles or so on it and was getting comfortable with my transition from two-strokes to four. We'd had a hot, dry summer and no rain for 5-6 weeks and we were all getting tired of the dry, dusty conditions. I got up that morning in August to the weatherman predicting rain and showers in the afternoon. I paid the forecast no mind as I was well-versed in all-weather riding and had no fear (nor much respect) for the approaching showers. I packed my rainsuit in the Windjammer fairing pocket about 4 am and headed off to work at the restaurant where I was the chef.

I spent a long day with my staff serving a busy dining room and got ready to boogie home after the dinner rush; put on my leather jacket, riding boots, gloves, helmet and finally put on my old beat-up Tourmaster rain suit as it was doing the same kind of light misting as it was when I woke up to today. Off I went into heavy early evening traffic.

On my trip back home I transitioned from dry to lightly wet and back again, as the showers were spotty and not every area in the Twin Cities was getting rain; no big deal, right? I was tired and in a hurry to get home. I knew that the roads were going to be greasy with new rain and old oil and dirt, but I was an old pro at this, so no big deal, right?

I was approaching my turnoff ramp on the freeway, only about 6-8 blocks to get home; a stretch of 280 N that jogged to the left, jogged to the right, and my offramp was in the middle of the right jog with a hard 20mph off-camber 90 degree right hander ending at a T stop. It was just starting to mist enough so the well-worn concrete had taken on a sheen.

Traffic was moving along at 65-70 in this 55 posted area and I was moving with traffic. About 4-500 yards prior to my turnoff I began downshifting and slowing for my turn; there was a white VW Golf about 150 yards in front to me also signaling for the turnoff.

I entered the turnoff lane and that's when it happened: the VW in front of me entered the right-hander too hot, braked and spun, coming to a stop in the middle of the lane. I had been daydreaming about dinner and relaxing at home so my recognition of the trouble in front of me was slow...my reactions were slow and I knew it, and I grabbed a big handful of brakes; dual drilled discs, much more powerful that my old single solid disc on the GT550 I had just transitioned from (the whole time my brain screaming at me "NO!NO!NONONONONO!!!!").....................

The bars were WRENCHED from my grasp as the combination of too much brake and slimy road conditions did their work...the front wheel stopped turning and then found traction again an instant later; I was pitched over the bike in a classic highside and hit solidly; I knew something had crunched but I was full of adrenaline and felt nothing. I watched my bike slide by me, first on the left side and then as the tires contacted the curb, the bike stood up, rolled about 10 yards, and then flopped over on the other side leaving not much unscathed.

I was so pumped with adrenaline and I knew there was traffic behind me, I popped up while a was still sliding and stumbled and then fell forward again. I popped up again, grabbed the bars and wrenched the 500+ pounds of bike upright and hopped on...motor still running.

I pulled off the road to avoid traffic, took quick stock that everything seemed to be functioning and wobbled off the 4-5 blocks remaining to get HOME.

I pulled into the driveway, fished out the sidestand and then tried to dismount the bike and realized I had a problem....I couldn't move any of my right side below my waist, my pants were suddenly too tight, and my waistline on my right side hurt like CRAZY.

After my very PO'd spouse helped me off the bike, she loaded me into the car and off to the ER we went.

As luck wouldn't have it, I got a very PO'd doc who HATED motorcycles and between tsk-tsking while he looked me over and asking if I was done riding those MURDERCYCLES for ever, proceeded to poke and jab seeming to enjoy every grunt of pain I made.

He told me i had a VERY large bruise on my hip full of fluid that would have to be drained but said there wasn't anything else wrong with me. He sent nurse Ratchett in with a big syringe with a large-bore needle in and they proceeded to drain the hematoma which was softball sized by this time...sans pain meds or Novocaine......

I went back a few days later for follow up and the doctor said my pain was normal and was just part of the healing process. No meds...

I walked around limping for weeks till I went to another doctor who took some xrays and determined I had broken part of the hip joint and the edge of my pelvis; they wanted to rebreak everything and pin it all back up and I would be out of work for months and they couldn't guarantee I'd be any better....

Couldn't afford to do that, so I am good at predicting weather changes now, and walk with a hitch and look crooked in the mirror and have my suits tailored to hide the worst of it...

... and I made it my life's practice to know as much as I could about this thing that we do, not out of fear, but out of respect. I still like riding in the rain, but I do it differently...matter of fact, it changed my whole approach to riding.


Riding fast bikes slowly since 1969....
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GDMFSOB
 
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June 10, 2013, 07:31 AM



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June 10, 2013, 11:28 AM

Thanks for helping others to learn from your mistakes.

I wish I could remember mine with that kind of clarity.
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ELBOWZ
 
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June 10, 2013, 11:59 AM

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Originally Posted by badguy View Post
Thanks for helping others to learn from your mistakes.

I wish I could remember mine with that kind of clarity.

Cocaine is a powerful drug!! lol





Great writeup


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TNT
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June 11, 2013, 04:47 PM

I don't have any experience crashing on the street, and hope I never do, but I have been stupid to ride in conditions like these without enough caution or forethought. Combine that with enough times unchaining my bike, hopping on, and taking off without even looking over the tires, lights, chain, etc., and I am surprised I've been so lucky in my first two years riding.

Standards are tough to maintain, because they have a habit of slipping little by little so that you barely notice. Hopefully the event that jacks them back up to where they ought to be doesn't end up like the one you described, OTB. Thanks for sharing and helping ratchet up that awareness for each of us to fight that degradation. It's easy to give lip service about always practicing good sense, but I have too often ditched those ideals when they become inconvenient. I need to remember the feeling, in the split second before you crash, of that unspoken cry of terror and despair, "how did I get into this mess?" and make darn sure to do what I can to avoid it.

One thing I think that is easiest to overlook is mindset. I've had a few times when I'm angry, frustrated, depressed, preoccupied, etc. and I think I need a ride to clear my head. Many times that's not the best option. Sometimes a good nap is in order.
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I'm a Rookie, How do I Wheelie?
 
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June 12, 2013, 12:09 PM

I crash almost once per year, kangaroo suit is my savior
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June 12, 2013, 12:12 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by DesertFoX View Post
I crash almost once per year, kangaroo suit is my savior
Uh, you may want to work on some things.
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June 12, 2013, 12:53 PM

Quote:
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I crash almost once per year,
you are not doing it right. something is off.
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June 12, 2013, 02:14 PM



899 Panigale
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big boii
 
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August 13, 2013, 01:24 PM

you may want to check with an attorney about that 1st doctor...


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No more 1050 :(
 
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August 13, 2013, 03:19 PM

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you may want to check with an attorney about that 1st doctor...
You may want to check with an attorney about statute of limitations.
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August 13, 2013, 03:46 PM

its amazing how one crash will change the way you ride. it did for me. I often look back at that day as my one "get out of jail free" card. wear yr gear, ride in control and assume EVERYONE is going to pullout in front of you..
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February 13, 2016, 04:02 PM

Bump for Sal



“Any man who tries to be good all the time is bound to come to ruin among the great number who are not good. Hence a Prince who wants to keep his authority must learn how not to be good, and use that knowledge, or refrain from using it, as necessity requires”.

- Nicolo Machiavelli 1469-1527

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