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You Bad

I have been riding only 10 years and I thought I was bullet proof riding my bike.  After all I took a motorcycle safety class when I got my licence.  But I wrecked my bike, well I scuffed up my exhaust, dented my passing light bessel and crash bar.  And it pulled the tendon in my right leg and knee such that in 45 minutes, leg was in pain and of no use.  So I thought I would tell you my mistake that led to my wreck or near misses so you can learn from my mistakes.  Then you tell me your lessons learned.  This should make us all better riders.  

My lesson learned was with gravel. I have learned that gravel is an enemy to motorcycles.  Gravel can keep you from stopping on time at stop signs as it acts like ball bearings between the road and the tire.  For the most part, gravel tends to end up at the sides of the roadway.  When you go to pull over to the side of the road - to take that awesome picture, you must slow way down - regardless of the speed limit or the vehicals behinds you.  This is because you don't know the characteristics of the gravel your trying to stop on.  My biggest mistake was worrying about the vehicals behind me and not reducing my speed way down such that I pulled to the side of the road still going 20 MPH.  The gravel turned out to be 4" to 6" deep which caused my front wheel to plow the gravel and not be able to grip the surface and balance the bike.  Not only that, but under the deep gravel there was dried dirt with pot holes causing my front wheel to rise above the gravel while my bike was tilted at a 65 degree angle.  Lucky for me I was wearing a helmet as my precious brain hit the gravel.  So you would think I had learned my gravel lesson, but after three days of painfull hotel room recouperation and daily pizza deliveries, I continued my trip.  Riding through Yellowstone, I decided I must get a picture of my bike next to the continental divide sign.  This time I slowed down to 10 MPH when pulling over the to sign and began braking.  Not living in a cold climate, I had no expectation of gravel being used to de-ice roads, so when I began braking the wheels front and back could not make contact with the road because of a small layer of gravel.  So I slid a great distance and it was quite appearant I was running out of room to stop.  Unable to turn or stop I did the only thing I could do, I ride it out.  Fortunately, I stopped just two inches from the deep ditch.  I am now very very aware of what gravel can do to me and I hope never to repeat those experiences.

OK, now it's your turn to tell us your lessons learned... the "You Bad" lessons learned.

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23 Comments

When I was about 12 years old, my parents bought me a Honda Trail 50. The only place I could ride when they wasn't home was in the yard. It rained that morning (early). I had to ride that afternoon. Needless to say the grass was still damp and down I went. It was grass so I wasn't hurt (other than pride). Wet grass is an enemy as well

My first wreck was riding with several others on a trip and I was getting a bit tired, just about to our destination for the night. Going into a curve a bit too fast and touched the front brake a bit too much. they had patched a spot on that curve that was extremely smooth asphalt. Wheel locked up a bit and the front end went out from under me at 35 mph. Luckily the engine guards did there job and kept the bike off me to the most part. The other riders circled back and picked the bike off me as it had my left foot trapped. Minor scrapes, etc to the bike. Rode it home on the rest of the trip. My gear kept me from getting any road rash.

it took you 10 yrs to figure that out

47 continuous years behind bars on a plethora of bike types, brands and styles. Every day is a learning experience.

eyntyn, Not ten years only two. You see we drive on paved roads down south, not like you canooks that can only ride 5 months a year and half the time on dirt roads.

I am no fan of gravel. I first wipe out was on my mini bike. They had used a sand and pea gravel mix for ice traction. And some was still left on the road by good weather. It might as well been grease. I landed in it and for years had it in my elbow. I'm still no fan of any kind of rock like material on the road.

My wife had an off while riding a dirt bike on a bush track ... left hand corner, gravel in the middle, front wheel washed out and over she went. Broke her left collarbone, cracked two ribs, tore ligaments in her left knee and had severe concussion (was wearing a full face helmet). Happened 9 years ago and hasn't ridden a bike since!

Peter you are just lucky she allows you to ride a bike. Does she tell you like my wife tells me, just make sure the life insurance is paid up?

No Randy, she doesn't ... and she does ride pillion with me. As it happens, If anything untoward happens to me, she will have access to my superannuation (ie. pension fund).

Betsy tells me the money is not important. But it don't hurt ether.

Randy, now I see why you wear the protective gear. That probably would of ended my motorcycling sport.

I started in gravel 1963. I never rode in anything but for years. Heck my brothers and I races on gravel roads and that is where I learned how to take a gravel corners at 50+ or to stop while in a slide and not get hurt. The one thing I have learned is don't ride in a group of riders some pay attention and some don't then someone gets hurt. I have never gotten hurt by cars or even near misses which I have had but guys on bikes are the ones that have been the problem. I have been run over at stop signs and stop lights going around a corner when some one else thought he should have been there first. Or just setting alongside the road. That is why I ride alone most of the time 90% I now pick those I ride with very carefully. I have found that most the ones that have these mishaps have only been riding less than 3-5 years and really DON'T have a clue what to do or what to expect in any kind of real emergency let alone riding on gravel roads which is not a big deal. I Have been on a paved road that turned into a gravel road with NO warning at 60+mph and no time to react I never fell down or had any trouble stopping and getting wheeled around and headed back the way I just came . Folks need to learn to ride in all conditions and not blame the road conditions you are the one that is supposed to be in control of your bike. Just watch the road and not the trees. Don't get me wrong I have been hurt and hurt bad but not because of the road conditions. That Is another big long story.I'll tell Peter when He gets here He has not heard all me stories yet.. Ride aware of your surrounding at all times not just when it suits you. BE prepared for anything at all times.

Wayne ... I look forward to the storytelling over a few coldies ;o))

Tall stories Vardy?

I'm short Al !!

Stand on a chair.....

Bring your boots it can get pretty deep after a few coldies

Hope Triumphin doesn't get mad at me, but he mentioned that he could tell I didn't ride in groups because I road in the middle of the road. Truth is, I was making him stay away because I don't really like riding side by side, because it is a condition that only last a few minutes and I don't like bikers coming to the side of me unless we have previously decided to do that, otherwise if I am not aware your going to do that we can collide...just saying.

Speaking of riding in groups there was an accident I was told about where a group of bikers were turning right and another biker figured that were all going to turn right so he tried to cross out in front of them to go a crossed in the other direction. Unfortunately, one bike wasn't planning to turn but go straight and T-boned the bike trying to cross. Got to remember that some of them may not be part of the group.

I'm with you Drew ... I don't like riding side by side ... little margin for error. If I have to be in a group ride I prefer staggered formation ... no one next to you and no one directly in front

I like to use all the road my registration covers.

I have ridden side by side with a couple guys but we have been riding that way for 30 years and each of us knows what we are going to do before we do it. They are the only two I will ride like that with. This summer there were three guys and a passenger got killed because one guy went left due to a truck. They had no room to maneuver and collided with each other not the truck. I like als style

Drew not mad, what I was trying to say is ride staggered. No I do not want to ride side by side especially on curving roads. Riding staggered left, right gives one more look ahead. Like Wayne says it is all about anticipation of what can potentially happen at all times and we get caught when one doesn't anticipate something.
Yes riding in groups introduces alot more variables. I like the camaraderie it provides but on the other hand, there are the risks of something happening. I think what I have learned the most is know where the final destination is and spread out the line. Trying to stay in a tight group to avoid getting lost creates problems. A great majority are not racers or have the experience to do that. Like Wayne says, really need to understand who one is riding with.
It is a risk every time one gets on a bike. Just like when Mother Nature blew me off the road, never would have predicted that in a million years, but now know not to road through dust blowing across a road when there is NO wind blowing otherwise or clouds in the sky.

I too prefer staggered. Some people tend to float in there lane and makes it hard to ride two abreast next to them. I want the cushion around me for the unexpected.

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