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Old 10-01-2014, 08:44 AM   #1
phreon OP
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Taking stock of my 1st year riding - the incidents...

Most everyone says, "There are two types of riders, those who have crashed, and those who will". I have a year and a couple months under my belt. I took the MSF class, have tried to be careful, practice quick stops, go to the parking lot to practice on occasion, ride defensively, but have had 3 mishaps so far in the the past year / 4000 miles or so.

1) Got an old Nighthawk 750 mainly because it was available and cheap. Looking back, I definitely moved to the bigger machine too soon. I was in KY this spring following my friend on his DR650 and got lulled into following him instead of picking my own lines. Went into a sweeping left leading directly into decreasing radius right. He trail braked into the right turn - I was too close, had no chance of slowing down and getting the top heavy 750 to chicane fast enough and ran wide across the lane into a berm. I kept the bike upright, but had a car been coming, I'd be chum. I had no business taking that machine on those roads so soon after getting it.

2) Same bike, a slow speed sharp left (130 degree, down-hill intersection). Didn't see the oil scum patch and went down. Should have been keeping my eye on pavement condition better. Busted my knee a little, blackened a pinky, but was fine. Gear did the job

3) A couple weeks ago, after changing the front pads on my Vulcan 500, went to bed them in on a quiet street in my neighborhood. After several applications, they locked and stayed locked. It was dark, I didn't see the scum/tar snake and *stupidly* didn't check (over-full) the fluid level. Contusion on my left tibia, sore shoulder and a ruined helmet (impact of the chin bar). Gear did the job.

I love riding, want to dust myself off, learn from my mistakes and press on, but can't help but think, "Should I"? I waited until later in life (40) mainly because, yes, in my younger years, I was an aggressive driver. I used to get tickets all the time. In flight training, we learned 200 to about 600 hours experience is the most dangerous because you feel experienced , but aren't yet. I have a feeling that's where I am now on the motorcycles - as I mentioned, I have about a year and 4000 miles under my belt.

Any sage wisdom? I'd appreciate it.
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Old 10-01-2014, 08:50 AM   #2
LastOfTheDogeMen
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Take these from the bucket of luck and put them into the bucket of experience. The second one might have happened to anyone, but the other two are plainly self-inflicted.

Have you read much on motorcycle safety? The Hough books are good, and there is this other one by Pat Hahn "Ride Hard Ride Smart" which you might get a lot out of.
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Old 10-01-2014, 09:03 AM   #3
phreon OP
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I've read "Proficient Motorcycling" cover to cover several times. I try to soak up whatever I can from well written articles online. I've watched, "Twist of the Wrist" a couple times and have tried to take what is "street appropriate" from it. Picking lines, avoiding fixation, staying loose... Even on the cruiser, I *immediately* got better when I started bracing off the tank with my knees and tried to be mindful to stay light on the controls.

I'll look for the Hahn book.

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Old 10-01-2014, 09:16 AM   #4
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1- Flying formation without sufficient knowledge. Dangerous on bikes as well as flying.

2- Inattention? Might there also be a less-traction-as-the-road-drops-away factor?

3- Bad maintenance. Inadequate post-maintenance preflight by the pilot. Always always always be distrustful of the work just completed.


Doesn't sound like you're a dumbass. Just seems like you aren't fully focusing on the ways you can get bagged.
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Old 10-01-2014, 03:30 PM   #5
PeterW
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Poor handling bikes as well which don't steer or brake particularly well.

Try one of the modern entry level bikes, you should be able to get a test ride, the brakes work, they handle pretty well. All that gives you more margin. ABS is a plus for an inexperienced rider.

Pete
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Old 10-01-2014, 05:41 PM   #6
OldPete2112
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Riding with others all the time when still learning can be a double edged sword. Sounds like at least one incident was the result of trying to keep up with others, always a dangerous situation. Some people just cannot slow down to the new riders pace and end up having the new rider rider far beyond their comfort level.

I really recommend more time in the saddle ALONE. Take the time to go out alone, without having to be anywhere at a specific time. Go explore someplace new, stop often, go sightseeing, go shop for bike parts, toys, or new bikes. Just get some time in and get accustomed to the act of riding so it becomes second nature.

And don't rush it. Ever. Sign up for advanced riding courses if you want, they can really help. Just remember to focus on the ride, and your time and freedom on the bike.

Enjoy.


All who wander are not lost.
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Old 10-01-2014, 07:51 PM   #7
Glascelt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldPete2112 View Post
Riding with others all the time when still learning can be a double edged sword. Sounds like at least one incident was the result of trying to keep up with others, always a dangerous situation. Some people just cannot slow down to the new riders pace and end up having the new rider rider far beyond their comfort level.

I really recommend more time in the saddle ALONE. Take the time to go out alone, without having to be anywhere at a specific time. Go explore someplace new, stop often, go sightseeing, go shop for bike parts, toys, or new bikes. Just get some time in and get accustomed to the act of riding so it becomes second nature.

And don't rush it. Ever. Sign up for advanced riding courses if you want, they can really help. Just remember to focus on the ride, and your time and freedom on the bike.

Enjoy.


All who wander are not lost.
Well said and wise. I took that in. Cheers.
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Old 10-01-2014, 09:11 PM   #8
matty86suk
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I've been riding dirt bikes for 8 months
-high side twice over the bars
-low side 20-30 times
-broke 5th metatarsal at 1 mp/h
-lots of bumps and joint tweeks
....loving every minute, good gear helps
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Old 10-01-2014, 09:44 PM   #9
dmason
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I agree that you're probably at that dangerous level of experience. Stay focused and committed and the next 4k miles will likely be more fun and less painful.

Also, I don't care who you are or what style of riding you're into, 2-3 track days will teach you more than 20-30 years on the street.
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Old 10-01-2014, 10:24 PM   #10
Bald Kirk
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Hello phreon I empathize with you. Early in my motorcycling I also had three mishaps within a short period of time. I am very thankful that they were all at low speed and I learned something from each of them. If I had quit back then I would have missed out on over 25 years and counting of awesome street and dirt riding. Have made tons of lifelong friends in the process.

My advice would be to build upon your experiences, wear plenty of protective gear, ride within your limits and have fun!

Aloha,
Kirk
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Old 10-01-2014, 10:27 PM   #11
dwoodward
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Flight training, eh? Try "The Upper Half of the Motorcycle"

http://www.amazon.com/The-Upper-Half.../dp/1884313752
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Old 10-01-2014, 11:03 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by dwoodward View Post
Flight training, eh? Try "The Upper Half of the Motorcycle"

http://www.amazon.com/The-Upper-Half.../dp/1884313752
Ordered. {Edit to add} I also ordered Ride Hard, Ride Smart: Ultimate Street Strategies for Advanced Motorcyclists and Sport Riding Techniques: How To Develop Real World Skills for Speed, Safety, and Confidence on the Street and Track

For what it's worth, most of my riding is solo. When I ride with somebody else, it's with my buddy, not a group. If anything, he'll slow down going into a bend more than i expect, which bunges up my line. I've learned to stay further back. On longer trips, I do appreciate a "safety in numbers" factor of having a friend along.

Oh, I do find it enormously helpful to watch "Twist of the Wrist II" every once in a while.

Is there a basic skills oriented track course anywhere near SW Ohio? Something friendly to a dude showing up on a Vulcan or Nighthawk? After watching Twist of the Wrist II again and reviewing footage of my trip, it's clear I still turn in too early, charge the corner, am too stiff at times, I've had moments of Zen where I managed to stay loose, turn in quick and at the right spot - it felt great. But it's the exception, not the rule yet.

phreon screwed with this post 10-02-2014 at 08:52 AM
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Old 10-02-2014, 07:47 AM   #13
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Staying in the books is good. Consider taking a safety course to supplement what you learn in them. MSF's ERC seems appropriate.....

And yes, you are smack dab in the middle of that window of your perceived acumen outweighing actual ability.
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Old 10-02-2014, 07:59 AM   #14
dwizum
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I don't have much to add to the already great advice here, except this - if you're a cheapskate like me, use ebay for used copies of all these books that are getting mentioned. I've picked up two copies of Proficient Motorcycling on eBay for around a buck - it was so cheap I kept one and have another on perma-loan to my riding buddies - told them to read it and pass it on.
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Old 10-02-2014, 08:05 AM   #15
ruin
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I think you already know what you have to do. Slow down and pay closer attention. I'm not saying you're riding "fast", but you're riding too aggressively for your experience level. It may not feel that way, but your stories speak for themselves.

Give yourself more time to react and a wider safety margin. Incidents will turn into near-incidents, and then into non-issues you automatically notice and avoid, but it takes experience.
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