Can anyone relate?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by MontanaBum, Apr 3, 2013.

  1. MontanaBum

    MontanaBum n00b

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    I've had two experiences (nearly a year apart) that were somewhat similar and has left me a little unnerved.

    The first happened a little less then a year ago when I was in an overflow parking area (short grass) practicing doing slow turns while standing on the pegs (2012 BMW 1200R GSA). There was a little more moisture in the grass then I was aware of and I was standing making a slow left turn when the bike immediately went down.

    The second was last weekend while riding on a dirt road in a state park. I was coming over a rise down a decently steep hill at slow speed (probably less then 5 mph), when I noticed that the road had two pretty deep tracks. I had the thought that I should move to the middle to avoid going down the ruts (again, standing up on the pegs) when by the time I had finished the thought, the bike went down and I was standing over my bike, still gripping the throttle, with the bike in the left hand rut, horizontal across the road. I hit the kill switch, picked the bike up and walked the bike down the rest of the way.

    So here's where the unnerving part comes in. In both cases, immediately following the incident and in the time since, I have zero recollection of anything that happened during the bike going down. One second I'm up and all's good, the next recollection the bike is down. I'm not able to recall any mental images of the bike in the process going down, or what exactly I did wrong to cause these to happen.

    I try to learn from my mistakes, but the challenging part in these two is that I can't recall or figure out exactly why they happened. I've surmised on the first one that I may have given too much front brake with the front wheel turned left and it simply slid out from under me. The second may be the same thing, but I'm not sure. I guess it's just very strange that I can't picture or recall the actual process of going down.

    The other thing (not nearly as surprising) is discovering pains and bruises later that day or the next day. On the second incident, I felt a pretty good pain in my left foot in the big toe area, but just walked it off. It wasn't till I got home that I saw that I had completely unseated the toe nail on my left toe. What I hit to do that, I have no clue. Also had a bruise on my right thigh and strained a couple of muscles in my forearms.

    So, is this type of thing typical?

    Thanks for any feedback or insight.
    #1
  2. quasigentrified

    quasigentrified Ape Trumpet

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    for me it is! i live in seattle, with TONS of tight space maneuvering, steep hill streets, and sloped parking lots. trying to jimmy my 550 lb aprilia mana into position takes some real yoga on the rear brake and it is VERY hard to resist "panic grabs" on the front brake when someone inches in front of me or if i come too close to an obstacle when "parking lot slow dancing." i've dropped the bike twice now by applying front brake when riding the pegs and low-speed rear braking to get into a small downhill parking space, and it's made me pretty indecisive and skittish when i need to be smooth and deft. really, the only cure is accepting that there are certain challenging contexts for large bikes and to practice, practice, practice.

    as for injuries, on my first drop in a steep lot, i thought i was good until i came home, sat down to catch up on email, and OH GOD I CANNOT MOVE MY SHOULDER. yup, torn ligament from trying to yank the bike back up by the handles while it was falling. (a 185 lb dude can NOT stop a ~550 pound slab of steel as it tilts down a hill. :-( who'da thought?) stupid adrenalin masking the pain!

    i'm determined to master it, though. i don't wanna be stuck with a little scooter ALL the time when riding in downtown, and i sure as shit do NOT want my riding to be constrained to big open highways and wal-mart lots.
    #2
  3. SloMo228

    SloMo228 World Class Cheapass

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    I can. I don't think it's a medical issue like memory loss from head trauma, I think it's just that sometimes the crashes happen so quickly by the time you realize you're crashing, you've already crashed. The brain doesn't record everything like a VCR, and when what you thought was going to be just another mundane moment of maneuvering your bike turns into a crash, maybe it's just not "recording" at the time. I don't know.

    I do know that in one of the two crashes I've had, I don't remember the bike falling. I lowsided in a big empty parking lot due to catching a peg in a crack on the pavement and slid about 30 feet. I remember being leaned over in the turn, and I remember sliding on my ass watching the bike slide alongside me, but I don't remember the fall itself. I know I didn't hit my head because my helmet didn't have so much as a scratch on it. I was only able to figure out what happened by looking at the scrape/skid marks that the bike left.

    I'm not sure why there's a gap in my memory there, but there is. The other crash I had was similar but I knew it was coming and had a little time to brace for it. Maybe that's why I can remember that one.
    #3
  4. AustinJake

    AustinJake TE450-KLE-FXDWG

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    I can relate to the "how did that happen" feeling on MC wrecks, but 1 thing I myself do, I don't stand on the pegs unless there is a really rough section and I won't be initiating any turns. I have gone down/almost gone down too many times when standing and the front wheel gets deflected or slides a little, and I have the majority of my body up above the handlebars and when the bike goes a little one way, my body tends to behind the curve and then all hell happens. I myself have a better chance when my ass is on the seat and I can feel immediately when something weird is happening. Just my 2 cents.
    #4
  5. quasigentrified

    quasigentrified Ape Trumpet

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    i didn't anticipate either drop because i was focused on maneuvering. i only know the reason because i remember grabbing the front brake like a spaz with the wheel turned and downhill. ;-)
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  6. quasigentrified

    quasigentrified Ape Trumpet

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    man, good to hear. i feel safer and less nervy when my ass is on the seat, but my experienced rider buds say i need to get over it and work on peg riding if i'm gonna do tight low speed maneuvers. it doesn't feel right to me, but i'm also a n00b.
    #6
  7. AustinJake

    AustinJake TE450-KLE-FXDWG

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    No brainer on this one since I've done it 3 times to the same left big toe: my left foot is the bigger foot, boots tend to be a little snug on that foot, toe nail gets a little too long and then it catches on the roof of the toe cap of the boot and then my foot slides forward hard underneath that, like a near fall, the leg/foot trying to hold the bike up, and bam, toe nail ripped up and off the nail bed.
    #7
  8. garandman

    garandman Wandering Minstrel

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    I was on a back road in Maine and traversed a low spot in the middle of a turn. A truck was coming the other way, so as I turned into the low spot, I hit the front brake: which tucked the front wheel and spit me directly down to the pavement, luckily only going about 10mph.

    There was a pond next to the road. After heavy rain, it would overflow across the road and flood it with sand and other debris. In that turn, at that low spot, with the bars turned for a low-speed turn is where I hit the brakes - and hit the pavement. Ouch.

    Nothing but sprained ribs and sprained pride, but the 2.5 hour ride to the hotel was not fun.
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  9. Sport

    Sport Been here awhile

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    Being top heavy might cause a fall (standing on the pegs) and a quick but firm pull on the front brakes could cause it as well. The brain does record like a VCR but it doesn't always retain what its recorded. Why, I don't know. I had a low side crash some years ago and the first thing I can recall about it was already sliding on the pavement with the bike across my right leg/knee. I do NOT recall falling, slipping or anything until I was already sliding on the pavement. No head/helmet hit either.
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  10. GrouchyGeezer

    GrouchyGeezer Long timer

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    Standing on the pegs has two major effects on bike handling. The first, is it lowers the center of gravity for the bike/rider combination. But, I believe not as much as people think. The second, the bike can move much more freely, and more quickly, in a variety of axis. Standing while turning in a poor traction area can put an inexperienced (in this type of maneuver) rider down very quickly. I have seen inexperienced riders fall while leaning into the turn on a dirt road while standing. The bike will seem to literally "squirt out" from under the rider. It can be done, and done quite well, but it requires a higher level of skill.
    Also, riding the "hump" between two ruts can have a similar effect. The rear tire slips off the hump and keeps going until it looses contact with the ground or hits some kind of berm.
    Even knobby tires don't have the best traction in a lateral direction. It takes a fair amount of off-road experience to get proficient in rear tire lateral moves. BTW, what kind of tires did you have on the bike?
    As for not having a clear recollection of the event, that can happen when something happens very quickly that is totally unexpected and you're fully concentrating on something else. This type of low speed fall happens in a split second. No long slides, no tumbling, just boom -- down!
    In case you are wondering, I have gone down in both types of examples, and many others. Raced enduros in Michigan for seven years. The first two years were rough, but well worth it!:evil
    #10
  11. AustinJake

    AustinJake TE450-KLE-FXDWG

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    On tight, rough low speed stuff, I almost always have to put a foot down, and that's impossible when I am up on the pegs, what I have been doing of late, is suspended my ass about 2 inches off the seat, that way, my weight is on the pegs and not the seat, but my feet are still able to reach the ground if something bad happens. I figure, if I can make it thru a section without falling, my form is fine, with me at least...
    #11
  12. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Been here awhile

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    The times I've gone down slowly, I remember going down. Usually accompanied by the throught of "oh ****".

    The times I've gone down explosively, I don't generally remember. I agree with a previous poster that it happens so quickly I really didn't realize it happened
    #12
  13. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

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    I do not often remember falling, unless its a long drawn out (higher speed)crash.

    Tip: Look where you are going, study the surface.
    Off road (grass, dirt roads, trails) need to be studied, and going slow can be worse then going faster in many situations, there is no inertia or wheel gyroscopic effect at low speed.
    Good riders study the street surface all the time also.
    Trials riders go slow and stand, on very light bikes and they study everything closely.

    Standing may not help, I would not stand when sliding around on wet grass. Practice sitting and sliding the back wheel around on wet grass using the throttle.

    Riding big heavy (and top heavy) bikes off road will involve falling down, and falling on heavy bikes hurts.
    #13
  14. NoVa Rider

    NoVa Rider Long timer

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    Good on you for posting to learn. It's a sign of a very good rider. :thumb

    IMHO, grabbing front brake + in slow speed + turn = fall.

    Unless very experienced, applying front brake + grass = tuck and fall

    Try stopping the bike without your handlebars in the direction of the line of travel. Doesn't feel very good, does it?

    :ear

    But, this is the internets, and YMMV. :lol3
    #14
  15. echo15

    echo15 Been here awhile

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    In '09 I went down at 55 when the rear brake pedal on my Enfield came off, dug into the pavement and launched me over the bars (only had a broken rt collarbone; thanks ATTGATT). I have absolutely no memory of the time between realizing something was seriously wrong with the bike and the time I noticed that the clouds were slowly spinning in a circular manner while I was lying on the pavement.
    A kid in a cage cage saw the whole thing, stopped and made sure I was alright. If he had not been there I wouldn't have known how far I flew and how I landed.
    The point is that there were probably 5 to 10 seconds of my life that I have no access to. I have considered being hypnotised to re-access those moments, but as a friend said, maybe I don't really want to remember it.
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  16. MontanaBum

    MontanaBum n00b

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    I really appreciate all of the feedback and experiences. I have to say, it's a tremendous relief to know that it's not all that unusual to not remember something like that when it does happen so fast. I'll also remember to stay away from the front brakes during slow maneuvering where practical.

    It was the best thing I've ever done, getting my bike, and I want to be around for many more years enjoying the freedom and adventure! One of the things I enjoy most is that it provides a great opportunity to learn something new every time I'm out on a ride.

    Stay safe all, and thanks again!
    #16
  17. PT Rider

    PT Rider Been here awhile

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    The falls happened so fast that your mind didn't have enough time to focus on them. Practice and getting good at any activity makes time seem to slow down. Fall many more times and you'll see everything happening in real time.

    Standing on the pegs raises the center of gravity of the combined bike & rider. It decouples the bike from the rider to some extent so the bike can move around more. Maybe that's not always a good thing.
    #17
  18. NoVa Rider

    NoVa Rider Long timer

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    well, I'd say lowers the center of gravity, because the riders' weight is on the pegs, not the seat, but standing does allow the perception that the bike moves around more underneath the rider. :thumb
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  19. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

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    Maybe, but getting you butt 1/2 inch off the seat would be even lower of a center of gravity, not bolt upright.

    I can not say I ever stood and slid the back wheel around in turns...or stood and locked the back wheel up and slid into a turn sideways...


    #19
  20. RustyStuff

    RustyStuff Been here awhile

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    I remember everything about my first crash, Lost it at 10mph when it hit some lose gravel on hard packed dirt. I remember the feeling the front end washing out, and trying to save it by sticking my foot out( couldent move fast enough), the slow-motion going down and slideing about 5 feet.

    I can't remember the 2nd, dumped it at 15-20 pulling into a gravel parking lot, and finding out the gravel was 8" deep right by the road. Front end slid out as I turned in, and bam, I find myself laying on my side, still on the bike, with my knee dug into the gravel. .
    #20