I hate gravel.

Discussion in 'Face Plant' started by der_saeufer, Nov 25, 2012.

  1. der_saeufer

    der_saeufer ?איפה בירה

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    Gravel on pavement is evil. Having grown up in Colorado, I should know this. Today I found out the hard way and moved from "those who will" to "those who have." On the bright side, at least it took me 12 years, but that's small consolation for a faceplant that I should have been able to prevent.

    The scene: Angeles Crest (CA-2) just west of Wrightwood at the intersection with Pines Hwy. A nice, wide left hand turn, good sight distance, etc. Chipseal pavement with some same-color gravel and some tan gravel on it. Round marble-sized gravel from the chipsealing operation on the shoulders and intersecting roads.

    The mistake: there was way more gravel in that curve than I first noticed. I had room (so I thought) and wasn't going that fast so I let it go a little wide and scrubbed some speed. The road was very wide and no one was coming, so there was plenty of room (so I thought).

    The faceplant: The second I transitioned from the chipseal to the old pavement with marbles on it, that was it. The front and back washed out within the first foot and I was sliding on the right side. I was down to <15mph by this point and came off the bike within the first couple feet of slide.

    Bike damage: '04 DL650 with (old) SW-Motech crash bars, skid plate, etc. Broken right blinker, probably a broken handguard. Brake levers and peg were all OK. The plastic got some light scraping, probably because the gravel was big enough to fill the space between the plastic and the ground as the bike slid on the crash bar. Total damage: prolly $50. The bike is chilling in Hesperia because the tow co. didn't have my AAA info and didn't want to risk towing it to LA and not getting paid. It's headed here sometime this week, hooray for AAA Premier! No hurry cos I can't ride it for a couple weeks anyway.

    Human damage: I was wearing an XD3, good gloves, a Dainese textile jacket.... and "regular" pants. Shit. I hit my shoulder and knee at the same time; the jacket has a spot about 1/4" across on the arm that's worn through; my upper body is completely painless and undamaged. Helmet never hit the ground. Gloves did some sliding but barely show the wear.

    Pants got worn through in a couple spots, and although I have no road rash whatsoever, I got a 6.5cm cut about 1cm above the top of my patella that went all the way through. 18 stitches later at the friendly hospital in San Bernardino it's intact but I'm stuck gimping in a knee immobilizer for 10-14 days :(

    Lesson learned: WEAR REAL RIDING PANTS. I am not even going to the goddamn grocery store without riding pants from here on out. Had I not been wearing a good jacket, I'd probably still be at A&E in San Bernardino. Had I been wearing REAL F@#KING PANTS, I probably could have gotten up and ridden home. Goddammit. At least this happened after I got health insurance and not while I had none over the summer.

    Question presented: how the hell did I get a huge gash on my knee without road rash? Either a) the skin below my knee pulled on the pavement and the skin ripped above the knee or b) the nut holding the crash bars somehow sliced it on my way off. Either way, the answer is, of course, PANTS.

    Major thanks: to the two 40-something guys (one on a BMW, one on some other sport-tourer) a minute behind me who stopped, called for help, helped me patch my knee, stood my bike up, sat with me until EMS got there, etc etc. I owe you guys big time; if you're inmates, PM me and I will buy you beer. Same goes for the guy on the HD and the couple people in cars who stopped later. Thanks! Also, mad props to the San Bernardino Co. Fire Dept and the nice people at A&E in San Bernardino who patched me up!

    tl;dr: gravel lowside, inappropriate pants, 18 stitches in knee.
    #1
  2. GusinCA

    GusinCA Been here awhile

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    Good write up.

    Basically wear what you want to crash in.

    If you're only boppin along a dirt road at 5 mph, jeans and a shirt are fine.

    Anything more than that and you'll pay for it in stitches...
    #2
  3. jordan325ic

    jordan325ic Been here awhile

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    When you say "regular" pants what exactly are you referring to? Jeans or something else?
    #3
  4. der_saeufer

    der_saeufer ?איפה בירה

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    I was wearing cargo pants, but they're similar in material and thickness to jeans.. same idea. Might have fared better with my double-kneed Carhartts on but not sure. Definitely would've fared better with REAL PANTS ;)
    #4
  5. livo

    livo Been here awhile

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    Dress for the slide, not the ride :evil

    Glad to hear that you got out of it ok and that it wasn't more serious
    #5
  6. der_saeufer

    der_saeufer ?איפה בירה

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    Update:

    Bike is home, no thanks to the idiots at the towing company who couldn't be bothered to call Auto Club to find out I'd gotten approval for AAA to pay for both the tow to their yard and from there to my place. Eventually I was able to convince them to call Auto Club again, et voilà, covered. Funny how that works. It's cool, I wanted to spend 2 hours on the phone instead of learning about the insanity defense in class today.

    Jacket and gloves were in the topcase, and I got a good look at them today--the jacket has two holes the size of cigarette burns on the elbow and the rubber coating is scraped off a snap. The right glove is scuffed but completely intact. Not replacing other gear means I have money for good pants. w00t!

    The bike has a lot of scraping on the plastic, a mostly-destroyed handguard, a bent bar end weight, a busted blinker and a missing footpeg. Oil level is the same as before and it lights right up. The bars might be bent, but that'll be an excuse to swap them for ProTapers. Mirror did NOT break! Not gonna fix the scrapes--they're a good theft deterrent.

    I am a convert to militant ATGATT fascism. As soon as my knee is healed I'll be requesting my special armband and membership card. I hear it gets you discounts at the grocery store for wearing armored pants when it's 100º :D
    #6
  7. acejones

    acejones Long timer

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    Glad to hear you're OK. Ride safe and wear the gear.:freaky
    #7
  8. German Trick

    German Trick Long timer

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    Cal Trans &#8220;repaved&#8221; Highway 2 from Wrightwood to Dawson Saddle a couple of months ago. I don&#8217;t know why because the pavement was in great condition and a lot of fun to ride. I was just over 2 and back from Wrightwood on Friday and the road was particularly nasty in that section. Cal Trans put down cinders from the recent rain/snow but I think the pavement is breaking up pretty fast. My understanding is that the road will be repaved all the way through to La Cañada and a smoother layer will be put on after that. I&#8217;ve been riding ACH for the last 25 years and this is the worst I&#8217;ve seen it.

    Glad you&#8217;re ok and it wasn&#8217;t worse.
    #8
  9. dukedinner

    dukedinner Been here awhile

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    +1. Here is a test to all nay-sayers. Would you run across a paved parking lot in a t-shirt and jeans and do a full on sliding belly-flop going as fast as you can? Bet you won't do it. But get on a bike and now its ok?
    #9
  10. der_saeufer

    der_saeufer ?איפה בירה

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    Thanks!

    I'd just ridden the whole highway from west to east a couple days prior, and I actually pulled over a couple miles east of Dawson Saddle thinking something was up with my tires only to find out the pavement was just that weird. Who the hell chipseals a state highway, especially with such huge "chips"? It makes it all the more embarrassing to me that I knew that pavement sucked and I crashed within 2 miles of it starting (for some reason, the new "pavement" stops at the LA/SBD county line). I'd never ridden it before; what a great ride where the pavement was good! Hopefully they do make it nice--it'd really be a shame if such a beautiful road were stuck with such a crappy surface.
    #10
  11. jgsatl

    jgsatl acworth, ga

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    i heard a couple guys talking (they happened to be harley riders) and saying that they don't bother with too much gear because they're dead anyway so why be uncomfortable.
    #11
  12. Recker1

    Recker1 Adventurer

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    Glad you're alright - although that get-off was probably better than sitting through crim law! ;)

    Seriously - glad you came out alright. Like you said, ATGATT.
    #12
  13. acejones

    acejones Long timer

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    Well, there you go. Darwin was right !
    #13
  14. der_saeufer

    der_saeufer ?איפה בירה

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    :rofl I'm sure I'm not the only one here who can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that that's BS.

    In this crash, had I been helmetless, I likely would've gotten, at worst, a scrape--my helmet doesn't appear to have hit the ground. I can promise that I'd have survived the crash even had I been riding naked, though I shudder at the thought of road rash on my man-parts just typing that.

    Had I not been wearing my jacket over the sweatshirt, my arms and upper back would be completely SHREDDED. I don't even want to think about how painful that'd be. And, like I've said probably 80 times by now, had I been wearing armored Cordura or leather pants, I'd have been able to ride home and skip the trip to A&E and the accompanying 18 stitches.

    Also if your gear is uncomfortable, you're doing it wrong.
    #14
  15. lineareagle

    lineareagle philomath

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    One of the reasons I like my 'stich' You put on the jacket, the pants are right there as well.

    Plus when you slide your jacket, or your pants don't slide apart and leave you exposed and

    You can don it over anything and strip it off in 30 seconds at stops Plus

    Who the hell would steal a 'stich'? You just leave on your bike or at worst run a cable through it and lock it n the bars.
    #15
  16. PineyMountainRacing

    PineyMountainRacing Oops....

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    Similar thing happened to me 36 years ago, Honda SL125 in an empty grassy lot on the hood. Wearing helmet, gloves and boots - and Levi's. Went down and got up, picked the bike back up and started riding. Then noticed my L knee covered in blood. Absolutely no damage to the jeans, not even a grass stain. The skin obviously got pulled apart without damaging my jeans, back then I thought maybe it had got tangled up in the back of the front fender because the laceration was curved at about the same shape as the fender edge.

    Glad you're basically ok. I LUV gravel. Just not when it's overlying pavement.
    #16
  17. der_saeufer

    der_saeufer ?איפה בירה

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    Yeah, I'm leaning toward going this route. They're so damned expensive, though, especially when I already have a good jacket, but the ease of use is awesome, and they appear to last literally forever. Time to post in the Flea Market.

    After I sent some hi-res pics of my knee to my med student brother, he was convinced that's what happened to me as well.

    I love gravel roads, but gravel on smooth pavement is the devil. Also I found a piece of it, so here it is for all to see. It's HUGE (I wear XL gloves):
    [​IMG]
    #17
  18. roadrunner_122

    roadrunner_122 n00b

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    I am one of those old Harley Riders that doesn't always wear full protection I do wear a helmet most of the time, even though it is not required by law in Arizona. I have been down twice, both times while wearing full leathers ect, and both times when I was riding more aggressivly that I should have been. The first time I totalled my 96 Ultra, the second time I only got a few scratches on my 06.
    Of course I wonder what would happen if I went down and was killed, but then again I figure I would die on my Harley, and I am old enough I know I am going to die someday in the near future anyway. So at least I would die doing something I love.
    But I have noticed that a lot of riders wearing full protection do tend to ride very aggressivly. So I also wonder if there is a relationship between the fact that they are well protected and the aggressive riding style?
    #18
  19. 568V8

    568V8 Ontario Vstrommer

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    Wise words. Round glacial pebbles on top of pavement create a very risky surface. I slid my Vee this past summer near Consul Saskatchewan on hwy#13; an old paved road that had been resurfaced using deep gravel. I knew it was risky and was riding at a speed (about 60kph) that I felt comfortable to crash in. Minor scrape on the Vee and just dust on my Aerostich Road Crafter suit.

    Wear what you want to crash in.
    #19
  20. guavadude

    guavadude de-composer

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    I always wear Dianese knee/shin guards and they've saved me twice now. Once on a gravel road and once coming down the wrong side of mountain in CO. Most riding pants have soft knee pads that will not stay in position and won't help much. Knees are expensive and one of the first things that hit.

    http://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle/dainese-knee-v-guard
    #20