Two Minutes of Terror

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by LisaS, May 7, 2013.

  1. LisaS

    LisaS Dubious Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2010
    Oddometer:
    578
    Location:
    Central Maine
    I had a rear tire blow out on me this morning on my way from a meeting to work- was riding my wr250 with knobbies. Not my first time with a flat, but have never had one blow out before. I was riding along at 55 on pavement with everything feeling normal when all of a sudden I felt the rear end coming around- :yikes
    I was able to straighten it out and keep it upright fortunately, but as I am sitting there trying to keep it upright and straight I was wondering what would happen if I hit the brakes- my sense was that I would lose what control I had of the bike and that it would go down. I was at the top of a downhill when it happened so what I did was let off the gas and focused on keeping the bike upright while thinking "I'd really like to get off this ride NOW!" Eventually I got to the bottom of the hill and the bike finally slowed enough so I could pull in the clutch and get over to the side of the road and stop.

    My husband and I have already done a post mortem on this- just because the tires were fine when I left the house does not mean they were fine when I left the meeting. Also have discussed the pros and cons of rim locks. He came and fetched the bike with the truck and changed the tire- the tube had completely come out of the tire and was so shredded he was unable to tell what the cause of the blowout was.
    My question is- if I had braked would I have lost control of the bike and gone down or would it have merely transformed my 2 minutes of terror into twenty seconds of terror?
    #1
  2. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,330
    Well handled, regardless of any discussion we may end up having about "proper" technique. You did not crash, so you did handle it, very successfully. Bravo to you, for it's not an easy one.

    I would have used the front brake myself. Not standing it up on its nose, but to bring it down to a stop as quickly as I safely could. Easy to lose control of this, especially if done hard or with the rear tire coming around. That's not the time for it.

    Not that I'm averse to hitting the brakes hard. I'm of the general opinion that if I'm destined to crash, I prefer to do it at as slow a speed as I can get. It hurts less, and sometimes I'm lucky and can regain control when the speed is reduced. If the bike were to be solidly coming around, and I'm going to be going backwards until I fall down, I would use the brakes hard to bring down the speed as much as I could, before going down.

    Neither thing I offered is officially correct, or wrong. They can work, but not always. Regardless, what you did worked. Again, well done.
    #2
  3. OrangeYZ

    OrangeYZ Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    823
    Location:
    Southern Oregon
    Actually, I think that "Brake on the wheel that's not flat" is pretty well accepted as the right thing to do.
    #3
  4. GoGoGavin41

    GoGoGavin41 Sokath, his eyes opened!

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,276
    Location:
    The Holy City
    +1
    #4
  5. Flashmo

    Flashmo Whatever...

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,639
    Location:
    Vagabond Hippie
    That is what I was taught, but have not had to try out.
    #5
  6. Mr_Snips

    Mr_Snips Husky BRAAAAAAAAP!

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2009
    Oddometer:
    356
    Location:
    Yucca Valley, CA
    Yup. Brake on the front. It would have help transfer the weight to the front tire so it would hopefully let the rear stop swinging around. But in the scenario just holding on and enjoying the ride works too.
    #6
  7. SilkMoneyLove

    SilkMoneyLove Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,695
    Location:
    Minneapolis
    I didn't have a rear blow out, but it was a sudden flat and I felt like I was on ice. Like you, I let it coast/ gradually slow until 20mph or so, then I used the front brake.
    My theory/thinking was to let the rear "drag" so the bike remained stable. Grabbing front brake at 70mph with a squishy rear sounded like a recipe for swapping ends.
    Also, I had the room to let it roll and I was still upright. My opinion is that bikes crash from rider input, so I chose to let the bike stop itself.
    Was that correct? For me, at that time, it worked, so yes.
    #7
  8. fltplan

    fltplan Just toolin around

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    127
    Location:
    Southwest
    Using the front brake probably would've been fine, but you would still be upsetting the balance of what was already working for you. Could've been worse or better, who knows if you were at the edge of the situation and using the front break could've been the deal breaker?

    What was the thoughts about rimlocks? Did you not have them on the back? I know some people don't use them because of balancing the wheel, but I've done a lot of riding on flats with rim locks and had no issues with the wheel coming off.
    #8
  9. doxiedog

    doxiedog Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2007
    Oddometer:
    932
    Location:
    CENTRAL VALLEY, CALIF.
    Long ago, when i was young and bullet proof.
    i had a front blow out at 60mph.
    It spread out and rubbed the fender and forks.
    I have never come to a stop, that hard on anything else!.
    Down shifted hard and kept it up,till about 10 mph,
    then floped over in the weeds on the sholder.
    #9
  10. LisaS

    LisaS Dubious Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2010
    Oddometer:
    578
    Location:
    Central Maine
    It sounds like the consensus is that the front brake would have been ok. However, my thoughts at the time, other than oh sh*t, were along the lines of SilkMoneyLove- that it was best to let the bike stop itself- and plus I was not sure what the best way to apply the brakes was. I was on a straightaway and traffic was light without any hazards to worry about- I think if I was headed into a curve or something was in my path, then braking would have been the wiser thing to do. Hopefully this never happens again, but if it does at least I will be a little more knowledgeable on using the brakes.

    I misunderstood my husband when I quoted him in the original post- the tube was not shredded, just completely out of the tire and wrapped around it. The tube actually looks pretty good considering- 1 half-inch slit in it across from the valve stem but hard telling whether this was the cause of or a result of the blowout.
    #10
  11. LisaS

    LisaS Dubious Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2010
    Oddometer:
    578
    Location:
    Central Maine
    The cons were balance issues and increased difficulty in mounting the tires- nothing insurmountable by any means. It sounds like the pro of keeping the tire on way outweighs the cons.

    My husbands money is that I was riding on a flat when I left the meeting and that was the cause of the blowout- maybe it was, and I will now be sure to check the tires everytime before I get on, however, the bike felt perfectly fine up to the point it blew out.....
    #11
  12. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,330
    IMO, front braking *could* have been ok. Only could have been. It's real easy to have a sliding rear end snap right around a braking front tire this way. What you did by just basically coasting it down took longer, but also increased your ability to keep the rear end out back. Hitting the front brake and having the rear wheel pass you is not fun, and is not a good way to stay upright.
    #12
  13. LisaS

    LisaS Dubious Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2010
    Oddometer:
    578
    Location:
    Central Maine
    The more I am thinking about it, with the same conditions I would probably do the same thing as I did yesterday- my instincts were "Do not touch the brakes, however much you want to"- However, with a different circumstance- car braking/stopped/pulling out in front of me, tight curve coming up, deer on side of road, etc, then the braking and slowing quickly would have been the better option even if the bike went down as opposed to hitting the hazard.

    Well, time to go get back on the pony and head to work.
    #13
  14. HooliKen

    HooliKen Awesome is a flavor

    Joined:
    May 13, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,100
    Location:
    Smithfield, VA
    Yep! Load the front tire and unload rear would of been perfectly fine. But you DID NOT LAY HER DOWN so whatever you did in the heat of the moment obviously worked for you.

    What kind of tube were you running? Normal, Heavy Duty? I would find it hard to believe that riding a bike that light and a moderate speed would cause enough heat to make your tube fail. But the world is an imperfect place and stuff just breaks sometimes.
    #14
  15. LisaS

    LisaS Dubious Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2010
    Oddometer:
    578
    Location:
    Central Maine
    The tube did not fail.

    Once I got back on the bike yesterday and it was significantly taller and handled like crap on the pavement, I realized my husband was right, the tire was flat prior to the blowout- so I take full responsibility- my failure of basic MSF 101 to check tires before EVERY ride:nono:fpalm :baldy:baldy

    The worst part is we are just getting back into riding season and this was my 3rd ride on the bike- rode to work twice last week and ignored the fact that I am short and not getting taller, nor is the bike getting shorter- I should NEVER be able to flat foot it (even if the knobs are starting to wear)- STUPID ME! I assumed my husband had checked the tires, but it is not his responsibility, it is my bike, my responsibility.

    The only good thing that may have come out of this is that my boss came along behind me and drove me into work- he is a CRAZY driver- very scary- he actually drove really well that morning after he rescued me- he had been talking about getting a bike a couple of years ago and I talked him into the MSF course- the instructor told him that if he ever did ride on the rode he would be killed in a short period of time due to his inability to not multitask and concentrate on one thing at a time and that seemed to put him off of getting a bike- this spring he started talking about getting a bike again so hopefully this will put that right out of his head.

    Needless to say, from here on I will be checking the tires EVERY ride- but hard lesson learned for sure.
    #15
  16. HooliKen

    HooliKen Awesome is a flavor

    Joined:
    May 13, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,100
    Location:
    Smithfield, VA
    Lesson learned. I give the bike a quick once over everytime I get on it. I have been in similiar situations in the past.

    Please warn us if and when your boss does decide to start riding.....:D
    #16
  17. LisaS

    LisaS Dubious Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2010
    Oddometer:
    578
    Location:
    Central Maine
    Actually, if he was on a bike he would be more of danger to himself and less of a danger to everybody else than when he is driving his minivan- staying in one lane is optional, high speed and tailgaiting while on cell phone required- under normal circumstances I never get in his car- however, the only other person that drove by that I recognized- our veterinarian- just smiled and waved when I tried to flag him down- "uggg, it's one of those crazy customers":lol3
    #17
  18. turbodieseli4i6

    turbodieseli4i6 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2006
    Oddometer:
    568
    Location:
    USA
    +1
    #18
  19. HooliKen

    HooliKen Awesome is a flavor

    Joined:
    May 13, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,100
    Location:
    Smithfield, VA
    Vet may have let you ride in the "doggie" cage in the back?

    Didn't notice earlier that you are a fellow Mainiac! I grew up near Ellsworth.
    #19
  20. manic mechanic

    manic mechanic Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Oddometer:
    163
    Location:
    up nort' somewheres
    IMHO, the biggest lesson you learned is that not everything will cause you to crash. Anything can cause a crash, but doesn't necessarily have to. You used what time you had to stay sane and not panic. Commendable. You came out of it none the worse for wear, but perhaps wiser. Don't beat yourself up too badly. Walk away.
    #20