Riding buddy to help me get over an accident? Report included

Discussion in 'The Rockies – It's all downhill from here...' started by GetBackOn, Oct 24, 2018.

  1. GetBackOn

    GetBackOn Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2018
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    I am new but been lurking for a while. Looking for help to get over my recent “accident” so I am posting here vs crash. Long one.

    The story

    I started riding about 10/11 years ago. Had never been on a bike in my life before that. Always loved the idea but growing up no dad and poor it just was not anywhere near possible.

    Took the MSF class at 32/33. Got a Ninja 500 and road the hell out of it – mostly on the Blue Ridge Parkway cause why not. Sold for a move then got Triumph RS 955. Loved that bike! Then a cross country move came up and it cost too much to ship. And I found myself going too fast J. Moved to the Pacific Northwest and with the rain and prices I sat on sideline for 4-5 years.

    Moved to Denver in January of this year. Finally being back in Curve Land I knew it was time. The new job requires some rush hour commuting on much busier streets then I have seen in many years so all I saw was death all around me. Talking to some bikers they said – CO is the land of dirt riding, leave the cars behind. Always loved the idea of dirt bikes so sounded right. Since I had never even sat on a dirt bike I went and took the MSF Dirt Bike School to see if I would like it before buying. Had a great teacher but in the end it was really just 4 hours in a guys backyard on a Honda 250. I loved it and did pretty good.

    Instructor was really pushing a lite bike so I started my search there. In the end I decided I wanted to ride to the dirt not trailer it, could I really go from 120 HP to 20, at my age will I ever be hardcore dirt? I settled in the middle and was set to buy a BMW X Challenge. Set the date and then the guy sold it the night before to someone else.

    While I am looking the old lady says “So you are going to ride a high powered machine on dirt roads out into the middle of nowhere, alone, with no experience”. Me - Umm yes? But she had a point and it stuck in my head. So I did some research (including here on ADV) and found the BMW RawHyde school. Consensus was it was expensive but good. Turns out it is just 2.5 hours from my work – so much more doable then for most.

    The part that really intrigued me was each year they sell off their rental bikes. They sell the 700, the 800 adventure, the 1200, and 1200 GSA. They are pretty light use at 1,000 miles or so, have full custom crash bars, are still considered new from the dealer so full warranty, extra tires, and have every single option on it that BMW makes. I have 0 interested in the 1200 but I went and sat on a 800 and it’s a dam nice bike. They sell them at a pretty nice discount and they throw in the class for free ($1400 + a after ride for $600). So many of the bikes I was looking at, when you added in the class were the same or less. So that means I was all in at a little over 10K for a basically brand new 800 adventure if you minus the class.

    Now my last bike was $2800 so this would a HUGE deal for me. I actually can technically afford it but I am very tight with my money. And this bike would now be worth more than my truck! Again not cheap but I have 0 friends here, and no fiends at all that ride, so really no other option. Plus this is like a dream come true and it feels really good to be able to do something like this after several bad job years.

    So I went for it. Found out I had to wait till later in the year since it was still being rented. Waited 7 long weeks! But finally the time came on Aug 10. I get there and the bike is sweet. Maybe 1-2 small scratches and just 994 miles. I sit on it on Friday night but do not get to ride it at all. No one gets much sleep, I got none.

    Next morning we have some meeting time then we head out to ride. This is when it sinks in that it has been almost 5 years of not riding, never been on dirt, and I have 0 experience on this bike. So I ask to ride around the small circle driveway for a minute. With ABS off the brakes are super touchy. I am never had good brakes before. But what really concerns me is we have to ride down a rather nasty dirt driveway with some rather large rocks and rather steep down. They assure me the rest of the day is flat and easy. I get to the edge of the driveway and stop. Everything is telling me to not go down that road. The brakes are driving me nuts and I know I am not ready for this. I sit there for a bit with back teacher waiting. I tell him I am very unsure. But at this point I spent a ton of money and I just watched everyone else do it so I go for it.

    Literally 2 minutes later I bump a rock, which bumps my hand down on the brake, and a fall off to the left. Going like 5 mph but due to getting stuck on the rock I cannot walk off the fall and a fall into a rock pile. My back is tweaked a bit and my wrist hurts a bit but I can move everything so I may be ok. Of course shaken at this point.

    Adrenaline is kicking so I pick the bike up and proceed to ride for 3 more hours. Wrist starts to hurt more and more. Mentally I also start to struggle and the instructors all see it and try to get me back in it. Each rock I hit hurts more. I drop the bike 3 more times, twice because the clutch just pooped out on me since I could not hold it down very well. Everyone else is dropping though so I push on. Lunch comes and I make it up that driveway ok but mentally I am done. Really mad at myself. Once I stop using it at lunch it freezes solid. Not only can I not pull in the clutch I can barely move the hand at all. So I have to skip the afternoon. I watch everyone else roll out while I lay there in a hot tent all day beating myself up over and over.

    As I lay there I can tell there is something more than a sprain going on but I still have hope to ride tomorrow. Later that night I finally see the retired paramedic. He points out the bruises forming and says I for sure have a break. Heart sinks, never had a broken bone before. It is late at that point and I had a beer so I have to stay the night. Spent all night in pain but the mental was worse. What if I cannot work and lose my job? What if my hand never comes back? I just spent a ton on this thing, trip of a lifetime ruined, etc. Feel like an idiot over his head.

    Everyone is trying to cheer me up but I am in a bad spot. There are some other newbies there but most have been riding dirt a long time. The rest have at least been riding street a lot. Had one older women that dropped her bike 27 times that afternoon – and was fine. I know I landed just right but that makes it even harder to digest.

    I had planned to trailer the bike back home but the next morning I cannot even tie my shoes let alone move a bike. At this point I ask about cancelling the sale. I may be out of a job at this point! They are not really having that. So we agree I can leave the bike there while I figure out what is up. I drive the 2.5 hours home 1 handed (I have a manual).

    Its Sunday so I go to urgent care. He only finds a broken ring finger but says his machine is not very good and to get another once swelling is down. Gives me a splint for a few weeks and says go to PT. I may be fine! Well as the week rolls on my wrist is not right. So I finally get into a hand surgeon 2 weeks later. Better Xray shows I also broke my triquetrum in my wrist/hand. Says I should have been in a cast the last 2 weeks. But good news no surgery and it usually heals back to 100%. But it will be more like 6 weeks of 0 movement then a rebuilding. I will not be back on a bike for months.

    It takes about a month but I coordinate them brining me my bike. I am still really down mentally. I mean it was a 5 day trip and I didn’t make it out of the driveway! I don’t have much of an ego but that was rather tough to swallow. My season is gone, I am out the class (I think), Dr bils, and I can’t even put on my own pants. I am super independent and never stop moving. But now I have to rely on the gf for everything. Can’t open jars, carry anything, or type at work. Luckily work is cool and I one hand it best I can. Forces to tell the story like 1000 times. Yes I feel in the first minute, etc.

    After 8 weeks I am still in a brace and weak. I got out to the garage every day for weeks. I cannot even hold the clutch in let alone pull it in. Really down. I finally turn a corner at 9+ weeks. Now it is 11 long weeks later and I just cleared my last Xray! I am able to do a pull up again with the brace! I still have many weeks of building back up (my forearm is tiny) but I see the light now. Still can only bend my wrist half way – that is my biggest issue.

    It is probably early but I plan to take off and ride this Friday. I need it mentally. I also need to get the bike registered – which here requires a VIN inspection so I must physically get it over there. I think I am ready – its only a mile. Getting it off the center stand worries me more actually since I still am rather weak still. But I can pull the clutch in great now! If it goes ok I may ride around a bit. You think I am ready?

    My plan is to switch over to the street tires and work my way back up on the road for a bit. Thinking of taking the MSF again (since the gf wants to also) or the MSF Advanced so I can use my own bike. If I work back up I am hoping RawHyde lets me come back next summer and finish. I do not give up easy but it will take some work mentally. Relatives say quit but I still think never riding again is more scary then riding again.

    Which brings me to my actual point. I normally ride alone but I am looking for a riding buddy that is willing to help me work my way back up, and watch my back would probably be a good idea. Start out street and then maybe some bunny hills. Maybe you are a novice too. I know winter is here but I hope to get a few rides in. Maybe someone will take pity on me. I live near 70 and Sheridan in Denver.

    Feel free to beat me up, point out my mistakes, etc. I want to learn. These stories have helped me in the past so I hope this helps someone. It was hard to put all this out there.

    If anyone wants more info on RawHyde, etc I could post that. Already running long.

    Oh and I do GIS (mapping) for a living so happy to help with routes and such.

    Thanks!
    #1
  2. miken0vf

    miken0vf Been here awhile

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    Pm sent
    #2
  3. enduro-ince

    enduro-ince dirtslave

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    Thanks for sharing your story. Freak accidents happen all the time and you just had one. Dirtbikers crash often and I'd say the majority of the time the only thing injured is their ego and maybe a break lever. Picking yourself up off the ground is a part of this sport but it doesn't have to feel risky all the time. I agree you need a partner to help you build confidence. Hesitation and dirtbiking rarely go well together and when you gain confidence you'll gain experience at a much faster pace. Whatever you do, don't give up. You live in one of the best states for off road moto riding. I think you'll also learn dirt techniques much faster if you just focus on dirt riding. Street riding won't really help off road skills but off road skills will definitely help when you have to dodge that texting teenager on the street. Good luck!!!
    #3
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  4. Merfman

    Merfman Cape truster... Supporter

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    Exactly what -ince sez... The good news: I started my dirt biking career at 30YO. Bad news: I crashed a lot in the beginning, and I was on a dirt bike, not a street bike in dirt terrain. That said, just try to build your skillset slowly. IMO, the 800, while a great bike, is way too big to properly learn dirt techniques... lastly, buy as much dirt gear as you can afford: gloves, boots and helmet at a minimum. Elbow guards, knee guards and chest protector next... whatever isn't covered in plastic gets hurt in a spill. .. stay with it, good luck!
    #4
  5. jonz

    jonz Miles are my mantra Supporter

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    Glad you're on the mend. Now you just need to get your head back in the game. I think riding on the street (or maybe just pavement) may be a good thing so you get a bunch of muscle memory built up for using the clutch and brakes. The street can be more forgiving in that traction is usually much better so over applying brakes and/or throttle usually just results in a jerky ride. Of course, it's unforgiving in that there are big, heavy, fast moving things (cars and trucks) that can run you over. I think taking the beginner course with your girlfriend may be a good thing as you'll get a bunch of throttle/clutch/brake practice in a safe environment which will not only build your skills but also your hand strength. I had to take the beginner course to become an instructor and even though I have a lot of experience, I learned stuff and so will you. I mean, how many people go out and practice maximum braking for a solid half hour? I don't except when I'm in a class. Usually, I just do 2 or 3 rep's and then it's off to ride.
    #5
  6. CaptCapsize

    CaptCapsize Long timer

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    You are not to old to learn new tricks. I started riding off road at the ripe old age go 58. I started as recommended, with a small used bike (KLX250). Easy to back pick up not enough power to get in too much trouble. Easier to learn the off road skills. After 3 years and 13000 miles about half of that off road. I sold it for a little more than I paid for it. I have moved up twice and now on a WR450. It has enough power to get me into trouble. I regretted never taking off road lessons, maybe some day. Riding alone and learning by trial and error is painful.

    A riding buddy would certainly help. A smaller lighter bike for learning would be really a good idea. Learning on a smaller light bike will help you progress faster. A used one will hold its value.

    After 6 years of riding I don't think I would enjoy a big bike off road. The agility and nimbleness of a small bike make off road really fun. There are riders who can ride a big bike places off road where I am not able to my little bike. They are inspiring, but at my age I want something I can easily pick back up.

    Good luck and stay safe
    #6
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  7. DADODIRT

    DADODIRT Long timer

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    Great idea to ask for a friend or riding buddy. So many think they are beyond that need. I'd hit you up if I was closer.
    I've been riding for 28 years and dirt riding for 25 of that. But not real technical dirt. Mostly passes and easy single track. It's easy to get yourself in over your head out here on mountain single track (don't follow enduroince anywhere).
    I'd be more worried about street riding in your neck of the woods. Too many cages.

    GIS = Get It Surveyed (had to throw that in as I'm a surveyor)
    #7
  8. shrederscott

    shrederscott Long timer

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    Hi

    You did so many things right ...but...this is always a risky game.

    To me your biggest error was in bike choice.

    You simply bought to heavy a bike to start with.

    Dirt riding here is GREAT

    You are lacking the skills

    I urge you to consider buying a mountain bike with pads and helmet for yourself.

    Get out on the dirt on these light bikes ...start to learn about line .. look beyond the obstacle NOT at it.

    The mountain bike will whip you into better shape and give you experience in the dirt that will help you a lot on a motorcycle.

    Also you can mountain bike nearly all winter in Denver ... so by spring riding you will be ready mentally, physically and now have a off road skill set.

    Scott
    #8
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  9. GetBackOn

    GetBackOn Adventurer

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    Thanks. I do have a bike and I went last weekend for the first time since. Did 13 miles with the brace on.

    Yes I question my decision daily. Could have got a 250 cheap.
    #9
  10. dirtydoug

    dirtydoug Been here awhile

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    i agree with Scott... when your ready for trails there are lots on the front range that are mostly open year round... check out lookout mountain off I 70 just west of golden ( some of the trails start in golden )

    see a line... then look to the next ... you will remember the first ..
    always look ahead.
    #10
  11. phreakingeek

    phreakingeek adventurer Super Supporter

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    Sorry to hear about the trouble with the class and bike. Wish you were closer to me, i'd be happy to ride with you and help you work your way back up to a confident rider on and off road.
    #11
  12. GetBackOn

    GetBackOn Adventurer

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    First let me say thanks to everyone. The number of private messages I got for help is pretty amazing. I will work on getting back to all of you.

    As an update I did go to the DMV today. Did get my plates - 1200 in taxes!! choke. Almost as much as my last bike. I was a bit more wobbly than I hoped but but I made it. So I rode out to Golden on a back road. Went well accept my hand started to hurt and eventually I stalled it then almost hit a garbage truck. Road for about 30 miles total took me about an hour and a half though. Had visions of going further but my hand was really hurting and I figure I better not push it. I am just 2 days out of the brace. At PT they strength tested me and my right hand was 113 my left hand just 32. So I got a ways to go on rehab.

    I still don't like how far out the clutch is. Esp with this hand. And I still got to get used to them brakes. I already ordered the Pazzo adjustable levers just not here yet.

    The Mitas knobs on there weren't too different but a little weird. I think I'm going to put the Michelin Anakee I got with it on. If anyone has a recommendation on a good place to swap tires at let me know.

    Pics or it didn't happen.

    Thanks again

    Attached Files:

    #12
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  13. oldmanb777

    oldmanb777 Just say NO to socialism!

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    I'm out of commission for a few weeks. but post up some short jaunts, you will probably get some takers. Just a nice little ride on nice afternoons are often really nice. Grab a coffee someplace, etc. I often do what we call the 100 mile ride. Its a loop from Chatfeild, to Deckers and back. Makes for nice ride.
    #13
  14. oldmanb777

    oldmanb777 Just say NO to socialism!

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    You might watch for the "South metro meet up thread". Often on Wednesdays there is meet up at some burger place. You might make one of those. Meet a few folks in the area.
    #14
  15. Don Flamenco

    Don Flamenco Been here awhile

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    Yep, that long, winding downhill at RawHyde can be nerve-wracking, particularly when you've never ridden while standing up on the pegs!

    The Pazzo levers will make a huge difference; the stock levers are barely adjustable, and unless you have big hands, they're terribly uncomfortable.

    Good luck with the wrist--as tempting as it is to ride before it's completely healed, if you break it again... :-(
    #15
  16. fasttortoise

    fasttortoise Smartest Idiot Here

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    Sounds like a good excuse for a meetup! PM sent
    #16
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  17. BMW/5

    BMW/5 n00b

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    Hey, new guy here too. I live near Sloan's Lake, so maybe 3 miles away. I'll PM you.
    #17
  18. Skunk-Works

    Skunk-Works Been here awhile

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    PM sent also :)
    #18
  19. GetBackOn

    GetBackOn Adventurer

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    Just wanted to give an update in case anyone ever reads this and because I got so many messages of support and offers of help. Sorry I have not gone with any of you yet but I wanted to get better first.

    I have now hit 2,500 miles since the accident this summer. Finally getting comfortable, better, and having fun. I did the first 500 on just one road. Did it over and over again till I was comfortable.

    The hand is better and I am back to full pull-ups and push-ups. Still gets sore.

    I have been doing every curvy road near Denver since. Did the BMW 100,000 foot ride which felt great. Was different to ride with others as I have only ever rode alone but it pushed me which I needed. Also took a advanced MSF course, which was just ok due to not getting ASC turned off.

    Not as fast as I used to be yet but getting better all the time.

    If you had an accident just start back really slow and you will get it eventually.

    I talked to West 38 about their course but they were not sure since I put the Anakee back on. I may just wait until next year to try dirt again. Or I may try a little with someone here if it works out.

    Thanks again to all that have reached out!
    #19
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