Crash. No burn. - Honda Shadow Forums : Shadow Motorcycle Forum

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Old 12-10-2012, 11:18 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Crash. No burn.

I had owned my rig for a couple to few years at that point in my life. I forget what year it was. Had a son on the way, my own company, couple mortgages. The bike was out from under it's lien and all the bills were paid.

Got a call from a client. Needed some tweaks to a system I installed. I figured that it was simple enough I didn't need bother with the truck and tools. That day was gorgeous and I was determined to ride.

Yep. I was an idiot NOOB that had no bizniss being in a saddle. My only rider training was a "This does that, that does this.." quickie in the parking lot once all the papers had cleared.

Fast forward to the day. I had nearly 8K miles on the guage and was confident i was an expert on the tarmac considering the numerous events I had avoided.

Off I go. No helmet, t-shirt, shorts, sneakers, cheap goggles, a couple glasses of Merlot in my blood, and a straight stretch of 70mph turnpike all the way through. A perfect recipe for a dumb***.

The ride was amazing. Until,

I come off the turnpike onto the off-ramp which a long sweep right and then a long sweep left, the second being a little more aggressive than the first. At this point it occurs to me that I've not had much experience in curves at speed as I lean through the first turn and approach the second.

I'm focused. I'm speeding. I'm pushing on the bars to counter into the next turn. I'm checking the roadway directly in front of my wheel and think "I should be looking up to where I want to go".

I look up, and see, a dog! In the middle of the freakin' road.

Hard push to swerve...check. Hard on the front brake to load the forks...check. Foot on the rear brake...whoops, too much. The tire locks, the rubber slides, the front changes direction, and I immediately zoom off the side of the road into the greenbelt and all carnage breaks loose.

Next thing I know I am tumbling. Each time I roll towards daylight I notice how close the bike is to me, and the rut it's carving into the ground. and then, we stop. Still coming to grips with what just happened, I laid there. Thinking "WTF?" And then I hear "Duuuude, that was INSANE! What happened, too fast in the turn and you lost it?"

I couldn't think about anything, save making new boots out of the carcass of the canine I hit. I stand up, look around, and see...nothing. No blood, no limbs, not even a hint of scat. The motorist who came to my side says he didn't see any dogs and offered his cellphone.

I thanked him sincerely and let him onto his travels. Picked up my bike and tried to start it. Nothing. The lights were on but no-one was home. The **** lever was bent a bit, the fender was scraped down to primer but not cracked or broken. A turn signal was hanging on by wires. Otherwise, she was fine except she wouldn't turn over. As for me, I was okay at that point. A bit scuffed. Some grass embedded deeply into my skin, but otherwise okay.

I call my wife and explain. Within minutes she's at my side. Baby 1 in the seat in back, baby 2 in her belly. I call BIL and borrow a trailer. Within a couple hours I am back to the bike. As go to push her I realize she's still in gear and it occurs to me why the bike wouldn't start. "Dang!" I pop it back into neutral, flip the key, hit the button, and she fires right up.

The next day I felt like I had been hit by a train.

Took me a month to recover mentally from that crash. And to this day i am still a bit nervous in the turns but intent on learning the technique.

From that day on, I wore a helmet, a jacket, and jeans as my minimal riding gear.
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Old 12-10-2012, 02:14 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Well as far as confidence is concerned a basic MSF course is great. Even though you've had so much experience and this crash was awhile ago, I'm guessing. But you already know what you did wrong (looking at the ground). But most important part is your ok.


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Old 12-10-2012, 04:00 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Your ok makes this a great lesson for everyone!!
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Old 12-10-2012, 05:15 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I rode a lot as a teen and almost 25yrs later I decided to buy a bike. Like you I thought I had it all together and lost it in a turn. Took awhile to recover both mentally and physically. The best thing I ever did was go back and take the safety course. Didn't think I needed to until I was picking asphalt out of my skin. I bet if you take it you'll feel the same way. Really glad you're ok and thanks for sharing!


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Old 12-10-2012, 05:17 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The only two things I can say you could have done better is to not have had a drink and to make sure that "anything" can happen from anywhere. Glad you're okay, though. Especially for your family's sake.
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Old 12-10-2012, 05:28 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kacealraid View Post
The only two things I can say you could have done better is to not have had a drink and to make sure that "anything" can happen from anywhere. Glad you're okay, though. Especially for your family's sake.
That story took place years ago. Was the first, and last, time I'd ever ridden with alcohol in my bloodstream and the last time I ever rode unprotected.

Fast forward to today and I ride with atgatt on a daily basis and pass up on the bike at the first sign of any fatigue. Too much can happen too quickly and if you can't play at the top of your game it's best to just sit out.

Another thing is for certain, no matter how confident I feel about the ride, there is always going to be a new situation that teaches me I don't know it all but I can at least be better prepared with better riding habits.
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Old 12-10-2012, 05:29 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sgoatley View Post
I rode a lot as a teen and almost 25yrs later I decided to buy a bike. Like you I thought I had it all together and lost it in a turn. Took awhile to recover both mentally and physically. The best thing I ever did was go back and take the safety course. Didn't think I needed to until I was picking asphalt out of my skin. I bet if you take it you'll feel the same way. Really glad you're ok and thanks for sharing!


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In another thread, I've mentioned that even now I am considering taking a course. Any input you could provide there would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 12-10-2012, 06:11 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Probably the number one thing it helped me with was understanding counter-steering. At the time of the crash I didn't even know it existed. When I rode as a teen I guess it just came natural to me. Fast forward I had a difficult time making sense of it no matter how well it was explained. I told the instructor about the issue and he said it was no problem and proceeded to put me in a situation where I had to use it and could feel it. It was amazing! You would have thought I had just invented the wheel! I was so excited to finally understand. Such a noob...haha. Anyway, if you've never taken one, it couldn't hurt. Some on here do it periodically just to help unlearn bad habits.
Silly things like learning that if you can't see the tires of the car you're stopped behind, you haven't left yourself enough room to keep from being sandwiched if someone comes up behind you and doesn't stop. I know that seems like a no-brainer.....but I had never thought of it that way.

Well worth the time and cost if you ask me.


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Old 12-11-2012, 10:32 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sgoatley View Post
Probably the number one thing it helped me with was understanding counter-steering. At the time of the crash I didn't even know it existed. When I rode as a teen I guess it just came natural to me. Fast forward I had a difficult time making sense of it no matter how well it was explained. I told the instructor about the issue and he said it was no problem and proceeded to put me in a situation where I had to use it and could feel it. It was amazing! You would have thought I had just invented the wheel! I was so excited to finally understand. Such a noob...haha. Anyway, if you've never taken one, it couldn't hurt. Some on here do it periodically just to help unlearn bad habits.
Silly things like learning that if you can't see the tires of the car you're stopped behind, you haven't left yourself enough room to keep from being sandwiched if someone comes up behind you and doesn't stop. I know that seems like a no-brainer.....but I had never thought of it that way.

Well worth the time and cost if you ask me.


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Oh, make no mistake, I will be taking a course. I'm just not decided on where and these post are helping me to determine the worth of the expense. In my area I am seeing some disparities between what one place charges compared to others compared to DOT/OHP courses that are free.

And yet, even the free courses promise Insurance discounts for completed training in accordance with local ordinance.

If for nothing else, it is worth it to me to get that. But, I do want to get as much as I can from the course itself.

As to technique, I too have never thought about much of it and just did what came natuarlly. I self taught that you don't so much "steer" the bike by turning the bars but instead you push on the bars (countersteer). as for distancing in traffic, I take my habit from my truck onto my motorcycle. I drive a large truck and it does not stop well because of it's mass so I have gotten myself used to keeping a distance and reading the road ahead to anticipate stops.

I used to avoid the back brake nearly entirely to mitigate needing to service it since it's a drum brake. But a recent change out of tires to meet a schedule forced me to remove the wheel myself to save some cost and that taught me my worries about brake service were unfounded. What I hadn't realized, until recently, is how big a hazard a rear brake can be and I am thankful my self-taught habit got me using the front almost exclusively. But, I've only ever tested the limits of front brake traction in a couple situations that required it and have never "played" with where the line is found.
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