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Dirt roads to ashphalt roads - Crashed?!?!

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by randy_rider, May 22, 2005.

  1. Today was a beautiful day!

    I went for a ride today. The roads that I picked out on the map looked pretty good. But when I got there I found that about 10 ks of road was gravel/dirt.

    Being an inexperienced rider I thought "ok, there will be something to learn down here"

    I cruised out of the dirt roads and back onto tar roads. About 3 or 4 ks later I came to what turned out to be a steeply descending corkscrew corner. It must have had around 200degress of corner half of which was cut into rock.

    The speed sign at the top said 40ks, so not knowing the road and seeing that the corner went downhill (to the left) I slowed to 40 and kept the brakes on gently. Then it happened. I could see that my bike was not turning enough so I leant into the corner even more. It made no difference at all! I was going to prang!!

    I didn't have time to feel scared. It happened and was over so fast.

    I applied the brakes harder to slow the bike down, it made no difference. Then the bike hit the dirt at the side of the road. I don't know how it happened but I was thrown over the top of the bike. I landed on my right arm/shoulder, hit the ground with my head face down, flipped over several times and slid to a stop in some nice soft grass.

    I knew no bones were broken from the impact of hitting the ground. I climbed to my feet and checked myself over quickly. Nothing hurt me. The bike was still running but starving for fuel and about to stall.

    I walked over to the bike and tried to pick it up. It was lodged in a ditch and absolutely jam packed with dry grass from the roadside and ditch.

    Just then a family stopped to offer help.

    The dad (I don't remember his name) offered help and seemed like he didn't believe that I was okay. 'I'm fine I said, just my bike is hurt'. I tried to push my helmet viser out of my face and half of it crumbled in chunks onto the ground. Ha! no wonder he didn't believe me.

    Together we pushed and grunted the bike out of the ditch. During the grunting and pushing he asked me what happened. I told him I wasn't speeding, but since I went off maybe I had sped up unintentionally?. But I knew that wasn't right. I have gone around enough corners to know that that should not have happened.

    He lent me a screwdriver so I cound remove the broken viser bits.
    My bike had a broken looking left indicator stalk, what looked like a broken left mirror. The rest of the helmet does not have a scratch.

    I cleaned up the bike and had a carefull look at everything. The guy offered to wait until I had the bike restarted and be riding through the gears, so he knew I would get home ok. Thanks I said.

    Riding back home, at a sedate pace, I kept analysing what I had done. I was riding back over the dirt road when I realised what had gone wrong.

    The dirt from the dirt road had coated my wheels and tyres. I had not ridden the bike far enough/slowly enough around corners to account for dirty tyres. To prove my theory, once I had ridden back onto tar roads for 4/5 ks I stopped the bike to have a look the tyres. They were caked in dust and dirt except for the bit you would ride on if you were riding in straight lines.

    So the lesson from all this is if you can't avoid dirt roads, take it easy, very easy for the next 30? 40 ks. I've been out to wash the bike, and scrub the tyres with soapy water and scubbing brush. I'm pretty keen for that not to happen again.

    The injuries from this are a sore wrist, sore thumb, and a red mark on my forehead, probably where the breaking visor hit me.
  2. expensive lesson

    Yep, what good advice. Dirt and mud can stay stuck to your tyres for quite a while after you're back on the tar.
    Of course, the "smart" riders will say, "Go faster and it clears the mud quicker." but your story plainly indicates that that wasn't possible.
    Note that when a GP rider makes an excursion into the kitty litter, when he gets out again he rocks the bike from side to side, using the sidewalls of the tyres to clean any gunk that might have adhered to them BEFORE he gets to the next corner and before he starts going fast again.
    Thanks for the reminder...hope you and the bike are feeling fine again soon.
  3. I hate dirt roads - they make your bike dirty!!!! I avoid them like the plague - sportsbikes and dirt don't go together (in my case).....

    Good to see you are fine.....

  4. :shock: i never thought of that, that's a harsh lesson to learn when you're riding within yor limits and you cop that result.

    good to hear you worked out the mysterious reason for the off, and that you had a nice bloke give you a hand, good karma for him :)
  5. Hey RR,

    Glad to hear that your fine and that your bike not to messed up either. The dirt problem makes sense when you think about it.

    In a similar situation I'm not sure I would have thought of the potential problem. So thanks on behalf of all of us who have learnt something which may one day help keep the rubber side down.
  6. i hate dirt as well, its a bastard to clean, yet mine is a supermoto(dual purpose)

    eh wish the old owners didnt ride it on dirt, such a bastard to clean:mad:

    esp the chain
  7. After reading your story I don't think the mud on the tyres was the problem. I think if it was, you'd have falled over on the road rather than ridden off it. Where were you looking? were you looking through the corner at where you wanted to go, or at the road directly in front of the bike? I've found that if I look at the road, I find it very hard to steer through a corner on dirt. The brain says one thing but the hands do something else. You must look way through the corner and steer through it without getting fixated on the road ahead. Also you might find that standing up on the pegs rather than sitting down on the seat will 'distance' you from the bike and make it easier still to control the bike on unsealed roads, especially on slow corners.

    As far as how long it takes for the dirt and mud caked onto your tyres to remove itself is another point I think you've misjudged. THe reason why only the centre line of your tyre was clean of dirt was because that was the only part of your tyre which had contacted with the road. Of course having dirty tyres you'd be more reluctant to lean the bike into corners, and because you haven't leaned the bike into the corner you haven't scrubbed the dirt off.

    Last weekend I came down road with 20km of dirt/mud. The sealed section of the road following that was wet but within a couple of km of returning to the sealed surface I'd got all the dirt off the tyre tread right to the edge of the rear tyre. I think confidence in your equipment and ability is a key factor.
  8. sounds like you might have highsided it......lost traction in the gravel slid then when the tyres hit the dirt it gripped again and flipped you off. Does that sound right?
  9. Nev's theory is pretty spot on. if only the centre line of your tyre was clean then you did not lean into the corner at all, despite you feeling as if you did.
    I remember in the early days, thinking to myself, "man I must be cranked over so far" yet I was miles away from "right over".

    Then after a few years, I came off Springvale road (city bound) and turned off at Wetsall road extension at a great rate of knots, actually, it felt as if I had over cooked it, and thought, "that's it i'm going to low side"
    I looked through the corner pushed the left bar and said to the bike "I trust you", I came out of it feeling very euphoric like.
    The riders behind me at the time reckoned it looked amazingly low they swore I had scrapped a peg.
  10. Ahh, so that what a highside is.. Thanks matt232. I couldn't figure out how I wound up going over the top of the bike. What you say make sense. Your highside would have been painful!

    Nev and Vic the corner I came off was a sealed corner.
    I had the distinct feeling that the tyres were slipping sideways. Maybe I didn't handle that fact so well.
  11. Yep - I'm guessing that you over-cooked the corner and then didn't give it enough counter-steering to push it through, then hit the brake and the bike began to straighten up.

    Done that about three times now (last time was two weeks ago ! A couple of riders will remember me doing an emergency brake in the middle of a corner on Greg's ride) but haven't come off yet from it - I've been lucky.

    What are you riding? The problem I find is that after a certain point I begin to think "oh fcuk I'm going to fall over" and panic and look down. However, I have it much less on the ZXR250 than I did on the Across because of the lower riding position.

    I remember an instructor telling me that if you think you've over-cooked a corner as a learner and you really don't have enough space to brake, give it all the lean you've got. That way you've got a chance of making the corner rather than the 100% chance you have of not stopping in time. Can anybody back me up on this?
  12. Ok guys, the trick to riding on dirt roads is to use muck more back brake. Be willing to lock it up.

    Do it a few times to get used to it.

    Don'tbe scared of dirt roads, they can be lots of fun. Just be aware of the limitation of at tyres
  13. Oh, and don't be afraid to take your inside foot off the peg in corners.
  14. If you've never lowsided before you'll know what it feels like, when it eventually happens (touch wood it doesn't).

    What I mean by this statement is what Vic said. I've ridden it into corners, thinking 'F*ck, I've overcooked this' and had to lean the bike over further but it's nothing like when the bike actually lowsides. I lowsided in my off about two weeks ago and I was waaaaaayyyyy over compared to what I've been when it's overcooked and I've had to lean it some more.

    Admittedly the point that a bike lowsides is different dependent upon road and weather conditions but in good conditions - both road and weather that is - you'd be surprised how far the bike will go over before the front wheel gives way.
  15. I've been giving this some more thought as I worked on my bike yesterday.

    When I realised I was slipping, I glanced at what I would crash into, before looking back into the corner.. So next time, whatever the reason, I won't be catching a glance to where I will crash, instead I should lean into the corner more.

    Thanks for everyones input, I won't be making that mistake again.