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Musings on my first off

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by nikku, Jan 8, 2007.

  1. Well, the "inevitable" happened yesterday. I was the sole vehicle going through the intersection - everyone else was stopped for red lights - so I carried a bit of extra speed through a right-hand turn. I was in the inside lane of two lanes turning right, and was running a bit wide, so I leant the bike over more to stay in my lane.
    The peg touched down and next thing I know the bike's sliding away from me and I'm tumbling! Oddly (or perhaps not; I'm sure you all understand :LOL: :oops:) as I hit the ground the thing I remember most clearly is thinking "oh shit, please don't break the bike!"
    I got straight back up and waved to the traffic to show I was alright, then, helped by a friendly trucky, picked my bike up from the side of the road. Amazingly my prayers were answered, and my baby got off with mere cosmetic damage from its slide across the road (though it still hurts inside to look at the scars). I was (eventually, with the help of a mate) able to push-start it and continue on with the journey I originally began!

    I tried to figure out what I did wrong, but it happened so quickly and unexpectedly that for a while I was at a loss. I'm still not certain, but this is the best I can come up with.
    I don't think I was going too fast, per se, though this certainly wouldn't have happened if I'd been more cautious. I think I simply reacted inappropriately on one, maybe two counts.
    First, when I realised I was running wide and leant the bike over more, I possibly did so by pushing the bike down underneath me rather than leaning further over myself, forcing the bike to lean further than it should have had to. I don't remember doing so, but that's quite possible.
    Secondly, and equally speculatively, when I felt the peg scrape I may have reacted by instinctively leaning away from the ground, only worsening the situation and resulting in nowhere for the bike to go but sideways.
    Unfortunately those are just guesses, but it's the best I can come up with. I don't think there was a problem with the road surface. So, today I was back at the carpark practicing shifting my body to the inside of the bike instead of the outside! (something I thought I did properly before, but reflexes are a biatch.) I'm still a bit shaky around right-hand turns though :)

    Obligatory safety message ;) : Thanks to draggin's I got off with only a sore knee (where I first hit the ground). The denim shredded, but the kevlar held. Just shows how little protection jeans would be in even a low-speed slide like this. Thanks also to CE armour; I distinctly remember the soft *thud* of my elbow smacking into the road as I rolled. And finally thanks to leather gloves; I don't remember it but the palm and little finger of one glove bears testament to rough treatment I wouldn't like to put my skin through.
    If you can imagine something like this happening to you, you owe it to yourself to gear up every time!
  2. glad to see you made it out relatively unhurt (and bike). I hope it's the worst off you have :)
  3. Glad it was a light one, and no major damage.
  4. In the coming few days you will most likely know exactly what you did wrong - you won't stop thinking about it.

    I think maybe you were going too fast - for your current skill level, but you learnt a good lesson. If we never pushed our limits, how would we know where they are? :wink:

    Glad to hear you're fine, and that the bike is not all that bad either. Don't worry about those right handers. We all make mistakes, that's how we become better riders. :p
  5. Your analysis is interesting, but underlying it is two assumptions that may not be correct.

    The first is that there is enough time in these sorts of situations for the rider, however experienced or skilled, or not, to effet the outcome. The fact that you can 'unroll' the event in your mind now, doesn't mean that there would have been any time for your intervention along that time line, at the time. So don't reproach yourself for not having done anything.

    The second is that at the time the peg grounded, your technique failed you. In reality if a peg bangs down on the road, as opposed to gently skimming it in a long corner at speed, you may well be going to hit the deck with the rest of the bike as well anyway; once again the speed of these events limits the amount of time we have to react.

    That aside, your Draggins paid their way, as did your jacket, and you can still ride the bike; the things you COULD control worked perfectly.....
  6. You didn't ride through that little triangle all the cars sweep the gravel and dirt into, on an intersection's corner, did ya?
  7. Ktulu, I'll go back to the intersection and check, but I don't think so... I was running wide on the inside of two lanes, so I think I should have been away from that.

    Hornet600, yeah I agree there was not necessarily anything I could have done when things went belly up (so to speak :) ), it was very sudden. I still reckon odds are on me doing the wrong thing in the first place, though, which was doing a bad job of correcting my line, and that's definitely something I'll be paying attention to! (In hindsight, I wish I had of just let myself run into the outside lane, bad habit perhaps but it would have avoided this particular incident!)
    By the way, I think you're absolutely right on the second point. This wasn't a gentle skimming of the peg, it was pretty much straight down. My assumption there was admittedly grasping at straws.

    Rotorcycle, no doubt about it I was going too fast for my current skill level. When I said I didn't think I was going too fast per se, I meant that I don't think it was outside the mechanical limitations of the bike. It goes without saying, given the outcome, that it was too fast for this particular rider :)

    Thanks for the advice and encouragement everyone :)
  8. Ahh well, just tell everyone you hit a kangaroo then :)
  9. DON'T do that; the fuzz will want to book you for neg driving, like they did to poor Haggis :cry:.
  10. Oh yea, that's right.

    ... wombat then.
  11. First up, glad you're ok!

    Decking the peg at a surburban pace sounds like you did something NQR in going around the corner. Plenty of cornering threads tips if you want to have a look...

    Hmmmm :-k

    As to why you went down... leaving the condition of the road surface to one side, I have my money on a classic TOTW "throttle roll of" survival reaction... especially when you say you were carrying speed and running wide... both classic SR firer uppers!!

    Decking the peg could have resulted in a surprise/shock, resulting in a rolling off of the throttle... if so, this would throw the weight forward meaning the front shocks compress, so front goes lower, meaning the peg goes even more into the ground, which then lifts the wheel and down you go.


    Decking the peg could have resulted in a surprise/shock, resulting in a rolling off the throttle... if so, throws the weight bias forward meaning now the front tyre needs more available traction to cope with the extra weight, whilst slowing down and turning... so the situation could have exceeded the available traction, and down you go.

    Given your SR's were already amped, you were probably more physically upright on the bike (rather than leaned) and pushed the bike under you - leaving you crossed up and reducing cornering effectivenss... The bike also has to lean more to make the corner, hence the decked peg.

    You were probably tight on the bars as well, which means more inputs for the suspension to resolve, resulting in an even wider line... amping up your SR's more... and so on...

    How do these hypothetical obs sit with you???

    Or... it was a bit of fat arsed wombat's wombat poo that you slipped on ???
  12. glad you're okay :)
    and gladder you're piecing it all together so it won't happen again
  13. Wombat sounds about right to me ;)

    The only thing I'm relatively sure of is that it wasn't loss of traction. It didn't feel like it slid out sideways before the bike was actually sideways.

    I'm still leaning (ha) towards the "pushing the bike under me" hypothesis, because I remember thinking "uh oh, running wide" -> "no problem, lean more" -> countersteering input -> "what's that scraping?!" In short it seemed as though a whole lot of lean angle I should have had just wasn't there.
    Rolling off the throttle may have factored in too - good point - possibly meaning that by the time the peg scraped the bike was going too slowly to recover and down she went.

    At this point, though, I'm not sure I can usefully analyse the accident any further, since it's all guesswork on my part. I reckon the thing to do is just get in a heap more practice and pay attention to what I'm doing.
  14. so what are u meant to do when ur in a corner realising ur too wide / too fast? leaning over more = peg scrape.. vs ..??

  15. Atlas,

    If you are going wide on a corner:
    First, look to where you want to go, not where the problem is/might be. Point your chin in the direction you need to go. In this case, don't look into the lane to your left, look up the road into the lane you are travelling in.

    Second, look to where you want to go.

    Third, look to where you want to go.

    Fourth, don't roll off the throttle. In addition to what Rob said, your reduced speed means that you will be able to lean the bike less, without it falling to the inside of the corner. You have to have sufficient speed to hold the bike up for the radius of your cornering and the angel of lean on the bike. ( Nikku I reckon you rolled off the throttle, and the bike "fell" into the inside of the corner, hard onto the peg.)

    Fifth, countersteer more into the corner, but do not push the bike down below you. In other words, keep leaning with the bike. If you can (sometimes it is hard in the instant you have), get your inside elbow down, so that some of your weight is shifted to the inside of the corner, standing the bike up more and maintaining traction, while avoiding scraping pegs.

    If you practise the "Take the wide line and apex late" style of cornering it is actually easier (my opinion) to recover from these situations. Since getting back on a bike recently, I have had a few "Woops, why is the bike going wide?" moments, where apparently no amount of steering input had any effect. But I was still holding back, and not giving it a positive effort. I've had no woops moments since taking the wide line, and using coutnersteering more positively. Look, Countersteer, Elbow down, all very deliberately. It works, for me at least, and looking makes the biggest difference. It has kep tme from running into the side of a car enroaching into my lane.

    If you are going to fast in the corner:
    It's too late, you should have set your speed right coming into the corner. :p If you are in a corner already, and there is no exit path, you can't be going too fast. You have to turn into the corner harder, and go around it. All of the above then applies. While you can trail the rear brake a bit into the corner to wipe off some speed and stabilised the bike, it's not a good idea unless you have good brake control. If you panic and hit the brakes, or use the front brake, the bike will stand up and you will sail off into the weeds, or the car in the next lane. :cry:

    The forum is full of good advice on this topic. Use the search function. :grin:
  16. Well done on coming out of it unscathed and then gettin back on to continue the ride.

    It most definately will keep going round and round in your mind and thinking how /what could you have done to stop the off.

    That aside and it wont do you any good anyway to beat ones self up over it learn from what you may have done.

    Chances are and this is by no way a negative input ... skill level and speed may not have been equal.
  17. hi .. thanks so much for the info ! yes i will indeed use the search function..

    my basic understanding is.. get the right entry speed before the corner.. dont use brake whilst in the corner (maybe when i get more experienced.. something about trial braking.. nvm i will search this).. look, look, look.. lean.. what i was sorta unsure about was given it throttle whilst turning..
  18. thanks for sharing the details.
  19. Give it throttle as you come out of the corner. That's half the fun, and it helps the bike stand up coming out of the corner. Also stops me oversteering into the inside of the corner, the described method works so well. I don't go wide anymore, I turn too tight! :grin: You can use the throttle to adjust your corner line a little as well, say on a tightening radius corner, but you had better have great throttle control. Best to leave this until after you've gotten some experience under your belt.

    Trail braking = dragging the rear wheel, or trailing it a little by using a litttle rear brake. It can also smooth out your throttle control a little. Advanced riding for most.
    Oh, and get your riding line right as well as your speed before entering the corner. Hence "Take the wide line and apex late".
  20. The best thing you've done here is not find someone else to blame, as we can tend to do. By accepting you've made a mistake, you're allowing yourself to learn from it and improve.

    Without being there at the time, it's hard to explain what actually happened, but the techniques that Rod and Rob described work.

    Glad to hear you're ok. Any news on the Wombat?