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Running Ride Into Gravel

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by davidp1984, Nov 7, 2009.

  1. Sorry if this has been covered before, I searched a couple of times and couldn’t find anything.

    There are heaps of threads on how to take turns and how to correct them, but none on what to do when the sh1t hits the fan (and no, diving under the table is not a valid response:)). What I mean is if you are running wide and can’t correct the line due to whatever reason, apart from look where you want to go not where you think you will end up, any tips on what to do. It happened to me the other day, I just tried to hit the gravel on the straightest and most vertical line I could take to try and prevent a lowside. I kept the bike upright and slowly crept back onto the black stuff. I was disappointed in myself for getting into that position but also quite happy that I didn’t bin the bike.

    Did I do the right thing or should I have done something differently?

    P.s. Forgot to mention that this was a right hander if it’s not obvious enough.

  2. Bite the bullet, look where you want to go and above all, trust the bike.
    Very few people are capable of out riding a bike, you will make it.
    If you don't you'll lowside which is much better than the alternatives, going straight on, highside etc.

    Learn from this and slow down, slow in-fast out.
  3. You did the right thing, Modern bikes pull up extemely fast, If you think you are not going to make the corner, too fast, Etc, Stand the bike up straight and hit the skids hard. Usually this is enough to actually slow you down enough so that you can make the corner, if not,
    You can run off the road at a greatly reduced speed and ride it to a standstill, or you may well have stopped the bike before it leaves the road,
    We all under estimate corners at some time or another, Just one of those things, and it does happen. Hahahahaha
    Did it yesterday myself, Passed a car on the straight, Slowed for the corner and found myself in gravel in the centre of the road, Cant lean it in this gravel, stood it up and hit the brakes, sliding all over the road in the gravel, and rode it off the road onto the shoulder Till it stopped. I would have dropped it, if I had tried to make the corner in the gravel,
    Almost Two drops in one day, That was close,
  4. Ok...just to get it out of the way...you were screwed 20 seconds ago when you misread the corner, did'nt brake hard enough initially, or both.

    So first thing is to gain experience with THAT.

    Having said that, even the best of riders still misjudge or make mistakes for whatever reason...albeit less often. So what do THEY do?..

    There is no "1-2-3, bob's your uncle", and that's how you handle it, answer, due to the myriad of reasons and complexities of situations.

    What you did THIS time may have been the right thing to do (or not), because it depends on WHY you did it. USUALLY, it's an "SR" kicking in....and that's bad, because it might cause you to bail out of a corner when you could easily have made it through.. Pretty much a classic Noob reaction...
    you chose to do it as a result of realizing that making it through the corner was just NOT possible, you stood the bike up, hit the brakes as hard as you could, releasing them as you hit the gravel and came to a stop - which would be classed as a good bit of riding.

    The experience comes in, at the point of recognizing that you are not going to make the corner but CAN stop before you hit the trees, and take decisive action.

    It all basically depends on your level of commitment to the corner...If you are fully committed, then you have no choice but to rely on your skill, push it in harder and let the bike do it's thing. AND you might still come off, but that comes with the "commitment territory"...If you are'nt fully commited then you may have other options.

    From what you describe, you did good, because you avoided decking the bike...But ask yourself WHY you chose to bail out and hit the brakes instead of change your line push it in deeper and take the corner.

    It's all based on experience and exposure to riding events, as to what you will do and whether it is "correct" for the situation.

  5. Thanks Guys. Alot of help for me and alot for me to think about.
  6. As usual, Raven is right. Work on the reasons why it happened before working on what to do when it does.
    Having said that, the answer to "what should I do?" once the poo is flying, also depends on a couple of other things...
    What are you riding? If it's a sportsbike there's plenty of reason to believe that it will exceed your skills or courage. If it's a trad sort of cruiser, there is a damn good chance that if you tip it in even further some hard metal part is going to dig in and potentially throw you into low earth orbit. Know your bikes limits. In some cases stand it up and running off is the lesser of two evils.
  7. Ask Hiroshi Aoyama !!!!
  8. If you 'have' to run off the road onto gravel (or any other slippery surface) be sure to remember this, wash off as much speed as you possibly can using the front brake before you leave the road surface, making sure you release it before you hit the slippery stuff. After that you will be dependent on your rear brakes to do most of the work. You can still use a little front if you think there's some grip to had there, but in my opinion it's better to reapply it once your onto the gravel, etc. This way you stand less chance of a front wheel lockup.
  9. i disagree, there are very few riders who have there bikes cranked that far over on the road that they can't tighten there line.....it's all the rider perception and they are the ones that give up, modern bikes with good tyres can attain stupid lean angles, the problem which almost all bikes suffer from is the part which connects the handlebars with seat...

    But yes there is a huge survival instinct to stand the bike up and brake, but imo your just practicing a bad habit, if you do it every time you screw up a turn, how are you ever going to learn to relax yourself and trust and counter steer it in harder.

    I might sound harsh but there are plenty of roads which don't offer you a good option if not making the turn is not part of the equation.
  10. Stew I understand where you are coming from, but have to disagree.
    My reasoning is first because the reason they don’t have there bike that cranked over means they are going to be unwilling to push into that territory when the chips are down.
    So yes the bike may have more in it, but it doesn’t mean the rider does.
    The second reason that simply staying committed to the corner may not be an option, is that it may not be speed that is your problem. It may be some other issue. I had two instances of this at Broadford (Yep racetrack so a different scenario but the instances may still apply)
    The first was approaching “Crash Corner”, I bled my speed, picked my line, and just before the apex didn’t like my line (Had I waited a moment more I would have seen I was fine but the SRs kicked in) I tapped the front brake (A tad to firmly) and the front started to tuck. I got off the brakes and brought the bike up. By this time I was deep beyond where I should be. No amount of cranking over was going to recover it.
    The Second scenario was on turn 6 late in the day, I had a brain fart and tapped the rear while gearing down (Yes I know from Crash corner to turn 7 you don’t need to change gears) so the back locked up and started waving like a flag and I missed the entry to the cambered part of the corner. So I stood it up and went for the escape shoot.

    Sometimes there are reasons you are that far out of position that no amount of commitment will correct it, and you have to look for an alternative.

    Alternatively sometimes the road side has so many scary obstacles that you can’t afford not to just push harder.

    Each scenario has to be read at the time with the options available to you.
  11. For the uninitiated: SR = Survival Reaction = Bad, automatic response to a fright.

    I'm with Stewy. Go for the corner. Look where you want to be, get off the bike a bit <more> (bum and shoulder down), and countersteer harder. In all likelyhood you will make it around the corner. Try not to hang on to the bars in a death grip while you are doing the above. It makes the whole process harder.

    It takes a long time to wash off speed once you are on gravel. Avoid at all times.

    For more information, research dirt bike riding techniques, or get a dirt bike as well and practice them. It is the same for a road bike, once you are on the dirt.
  12. You know that feeling when your arse clenchs the seat hard,thats not fun so I avoid it,dont go pushing into corners when you cannot see the exit,and if you do that offten enought skin will meet the road.Gravel should not be that scary,your going to see it eveywhere,its like ice when your sking,get used to it,its always going to be there.They way I ride its very rare that I get that arse clench,learn to look for vanishing points,thats when the exit looks to be coming at you,the corner is tightening up,there is lots of good advanced riding books out there.
  13. A visual error is most typically the error immediately preceding some kind of incident - unless you have a motorcoordination brain fart ala applying the rear brake inappropriately or somethin.

    It's been said time and time again, if you go in too hot, your best bet is to crank over harder. There's no gaurantee, it's just your best bet.

    If you do have to motocross, upright is the way to be.
  14. Survival reactions are not about arse clenching moments. Any time you were in a corner and rolled off the throttle mid way without your conscious control, you just had an SR.
  15. In my post, I stated that I was in fine gravel in the middle of the road, Very hard to see.
    I had no problems taking the corner, Been round that corner heaps of times at much higher speeds, The Bird was walking all over the road in the gravel, If I had of leaned it as you say, I would have picked myself up from the road, Guaranteed, No way was the bike going to take this corner, And I am not some NOOB, My only out was braking as hard as I could without dropping it in a straight line, Which took me well and truly off the road into the gravel, Still keeping it upright, I rode it to a standstill and then proceeded to ride it back onto the road,
    We are not talking track conditions here, We are talking about mountain twisties,Roads that have just had repairs and covered in Gravel, Roads that are covered in bark, leaves, potholes, 4x4's on my side of the road, Etc Etc Etc, None of these things happen on a nice clean track, and all the vehicles are going the same way.
    If your on a road you dont know, sooner or later you are going to hit a corner too hot, Yes power it through, your bike will almost always get you there,
    If the corner is covered in gravel that you cant see untill it is too late, Unless your on a scrambler with Knobby tyres and you put your foot down on the ground to hold the bike upright, Which is pretty bloody hard when your riding a 230 kg top heavy large bike, Go for the stand it up and brake option, Most times it will wash off enough speed so that you wont get hurt in the event that you do Drop your bike,
  16. There are times when it is NOT possible to finish the corner by just cranking the bike over harder, e.g. decreasing radius corner that is disappearing up ya bum.

    However the question is about, if you're convinced you are coming off the road how do you do it in a controlled way rather than leaving it to chance. It's a question worth answering rather than getting sidetracked, as I have seen riders come down just by attempting to pull over to stop, and not knowing how to do it properly or safely.
  17. SR's are very interesting to critique your riding with. If you catch yourself making sudden, unplanned changes to a bikes throttle, brakes or handling without genuine reason - these are all indicators of SR's. You can greatly improve your riding by asking yourself why you implemented such rapid changes and make a conscious effort to ignore them and trust your bike.

    A common SR is target fixation which chews up valuable time that could be spent easily turning the bike through the corner without incident. If you can make a conscious effort to took as far through the corner as possible all the time, you will greatly reduce the SR's of running wide. Of course gravel and wet/grease roads pose more of a threat, though, if you are riding according to the conditions the same rules apply.

    However, in answer to the OP's question, and has been stated already - if you are carrying to much speed into a corner and you aren't confident of or conditions don't allow you to lean in harder, it's best to stand the bike up mid corner and wipe of some speed before laying it over again to complete the corner. another SR in emergency braking is looking down. Only do this if you want to increase your risk of crashing. Instead, keep your head and eyes looking where you want to finish.
  18. yes i understand more experienced riders have different reasons, i rear the OP and it sounded like they are a inexperienced rider that had basically entered too fast and given up....well keep practicing that stand the bike up and YOU will do that as a first reaction.

    I completely agree there have been times mid turn i have stood the bike up too to avoid gravel/crap on the road or closing radius turns, but it's generally not "when shit hits the fan when running wide"....as per the OP if the OP had said as i entered a turn i noticed gravel so what do you do i would agree with standing it up and riding through it as best you can, but that wasn't how the OP came across to me atleast.

    But imo anyone can stand the bike upright and brake (hard or softly) and run off the road and you don't need much practice to master that, it's the ability to control those SR for which i reckon 95.712853% of the time simply tightening you line would get you through the situation.

    Either way good work keeping it upright
  19. Allright, let me clarify some points for you guys.

    I am a noob but I didn’t just shit myself and went straight. Mid turn I thought to myself that I am going to run wide, so what I did was look further into the turn and tried to make the turn. But, I didn’t make the turn. I didn’t straighten up and hit the Gravel at 90degrees, I hit the gravel at about 170-180degrees about 90% through the turn (if you guys know what I mean). I straightened the bike up just before hitting the Gravel, that’s why I could drift back on to the road because I was basically riding along the side of it. I understand now after reading all your posts that what I did wrong was not apply more power into the turn.

    So basically, the initial question was more directed about the instance where you would try to make the turn but couldn’t.

    Either way, everyone’s posts were quite educational.
  20. Ok...I get it now...you just ran wide, as if the bike would'nt turn enough - right?
    In that case, I'd hazard a guess that you tensed up and locked your arms and THAT prevented you from turning sharper...

    In any case...You've got it WRONG...please listen...Getting on the pwer in this situation would surely have brought you indone...what you needed to do is the exact opposite...get off the power and push harder on the inside bar to get you turning tigher!...ok?