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Wet weather's a good time for a first off

Discussion in 'Your Near Misses - A Place to Vent' started by scrambobbler, Sep 18, 2015.

  1. It's been mildly damp up in sunny Brisbane, so of course, everyone's lost their damn minds.

    Still, it's been fun to learn that it's a good idea to actually put on the rain gear that was thrown in with the bike to see if it fits. It did, kinda, but only just. It may also be so old that it's not as waterproof around the crotchal area as it once was.

    I've also learnt that I do have a patience limit with the joy of the 3 consecutive left-lane-ends merges at Toowong, took my chances that the police were too busy elsewhere to book people putt-putt-putting up the outside. There's only so much I-have-lost-the-ability-to-let-people-merge I can deal with in an afternoon.

    Then, even as I was finished thinking that I'd be leaving more space to the bike in front if the driver of the 4WD and I switched places, slowing down on the downhill to the roundabout coming up, picking a wheel-track and ready for the tight left-hand turn when...

    Yeah. Front wheel gives way, goes down, slides right, I kick the bike away and slide left, because I know that f**king 4Wd was practically up my tailpipe. Said 4WD is busy mounting the centre island to miss both me and the bike, though, so the driver was awake.

    He stops, gets out to check on me, I'm up, haul the bike upright, someone else has stopped to check on me.

    All is well, knee's a bit banged up, legs a bit sore from the bike dropping on it, didn't bang my head, shoulder and elbow's fine. Drivers offer to call someone, check how I'm doing. I say that everything's as okay as can be expected, live just up the road.

    Bike seems fine, too. Clutch lever assembly seems a bit twisted around the bars, fine. Pannier's seem OK. I thank both drivers and start to move the bike out of the way when some f**king muppet decides that this has been 30-60 seconds of Too Much Delay and honks. Dipshit.

    Everyone goes about their business, I start the bike and wait for some clear space.

    The fun knowledge is that I'm about 5 minutes from home, and I've got about 20 minutes of adrenaline boost before everything starts hurting. Time to get home, fill up with anti-inflammatories and such like and have a shower, pressure and ice for the knee with the egg-sized lump on the outside, and a medicinal dram.

    Had a look this morning as to what the heck I missed on the road... Looks like I may have caught the edge of a sewer cover. It projects just a bit into the left-hand side of the right-hand wheel track. An inch or two farther to the right and I wouldn't have slipped.


    Knee's still sore, but okay. And my wet-weather riding privileges have been revoked for now. Boo! How am I expected to get better at coping with the wet?

    Lesson: Falling over at 20-30k still hurts a bit. Even when being extra careful, something unexpected will bite you. Panniers are good. Engine protectors would be better. Check your gear. Water"proof" boots may let water in, but not out. Crashes aren't the end of the world.
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  2. You're in one piece, there's the bonus right there and I bet you see the drain cover next time, they are ok as long as you aren't braking or anything less than perpendicular :)
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  3. Bummer dude, congrats on having that off though and not being badly hurt.

    Bloody manhole covers seem to pop up in the most unwanted places.
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  4. All good scram - you're okay, most important thing.
  5. Glad to read you're okay!

    Only way to get better with that is to keep cornering in the wet, I reckon.
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  6. glad to hear your ok
  7. Your walking, your talking, your typing, your breathing. Bikes and engines you can re build or replace.
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  8. Your bike is quite light (if it is the one in your profile). Generally the heavier the bike, the less likely wet manhole covers are to bother you. There is a manhole cover in the middle of a junction where I turn right near me... I wouldn't go out of my way to ride over the top of it leaned over and turning if it is raining but OTOH, I know that if I do, the bike may wiggle a bit but that is it. I have a heavy bike.
  9. Other than a very minor (and slightly comical) scrape in my first week of riding, I haven't gone through this yet. If/when I do, I hope I can match your admirably positive and practical attitude.
  10. Yeah, the Virago's pretty light. :) Although I could probably update the tires. I think they might be the originals. That probably doesn't help a lot.
  11. I can't say I've ever found that premise persuasive.
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  12. Thank you. I've crashed the bicycle a couple of times and have been told that it looked very professional. Any stack you can ride away from can't be all bad. :)

    Spent the weekend cleaning the gutters and went for a run this morning and the knee's OK, just some soft tissue damage, but I should totally see to fitting engine & pannier protectors if I plan on falling over a lot. And getting better knee protection.
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  13. The good bit is that you are alive and (relatively) unscathed. Hope you are back out on the road soon, Bikes can be repaired/replaced easily, humans not so much. Bloody sewer covers, silly spot to put one I reckon.
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  14. It was placed with zero :poop::poop::poop: given about two-wheeled vehicles, for sure. Took the opportunity to harden up the suspension two notches and the bike's perked right up. That's totally why my cornering's gone a bit tentative. Yeah. :shifty:
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  15. Its natural to be a bit apprehensive after something like that, hell I know I would be.
  16. Yeah the low speed crashes are generally the worst for the ego haha. I went down on slippery tram tracks at the end of last year, after 4 years of riding nearly every day. Same sort of injury, banged up the knee and foot from when the bike landed on it. I'm still a bit skittish in the wet as a result. I can guarantee you'll be on the lookout for metal sewer covers in the future haha.

    Dust yourself off and get back on the saddle as soon as able :)
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  17. Wise words AcidTripAcidTrip To put it in old West lingo "Cowboy up"
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  18. Some early wet road revelations. (Honda CB750)

    Open road slide on a curve at or near speed limit. - Yes, it is possible to slide and drift on a wet road. Actually, the faster you are travelling the stronger the Gyroscopic effect is and the more useful it is at keeping you upright. You may contemplate outcomes at times for seconds.

    Lessons? Don't panic and do anything dumb, like sudden closure of throttle, or "dig deep, throttle on, and just get around the turn, as you might do on a dry road.

    LOOK at the road surface. You can predict when you are likely to slide. That rough, half metre wide strip of rough bitumen, between lanes, wheel tracks or at the road edge can be your friend.

    The tyres you have on can make a huge difference - some break away suddenly with no warning, others give way gradually, and usually regain traction similarly. Buy the best tyres you can afford. Recognise the compromises inherent in any tyre. (wear vs grip is the obvious one) Do your homework before buying tyres.

    Fine throttle control and conservative braking are essentials, as is a determination to ride your own ride in spite of ignorant, impatient drivers who just do not understand, because the wet road factors that affect motorcycles do not greatly affect them - these people can be a serious distraction. Do not let them influence how you ride, and they can be a real test, when they follow too close. Just don't try to do anything suddenly, and "flag" your braking by touching your brake early, even if you are only using engine braking to slow down. Set your brake lights up so you can flash your brake lights without actually applying the brake, then be careful that you don't flash it when you don't want toby resting your foot too heavily on the pedal. Road users are conditioned to recognise that the vehicle in front is slowing when the brake lights flash, not so good at recognising changes in speed based on close observation of the distance to the vehicle in front.

    Wet road braking can be interesting - avoid "leaning" on the front brake (too much front brake)- braking pressure front/rear should be much more like even when it is wet, brake early and softly and avoid more than ever, braking at all when turning. Hard acceleration can break traction too. It pays to know how much it takes, but it is continuously variable, depending on how smooth the road, how wet, presence of contamination. Face it, "getting on it" in exiting a turn can be a very bad move. when it is wet.

    "rainbows" in a wet road signal fuel or oil contamination - VERY slippery, as are painted lines. Anything that interrupts your tyres contact with the road can unsettle a bike when the road is wet, like cat eyes, rumble strips a remnant of an animal carcass, leaves. Tram tracks require particular care when crossing wet. (as large an angle as practical)

    "CRASH BARS" can prevent a lot of damage in a low speed off - (most larger bikes were fitted with them back in the day) often limiting the damage to the ego, a banged knee or elbow, but preserving the mirrors and indicators - Scratches on pipes were common. Now we have engine protection bars, Oggie knobs, which are not so effective and many fewer naked bikes - there is often lots of plastic to damage on bikes these days. The old school crash bars provided a lot of protection for both the rider and the bike in low speed offs. They are the one thing I miss about old times. Now you mostly only see them on "pride and joy" behemouths. They are useful for more things than giving you a half decent chance at lifting the bike upright again.

    Speed has a interesting effect on how quickly things unfold, and it is not what one might expect. At slow speed, having a spill due to locking the front wheel, a slip out on tram tracks or painted lines when turning at intersections or roundabout can have you on the deck before you know it. At high speed on the open road, going too fast around a curve, hitting a patch of contaminated road or "spinning up" when overtaking often give one time to notice and consider your reactions, You often have time to think about easing off just a touch and watching for the roughness between wheel tracks or near the road edge, or just staying as straight and as smooth as you can until you've cleared that patch of diesel or other type of contamination.

    In the summer, be particularly wary of a "just wet" road if it hasn't rained for a period of months. The whole of the road surface can be slippery as, where the accumulated grime mixes with just enough rain from a light shower to make it wet, and it hasn't been wet enough for long enough to allow the traffic to scrub it and wash the road surface. How slippery? No clutch wheelspin in all gears on a 30 hp bike slippery is possible (like ice). This slipperiness can persist in high traffic areas between the wheel tracks due to more coolant & oil being deposited there. Watch for it if it hasn't rained in a long time and the weather is changing.

    In the dark, so much more is left to chance - but you can learn how some of it feels, if you can't see it. It's not a good idea to learn how to deal with wet roads after dark.

    Anyone who rides routinely on wet roads year round without falling off is NOT "not really trying." They are, and are among the most skilled motorcyclists out there. No matter how long one has been doing it, at times it is often not a comfortable place.

    It's never a good time to fall over on a motorbike. People are just more likely to do it when it is wet.
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  19. Thank you for your detailed and informative post jstava