Brakes.....your best friend? Or worst enemy? In light of James Brown's mishap this week, I'll tell a few of my self-inflicted "ups" and "downs" and why they went the way they went. Feel free to chime in with your own examples.
The reason I point this out - and this is NOT a pick on James at all - recognizing the actions you took are IMPERATIVE to becoming better riders so we don't have these things happen going forward, wherever possible. I love that James is resolved to get right back on the horse! This is important! But, it is also equally important to absolutely DISSECT every aspect of our own actions when stuff like this happens. That's why I jumped in on the other thread. The mere existence of the stop sign may have been the instigating factor, but the reason WHY he went down is what we need to look at for future preventive reasons and learning process. Our lives depend on this. Every single time we ride.
1. gravel road / Geico Rabbit. Yep, even though I told myself I would just hit it if it came out into the road...at the last minute, he did, and I put on the front brakes, and lowsided myself. Gravel + front brakes, generally not a great combination, must use extreme caution when doing any braking while on gravel. Slow speed of course, no damage to the bike. Now I live where there are vast amounts of Geico Squirrels - I am now WELL PRACTICED in just running em' over and staying off the brakes. Lesson: If you must brake on gravel, braking with the rear is much better than a handful of front brake, even going straight. Lesson two: practice running over squirrels, rabbits, and small animals. This is very HARD to do for some of us, but in the end, it is much safer generally for YOU than braking and/or swerving for something small.
2. 25 mph, accelerating as I had just come around the corner making a left hand turn: Truck came in on me from three lanes away and tagged my highway bar and mirror. My response in order to avoid him hitting me: dove the bike left (he was on the right) as far as I could without crashing into the raised rock median to my left, and emergency braked front and rear and KEPT THE BRAKES ON UNTIL I WAS STOPPED. And yes, they were locked up. This is the ONLY reason I did NOT go down - and the fact he stopped coming over once he tagged me, plus not having built up a lot of speed yet. Had I released the brakes prior to stopping, I would have gone down without question. The truck realized he hit *something* and moved back into the lane next to me. Once stopped, I then took off and made the truck driver pull over and chewed some ASS. Boy was he sorry.
3. 25 mph, very slight left bend in the road. CHOKE still on, so powering the rear wheel. Enter yellow jacket inside helmet who decided to sting the crap out of me. Both brakes on, locked up, stinging still happening, and despite not letting off, my bike was getting VERY mixed signals - brakes on, but gas still on also via the choke, so powering the rear at the same time. Not full throttle of course, but enough to end up lowsiding me, and removing any possibility of keeping the bike upright. No damage to me or the bike, except a nasty nasty sting on the temple. Note to self: do not ride even one block with the choke still on. Period. This occurred a whole 1.5 blocks from my house. I used to wait til I got to the traffic light (about 50 yards away) to shut off my choke.
4. Highway 44, in the middle of the NIGHT, through Lassen National forest. Ok, all of this could have been avoided had I not made the STUPID decision to ride during the night through a heavily deer infested national forest. Not just *any* deer either - mule deer, which generally speaking, get pretty BIG. That was the stupid decision. The smart decision (once I made the stupid decision to be on that road at all, after dark) was that in spite of a 65 mph limit, I was doing 40-45 mph, just in case of deer. Because of THAT decision, when the huge doe came out slightly ahead - I could only see "movement" to the side of the road....I emergency braked and hauled down hard. Kept the bike up and *just* as I came to a stop, Miss Doe was dead center crossing in front of me, about 8-12 INCHES from my front fender. Had I been going any faster, I'm pretty sure I would have bled slowly to death on that road at 1:00 a.m. in the morning. No cell service, no nothing. Lesson: no more night riding through National Forests if at all possible. Even closer in, I try and avoid it where deer are numerous, so I can live another day. Risk Reduction!
Anyway - those are my ups and downs. I didn't include the times when my leg was too short when parking (once), or forgot to put my kickstand down in the garage (once). For moving self-inflicted violations - even if there were mitigating factors that started the process (deer, truck, rabbit, yellow jacket), I have two ups and two downs in 11 years of riding. Hopefully you can all learn from these examples, especially the newer riders. Cheers!!!