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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Last weekend I went out for a ride and had what I would call my first close call. I made a right turn onto a road that had negative camber (the road sloped down from right to left as I turned onto it) and I had to slow way down to avoid hitting the center concrete median that came up on my left as I completed the turn.

Here’s how it all happened. I was on a four lane road (two lanes in each direction) in the right lane so I could turn right. I was being tailgated for about 100 yards before making the turn (I was driving 5 over for the record). Being a new rider, I made the mistake of focusing more on the idiot behind me rather than the turn coming up so I ended up going into the turn too fast and had to slow way down to correct myself and avoid the median. Luckily, I’ve been spending a lot of time practicing my low speed skills so slowing down and correcting myself in the turn wasn’t a problem. The problem was the driver behind me probably wasn’t expecting me to slow down like that and he came very close to hitting me.

Here’s what I learned from this experience and what I would’ve done differently. First, I should have lost the tailgater by turning off onto the shoulder or turning left instead of right at the intersection with the negative camber turn. Alternatively I could’ve come out of the turn in the right lane instead of the left (that would’ve given the left lane to the tailgater and he could’ve passed me instead of being right behind me). I also should’ve had a plan about where I wanted to ride. Before going on most rides I think through in my mind where exactly I’m going to go but on this occasion I just sort of winged it. I knew where I was at because I’ve driven on these roads many times in my car but this was the first time I drove on them on my motorcycle. Had I planned ahead, I would’ve realized this was the road with the negative camber so I would have probably avoided it given I’ve only been riding for two months and 500 miles (not counting the two years I rode back in the 1980’s).

I don’t think I have all the skills yet to be riding in very heavy traffic but I’m okay with light to moderate traffic. My big weakness seems to be the turns. I’m slowing down a little too much (I think) when entering and I’m a little apprehensive about leaning the bike over too much. Not really an issue if you’re the only one on the road but here in the DC area we have a lot of drivers who take whatever the speed limit is and add 15 to it and that’s how they drive. When someone like that gets behind me it’s not good.

Everything else I feel really good about…counter steering, braking, shifting, being one with the bike. I haven’t dropped or stalled the bike in 500 miles so far. It’s just the fear of losing traction in the corners when leaned over. I guess that just comes with time and experience I hope.

Anyway, sorry for the long post. I’d love to hear any suggestions more experienced riders have about what I could have done differently or what I should be doing in the future. I took the BRC two months ago and I’m going to take an intermediate course in about 6-9 more months. Be safe out there!
 

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American Legion Rider
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You may as well just go ahead and drop the bike because it will happen. And you will think the whole world saw it when it does happen. But good that you are learning from your mistakes.:thumbsup: Some never get that chance.:sad:
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Good post.
You are analyzing the situation for the next time. That is a good practice IMO.

UK
Thanks! I read in a motorcycle book or maybe I saw it in a video that every time you goof up while riding you should take some time to look at the mistake you made and try to learn from it (we all know that making a mistake on a motorcycle can be a very serious situation).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You may as well just go ahead and drop the bike because it will happen. And you will think the whole world saw it when it does happen. But good that you are learning from your mistakes.:thumbsup: Some never get that chance.:sad:
Haha, yeh you maybe be right. When I rode back in the 1980's I had no formal training other than the salesman at the dealership where I bought my bike showing me where the friction zone was and then telling me I was fine. While riding home from the dealership I popped the clutch at the very first stop sign and the bike went flying. Luckily I wasn't hurt but it was embarrassing as all heck because it was a 4-way stop and I had a big audience! :eek:
 

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Visionary
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Did you ever notice that stupid things only happen when there are a bunch of people around?'
I screwed up a u turn, stuck my foot in a pothole and dropped my bike in a crowded gas station with about 20 people staring at me after hearing the loud CLANG! I was so embarrassed I just bent over and picked up the 900 pound beast by myslef, saying it was no big deal, I got it, go back to what you were doing....

The only thing hurt was my broken pride and severely bruised ego, fortunately :)


Haha, yeh you maybe be right. When I rode back in the 1980's I had no formal training other than the salesman at the dealership where I bought my bike showing me where the friction zone was and then telling me I was fine. While riding home from the dealership I popped the clutch at the very first stop sign and the bike went flying. Luckily I wasn't hurt but it was embarrassing as all heck because it was a 4-way stop and I had a big audience! :eek:
 

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"Everything else I feel really good about…counter steering, braking, shifting, being one with the bike. I haven’t dropped or stalled the bike in 500 miles so far. It’s just the fear of losing traction in the corners when leaned over. I guess that just comes with time and experience I hope."

I'm with you on this one! I used to ride the same model bike as I have now(Suzuki T20 Super Six) when I was 19/20 years old. I used to grind the footpegs and the heels of my boots, leaning on the bends. Now I have, like you, clocked up 500 miles after many years of no bike, on my restored bike. I am really nervous in corners and don't have much confidence leaning in. I'm sure that will wear off as I do more miles, but at 58 years old I am a bit more cautious nowadays.
 

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Not counting the races in the rain. At the track, I never had a bike lose the front or rear end, due to the bike sliding away from me. Was easy to get 45 degrees of tippy with most quality tyres. TT100 for the street bikes. Gumballs for the race bikes which gave us more lean angle. Better stopping power too. I had one incidence of a front end wobble, that was possibly due to a bump, or a rear wheel slide.

Back to the street. I have had tires slide in the rain, tar snakes, gravel, Texada slime which is some **** they put on our side roads, that finds its way on to the main roads. Oil, paint, faulty guidance system and so on. But if we ride conservatively, with a margin for error, we should all survive.

The most common error is often over cooking a corner entry.

UK
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Did you ever notice that stupid things only happen when there are a bunch of people around?'
I screwed up a u turn, stuck my foot in a pothole and dropped my bike in a crowded gas station with about 20 people staring at me after hearing the loud CLANG! I was so embarrassed I just bent over and picked up the 900 pound beast by myslef, saying it was no big deal, I got it, go back to what you were doing....

The only thing hurt was my broken pride and severely bruised ego, fortunately :)
Wow, the bike I dropped in 1985 was only 385 pounds and it was hard to pick up. But that was the one and only time I ever dropped it in two years of riding. I stalled it plenty of times and came close to dropping it several other times but that experience was so embarrassing it made me determined to never let it happen again. And it didn't.

Did you use the "back to bike/leg method" of picking up that beast?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
"Everything else I feel really good about…counter steering, braking, shifting, being one with the bike. I haven’t dropped or stalled the bike in 500 miles so far. It’s just the fear of losing traction in the corners when leaned over. I guess that just comes with time and experience I hope."

I'm with you on this one! I used to ride the same model bike as I have now(Suzuki T20 Super Six) when I was 19/20 years old. I used to grind the footpegs and the heels of my boots, leaning on the bends. Now I have, like you, clocked up 500 miles after many years of no bike, on my restored bike. I am really nervous in corners and don't have much confidence leaning in. I'm sure that will wear off as I do more miles, but at 58 years old I am a bit more cautious nowadays.
Yeh, that's exactly how I am in a lot of turns. I've lived in the Northern Virginia area for 25 years and I know most of the roads around here like the back of my hand (when I'm driving a car) but negotiating them on a motorcycle is something completely new to me so it's just taking a little time. Once I've gone through the same turn a couple of times I generally get it.

What's helping me a lot is practicing in parking lots. I'll find a light pole and just ride circles around it in first gear and just make the circle more and more narrow until I'm really leaning the bike over quite a bit. This is making me a lot more comfortable leaning through turns.

It's still tricky, however. There's a lot going on when you go through turns. Is it flat? Does it have negative camber? Is it wet? Is it extremely cold (less traction)? You've got to take all of that into consideration when you set up your entry speed and choose your gear!

And it doesn't help that I have a lot of impatient drivers around here who want me to take turns like I'm Mark Marquez or something... :surprise:
 

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Retired twice: Navy and as a govt contractor
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Think what happened through (you have done that) now go back out and go through that turn again and again. The only thing you can do about idiots behind you is put on your turn signal and slow down early to give yourself more room. In this area if you move over to let him by 4 more will be on your rear wheel.
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Back to the street. I have had tires slide in the rain, tar snakes, gravel, Texada slime which is some **** they put on our side roads, that finds its way on to the main roads. Oil, paint, faulty guidance system and so on. But if we ride conservatively, with a margin for error, we should all survive.

The most common error is often over cooking a corner entry.
UK
I've only had my bike slide a few inches on some grass that was in the road and it was just once. I'm still not really comfortable with that sensation yet so I'm riding very conservatively. On my 35 pound bicycle sliding the rear tire doesn't phase me too much but I don't want to do that on a 414 pound motorcycle.

And yes, I've read over cooking a corner and intersections are the two most common areas for crashes. My MSF instructor teaches people in the military at Quantico Marine Corps Base and Fort Belvoir here in Virginia and they've had 17 marines/soldiers die so far this year and all died the same way...going too fast into a corner with no other vehicles involved. :sad:
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Think what happened through (you have done that) now go back out and go through that turn again and again. The only thing you can do about idiots behind you is put on your turn signal and slow down early to give yourself more room. In this area if you move over to let him by 4 more will be on your rear wheel.
Yeh, I've thought about doing that because negative camber turns are something we all have to learn how to negotiate. I'll definitely pick a time when traffic is very light and this time I'll exit the turn in the right lane instead of sliding over to the left which is where almost everyone ends up.

I see you're in the DC area so you know all about the idiot drivers we have here. I'll definitely use that strategy of slowing down early to give myself more room. That's the mistake I made in the first place...going in too fast because I was more worried about the moron behind me than what was in front of me. :mad:
 

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Biker
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I dropt the Sporty twice, it was in the back yard and I had it pointing to the shed, 1st mistake.
I should have had it where I would not have to push backwards and in so doing, dropt it. 2nd
mistake was NOT putting her in gear and when I got her up she rolled on me. Yeah I leaned real
quick after that and was rather pissed I had forgotten what I read, to put a dropt bike in gear or
tie the front brake lever.

I know now that will SO not happen again, have a bike start to roll on me then flip.
 

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Visionary
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Pretty much so, that's the only way to pick up a heavy bike. A Vision is a bit easier to pick up than some other 900 pounders, it has special tip over points that stop it just short of the point that anything would be damaged, so it makes it a bit easier to get it started.
The only other time I dropped it was on purpose to change the kickstand, those tip over points make good workstands, much more solid than the jack.
I dropped small bikes, dirt bikes, etc a bunch of times as a kid but nothing in years on the street till that embarrassing day in the gas station in Niagara Falls, NY.

Did you use the "back to bike/leg method" of picking up that beast?
 

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That's the mistake I made in the first place...going in too fast because I was more worried about the moron behind me than what was in front of me
You should get yourself a 50 year old 2-stroke bike! Drivers that come up too close behind me tend to drop back once their car ventilation system fills up with blue smoke :D
 

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So long
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Think what happened through (you have done that) now go back out and go through that turn again and again. The only thing you can do about idiots behind you is put on your turn signal and slow down early to give yourself more room. In this area if you move over to let him by 4 more will be on your rear wheel.
What Critter said. + remember if you downshift and use compression braking you should also apply enough brake to turn on your brake lights.
 

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Biker
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You should get yourself a 50 year old 2-stroke bike! Drivers that come up too close behind me tend to drop back once their car ventilation system fills up with blue smoke :D
Be so nice if you could make a 'Simulated EXHAUST GENERATOR that works with bike exhaust, maybe mix in some sulphur.
yeah I lit off some of that in Science class, has a real nice smell to it ! be my luck it would be the 'EPA' following me though.
 

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Biker
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quote from OZ, "What Critter said. + remember if you downshift and use compression braking you should also apply enough brake
to turn on your brake lights. "

Also if time permits hit brake a few times before you start to apply them, as a flashing lite gets noticed more than just a brighter red
brake light.
 

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On The Road Again!
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Read up on how they add smoke generators to airshow airplanes.
Add one to your bike.
Fill it with Corvis oil and hit the button.
You'll be able to smoke out the entire road behind you.
 
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