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 Motorcycle Safety
 Sharing of Lessons Learned
 Taking a spill on gravel
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BadaBing
Male Advanced Member
1196 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, TX
USA

Harley-Davidson

Heritage Classic 04
Peer Review:

Posted - 02/02/2005 :  7:19 AM                       Like
I had owned my 04 Heritage for about 4 months and have been getting use to its nuances when riding it. As I was negotiating a turn (from a complete stop), I failed to look at the road surface. Why should I as I have taken that turn a hundred times before?

Because of my assumptions, it was too late for me to see that the surface had been totally covered with gravel. Having established my lean into the turn, it was too late for me to correct my shifting center of gravity and my scoot and I slid for about 10 yards. It seemed like a mile. Now I now what type of punishment half backs take in trying to pick up that first down.

Fortunate for me I was wearing my full face helmet and protective gear. My bikes engine guard was crumpled and the brand new pipes I have put on were scratched up. Funny, but I picked up my bike, using proper technique and jumped on it and drove away. That may have been the best thing I ever done, as if I didn't, I think I would have been gun shy when it came to ever getting back on my scoot.

The lesson learned is to never assume anything. Everything changes including the road surface. Ride on.

Ciao,

BadaBing

Edited by - BadaBing on 02/02/2005 7:21 AM

James R. Davis
Male Administrator
17375 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, TX
USA

Honda

GoldWing 1500

Posted - 02/02/2005 :  7:36 AM Follow poster on Twitter  Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
Welcome aboard, Rocco.

Sounds to me like you learned a few lessons long before you took that spill. That helmet, for example, wasn't an after-thought.

Glad to hear it was just a minor incident and that you are still active in the sport. It's hard on everyone when we lose a member of the 'family.'

Ride smart.

[BadaBing (Rocco) is an administrator of a world-class message board here in Houston serving the needs of the Harley Davidson riding crowd. The Harley Bikers of Texas board happens to be a favorite hang out of mine because of the quality of its messages and the attitude of its members.]
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BadaBing
Male Advanced Member
1196 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, TX
USA

Harley-Davidson

Heritage Classic 04

Posted - 02/02/2005 :  9:09 AM
James,

Thanks for the kind words, but I have to tell you that your message board and website is perhaps the most compelling and informative one that I have had the pleasure to truly read, learn and enjoy. It has transformed the way that I, and the members of the Greater Houston Harley Riders, have approached riding our scoots.

Sorry, that it took me some time to post, but I was trying first to find my way around.

In a reciprocal way, this is my favorite hangout.

Ciao,

BadaBing
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BadaBing
Male Advanced Member
1196 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, TX
USA

Harley-Davidson

Heritage Classic 04

Posted - 02/15/2005 :  8:02 AM
What is the proper way to ride in gravel (when you have no choice). Someone told me that it is best to slow down and stand on your floorboards. Is that right?

Ciao,

BadaBing
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scottrnelson
Advanced Member
6943 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, ID
USA

Honda

XR650L, 790 Adv R

Posted - 02/15/2005 :  8:41 AM
quote:
Originally posted by BadaBing

What is the proper way to ride in gravel (when you have no choice). Someone told me that it is best to slow down and stand on your floorboards. Is that right?

I just keep the bike as upright as possible so there is very little side force. Standing up would seem to make the bike less stable rather than improving things.
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htdb33
Standard Member
167 Posts


somerville, al
USA

Triumph

Trophy 1200

Posted - 02/15/2005 :  8:48 AM
quote:
Originally posted by BadaBing

What is the proper way to ride in gravel (when you have no choice). Someone told me that it is best to slow down and stand on your floorboards. Is that right?

Ciao,

BadaBing



I wouldnt necessarily stand up on my pegs. I would slide back as far as possible to put as much weight as possible on my rear tire. Slow down, but not too much, you want to keep some momentum going through the soft stuff. If you go too slowly the gravel will tend to grab your front tire and throw you to the side. Keep some speed up and you will surf right through it. Dont make sudden corrections. Stay off the front break.

John
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James R. Davis
Male Administrator
17375 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, TX
USA

Honda

GoldWing 1500

Posted - 02/15/2005 :  8:54 AM Follow poster on Twitter  Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
Here is a Tip I wrote some time ago that should help answer your question Rocco:

The Pavement Ends
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Cash Anthony
Female Administrator
1470 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, Texas
USA

Honda

Magna 750

Posted - 02/15/2005 :  2:14 PM Follow poster on Twitter  Join poster on Facebook as Friend  

Story time!

Jim and I were riding from San Angelo, TX to Santa Fe, NM on the last day of March one spring. We hit 40-50 mph headwinds all the way across north Texas, and the wind was such an unexpected factor that I was seriously in danger of running out of gas before we could find a station along our planned route: we saw billboards for three, but two were closed on Sundays (which it was) and one had been burned out.

About the time I started to worry about being stuck by the side of the road, we decided we had to change our route entirely and head west for Carlsbad (miles out of the way), to be sure we could find gas, because for sure I couldn't make it to any cities north of us. Finding gas in any of the little towns was just too unpredictable, as we'd been repeatedly finding out.

I literally coasted into Carlsbad but did make it to the first station that was open, under control, and we gassed up. We also stopped at a Wal-Mart and bought a plastic gasoline can to mount on Jim's Wing before hitting the highway north again. We'd debated about carrying gas on the bike -- not too good if you go down -- but we ended up deciding it was a lot more likely that I would run out of gas again on my Magna, in those winds, than it was that Jim would dump his bike and start a fire.

By dusk, we had traveled north through Roswell and on up a big state freeway (on the map) that ran somewhat east of the US highway to Albuquerque. We had no reason to suspect that this major highway was going to be unpaved somewhere ahead!

As we rolled on, now fighting serious wind from the left, the road was completely deserted. It was cold, cold, cold -- it was getting near freezing on an absolutely clear night, with a big full moon rising over the mountains on our right. We rode north on what was now a two-lane blacktop road (with really impressive signage once in a while ), with me in the left track and Jim in the right track a couple of seconds behind, hustling along through an otherwise pitch-black / gray shadowy landscape. Suddenly --

-- the pavement ran out! We were in red dirt and gravel, and though the two tracks continued and the road was well packed, we immediately had good reason to be glad of the full moon. I slowed down at once (no brake) from 70-ish to 40 or so, and for some reason, perhaps the lack of oncoming (or any) traffic, and maybe my somewhat better footing and the friability of the edge of the roadbed, Jim moved over from our staggered formation to follow me single-file.

(Note here: If I had been leading a group instead of riding only with my buddy, I would have signaled for everyone to go single-file here, so that I would have had a more contained area to survey before the whole group rode through it. Jim, riding drag and having a different agenda in that position, picks his own track, usually.)

We'd probably gone about three miles on this surface when I saw up ahead a huge shadow on the road. I looked harder, and no, I wasn't seeing things: the road in Jim's track -- disappeared!!

We were facing a huge dip -- almost a bike-length's long, a deep hole where a heavily laden truck had obviously gotten stuck and dug its back tires into the gravel before it got out. The thing must have been over a foot deep in the worst of the rut!

Fortunately, Jim saw it about the same time I let out a squawk on the CB -- with a second or two between us (sometimes a little more for highway speeds), there is adequate reaction time but there's not always communication time! for the leader to do both -- and we both swerved away from the edge of it and got past.

We still had several more miles of dirt road ("freeway") before we found pavement again, and it was with enormous relief that we finally got to Santa Fe and parked the bikes for the night. A bowl of French onion soup, a big steak, a nice snifter of Cognac, and I was finally thawed out enough to think about taking my leathers off.

The next morning, when I woke up, I thought, "How weird! The light coming in from the window has the funniest quality!" I got up, opened the drapes full, and looked into the parking lot to see gray skies and six inches of snow on the cover of my Magna. So much for riding in the mountains on that trip!

We hooked up with my husband the next day who had rented a car and driven in to join the weary bikers, and we all drove up to the museum at Los Alamos while waiting for the snow and ice to melt. Following that, we did lots of walking, sitting by fireplaces, eating, drinking, and so forth -- and watching the little snow and ice pellets fly. It took about four days before the weather warmed up so that we could ride again without hitting pockets of ice.

Fortunately, the way back didn't involve any gravel, and the sun came out and warmed us up pretty well by the time we got back to Texas.

Next stop Lubbock, and a tornado (yes, same trip!), but that's a story for another day...


Cash
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BadaBing
Male Advanced Member
1196 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, TX
USA

Harley-Davidson

Heritage Classic 04

Posted - 02/17/2005 :  4:03 PM
Cash,

That was a great story and I am glad that you all averted what could have been a serious injury.

Ciao,

BadaBing
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