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Thread: Blunders, Almost Blunders and Lessons Learned

  1. #1
    Flirting With The Redline 2000 Posts! Sorg67's Avatar
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    Blunders, Almost Blunders and Lessons Learned

    The reason those with experience make fewer mistakes than those without experience is that they have made a lot of mistakes and learned from them. So that we can all learn from the mistakes of the group. And perhaps entertain ourselves with the silly thing we have done. Let's share our stories.

    So here are the mistakes I have made that come quickly to mind:

    1. Dropped Versys in driveway. I was sitting on the bike about to leave and realized I had forgotten something. Hopped off the bike and did not put the kickstand down. Oops.... First lesson - always double check that kickstand is down before getting off bike. Second and more important lesson - Go slow, especially as a newbie. Every time I do anything related to the bike I go slow. If I feel myself rushing, I stop.
    2. Cleaned bike with WD40 in garage. WD40 makes the painted floor very slippery. Slippery floor when moving motorcycles around in the garage is not good. Fortunately, I realized this before anything bad happened. Cleaned floor to make sure it has good traction. Thinking of repainting the floor using a paint with some abrasive in it. Definitely want good traction around the bikes.
    3. Accidental Wheelie when trying to get through a gate before it came down. See second lesson mistake #1 - Do not rush.
    4. Dumped 1974 Honda 550 Four when I was a kid and went straight when I should have gone right. It was 3 am. I was on my way home from work. Dark, tired, construction zone, confusing markings, going too fast, poor braking technique, sand on the road, lucky to walk away with minor injuries. This was three and a half decades ago. Lots of lessons to learn here; work on skills, don't ride too fast (especially at night), slow down when confused, don't ride at night when you are a novice, if you do ride at night - ride slow, take extra caution in construction zones - routing may change. Noticed a scuff on my helmet the next day. Not sure if it happened in that fall or at another time, but helmet might have saved me from a head injury.
    5. Almost dropped Versys at gas station on the day I bought it. I bought it and immediately drove it 45 minutes, mostly on highway and went straight to a gas station when I got home. The gas station was at a busy corner and I came in through the back entry which was up a small slope to a blind right turn. Came around the corner and there was a car right there. Skidded front tire a little. Did not go down, but could have very easily. Maybe there was a little oil on the parking lot or maybe my braking technique was bad or maybe a bit of both. Before jumping on the highway and ridding the bike home, I should have gone to a parking lot and familiarized my self with the handling characteristics of the bike - tested the brakes a bit. Going from my single front disc DRZ to the dual front disc brake Versys may have meant I was a bit heavy on the front brake. Be careful of blind corners. I could have gone to a less busy gas station. I could have gone straight home and gassed up later. I was going slow, which probably saved me. Slow always increases the margin for error.

    That is all I can think of at the moment. I am sure there are plenty more mistakes I could list and plenty more I will make in the future. But perhaps if some of you share your mistakes and lessons learned, you will save me from some of the mistakes I have not made yet.....

  2. #2
    RiderCoach 5000 Posts! NORTY's Avatar
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    Don't remember which bike (CZ maybe?), but around 1975 or so, I was stopped (engine off.) Put one foot down, end of peg catches boot lace loop. Foot doesn't go all the way to the ground. Bike starts to tilt thataway. Norty stays on for the ride. Norty holds handlebars as the bike goes over. Norty's shoulder takes the brunt of the energy. Norty falls over like the guy on the tricycle on "Laugh-In."

    Another~ The CZ had 2 petcocks to feed the Jikov carbeuretter (their spelling, not mine.) My fuel lines were in need of replacement. I went to get some clear vinyl tubing from the hardware store. Not realizing that gasoline attacks vinyl, I proceeded to change out the lines. One thing you need to understand, CZ's VIBRATE. Later, I went for a few laps on a track. I started smelling gas. I looked down as I was riding, and the fuel lines I had made crystalized and cracked, leaving gas to hemmorage all over a hot 2 stroke racing engine. i lost so much gas that it cleaned the engine really nicely. Don't remember much about it after that.

    Another~ I was on my Honda XL500s, back in 1980 (or so.) Riding a balance wheelie along the beach in Carlsbad. Doing about 5mph with the frontend up. I put it down to make a stop sign. I check my six and there is a Carlsbad cop right behind me. I pull over. He says,"You looked like you were in control, Brad Lackey." I fired right back, "YOU know who Brad Lackey is?" I AM impressed! He tells me to keep the wheel on the ground. I said, "YES, SIR!" Do that now and I'd be on the terrorist watch list.

    I likely have a million stories, but you don't wanna hear 'em.
    Knowledge speaks, wisdom listens.

  3. #3
    Flirting With The Redline 2000 Posts! Sorg67's Avatar
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    There is wisdom and entertainment in stories. And the great thing about the wisdom in stories is that we are all free to choose our own moral to the story.

  4. #4
    RiderCoach 4000 Posts! AZridered's Avatar
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    I had been riding for a few months. Never gave a thought to dangling laces. I was riding over to a friend's house and as I pulled up and prepared to stop I discovered that A: my laces had looped around the foot controls and were not loose enough to allow either foot to reach the ground, and B: my laces were REALLY strong.

    About a year later, riding down a rural two-lane, I was in the habit of staying well away from the centerline, you never could tell what might be driving in the other direction. I had not considered that an animal could be completely hidden in the roadside ditch and would never be seen in time to avoid.

    A few years later, I neglected to thoroughly check the fit of my old tank-bag on my newer bike. I discovered that when making a tight right turn out of a driveway, the engine cut-off switch could hit the bag.

    There's no such thing as enough practice of crash avoidance skills, ie. braking and swerving. In a True Emergency, you realize what you've done only after it occurred.

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    Flirting With The Redline 2000 Posts! Sorg67's Avatar
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    I was riding with my older boy last weekend. I was following him and a car pulled out in front of him. My son swerved to miss the car. It was not terribly close. No dramatic swerve was needed and my son, despite having only about 500 miles under his belt since taking BRC 1 last summer, handled it very smoothly.

    The car was making a left turn from a driveway on the right so after pulling out in front of my son, he turned and passed me. I looked over at him and gave him the WTF look with the left hand palm up. That was a mistake. Nothing happened, but it was a pointless gesture. Hard to resist the parental instinct when you see someone put your child at risk. But I did the kind of thing that could have created a road rage incident. I could have made him mad. He could have turned around and chased us down. I could have turned a no big deal event into a tragedy. And my action probably had as much or more of a chance of giving him a bad attitude about motorcycles as encouraging him to be more careful next time.

  6. #6
    I was riding for about a month when I had to navigate my first "michigan left". This is when you are on a divided street and the michigan left is when you do a uturn through the median. I turned left and entered the uturn. I stopped and then decided to turn the bars so I could get into the lane quicker. I rolled a bit and grabbed the front brake to stop and the bike dropped. Luckily, I had just watched a YouTube video on how to pick up a heavy motorcycle!

  7. #7
    This past January I broke one of my riding rules by going out when it was below freezing. The ground was dry, with no rain or snow having fallen in about a week. More, it was a bright sunny day, despite the low temperature. I wanted to ride into the city to get something from my office for a class I would teach at another college. Riding into Philadelphia was enjoyable and uneventful. Picking up my handouts and DVDs I headed back to my bike, geared up and pulled out of the parking corral. Two blocks later as I made a left turn at a lighted intersection my front tire hit a slick manhole cover and down I went. Keep in mind I pride myself for looking into my turns, a turn at a city street intersection I've made hundreds of times before. Needless to say I didn't see this coming and my bike dropped like a cut sandbag on a hot air balloon. Lucky for me I was only going 10 mph. If I had had a green light when I turned my speed would have been closer to 25. I was also lucky in there was little damage to my bike -- scrapped body paneling, but no damage to any mirrors, lights, windshield or reflectors.

    If you have riding rules, STICK to them. My need to ride after a winter hiatus overcame my own ground rules. That was my mistake. There's more danger to winter riding than snow and ice. Metal -- manhole coves, construction and stress plates -- becomes slick when cold. Keep an eye out for them. I was also riding with all of my gear - heavy leather jacket, full face helmet, balaclava, over the ankle boots, long johns under jeans, and winter gloves. I had a small cut on my hip and a sprained ankle, but nothing that stopped me form getting back on my bike and heading home. Months later I now suspect I may have a small fracture on the same ankle as the swelling still hasn't gone down. That's on me too for not going to the doctors.

    Ride safe everyone,

    - Wolf

  8. #8
    Flirting With The Redline 2000 Posts! Sorg67's Avatar
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    Was practicing my U Turns on my DRZ in the neighborhood. It is 22 feet from gutter to gutter on the street. I was first a bit sketchy staying within the gutters, but after working on it, I got to where it was easy. So I started getting cocky. Back and forth, left and right, tighter and tighter, faster and faster, stalled it and.... down, bent the clutch lever. No bit deal. No other damage. But it was embarassing. Hope nobody saw me.

    But learned, over confidence is a killer.

    I should have listened to Atomicalex's slow post.... hahahahaha

  9. #9
    I was lucky on my double knotted boot laces ... the laces were old and broke when caught on the peg ...

    I recall a fellow practicing slow tight turns on his KLR when it stalled and he put his foot down to stop the bike from going over. Broke his femur. Working the friction zone is definitely your friend in these maneuvers. Both Jerry Pallodino (Ride Like A Pro) and Rawhyde really emphasize using the friction zone with sufficient revs to insure the bike doesn't stall ... I use it all the time offroad too ... Fear of burning up the clutch doing this is generally unwarranted.
    The best thing you can buy for your motorcycle is gas.

  10. #10
    Flirting With The Redline 2000 Posts! Sorg67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OBX-RIDER View Post
    I was lucky on my double knotted boot laces ... the laces were old and broke when caught on the peg ...

    I recall a fellow practicing slow tight turns on his KLR when it stalled and he put his foot down to stop the bike from going over. Broke his femur. Working the friction zone is definitely your friend in these maneuvers. Both Jerry Pallodino (Ride Like A Pro) and Rawhyde really emphasize using the friction zone with sufficient revs to insure the bike doesn't stall ... I use it all the time offroad too ... Fear of burning up the clutch doing this is generally unwarranted.
    I was wondering about the burning the clutch issue. Is that less of an issue with wet clutch motorcycles than with cars? I remember when my dad was teaching me to drive a manual transmission car, he was big on learning how to minimize wear on the clutch. He gave me a speech on engine braking "use the brakes, I would rather replace brake pads than a clutch".

    But I wonder if proper engine braking does not put much wear on the clutch. It is only poor technique that puts excessive wear on the clutch.

    Academic in my case since I am sure my engine braking technique is not all that advanced.

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