Yes Emily

Yes Emily, girls can ride motorcycles!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

"THEY" Say ...

You know "THEY," the nameless experts or givers of wisdom. Well, they say, 'there are no motorcycles that haven't gone down, only those that haven't gone down yet' and they say, 'when you're riding a motorcycle, where you look is where you go' ... well on Monday I proved them both right. Yes, I put the bike down. Luckily it was very gently and with only injury to a tailpipe and my pride. The ride from the Muskokas to Port Perry was smooth sailing until the incident, and I won't call it an accident, accidents can't be avoided. This was totally avoidable, so it was an incident and totally rider error. Now I know this because of the excellent rider skills training session I had taken at Deerhurst as part of the International Women Riders Congress and Festival.
I have to thank Aliki Karayan my instructor. She's a professional riding instructor with Honda and a gal who really knows her stuff. She's the first riding instructor who has been able to, or took the time to explain some of the physics of breaking - what's happening when you drag the back break and where the weight goes when you clamp the front break (although this is easily felt, I just never thought of it in the total 'performance' picture before.). I have to admit I can't understand how I managed to have Aliki to myself on the tarmac for two hours out of the total three hour training session. She should have had a line up of riders waiting for instruction. She was encouraging, could spot my errors in an instant giving corrective feedback immediately. She put me through my paces over and over - round and round (close to 100km). I rode away that day feeling much more confident in my skills and my understanding.
Now back to my incident - I went down because, though I was nearly at a full stand still (when I should have been totally dragging my rear break, stretching the frame of the bike making it want to stay up right), for some reason, I think, because I felt that I had come in too close to the curb and for a nano second panicked or should I say, didn't think (mistake #2), I squeezed the front break abruptly (should be slow and easy) - this transferred the weight of the bike to the front wheel suddenly, the handle bars were already turning, then (fatal error #3) I glanced down to see how close to the curb I actually was. Weight abruptly shifting to turned handle bars and looking down at the same time - that's when, to quote my friend Ron, "Gravity Won," and down I went, at the stop sign, (If I had to learn the hard way at least I was safely out of traffic!). Now when I explained this to my friend Barbara she asked me if it made me feel any better to know why I went down. At first I said "no," but really the answer is yes. I know the why so I can avoid the mistake in the future (thanks Aliki), the scar on "Prissy's" shiny chrome tail pipe a constant reminder.
At the end of Clinton Smout's defensive Riding seminar (another excellent presentation all riders should participate in) he demonstrated, using a Yamaha model (this does not apply to all bikes, so check the information on your particular bike) that once it goes over, becomes horizontal that is, there is a safety feature that automatically shuts off the flow of gas and the bike stalls out. And, since I was thinking and alert again, I didn't panic and my Yamaha VStar did shut off. Now, Clinton also demonstrated how to pick up your bike from a horizontal position. I should have, perhaps, been paying a bit more attention to the details. He said there were three ways. The first is the 'back up to it, grab under, and lift by backing up with baby steps' (I couldn't do this as I had tucked it neatly into a 6" concrete curb and couldn't get a hand hold). Method two was the 'open handle bar "throw" up'. A lady (no bigger than me) stopped to help so I thought, okay, we'll give that a try (my advice - don't unless you've really had lots of practice) When I heard a crack coming from my back I quickly decided to use method number three (which will remain my #1) 'take the helmet off, look helpless (a pretty easy look to accomplish in that situation) and hope a big strong man or two stops to help'. This is definitely my preferred method. It worked, and I'd like to thank that man and the good hearted lady for stopping to help and make sure I was okay. They got me back on the rubber and off I went to meet Ron and tour the countryside, Port Perry to the "County" (Prince Edward County that is).

1 comment:

  1. Glad to hear you are all right and thanks for sharing.

    Ride on,