from your mistakes 2
Hodson's fantastic story of all his crashes insipred others to
write down their own stories. The first one to tell about the
mistakes he had made is Tom Horne from Australia. I hope more
people can send their stories so we all can learn from the mistakes
by reading the stories, instead of getting hurt ourselves...
crash picture has nothing to do with Tom (I hope). I found it
somewhere on the web.
Fri, 27 Dec 2002
By Thomas Horne, Australia <thomas.horne
was just reading the stories page, and i thought you might like
to hear about the lessons I've learned. I've crashed four times,
all on my 1983 yamy rd 250 lc.
The first, I was new to riding, about three weeks in and I thought
I could handle anything (ah those were the days), but my tuning
screws were loose and the engine idle rev's were petty low. (I
didnt know that, I just thought it was a beast when it was cold.)
I was sitting outside school after lunch about to leave when I
couldn't get the rev's high enough to pull off. I thought it was
cold and after the 3rd stall I kept it in gear and revved it hoping
to let the clutch out slowly and take of with high revs. I let
it out at about 5000 which is still powerbanding and the bike
didnt like that at all.
The next thing I knew, I'd snapped the clutch lever off in my
hand (i found out later it had a hairline fracture from something
else) and I rocket down the road bouncing on my rear wheel. I
sideswiped a parked corrola on one wheel and then i threw the
bike to the tarmac and slid free. The bike spun on its side and
wedged the handlebars under another parked cars front wheel and
happily idled in first.
I suffered a badly grazed left arm and brusing to my ego. I pushed
it to my friends place down the road and bought new mirrors, levers
and indicators and reshaped the headlight and I was laughing again.
I learned that the aggression that you present the bike with is
exponential to the aggression it will respond with when you lose
control. It helped me to be more careful with the powerband and
slamming it into gears to fly past cars in traffic, which I was
doing to much of at the time.
The second was on a road in the hills near the city which can
be a little bumpy sometimes, to be honest some parts of it are
too hardcore for my skills and I have to go slow. I had just had
the RD re-silenced and tuned, and I just bought a new helmet with
a black visor and so I went a little power-mad and really thrashed
it out on this particular road where its more sweeping and smooth.
The road was an S bend on a hill, so the second turn was a little
tight traction-wise. I came down the hill too fast and thought
I would crash so I applied the brakes. The bike shot upright and
hit the gravel and flew out from under me. The bike hit a PVC
pipe to mark the edge of the road and snapped it into pieces,
which I then rolled over the top of.
My jacket's left elbow pad was scraped up, but my helmet was fine,
I kept it off the ground. On the way home, (I had to do my standard
rebuild- indicators, mirrors, headlight with hammer) I ran out
of fuel but I thought my bike was fucked and so I had someone
come out and look at it. They did some other stuff to it while
they were there but I still looked like a knob.
I learned that my bike is NOT sticky the stick insect and that
just because I believe my bike (and all bikes) can corner that
tight, it CAN'T.
I also learnt the traction rules in relation to the amount of
braking you can apply and still maintain contact with the road
and your required lean angle.
* * *
The third one was outside school again I was speeding past
at about 120 km/h towards a roundabout. I thought I could slow
down in time but as a mixture of lack of skill, not pushing the
handlebars to drop the bike for turns, my speed and still holding
the brakes on led to my dismount.
The bike got pulled out from under me and to the side as it hit
the pavement and I sailed right over the handlebars, right over
the GRASS median strip onto the coblestone pavement on the other
side, scratching up my new helmet from the last crash.
The bike wouldn't start afterwards, a mixture of battery acid
leak, the handlebars having thier indicator box things ripped
off, and the spot for the ignition key breaking off at the base.
Not to mention the headlight again.
I never told anybody how this one really happened (I told people
I was cut off) because this was me being stupid and I deserved
to come down. I just couldnt believe my own stupidity.
* * * *
The last crash really spelt the end for the RD. I was coming around
a two lane roundabout in the outside lane turning right. I know,
I know, I was in the wrong lane. But I had my headlight on, my
indicators and my bike isn't exactly stealthy.
Anyway, someone in a Volvo, (seriously, I know its always a Volvo
but its true) pulled into the roundabout and blocked my lane completly.
The Volvo just panicked and sat there as I tried to stop in time,
but instead I got thrown onto the
hood, and my bike bent its forks and fucked all sorts of other
stuff. It was a write off.
I was furious and nearly killed the driver (in my head) but instead
just screamed and shouted a torrent of abuse. This crash taught
me that life isn't always fair and that this certainly applies
to the road.
I learned alot about driver skill and the comfort zone. I'd say
that crash opened my eyes to the dangers of riding that I wasn't
willing to admit to myself, and I'd say I'm a better rider for
it because my attitude has changed.
Anyway, it took seven months to get a pittance out of the Volvo
drivers insurance, which certainly didnt pay for my new bike,
so I had to spend a considerable amount more than I should have,
but such is life.
I just hope someone else can learn from the mistakes I learned
that could have left a very nasty looking corpse for my parents
to have to identify.
A friend of mine who drives his cars very hard just got his first
motorbike so I have been hoping that he has taken heed of my advice
but as you well know, riding a bike is a personal endevour and
nobody can tell you the rules, you have to learn them yourself.
On the other hand, I love owning my Suzuki RG250, it has so much
power and I get no more pleasure anywhere else than playing the
clutch at full lean in the powerband, feeling the bike buck and
jump underneath me as it whips round a corner...
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