Fri, 9 Feb 2005
Jeffrey Spencer, Yuba City, California USA <thomas.horne
I like the posting by Mark of his many "incidents." My stories of notable crashes started with my first ride.
At age 13 (1973), my dad was teaching me to ride a Yamaha 350. Mind you, a Yamaha 350 is not a big bike, but to a scrawny 13 year-old, it was huge! I dumped it after my first turn and broke the turn indicator.
Lesson for me: Don't break dad's bike!
I do not remember all my crashes as some were quite fun and I vainly tried to re-create them, especially when riding motocross. But the most notable and wakening were as follows.
Riding a 1978 Yamaha 400XS through the canyons of Carmel Valley , CA in 1983, I was fast approaching a 90-degree right curve, well banked turn. As I throttled down and set to go deep into the turn, a car appeared IN MY LANE! Hot pavement is as slick as oil. I braked hard and with both feet still on the pegs went into a cross-over slide to the left. The car passed quickly around me and I slid into the canyon wall on the other side of the road. Shortly after, swallowed my heart and continued on.
Lesson here: The other guy is as dangerous as I am.
Same bike, months later. Riding the mountain roads of Big Sur, CA and was on a beautifully snaking road - lean right, lean left, back right, and - - not fast enough back again. Off the cliff I went - airborne for about 20 feet and landing on my rear wheel like I was back on motocross. Downhill I rode until the bottom where I crashed out. Another gulp of my heart to get it down.
Lesson: Don't ride faster than my angel can fly!
Sacramento , CA on a hot summer day in 1994. I was riding my 1993 Yamaha Radian when a car ahead of me rear-ended another. Locked up both brakes, feet still on the pegs (again), could not stop me before reaching the larger immovable mass; also know as a Mercedes-Benz.
The forks folded, front wheel wedging between the four pipe headers, thus launching me over the bars. My crotch rode over the tank and I headed straight for the rear window. Head (with helmet) broke through the rear window of the Mercedes, with the law of physics now carrying the rest of my body into a somersault. I slammed onto the roof, slid off and over the front of the car and rolled into the next lane.
Knowing that commuter traffic is crazy I jumped up and immediately ran to safety on the side of the road. The folks behind me had eyes as big as saucers. They thought they were seeing a ghost running! I suffered a skinned knee and elbow, and really bruised cohonies from the tank ride.
Lesson: Learn from my previous lesson about my angel! Second lesson: Yamahas must be dangerous.
My eighth bike. Another sunny day in Sacramento this last October. I was on my 2001 Suzuki (pictured on visitor's bike page) doing about 45 mph, when while braking I hit a patch of sand dropped in the road. Just like being on ice!! Down I went with the right peg smashing through the side of my foot. Received a rotisserie road rash. After I stopped rolling, I stood and surveyed that my bike did not suffer as much as I did. I thought I only topically took more than my share of minerals.
Being satisfied with that, I noticed my right peg was bent and decided to smash it back into place with my foot. Then I proceeded to ride home - about a 90 minute ride. Upon getting home I looked like a forlorn war veteran, tattered and torn, limping badly from a broken foot and holding a broken wrist.
Lesson: A true veteran rider, you are never too old or experienced to crash.