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Learn from your mistakes 3

Mark 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...

Jeffrey's sons on their dad's 2001 Marauder.  They like to get short rides around the neighborhood, but can't wait to be big enough to go on longer rides, Jeffrey tells us.

Crashes I remember

Fri, 9 Feb 2005
By Jeffrey Spencer, Yuba City, California USA <thomas.horne @ student.adelaide.edu.au>

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.

Jeffrey Spencer

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