I was recently discussing falling off the motorcycle with some riding friends and now I have to report that I did just that on Sunday. I went down on my new bike on the way to a rally. I know that none of us want to hear that another rider has fallen off but sometimes it does help to know you are not the first or the last to have to deal with dropping the bike.
I have been riding my first bike, a 650 Vstar since I bought it new in 2006. In April I bought my dream bike, a Honda Valkyrie. It is too big for me and I have been doing mods to make it fit me better. If you look under Customizing you can find articles on what I am doing to help fit the bike better.
The bike is so much different then my 650. It is longer, taller, heavier and much more powerful.
My leg position is a lot different on the Valkyrie. The foot pegs are right under my knee, not the forward position I am used to on the Yamaha. The handlebars are farther away and the clutch lever is much harder to squeeze. I know how to ride the 650 and I am quite comfortable and confident in any situation that comes up on it. So if I had progressed from 0-10 on the small bike, when I get on the bigger bike I drop instantly back to a 3 or 4. All the old familiar fears come back when I take the big one out. My heart jumps out of my chest frequently. The advantage is that I know how to ride a motorcycle, I just have to learn how to ride THIS motorcycle. Another advantage is that I really WANT to. I love this bike, but I also love my body to remain unharmed, so I have to be realistic and take it slow as I can.
What happened on Sunday was a rookie mistake and I know better. But my nervousness and lack of confidence on the bigger bike made me forget the rule. I missed the highway turn off so I had to turn around. I did not feel confident making a U turn because of the small highway I was on, my lack of skill on the new bike and the amount of traffic. So I made a left turn onto a gravel side road and would attempt the low speed turn there and go back up onto the highway. I made the turn and as I entered the gravel part and started the turn I was facing down a bit. I looked down, mistake one, was using my front brake, mistake two, and was not giving power to the rear wheel, mistake three. OF COURSE I WENT DOWN!! Sheesh.
What I Did Right
Now I want to mention what I did right so I can at least come out of this with something. I attempted the turn in a place where I was not going to get hit by any cars or cause any problems. I was wearing full protective gear. I had rear crash bars installed to ensure that if I did go down I would not get pinned under the bike. I didn't panic, actually I didn't have time to panic but still.
I got up dusted myself off, made some pain faces, checked myself and my bike and got back on and rode to the rally. I didn't have to pick the bike up myself, it was back on the stand thanks to my husband being behind me.
Oh one more mistake I should mention. I should have maybe milked the situation for a little more sympathy.
And something kind of cool happened as a result. I kind of feel like I got it out of the way and I actually feel better and more confident and relaxed now. I dropped the big bike and lived to tell about it and rode home the same day. Life is good.
Take care everyone and ride safe.