By October 31, 2008

I finally dropped a motorcycle – Gravity 1, Raider 0

Well, after over three years of motorcycling, I finally dropped a bike.

My R1150R doesn’t have a choke, but it has an ignition helper doo-dad that is used to help the motorcycle start on cold days like today. You pull that doo-dad up and start the bike. I always leave my bikes in first gear when they are on the side stand to prevent rolling. One should not have the bike in gear when using said doo-dad because the bike will lurch forward.

I engaged the clutch and toed the shifter into neutral — just in time to feel the bike roll slightly forward. The side stand folded up, and the bike started to tip over on its left side. I held Raider up for a heartbeat and remembered how much I’d hurt myself keeping my K1200LTE upright. My calf is still damaged, over six months later. I tried to lower the bike as gently as possible, but the 600-pound bike got the best of me and dropped the last two inches or so.

“Fuck,” I muttered, and immediately looked around to see if my neighbors saw me. Whew, no one was outside. I took my helmet off and snuggled my butt up against the seat, hoping to use my legs to push the bike upright. It seemed so easy in the YouTube videos I saw of people doing it with the (much) larger K bikes.

The R1150R, even with the side cases and engine guard, was too low to the ground for me to get squared away. I could push the bike sideways across the ground, but that wasn’t going to help me lift it. I was going to be late for work if I didn’t act fast. I called upon the spirit of P90 fitness guru Tony Horton. I bent my knees low, squared my back, and pulled the bike upright with a deadlift. I got the bike up high enough to extend the sidestand. I was still for just a moment to make sure I hadn’t pulled something. I seemed okay, so I put my helmet back on, started the bike, and got the fuck on the road.

Total damage: not much. Raider’s first master had dropped the bike in his driveway, too, so there were some pre-existing scuffs on the left side case and engine crash guard. I know for sure I added a new abrasion to the left mirror and the left hand guard. I doubt people would notice the damage unless I pointed it out, and it is all cosmetic.

Apparently I didn’t extend the side stand all the way after getting home from my trip to Tybee Island. I was cold and wet and ready to get off of the bike, and was probably careless. This is how most low/no-speed accidents happen. People get sloppy and forget to put the side stand down at a gas station, or don’t watch where they put their feet and slip on wet leaves.

My life’s motto is “it could always be worse,” and today that was certainly true. My friend Bond said this morning, “you got that out of the way for another three years.”

Here’s to hoping he’s right.

Posted in: motorcycling

4 Comments on "I finally dropped a motorcycle – Gravity 1, Raider 0"

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  1. Motodisiac says:

    I complitely agree with your last statement. Better to be on the ground like this that at speed……
    Isn’t is funny how our first thought is always “did anyone see me”? Embarrasment is one of the worst things about drops like this.
    October wasn’t kind to us, but it’s over now…

  2. Jim Shoe says:

    Bummer man. That’s just about the shittiest feeling the world. Just thank Jah you didn’t break off a turn signal or serious part. Those things are crazy expensive to replace.

    Though I’ve only dropped one of my bikes from a standstill, I know the pain.
    One morning back in college, we came downstairs to the garage to find my roommate’s XS11 Special laid on its side, my KZ750 laid on top of that, and another roommate’s KZ125 on top of mine. Lots of gas everywhere, and several months of repairs to fix the turn signals, levers, exhausts, dents, and assorted blemishes.
    If I ever find out who did that, I swear…

  3. fishsprout says:

    Oh, misery loves company. 🙂 I think it’s inevitable, a bike will eventually go down… at least you weren’t moving… Wow, this sounds so familiar right now…. ha!

  4. Ric Davis says:

    The best approach is usually to lift on the end of the handlebar, as that gives you the longest lever to pick the bike up with. Bend your knees to protect your back as much as possible too.