Dropped it... AGAIN!

by Gwen
(Alpine, Big Bend Region, Texas)

I'm a newbie, having just taken the safety course weekend before last, and getting my license on 3/20. I was the only inexperienced rider in my class (Texas has a new endorsement requirement and many experienced riders are having to take the course). I scored the best on the skills test at the end of class. I was anxious, scared, nervous, all those things about the course, but I came out feeling good combined with a very healthy respect (fear?). I took the course on a small Kawasaki (125 maybe, I don't know) and I got a '95 Honda Pacific Coast (800 cc). I do feel that it's right for my first one and fits me well. I've dropped it - TWICE - both times when trying to go from a complete stop to turn left out of a parking space. The PC is too heavy for me to pick it up by myself. A student (I work at a university) helped me pick it up today. Ego took a beating! I'm frustrated. I've watched lots of videos on youtube and can't figure out what I'm doing wrong. Other things that I do wrong, I can "feel" the wrong moves, and can correct them. I hear my instructor's voice in my ear, too, but now, I'm very frustrated. Want to park it, but know that I must get out there again tomorrow. Help! I've ridden about 200 miles total since class, and the curvy, twisty, mountainous highway roads in my area don't bother me. It's the dang parking lots that scare me!

Comments for Dropped it... AGAIN!

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Jul 03, 2012
dropped on the way
by: Piper "Bad Nana"

Don't feel bad, I dropped my bike on the way to get my license! That was 30 years ago. I rode for a few years, and dropped my bike again.
I stooped riding to raise kids, and recently just bought a new Honda Shadow 750. Week 2 i dumped in a parking lot pulling into a space omn an oil spill - oh well, pick it up and start again! Wear good safe gear, and ride well - I'm 50 years young...what a mid life crisis!

Jun 05, 2012
Freeway Bars
by: Heather

Hi Freeway bars will help you protect and pick up your bike.
I am doing the ride like a pro course and it will train you easy techniques for lifting downed bikes. I installed the bars before i rode my shadow and installed highway pegs upside down just like motorman suggested. I put down some card board and intensionally lowered my bike to the ground in both directions and nothing touched. I was able to lift the bike back up by myself but had a friend there to help just incase.
I hope this helps


Apr 18, 2012
Don't give up!
by: Anonymous

Agree with the comments about staying off of the front brake at low speeds and when you have the front tire turned. Also good advice about keeping your head up and looking where you want the bike to go. Try using friction zone and dragging the rear brake a little bit as you roll gently on the throttle. The action of dragging the rear brake and simultaneously rolling gently on the throttle "grounds" the bike. Research Ride-Like-A-Pro. You'll find it on the web and on u-tube. It's a single day course dedicated to low speed maneuvering. If you can't take the class, there are also DVD's available. And if you haven't installed them yet, get some spacers or highways bars on your bike to minimize damage and make it easier to pick up.

Apr 11, 2012
new rider
by: Maria

I am enjoying reading all of the comments. Lots of good advice! I just bought my suzuki c50 4 days ago. I love it! Almost dropped it a couple times but managed to get it back up! Some of these tips should help me! Thanks

Apr 05, 2012
Even the most experienced....
by: Mary

...riders drop it occasionally. I just attended the Coppell Motorcycle Cops competition and wow...not only are those guys good, but THEY DROP THEIRS TOO! Just saying...sooner or later, no matter how good you think you are, it's bound to happen. :)

Apr 04, 2012
dropping my bike
by: Diane

I'm so glade I read this post, as I have had my new bike 2 weeks an about to give up riding as thought I'm not safe if I drop my bike, but going to go out agian on it now an not give up.

Mar 29, 2012
It happens to us all
by: Nana

I too learned on a 125 and then started out with an 800cc. I dropped it many times. First make sure it fits you right. I realized that I needed my handle bars rolled back a bit because I kept cracking the throttle when I tried to turn left from a stop. My guy put a riser on them and rolled them back - I haven't dropped it since.

Look - it's rare that you have to turn hard left from a stop. You will be turning wider into a lane of traffic, which is easier than turning hard left. However, everything you've been told is true - keep your head up - look down, go down. Lay off the front break - only use it to come to a complete stop. And work that friction zone on the clutch.

I learned how to pick my big ole bike up because I dropped the thing so damn often at first. I was determined that if I was going to be tough enough to ride, I would be able to pick it up. There are videos on line showing exactly how to pick it up. I can do it by myself and I'm not a strong woman. It's all about leverage and getting your butt planted low on the seat.

Hang in there - you'll get it. Knock wood, I haven't dropped mine for a few months now. But I remember when my goal was to get through a ride without dropping it.

Mar 29, 2012
by: REE

When it comes to turns of all kind, three things are crucial to remember...1. Never use the front brake in a turn, 2. Never brake with the wheel turned and 3. Always look where you want to go.

Before you come off that lot, make sure your wheel is straight and no oncomming traffic. Get in your friction zone. ( this is the part that should help) if you are making for example a right hand turn, just before you come off the lot, look to your far right and give a little throttle to keep it upright. So comming off the lot, you are looking where you plan to go, not where you are. I hope that makes sense. Think you and the bike as being one unit. When you turn your head all the way around soon your shoulders and everything else follows. Same with the bike. Good Luck.

Mar 29, 2012
Welcome to the club :)
by: Dawn

You have now joined the ranks of practically every other rider out there. The first year I had mine I could barely keep it upright. I felt like I spent more time on the ground than riding I fell over so many times. Couldn't go around a right corner no matter what I tried.

My problem was not enough throttle or leaning. My bike, a Honda, has this goofy pivot that when you turn the handlebars too far right they flop sideways like they are on a spring. So for me counter steering was a critical skill to embrace and master. It's covered in class, but until you get out there it really doesn't click. But once it does, it makes all the difference.

Also, I suggest engine guards. For me it made picking it up easier, and the added bonus of not getting your leg squashed when you fall over the next time. And there will be a next time. :)

Don't get discouraged. If you feel your bike is a good fit,and not too big, practice somewhere safe with a spotter to help you pick it up. It will get easier as the season progresses.

Mar 27, 2012
Thanks for the comments!
by: Gwen

About 5 minutes after I posted my plea, I started with a stomach bug that has kicked me in the rear. This is my first attempt at coming out from under the covers, and all your comments made me smile. I will go back to the course range to practice, which is only about 1/2 mile from my house. I think my problem must be front-brake related, too. I need to practice keeping my foot on the rear brake while keeping my bike upright, too. Thanks again. Will report back.
I'll add that I'm 52, 5'7".

Mar 27, 2012
parking lot
by: Di

If I were you I would go to a parking lot practice there with a friend in tow to make sure if you do drop it you have assistance. but practicing without pressure would be your best bet . Also I know when I took the course my instructer said I could call him they really truly want you to be safe and would do anything to make that happen . Practice practice practice until you feel comfortable . :)

Mar 27, 2012
Stay off that front brake
by: Angie

I've got an extremely heavy bike, an 850 lb Vulcan 1700. I'm a 50 year old female, 5'7", 150 pounds and have dropped it several times (and yes, many of those times in front of others - very ego brusing!) It's always been when I'm stopping with the front wheel turned or am turning slowly, say in a parking lot. I finally read enough to realize that I was using the front brake and that's a sure-fire way to drop it when the wheel is turned and you're going slow. Now that I'm conscious about using only my back brake when turning slowly, I haven't dropped it again. This may not be your cure-all, but it'll be a good start to fixing the problem.

Mar 27, 2012
by: Lynn - Florida

It sounds like you just need more practice with your bike. It is bigger than the class bike but if you like it and feel comfortable with your handlebar reach & seat height you just need more time in the seat.

I have only ever dropped my bikes in parking lots so join the club.

Keep us posted and don't give up!

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