Need to know I'm not alone -- had a wreck today

by Veronica
(Valley Forge)

Learning to ride has been a tough journey for me from day one -- from the first time I sat on a bike and duck walked it up until today when I crashed it and ended up with a wrecked bike (too early to know extent of damage) and a broken right wrist. Ended upside down in a 4 foot ditch while making left turn from a stop after conquering a twisty curving downhill road. I have dumped 4 different bikes a total of 12 times (2 with my private instructor, once at safety course, 3 times on my rebel and 6 times on my new beautiful Slim) -- each one resulted in learning what I did wrong. I have taken it slow, practiced in a parking lot, around my development and got out on the real road 2 weeks ago for a good 35 mile ride. I have been riding well and decided to go for a Sunday ride with my hubby to really practice on the streets. Everything was great today until I made a turn got spooked by my floorboard scraping the ground turned my head toward a wooded area and found the only unseen ditch. Stupid mistake that now wrecked my new bike and put me in a cast (seeing orthopedic surgeon tomorrow) for 6 weeks. I REFUSE TO QUIT! I'm not scared about what happened today. Has anyone gone through such a difficult journey and is now a good rider? Is there hope for me? How do I ride on the roads without having these issues. I want this more then anything I have wanted -- I love the ride when the rubber side is down. You ladies have been with me every step of my journey and now I need you more than ever as I sit here with a painful wrist, heavy drugs but an even heavier heart -- so very sad and really mad at myself for such a stupid mistake.

Comments for Need to know I'm not alone -- had a wreck today

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Apr 05, 2016
For new riders NEW
by: Alystar

Ride dirt first because if you can navigate a dirt bike there is nothing on pavement that will unseat you. And if you don't want to spend money on a dirt bike use a bicycle. Next, purchase a bike with a low center of gravity and not a bike that is too large for you. And third, ride alone until you are confident. Riding with people is nerve wracking, they either get in the way or don't take into account a first timers lack of experience. They can get a person killed. So ride alone for a while.

Oct 19, 2013
Lone Riding
by: SnaykByte

I ride alone. I find that riding with others DOES cause more need to concentrate, on what the OTHERS in your group are doing, PLUS minding the other traffic to boot.

For those of you that ride in groups, what do you think about regarding good riding and safety?

Oct 16, 2013
One more thing
by: Jeanette

I almost forgot to mention something very important. Ride your own ride!! I mean if you are following another rider, don't feel pressured to rush. Take your turns at your own pace. My hubby hated it when I took the bike to work and rode often by myself...He worried about me! :) I felt I had to get to know my bike alone. When I was following him there was so much to concentrate on. Where was he going, how fast, the other drivers, my technique, was he going to turn, stop whatever... I found when I rode by myself all I thought about was my ride, safety, technique... stuff like that. NO pressure... It was awesome and I believe it was a great help in how comfortable I got riding.
Hope that helps you too!

Oct 16, 2013
tough ride
by: Jeanette

The softail is a very low centre of gravity so it should ultimately be one of the easiest bikes to ride... I have a delux and can't beleive how much easier it is in corners than my first bike, a Suzuki Boulevard 800. I think practice in a parking lot for your turns... be very concsious of staying off the front brake... You shouldn't even need it unless you are making a fast stop. That was one of the best lessons I learned. Time in the saddle and tons of practice is going to be your best friend. Practice in an area you can feel comfortable, not rushed and you can get to know how the bike feels in those corners... Before long you will be riding like a pro... Hope you heal fast and get back to riding... Wishing you all the best

Oct 16, 2013
by: Veronica

Karen use my email at vsaltz1@aol.com

Oct 15, 2013
not alone
by: diana brokaw chiefgopher

comments from everyone are great. the best is the one about squeezing the tank with your knees while driving. to get this to be instinct was to be a passenger with hubby first and use my legs to hold on. I would take pics of our ride with my camera or iphone. to keep balance and not shift too much for hubby to keep control i would squeeze his hips with my legs and that kept us steady and have gotten great shots and video. when i started riding my own bike holding the tank with my knees was an easy transition. I now have a gopro for my pics and videos. Now that you are in a cast this would be a good time to get in some practice and tone those muscles. It really makes a difference if you are only relying on your legs to hold on it really uses those thigh muscles. It could be that your bike is top heavy and that throws you off when you get spooked. If bike is beyond help consider a bike with a lower center of gravity to help keep you upright. I do well on honda shadow. My hubby has kawi 900 vulcan it is top heavy for me and I am not comfy driving it. Try many bikes stand them up and move them left and right while standing and see how it feels. if it feels like you cant hold it up keep looking. just my two cents. Hope you heal quickly so you can get back out there.

Oct 15, 2013
by: Karen

Reaching out... none of the Veronica T's on FB seem to have pictures of motorcycles in their public shots (not surprising perhaps ;-) ). My profile is at fritz.karen and I'd love to be friends with any woman who rides!

Oct 14, 2013
Thank you
by: Veronica

Ladies, your support is helping to get thru a rough week ahead -- can't go to work, drugs helping pain but still hurts and facing surgery on Friday -- this too shall pass but would have been tougher without u :)

Oct 14, 2013
by: Veronica

Karen thanks for suggestions will look at book but could use the focus meditation -- I'm a trial lawyer and the brain is always going 60 mph in 20 different directions and that's just work -- need to find that zone of focusing only on riding when on the road -- you can find me on Facebook Veronica turner -- could use some coaching :) sadly don't have time for dancing but does sound fun -- took this riding up at age 54 -- hard to slow myself down -- hubby nicknamed me turbo lol

Oct 14, 2013
Jeanette's questions
by: Veronica

Jeanette, to answer your questions each dump was for different reasons
1st dump -- first time I sat as a rider I went to shift into first leaning bike to left
2nd dump -- I had wheel turned to right rolled throttle grabbed front brake and went down -- both occurred before I started safety course with 3 hours private instruction on a 883 sportster (at this point had never ridden a bike)
3rd dump -- at safety course going in a turn saw instructor talking to another student and was heading toward them and stopped and laid it down to avoid crash
4th dump -- before license in parking lot got spooked by a car and laid it down -- had only two of four sessions in safety course
5th and 6th dumps on rebel -- stopping on leaning road and lost balance had just got license
6 dumps on slim 4 in one day due to braking hard with front brake -- hubby fixed problem and braking issues resolved
Sunday was due to not looking where wanted bike to go and the existence of an unseen ditch -- a stupid newbie mistake -- messed my bike up still don't know how bad but need surgery on my wrist Friday -- 4 fractures and need a plate but doc says throttle hand will be like new -- I do have ride like a pro but considering taking class -- thanks for caring and keep u posted
6 dumps with 4 in one day on slim -- all related to grabbing front brake that once my husband saw me do it parking lot we fixed problem and no more breaking issues
Sunday I b

Oct 14, 2013
Spooked reaction
by: Gypsy Spirit

Hi Veronica ...

For most people, the first thing they do when they get spooked driving is to go for the brake. When on a bike ... or when driving a manual shift car ... the safer option is to get in the habit of grabbing the CLUTCH. It cuts the power to your drive wheels without locking them up so you can keep steering.

I have a friend who took the floorboards off his bike and put on forward controls with foot pegs. His boards were always dragging, even on moderate turns, reducing his turn radius. Just something to think about.

Keep the Faith!

Oct 14, 2013
Don't give up!
by: Paula Parker

I think it is a real confidence builder if you start out riding dirt bikes. They are smaller and it is easier to "become one" with them. That is how I started my daughter. She then started riding my dual-sport around town. Have yet to get her on my Harley, but she got pregnant and is now Mom to my 3 month old granddaughter :)

Don't give up, it will click, sooner or later ...

Oct 14, 2013
Keep It Up, and Be Gentle to Yourself!
by: Tammy

You're definitely not alone! I've dropped my bike three times now (once while duck-walking backwards parking, once when parking and I stupidly ran out of speed and fell over, and one when I braked to avoid a collision while in a turn and slid out.) Each time I resolved not just to keep riding and not quit, but also to look at the situation and figure out what I could improve upon to do better the next time I found myself in the same situation. Doing that without beating yourself up for the mistakes is hard, but for me it felt really good to be able to say, "next time I won't do X, and then I won't make that mistake again!" As a very new rider, I figure I'm only doing poorly if I make the same mistake more than once!

Oct 14, 2013
I'm inspired
by: Karen

YOU are an amazing and wonderous human being! Clearly you have tremendous courage to have trepidation and still take action. Being back on the bike is demonstration of bravery and determination.

Picking up on you saying you got "spooked" and the unnoticed elements... I'd propose an attention-management exercise or two. Easy: Check out a copy of "Highly Sensitive Person's Survival Guide." Moderate: I'd love to offer you some meditation coaching to see where your attention is going and learn skills to own it (I don't know if that's allowed on this board, but I'd love to do it.) Challenging: Take a dance class that's very earth-oriented; African would be best, maybe modern, tribal. Something with bare feet so you're really feeling YOU in your body.

I'm so inspired that you're staying with it and leaning in!

Oct 14, 2013
by: Jeanette

What was the reason for your other spills? Are they all for similar reasons? Order the ride like a pro dvd's... they are the most valuable tool for anyone who wants to be the best rider they can be... If you can, take their actual course... focus, friction zone, & proper brake usage are the important aspects of riding... I have had a couple of spills, one from using my front brake while the bike was not straight and the other from not having my frictio zone engaged on a slow turn.... no matter the reason you have to find out why you keep having the issues. Since I understood what the issue was I have not had a problem since... I have over 17000klm (10000 miles) since August 4 2012 when I got my licence to ride and feel as comfortable on my bike as I do in my car now...Time in the saddle, on easy roads is going to help once you master the issues that are causing your tumbles... Wish you all the best....

Oct 14, 2013
Dear Determined
by: Norma

I admire your determinatuion. I am a new rider also and I still have a lot to learn. I have found it is true to "look where you want the bike to go". I normally ride following my husband as he sets the pace knowing I am a new rider. I have to remind myself to take off very slowly especially when making a turn from a stop. Otherwise I tend to go too wide in my turn. I have to keep in mind not to use the front brake if the wheel is turned also. It is helpful learning from other, like yourself that are willing to share their experiences. I hope you heal quickly and will soon be back on the road

Oct 14, 2013
2 useful / practical pieces of advice
by: Angie

1) STAY OFF your front brake when you're driving slowly in a turn (i.e., parking lots). Use only your back brake in those situations.

2) When driving at speed and making a turn, SQUEEZE your gas tank with your thighs and PRESS your grip / handle bar on the side of the direction you want to go. Squeezing your gas tank with your legs isn't intuitive. What I always wanted to do when I was having trouble making a turn was throw my inside knee out in the direction I'm trying to go. MISTAKE. Keep squeezing the tank with your thighs and press that handle bar and LOOK where you want to go.

I predict that once you master these two critical techniques, you'll successfully stay up on both wheels.

Good luck and stay safe!

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