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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I just read and posted in the thread "And so it begins.." and it got me thinking about some of the dumber things I've done that should have led to my demise.

Young roosters like to crow about their superior riding skills, extensive experience, and their courage (think a certain male body part) when riding their bikes. When I hear this foolishness I find myself thinking of the unfortunate EMS and police who will be cleaning up the mess he leaves behind one day.

One particularly dumb stunt I committed has haunted me to this day. I should be dead. I've decided to share because I'm one of those people who will pass an accident scene and immediately think to myself, if not say outright, "how the hell did he/she manage to do that ?" after all, I'm a superior driver (cough) and only a dumbass could get themselves into THAT situation.

What follows is the night that I was a dumbass. no two ways about it. There may be others but this one still haunts me.

I was heading home from an all day ride and I was unfortunately running late and it was now dusk when visibility was beginning to diminish. I'd opted to take some two lane country back roads home, thinking there'd be less traffic and a more enjoyable ride. I was admittedly tired and I still had at least an hour before arriving home.

I came up to a "T" intersection where I could only turn left or right. For me it would be a left turn, but the view to the right was limited as the road curved away from where I was sitting at a stop sign, waiting for my chance to go.

after glancing left and right a few times, I turned my head left again and spotted a truck pulling a trailer heading toward me that for some reason caught and held my attention. I don't remember why but I distinctly remember my gaze was held in that direction longer than it should have been.

as soon as the truck/trailer passed, I pulled out into a left sweep and IMMEDIATELY felt a vehicle moving at speed blow right past me, missing me by mere inches. The wind off that vehicle startled me. I remember being very confused, thinking "where the hell did he come from" when I realized, "HOLY Crap, I never looked back to the right to confirm the traffic was clear. This is a two lane road, no center turning lane to hang in while traffic clears.

The truck had pulled off about a hundred yards up the road and as I also pull off, I'm feeling extremely embarrassed and extremely lucky, more lucky than any fellow has a right to be. After dismounting and pulling off my helmet, I approached the young fella who was driving that rig with my hand extended and said "I'M SORRY. That was the dumbest thing I've ever done!". He smiled and reassured me that he saw me and would have wrecked his truck if necessary in order to avoid hitting me. He wasn't the slightest bit flustered but I sure was. I must have apologized and thanked him multiple times before we both headed off. I was still shook up an hour later when I pulled into the driveway.
 

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I passed an old lady on her left and just as I cleared her door I saw her left wheel start turning toward me. The rear of my bike must’ve cleared her front bumper by less than a foot.

Stupid part really was that I was agitated she was going so slow and instead of having my head in the “what’s gonna happen here” mode while behind her, I was all about “you stupid so-and-so don’t you know slow drivers cause more accidents than speeders?!?” That was some years ago.
 

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Wheelie contest on my 1973 750 four. Pulled it over backwards totaled the bike I got a scratch on my hand. The bike was sliding on its side but a highway bar caught and sent it tumbling. As I was tumbling I could see the bike following me the bike stopped before I did. It could have rolled on top of me. That was my first bike and I learned a hard lesson with that one lol. From then on it was wheelies on dirt bikes in the dirt!!!
 

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A dirt bike blunder I now realize how much of an idiot I was (and probably still am). There used to be some open mine ventilation shafts (vertical) near where we lived. We built dirt ramps on one side of them and used to jump over the shafts on our dirt bikes. You could not see the bottom of these shafts they were so deep. That was back when I was full of p$&# and vinegar.
 

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I was riding home from a dealer, back when I had my Harley, and was behind a mechanic out on a test ride. He slowed to let a car make a left in front of him. I didn't see what was happening in time and was stuck between gunning it or slamming the breaks. I opted for the former. Took a wide turn around the mechanic to give me more room in case the lady taking a left didn't see, which she didn't. Twisted the throttle a little more all the while I was saying this is gonna hurt. Just barely made it past the lady but needed to lean over really far to get past the now on coming curb. Sparks flying from my floor boards I just made that. Never went down that day.
 

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My friends and I were riding our off-road bikes near Taylor Park, CO and were transiting from one section to another on a county gravel road. No traffic anywhere, ahead or behind, as this was a remote location. I was last in line, and my friends were well in front, all riding reasonably. We passed where we were supposed to turn off. I slowed to a pace which would let me make a simple u-turn at low speed. Without looking behind me, a Chevy Suburban came blowing past me at about 40 mph. One second later and I would have been killed. Needless to say, whether on off-road bikes or the GL, I now ALWAYS stop, confirm no oncoming traffic behind, then proceed.
 

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It's what I don't know that hurts me. <==notice how I own it, I didn't say "you"

Back in '82 I modified the forks on my '78 GS750 Suzuki. Somehow, (must have read something) I got the notion to "improve" the functionality of the fork shocks. I purchased an after market product that replaced the fork caps with caps that had an air line between them so the pressure in each fork would be equal. Sounded like a good idea. The instructions that came with the product instructed the user to inflate to 5-10 psi. Since I didn't own an air compressor and being the "smart fella" I am, I pumped the forks up to 10 psi reasoning that if I didn't like it I could just release some air. So, I rode around for a week "testing". One thing I liked was, when coming off a wheelie the landing was cushiony smooth. After a week I found myself on my favorite high speed straightaway and opened that sucker up until it wouldn't go any faster maintaining 115 mph. Running out of pavement I rolled off the throttle, quickly, (big mistake) and immediately went into a speed wobble kicking me off the high side. The combination of non compliant front dampening, the abrupt deceleration and a Vetter fork mounted fairing all came together to create the Mother of all tank slappers. A helicopter ride to the nearest "Shock-a-rama" followed. After 8 days of debridement, collar bone reset and bruised lung treatment and I was discharged. Had I tumbled into anything stationary, I wouldn't be here today. All 9 lives used up at once.

So, what did I learn? Before doing any mods, do ALL the research first. Understand what the pros do. As it turns out, the tuners for GP and Superbikes run no pressure whatsoever in their front forks.

A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing.

NCBirdMan
 

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It's what I don't know that hurts me. <==notice how I own it, I didn't say "you"

Back in '82 I modified the forks on my '78 GS750 Suzuki. Somehow, (must have read something) I got the notion to "improve" the functionality of the fork shocks. I purchased an after market product that replaced the fork caps with caps that had an air line between them so the pressure in each fork would be equal. Sounded like a good idea. The instructions that came with the product instructed the user to inflate to 5-10 psi. Since I didn't own an air compressor and being the "smart fella" I am, I pumped the forks up to 10 psi reasoning that if I didn't like it I could just release some air. So, I rode around for a week "testing". One thing I liked was, when coming off a wheelie the landing was cushiony smooth. After a week I found myself on my favorite high speed straightaway and opened that sucker up until it wouldn't go any faster maintaining 115 mph. Running out of pavement I rolled off the throttle, quickly, (big mistake) and immediately went into a speed wobble kicking me off the high side. The combination of non compliant front dampening, the abrupt deceleration and a Vetter fork mounted fairing all came together to create the Mother of all tank slappers. A helicopter ride to the nearest "Shock-a-rama" followed. After 8 days of debridement, collar bone reset and bruised lung treatment and I was discharged. Had I tumbled into anything stationary, I wouldn't be here today. All 9 lives used up at once.

So, what did I learn? Before doing any mods, do ALL the research first. Understand what the pros do. As it turns out, the tuners for GP and Superbikes run no pressure whatsoever in their front forks.

A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing.

NCBirdMan
TMOATS - the mother of all tank-slappers! I love it. Have had many TMOATS moments on my mx bikes. Glad u made it out alive (minus the debridement of course).
 

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Back in the late 80's on a Yamaha Maxim 550. Bought used and didn't know much about riding on the road. I did have experience in dirt. Well the old used bike had a loose chain. Seem if you get to about 85 and that chain starts slapping around enough it can get the whole back of the bike to follow it. I had what I can best describe as a reverse tank slapper. The back end going from full lock to full lock as I shifted as much weight as I could to the handle bars and front wheel.
My buddy was behind me watching the whole thing. When we got to the house he said, "I saw you die three times before you got that thing settled down".
 

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My foolishness made my first Iron Butt ride much more difficult than it had to be. About 800 miles into it, at 2 AM on a deer infested road in the middle of Montana, I was desperately doing jumping jacks in an effort to get warm and stay awake. I was hours behind my poorly planned itinerary and I had put myself into a dangerous situation with no solution but to ride it out. I eventually made it home, barely. I’ve done numerous IBA and other long distance rides since then and the lessons learned that night in Montana have stuck with me and kept me safe ever since.
 

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Back in ‘85, going too fast on my CX500 on an unfamiliar road, sharp, blind, right hand curve and target fixation put me in the oncoming lane, down in the ditch and back out again at 45 mph. Didn’t go down and barely got out of the way of a concrete truck headed straight at me. Stopped a mile down the road and checked my pants. Never ventured on that road again.
 

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I was riding 75 mph or so west of Murdo on I-90 headed to the Black Hills. There was not a lot of traffic that morning so when I was going to pass a car I looked in the mirror and there was a pickup about a mile back or so, I pulled out and passed the car and stayed in the passing lane for a while, I guess a bit too long! As I started to drift back into the right lane I heard the truck just in back of me to my right, I corrected back toward the left as it passed me on the right, not missing me by more than a foot. I was on the center line when he went by at a much higher rate of speed than I was going. It was great to be on a nice quiet Goldwing so I heard him before I saw him.
 

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Late 1980s on my BMW R100/7. It had factory 'snowflake' mags which were touted as a safety feature, because the tire would stay on the rim a few miles, even if totally flat. The front tire went flat near Lake Elsinore, on I-15 in SoCal. I pulled over, inspected it, and decided to limp to a bike shop a few miles away. At first I rode in the emergency lane in 1st and 2nd gear; as confidence built, shifted to 3rd and 4th, then later 5th and merged into traffic at 50-55 MPH. All was well till the tire suddenly came off the rim and it was like riding on BBs. I went down hard, flipped, tumbled and rolled to a stop. First instinct was to get up and run to the roadside, as I'd once seen a guy get run over on the Interstate and it was not pretty. Once roadside, I looked back and all lanes were stopped, so I ran back into the road and drug the BMW to roadside. Soon after, someone stopped and gave me and the front wheel a ride to the repair shop, then back to the motorcycle. Besides torn jeans and scraped leather jacket, a metal face-shield snap on my 3/4 helmet was ground away, and down into the fiberglass. It was a very lucky day, by all accounts.
 

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Well the old used bike had a loose chain. Seem if you get to about 85 and that chain starts slapping around enough it can get the whole back of the bike to follow it. I had what I can best describe as a reverse tank slapper.
I know what you mean in a "reverse" sort of way. It's a miracle we survived our ignorance.
 

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It was a very lucky day, by all accounts.
Yep, if you're like me...It was a game changer. Do I continue to ride for vanity's sake??, or do I get serious about the sport? Imagine, we still ride and are still alive...for now.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle maintenance.
 

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I was riding two up and pulling my trailer the last in a group of 5 bikes in Michigan. The first 2 bikes were able to pass a slow moving 4 wheeler just before we went up a steep hill. On the back side the two bikes in front of me started to pass the car on the downhill side. I waited my turn so I could see then decided to go for it. Unfortunately at the bottom of the short hill was a curve with a sign that said 25mph. The two bikes in front of me made it back into the lane a little before the curve then had to lean their bikes as hard as they could though the curve. I got on the brakes as hard as I could but went into the curve entirely too fast. I’m not sure how fast but it was probably still over 55mph. I leaned the bike as far as I could and scraped my foot peg and other things all the way through the curve. I don’t know how I kept it in my lane. When I finally straightened out I waited for the inevitable helmet slap from my wife. I didn’t get one. She was too busy contemplating if my life insurance was paid up because she was going to kill me when we got to the hotel.
 

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When I first started riding I had a 650 Yamaha, my oops bike !
This bike was very forgiving, but it could do nothing for my first group ride the mistake was my own and I could have been dead.
I don’t know if I had blanked out in BRC but I really had NO concept of riding curves.
We had been out at Ocean City bike week and was headed home, the guys had picked up speed to 80 and we were rolling. Three lanes I am on the furthest inside left lane I look up and there was a left hand curve coming up and I steered into it !
Steered ! No press ,No lean , No roll.
I first slid from the inside to the outside of “my” lane
then across the lane divider into the middle lanes far left.... then the middle lanes far right NOT UNDERSTANDING what I was doing wrong I continued into and across the 3rd and last lane until I heard and felt the rumble strips .
Then it all came back to me, I never pressed so hard in my life!
I learned from that 2 things.
Stick to the basics & Ride my ride !
 

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When I first started riding I had a 650 Yamaha, my oops bike !

I learned from that 2 things.
Stick to the basics & Ride my ride !
I had a Yammy 650 too. I took a fat girl for a ride and dropped my clutch due to overwhelming inertia. Sold it fast. I stuck to the basics too, and got a scoot with more OOMPH!!!
 
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