Keith Code

Crashing

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My wife is asking me why I have to have the "danger" aspect in my life and I'm having a hard time coming up with an answer that will be both honest and satisfy her. Some days, like today, I wonder what the heck made me take some of the chances I took. In meditation i sometimes decide that a particular thing is not something I should be doing and remove it from my repertoire of skills.

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CRASHING

 

Riding errors which lead to crashing follow distinct patterns. Once detected they can be used to make huge leaps forward in skill and confidence.

 

 

Keith I'm trying to figure out what happened.

Riding a 2010 Triumph Street Triple with Diablo Supersport tires. Stopping at a yellow light, 35mph, straight up, 34 degrees outside. Kinda sudden stop. rode over one of those big wide white crosswalk strips, just before a railroad track. Track was on the other side of the light. Suspension setup to soft. As soon as I went over the white stripe, I went down on the right side and slid almost to the railroad track..

 

Ideas?

 

Thanks.

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Mackyo123,

 

If I were to venture a guess, I would say that you have a combination of several things: cold weather reducing tire grip, painted crosswalk reducing surface grip (they are notoriously slippery), add to that abrupt braking and you may have simply exceed the available traction. It’s also possible that the abrupt braking caused unwanted rider input into the steering, again something that is made more impactful by the reduced traction.

 

Those are just my thoughts. I hope the accident wasn’t too damaging to you or you Triumph.

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Keith, Thanks, unnecessarily i dropped my precious Black Night. I have a pattern of dropping at low or no speed. I know the causes but wondering how i can break this habit before attending school in may 2014. some caused are rocks, a little to much brake, poor road shoulder, sand. i know all these conditions can be corrected but what is it in me that makes me fall off by my own hand? this has happended about 4 times with my Busa...three times in the driveway and once on a low speed practice course in a community college and lastly most recently in front of my house when coming in to park...poorly dressed (jeans but sufficent jacket and helmet) and returning in a hurry to see my wife off to work...no damage to bike or self except tiny scrapes an one bruised lower lip. will be right back up on her today. if i had to guess it would be rushing hurrying or "I've seen guys in a hurry and they don't make it". so to make it i have to take my time and "get each concept firmly in my mind". overconfidence is another character issue. all responses welcome.

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Keith, Thanks, unnecessarily i dropped my precious Black Night. I have a pattern of dropping at low or no speed. I know the causes but wondering how i can break this habit before attending school in may 2014. some caused are rocks, a little to much brake, poor road shoulder, sand. i know all these conditions can be corrected but what is it in me that makes me fall off by my own hand? this has happended about 4 times with my Busa...three times in the driveway and once on a low speed practice course in a community college and lastly most recently in front of my house when coming in to park...poorly dressed (jeans but sufficent jacket and helmet) and returning in a hurry to see my wife off to work...no damage to bike or self except tiny scrapes an one bruised lower lip. will be right back up on her today. if i had to guess it would be rushing hurrying or "I've seen guys in a hurry and they don't make it". so to make it i have to take my time and "get each concept firmly in my mind". overconfidence is another character issue. all responses welcome.

 

Can you without any effort let go of the left handlebar, "play the piano" with your fingers and/or flap your arms easily while riding at any speed?

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Hansi, I appreciate your taking an interest in my problem. Yes. I can do those things. I tried them out on a recent ride to be certain. Thanks, Nic

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Dropped the bike in the hay today! This one could have been bad and as it was I broke some plastic at got a small bruise on my forearm trying unsuccessfully to pick her up because I couldn't get footing. It was a classic Twist 2 DVD looking in the wrong place and poor steering combined with too long on the brake. All to avoid sand that I never hit and because I was trying too hard to out do someone who I raced with yesterday and wasn't even with me. I have been charging the corners without realizing it and was practicing discharge and hanging off with much success until I did the negative thing, went wide and down. I steered through some road refuse that could have made things a lot worse but eventually some of it caught the bike and she went quickly to her left side down. I was going about 45 or more so I'm very glad things turned out as well as they did but the nagging question of playing too hard in the street rears its ugly head again. So I read your article again Keith and its sinking in as I have read it multiple times now. Thanks for helping me to keep it in perspective and reevaluate my skills and choices.

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Nic,

 

Sorry to hear about your crash but I'm glad you came out OK. It's definitely sounding like the kind of riding you like to do these days is more suited to the track, though. I hope to hear about you making more use of the several track options available in your area before things go badly wrong for you. There's so much less room for error on the street and the risk versus reward calculus is much better on the track. I've gotten to the point that I don't ride on the street at all anymore because, like you, I much prefer to ride these bikes the way they're meant to be ridden, but the only place to do so with any reasonable amount of safety is on a track. Once you try it, I suspect you won't venture back out on the streets much but if you do, you'll probably keep it toned down because you are scratching that performance itch elsewhere. At least that was the progression I made. Good luck whatever you choose.

 

Benny

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Thanks Benny, that's exactly what I needed to hear. I have to change things up or as u say I'm headed for trouble. I love riding with my friends on the street. The difference Is I'm going to back off until I get some coaching in May and and see if I can overcome some of the flaws In my riding skills. Even so, I'm pushing way too hard and just have to be safer period. One of my problems is panicking in the corner, backing off the gas, braking, standing up the bike and going wide. At least that's what I think is happening. It's hard to know without proper coaching. Thanks for taking an interest. It helps to think through it with you in the forum. it's serious business.

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One thing I realized in my analysis of my riding style is very poor vision. I've been spending my time watching the corners go by pretty much by looking dead ahead and off to my right side. Kind of like touring and watching the scenery go by. Now that I've realized this most egregious error I'm having much better results looking far ahead through the turn. For one thing I'm not becoming fearful of seeing what mistakenly appears to be a line which will run me off the road. Its simply an optical illusion caused by looking in the wrong place. I'm so much more comfortable and finding better lines by looking through the turn. I can hardly believe that I was making that kind of error after all this time. The most important part is that I realized what I was doing wrong and have corrected it.

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I've been down a few times. Both tips from Keith's second book and knowledge of friends having gone down and mistakes they made helped me survive both.

 

First was June 2010 at Barber, level 1 KCSS. Mid corner, S1000RR, everything was well under control, leaned over a little more, the next thing I knew I was on the pavement. Post crash analysis revealed nothing unusual by riders behind or coaches nearby. Could I have applied a bit of throttle while adding lean? Maybe. Usually the S1000 prevents that, but who knows. While I slid on the pavement, my helmet bounced (boy did that make for a headache after) and I remembered the "Crashing" chapter of the 2nd book. Don't move - stand still, let people pass you by, then when it's safe, exit the track. Did exactly that and avoided becoming a moving chicane and/or target. Lessons learned? Don't add throttle mid corner (already knew that but it may have been unconscious) and stay still after coming to rest. Also, keep your head UP, don't let it bounce!

 

Second was a couple months ago - mountain ride with friends. Got rainy/dark all of a sudden, began pouring, construction zone. DOT did not properly remove old stripe on road but instead painted over it in black slippery paint. As I crossed over to the new temp. lane, rear tire under maintenance throttle spun out and slammed me to the pavement. $1500 in cosmetic damage to my bike, one or two broken ribs, but no other issues. Remembered a buddy who crashed recently at a slow pace (20mph at most) and wrecked his leg. Shattered in multiple places, nerve damage, the whole bit. Decided to stay tucked on to the bike (touring bike - panniers triangulate so that bike doesn't crush your leg when it lowsides) until it hit the pavement, then let go. Kept head up, felt sore but fine. Rode 3 more days til I found out rib was cracked. Lessons learned? Tuck in for street crashes (if it makes sense). Kept head up - no trashed helmet this time!

 

Headed back to KCSS in August at my home track (VIR) for some more training. Always improving!

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CONGRATS!!! you all simply rock and have helped me get out of that no I can't go fast stage, in the past two years being with you guys and the training has just made me become addicted to more and more. I've found myself helping others and guiding others to you or to someone more experienced than I to help them out. I can't thank you all enugh and can't say thanks enough when I save myself and bike from situations that could have become completely chaotic. I say thanks to you all and many others each time I head out on the road!!!

 

 

Can't wait to come back for some more training.

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