Thursday, May 21, 2009


Lowside: The delicate act of crashing a motorcycle on a turn, where the rider falls to the inside of the corner.

At least I'm moving up in the ranks of my skills of dropping motorcycles. Now, I've graduated to dropping them while they're moving! At about 30mph, no less.

Long story short: I'm fine, the bike is fine. As you can see, I got damn lucky and missed the guardrail by about 6 feet, sliding instead into some nice, soft muddy grass.

I was riding down some rural road in Texas, going through this little town, and came up on a turn that I sign indicated was a left-hand curve advising 20mph. Now, so far, for most of the day, all of the curve-speed-suggestion signs have been WAY off base, many curves that signs warned for 30mph I barely had to lean through at 50. So, yeah, I didn't take it very seriously. I braked down to about 35, maybe 30mph . . . and just as I started leaning in I realized that this thing was way sharper then I thought.

This wasn't a curve, this was a goddamn corner.

I leaned it over as much as I could, I heard the footpeg scrape the concrete once, and then I heard a LOT of stuff scraping the concrete, and I was sliding along the pavement.

Looking back, I think I did a lot of things wrong, besides going in with too much speed. The biggest issue is that I was majorly distracted, wasn't concentrating and not thinking abour riding. Had I gone into this fully alert and planning to attack this corner agressively, I think it would have been fine, although a little shaken.

But I was approaching this just like a lazy turn. My line going in was wrong, I didn't start to lean nearly soon enough and I think that when I was all the way over, I might have made a n00b mistake by let off the gas, instead of giving it MORE, which is what you're supposed to do in these situations. I also could have helped avoid this by leaning my upper body off the bike to the inside of the turn, which would have let me straighten the bike up a bit more, at least enough to prevent from dragging so many hard parts.

I think when I was going down I had the presance of mind to lift my left leg up. Which while that might have contributed to my losing the bike, it also means that it didn't go down ON my leg. As it was, my saddlebag and footpegs/shifter seem to have taken the brunt of the impacts, and my handlebars are now a little tweeked, but I think I should be able to straighten them easily enough (nothing looks actually bent, the mounts are just crooked).

On the other side of the bike, one of the bolts holding the air filter housing on cracked off, but there's no major damage.

I'm perfectly fine: All my gear did it's job, and combined with the soft landing, I don't even have a bruise or scrape. I kept my head up the whole time, my helmet doesn't have a nick on it, and my riding jeans look good. I'll take a closer look at them once I get all the mud washed off, but as it is, none of the denim even got worn through to the kevlar.

The elbow of my jacket seemed to have taken the majority of the weight of my slide.

My landing area:

I credit this, the muddy, wet ditch, more then anything else, for me coming out of this okay. Had I held the corner just a LITTLE bit longer before wiping out, I would have crashed into that metal guardrail, and things wouldn't have ended well for me or the bike.

Immediatly, a couple of guys who saw me go down had stopped to see if I was okay. Once I verified that all my parts were still attached and working, they helped me push the bike up out of the ditch. I did ask these guys their names . . . but now I can't remember them. If anyone is ever in Texas and sees either of these guys, shake their hand for me.

One last picture, from the ditch, looking out on the road in the direction I came from.

So, yeah. My first legitimate crash. I'm so proud.


  1. Well, glad you made it out fine. Would have sucked to die in Texas of all places. Now that you've done it once you've learned a great lesson, lowsliding sucks. What are the brand of kevlar pants I've been thinking of getting some as I'm feeling like I want to do the SA trip.

  2. gotta work on the countersteering!

  3. Jesus, dude. Well at least you got it out of the way early. Ride safe!

  4. Dude, are you going to have a bike by the end of this trip? What part of texas is this. If you're coming through west texas i'd like to give you a bed to sleep in and some god damned pointers :D