Doc Wong Crashes - Part 3 - The Crash

Doc Wong

I thought I'd share this expensive lesson. I of all riders……yea right!

Mines Road from Livermore has numbered miles. At the start of Mines Road, the three of us meet another rider, Bill whom I've ridden many miles with over the last 7 years. He comes over to admire the new leathers and bike, gives me the thumbs up and off we go.

Mile one…just starting, Andy takes off, I'm right behind him. After a few minutes he picks up the pace, no problem, I'm right behind him. Wow, on the beemer, I could never keep this pace up.

Mile after mile I'm with him. Up around mile 15 there are some nasty looking left handers with what appears to be a cliff edge on the outside! I take it just a bit easier on these turns.

Several turns with gravel, I'm going a bit fast but I manage a good pace thru them by weighting the outside peg and minimizing the lean angle. A little slide here and a little there, no sweat…fun!

Wow! This duck is working SO well. I'm leaning over much further than on my BMW which has limited clearance due to the twin heads to each side. I lean and lean and nothing scrapes! What fun!

Then my "infamous" turn comes up. It's a wonderful looking "S" turn where I can see the entire "S" (Illustrations of this is now on my web page). Andy's pulling away a bit and I "know" I can make up some time.

I pick my turn in point, get to it and turn the bike! The turn is wide open and I'm on the gas early…perfect! "Everything was perfect" or so I thought.

Then it happened. I hit ripples in the pavement which under normal circumstances would pose no problem. Only this time I was leaned over quite a bit. As soon as I hit the ripples, my front end washes out and I slide along the ground with my bike.

Ripples in the pavement
(Click to enlarge)

I hear the sound of plastic scraping along the asphalt at about 70 miles per hour. Quite an experience, my poor beautiful bike is sliding along the ground! My first thought was "What the…"

As I hit the ground, I heard that awful scraping that comes along with new smooth plastic scraping along the rough asphalt road surface.

Funny thing about hitting the ground while leaned so far over. There's hardly any "fall" because I was so close to the ground. Seemed like I actually fell only a couple of inches. Very strange sensation…almost comforting.

I can feel the rippling, grainy road surface speeding away from me as I was sliding backwards. I could feel the road under my arms and hands, felt like being on a large belt sander. My gloves were taking a good beating too. I'm really happy they stayed on. I slid and slid. Seemed to take forever before I stopped. Fortunately I didn't hit anything! I thank Helmot for making the leathers I slid on…it turned out to be a rather comfortable ride along the pavement. His new suit has an abundance of padding that I consider state of the art…in addition to the standard areas of padding, he has padding along the front and back. Good thing as I'm not in the habit of wearing a spine pad.

My leathers slowed my sliding faster than the plastic on my bike so there was no collision between me and the bike. Another good reason to have leathers! All in all the bike slid about 150 feet and me about half that.

I can see Bill coming from behind, as he passes me, he can see that I'm not hurt as I walk back to investigate how I fell. Roger is next, he parks and ensures that traffic will not cause more problems. Andy who was in front returns and I can see he's upset at my fall. I try to calm him down as I know that this was caused by my own negligence and no one else's.

The center of the road has the pavement pushed up into a little ridge that is worst at the apex of the curve. In the photo the road looks beautiful but that ridge is really nasty when you see it from the bike.

The truth about the accident was that I was riding over my head and lulled into thinking that it's not so since I wasn't exhibiting the various symptoms or "Riding Over Your Head." Perhaps there was one: I was working pretty hard to keep up!

I have some rethinking to do about this fall, my attitudes, my speeds and the risks I took. In some ways this turned out to be an inexpensive lesson…it could have been worse.

My lesson: Ride within your skill level, don't loose your head, always leave a bit of safety margin while riding and you'll be in good shape...leave your ego at home.

See Doc Wong Crashes - Part 4 the Repairs next!

Doc Wong Crashes - Part 1 - Formula For a Crash
Doc Wong Crashes - Part 2 - Over-Confidence
Doc Wong Crashes - Part 4 - Consequences and Repairs

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