Friday, July 25, 2008


Well, it had to happen, sooner or later, and it did today. I consider it an inevitability when you ride a two-wheeled vehicle -- sooner or later, you're bound to dump it, and I dropped Velvet early this afternoon. And of all the places to have it happen, it was in the parking lot of the Harley dealership, where I bought her a year ago last month!! And I had a small audience of other bikers standing around, watching me! Embarrassing, to say the least! Boy, howdy!!

First, let me assure you that I'm fine; totally unhurt, with only my ego bruised and my pride banged up. Velvet is fine, too. She didn't fall that hard, really, because I was only moving about 2 mph, or less, and was already leaned way over to the right, shifting my weight to the left, so that she'd come around smartly and I could back her straight into a parking slot beside the building. As it turned out, I should have pulled in and walked it back out when I left, but unfortunately, I can't see into the future and anticipate what was going to happen.

I was about halfway into my parking maneuver when somebody out on the lot nearby shouted something at a friend at the top of his lungs, by the sound of it. I was concentrating totally on my turning maneuver and Loudmouth's shout both startled and distracted me. That's all it takes when you're doing such a tight-ass turn -- one second of distraction. Sure enough, I lost my balance and over she went, past the point of no return, when nobody can hold a 600 pound bike up, and onto her right side. I have dropped enough bikes in my life to know well what to do; namely throw my weight on that left footpeg, let go of the right handgrip and just "step" off of it. And so I did. SPLAT! The lean angle sensor that helps control the self-canceling turn signals killed her engine instantly, when it detected that the lean angle was -- well,  a bit TOO steep, if you catch my drift. If motorcycles had turn and bank indicators, like an airplane, it would have registered "TILT" at that point!

There was immediate applause from my little "audience," and a few loud whistles. "Hey, the kickstand's on the OTHER side!!" someone informed me. "Really?? Always wondered where that thang was!" I responded. "That was a perfect three-point crash!!" someone else observed. "Well, when I drop in to see everyone, I really DROP IN!!!" Everyone was laughing. In a situation like that, you might as well joke about it; you sure can't undo it.

About that time, it was the loudmouth who had startled me that walked over, along with his friend. He realized what had happened. "Sorry about that," he apologized. " Didn't mean to startle you like that. Let's get 'er back up on her wheels." And in a couple of minutes, we had her back up and they helped me back her around and into the slot I had been aiming for. I put the stand down and got back off, to see how much damage there was.

"Hardly hurt it a bit," Loudmouth told me, after he'd scoped it out. "Didn't have far to fall, leaned over like that. Looks like your crash bar took all the impact." He was right. The right side of Velvet's crash bar is a little skinned up and the highway peg on that side was twisted around, all out of whack, from where I had positioned it. The right mirror was knocked cockeyed, but not bent or broken at all. And that was all. No other damage. Crash bar (or "engine protector" as they're sometimes called) kept the breather cover from being bent and/or squashed, which could have gotten expensive!!  About time I had some good luck, but then, that's why I always put a set on a bike; in low-speed dumps, they can save you big bucks on repairs, and even at higher speeds, they can sometimes help keep your legs from being trapped under the bike, if you go down. Worth the investment, definitely.

"Why's your face so red?" Loudmouth wanted to know. I looked at him sheepishly. "Well, damn! Of ALL the places to dump my bike, it HAD to be right here at the Harley shop, right in front of the crowd!! Embarrassing!" I told him. "Hell, man -- don't worry about it!" He was laughing and I started chuckling myself. "We've all done that before, and we'll all do it again, before it's all said and done!" I nodded, remembering times past, when I had dropped a bike, more than once. "Yeah, you've broke the ice now, with that new bike," said another onlooker. "It ain't really been RODE 'less it's got a dent or two in it!" "Be thankful that it DID happen here," a lady biker said. "It could been out on a deserted country road, where I dropped mine last year!!" "Yeah, but you're a cute lady," I complimented her. "Some guy in a car would stop in a heartbeat, to help you get it back up! Hell, one look at me, and they'd speed up!! I'd be up the creek, for sure!!" We all laughed a little more and my embarrassment soon faded. When I left, Loudmouth, who's actual name is Frank, insisted on me following him up the street to Coyote Joe's, where he bought me a beer. Nice guy, and I enjoyed getting to know him, even if it wasn't under the best of circumstances.

So, yes, I've dumped bikes before, especially that little "scrambler" I had when I was a kid -- mostly from insisting on riding it off the road, when it wasn't really made for that at all. And I came within a fraction of an inch of dumping Velvet just last month. I got caught out in a rain shower and headed home. I cruised up the alley behind the Dawg House, pressed the "Open, sez me!" button on my remote, and when the garage door was all the way up, I zipped up the driveway and into my garage -- and almost went down.

My garage floor is silky, satiny, finished concrete -- smooth as a baby's behind. Never gave a thought to what that floor would be like with two very WET tires! I'd have been okay, if I'd anticipated and just pulled straight in and stopped there, but no, I had to cut to the right, in my usual manner, around the jackpost, to turn it around and head it back out the door again. I hit my rear brake lightly. BIG mistake! The rear of the bike instantly veered to the left. I let off the brake, it found traction again, and rebounded to the right, fishtailing. I just DID get my foot underneath it in time and squeezed both the front brake and clutch control levers simultaneously. It stopped two inches short of the old chest freezer, which still works, but I no longer use. Suffice it to say that the next time I brought her home in the rain, I stopped outside the door and gingerly power-walked her in and around to her parking place! Lesson learned. And, like that biker said, it'll happen again, as I continue my motorcycling hobby. It's truly inevitable. Not a matter of whether you will dump your bike, but a matter of when and where!!

Let's hope I have as much good fortune in the future!



fanofheartbeats said...

I know how u feel.. I dumped my $33,000 wheelchair into a busy road one day (with me still in it) and looked into the grille of that new Stang.. maybe thats why I hate em passionately!!!! To add insult to my mental injury.. there was a firetruck in the lane next to me.. which was indeed a blessing dont get me wrong.. but it said HAZMAT UNIT on the side!!!! I looked at them because they were all "Hey Buddy u ok???" I sez sure.. so do I qualify as HAZMAT???" It was the only thing I could say because I was so disgusted at myself for making the dumb move I did in the first place.. but we all laughed and that day is now in the history books and now I'm super careful.

If I was your neighbor Id swing by and help u polish the heck outta the crash bar and make er good as new, but alas I'm not.

Be careful. I'm outta here till next entry  

jeanniebuggz said...

Does sound embarrassing with a crowd around but as the lady biker said it would have been worse out on the road somewhere with no help to right it.  Br thankful you were not hurt and that the bike only got a few scars.

brbec1 said...

My dad dropped his Goldwing at a gas station last summer. He wasn't hurt but the bike had his leg pinned and he couldn't get up. There were lots of people around. Nobody bothered to help. Eventually a teenage boy who worked at the gas station came out and helped him.

jimbobd421 said...

Larry sorry to hear you layed down Ms.Velvet but of all places. A HARLEY SHOP!!! i bet you got one big round of applause. it happenes to the best of us. I've layed down my share on street and motocross. The street one was a drunk coming up on a stop sign and me having the right of way of course i could of slammed into his car or lay the bike down. I chose laying the bike down which still hit the front side of his car and i flew over the hood. Un hurt. I was lucky and know how you feel. I'm sure you'll have that crash bar back to new in no time. Have a good one and be safe..

tsalagiman1 said...

Aw, man!!! Glad you weren't hurt, but of all places!!!  Of course it had to be when there was a peanut gallery just ready and waiting! lol  Glad Velvet's OK too!