Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Pick-Up Line

We've all done it. Hell, I've done it many times. If you're a new rider, trust me when I say that you will do it too.

One of these days, you'll find your beautiful motorcycle laying on its side. Maybe you were trying to get out of that tight spot and hit the front brake with the front wheel pushed over. Maybe you found that cleverly concealed patch of fine gravel in the turn. Maybe some oblivious cager knocked it over. Or maybe you just spaced out the side stand. Regardless of the reason... now what?

Obviously, you gotta get your machine off the ground and back on two wheels. The first thing to remember is: picking up a motorcycle is DANGEROUS. Work smarter, not harder. Just because you CAN pick it up by yourself doesn't mean you should, and if there are people around willing to help... LET THEM. Remind them that the exhaust pipe(s) are hot, and remind them that plastic parts and turn signals are NOT holding points. Remind them that the bike is heavy and the goal is to get it back up without injuries to anyone involved. Keep in mind that a back injury is a life-changing event!!

Now... what if you are alone? Let me assure you that a small woman can pick up an 800-lb bike. Yes. It's true. And with a couple of mats/towels, it's a skill you can practice with your own bike in the comfort of your own driveway or garage.

Step One: Self-Assessment. Your bike is not going anywhere without you. Take a few moments to run a self-diagnostic. Are you injured? Are you sure? Is it safe to pick up your motorcycle? Is the area in which your motorcycle is down conducive to righting it? Do you even WANT to pick up your bike? Is there help available? Asking yourself a series of questions allows you to calm down and assess yourself and the situation without the clouding influence of adrenaline. It's embarrassing to dump your machine, but the situation will quickly escalate from embarrassing to dangerous if you rush your decisions without properly assessing the whole picture. Give yourself the gift of time.

Step Two: Check it out. Are you in danger from traffic? If so, get away from your bike and wait for a law enforcement response. If not, take a good look at your surroundings. Is the bike on wet pavement? Is there sand, gravel, or loose dirt/mud? Is the ground sloped? Is there a ditch on either side of you? Again, picking up a motorcycle is dangerous, and should only be done solo in really good-to-optimum conditions. Check it out and be realistic.

Step Three: Your Bike. Shut off the engine with the cut-off switch or ignition switch. If you have a fuel supply valve, make sure it is shut off to avoid spills and leaks. It's really common to have spilled fuel and maybe even oil in these situations, so use caution. If your bike is on its right side, put the side stand down and put the bike in gear. If you bike is on its left side, make a mental note that you'll have to put the side stand down once you get it up and use caution - you don't want to get it up only to dump it over on the other side.

NOW... if you've decided you're gonna go for it, pick up your bike!!

1. Turn the handlebars to full-lock position with front of tire pointed downward.

2. Find the "balance point" of the two tires and the engine, engine guard, or footpeg. The motorcycle will be fairly easy to lift until it reaches this point because it's resting on its side. Once you start lifting from there, you are responsible for the most of the weight of the bike.

3. "Sit" down with your butt/lower back against the motorcycle seat. Be very careful to keep your back straight and your head up. Put your feet solidly on the ground about 12 inches apart, with your knees bent slightly.

4. With one hand, grasp the handgrip of the handlebar (underhand, preferably), keeping your wrist straight.

5. With your other hand, grip the motorcycle framework (or any solid part of the motorcycle), being careful to avoid the hot exhaust pipe, turn signals, etc. If you can get a good grip, the frame directly under your seat is a good spot.

6. Lift with your legs by taking small steps backwards, pressing against the seat with your butt and keeping your back straight. On slippery or gravelly surfaces this technique probably won't work. On inclined surfaces this can be very dangerous. Maintain control while lifting and never twist your body during the process.

7. Be careful not to lift the motorcycle up and then flip it onto its other side! If possible, put the sidestand down using your foot and put the bike in gear.

8. Set the motorcycle on its sidestand and park it safely. Thoroughly check your bike for damage before riding it. If you have any doubts about its rideability, don't take the chance.

Here are some sites with video and photos to help:



Monday, August 17, 2009

ALL RIDERS: Please READ before starting YOUR BIKES

With all the people going down this season, I thought I'd post a reminder to for the riders out there. This was taken from tristatesportbikes.com and gixxer.com. Have fun and keep the shiny side up. Smart riders ride on. Stupid hurts.

1. We crash on cold tires. Respect them by giving them a few miles to warm up, especially if they're brand new. After stopping to eat or something, remember you're not the only thing that has cooled down, allow your tires sufficient time to warm up again.

2. We crash on overloaded tires. If you are new to riding or rusty after a winter layoff, applying too much throttle or brake while leaned over could be very costly. Our tires can provide amazing levels of traction but they're not immune to "lead" hands. The instinct of grabbing a handful of front brake while leaned over will put you in the guardrail.

3. We crash trying to keep up. Ultimate speed on a back road has little to do with the bike and everything to do with the rider. Once you realize this, twisting the throttle WFO to keep your friends in sight on the straights while losing them in the corners becomes a non-option. Ride your own pace.

4. We crash because we want to go fast. Sometimes, even the posted speed limit is inappropriate. Coming over a blind crest at 45mph might be too fast if you can't stop the bike before hitting the hazard you only see when it's too late. Speed reduces time to react and adds distance to react in emergency situations.

5. We crash because we bail out. How many posts have there been about entering a corner too hot, standing the bike up and running out of road before getting the bike stopped? Too hot means your brain is probably freaked out but there is still plenty of tire traction available. LOOK through the corner, LEAN the bike until hard parts drag, BELIEVE in modern tire technology.

6. We crash because we lose our focus. The bike travels 88 feet per second at 60 mph. A moment's inattention puts you that much farther into a corner. Think about the next corner, not the one you just blew. That one is over, focus on getting the next one right.

7. We crash because we rush corner entrances. Slow in, fast out works for racers season after season. It works for road riders too. Slow down a bit on your corner entrances and see how much smoother you become.

8. We crash because we can't keep up with the motorcycle. Make sure your software is the equal of your bikes hardware. The bike has the ability to go 160mph, that doesn’t mean YOU do.

9. We crash trying to look cool. If it takes wheelies, stoppies and other stunts to impress your friends...you need new friends.

p.s. Alcohol dosen't help either. Use your head.