Dropping your motorcycle as a female rider
I’ve dropped my bike… and I’m not on my own and neither are you!
More people drop their bikes than you probably think, I am sure there are more than a few who won’t admit it, and there are plenty that drop them and can’t pick them up too – guys included.
My first drop
The first bike I dropped was when I was learning to ride. It was the training school’s bike. I think it probably went down five times in all, most were when I was stationary or moving very slowly and the only damages were a wing mirror and a clutch lever.
It was no fault of the training school’s and I learned something each time, it’s useful to have a riding instructor nearby when you make a mistake! Most of these issues occurred because the bike was heavy and once it got so far I didn’t have the strength to keep it upright.
Dropping my own bike
The first bike of mine that I dropped was my Ducati Monster. I was being lazy and trying to move the bike and hold an oil can at the same time, I dropped the bike on my own drive. I swore, quite loudly, at my own stupidity.
Never having to have to pick it up on my own I wasn’t sure that I could, and there was no-one around to help. Anyway, I gave it a go and, what do you know, I was stronger than I thought!
Anyway, lesson learned, pay attention and focus on one thing at a time.
My first real off
The first real ‘off’ that I had was on a ride out with a few friends. I went wide on a corner at about 40mph onto the dirt and low-sided.
Amazingly there was no damage to either the bike or me, so I picked the bike up, and after a short break, checked the bike 9 times and myself once. We then continued with and finished the ride.
Although I had only been riding a few months I almost immediately wanted to understand what had happened and how I could prevent it happening again. It is only since having advanced training that I fully understood the reasons though – lapse of concentration that was probably due to fatigue.
I also suffered with target fixation, a lot of new riders suffer with this. It makes you drift wide, you run towards the edge of the road or worse still, you go off the road, or you end up on the wrong side of the road facing oncoming traffic.
I know now that this is very unlikely to happen again after doing advanced rider training. If I did drift wide again, I would be able to recover from the situation and not fall off the bike in a crash.
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My second off
My second ‘off’ was in city traffic at a roundabout in rush hour, on a wet November evening. I had to brake suddenly and skidded, I held it until the last minute when I had all but stopped and the bike fell over.
I felt a right twit but some kind fellow travellers helped me pick it up and I continued on my way. The learning from this is only apparent because I have had advanced training. If I hadn’t had any advanced training I would have blamed the road surface and the wet conditions.
The actual fact is that I was totally at fault. I should have been looking further ahead, I hadn’t observed the pedestrian crossing at the other side of the roundabout or the pedestrian waiting to cross. If I had, I would have been prepared for the traffic to stop instead of reacting to the car in front braking.
The next drop but probably not the last!
The last time I dropped my bike was about three years ago. I pulled up at a junction but failed to notice the dip in the road. Being short and only being able to get a toe down, I put my foot down on fresh air… and so the bike fell over.
There was no damage to me but I had snapped the end off the clutch lever and broke the lens on the indicator on my bike.
Helpful people around
Again the helpful public assisted me in picking the bike back up and I continued my journey. It was totally my fault and bad planning. All these little incidents make you a better rider, You analyze and work out a way to prevent the same situation happening again.
It is so easy when you are a new rider to worry about things like this. You think that you are the only one and everyone will laugh at you. It is just part of learning.
It is more common than you think
But dropping the bike is far more common than you think, when talking to other riders it seems they have all done it. It makes you wonder if there are any riders out there who have not dropped or fallen off their bike.
Luckily I didn’t have any injuries when it happened to me, but there are stories of people dropping their bikes and having terrible injuries because of how they fell. Also the damage to my bikes was only minor, so I could ride on. This is all luck because drooping the bike can create huge expense in damages.
Learning from mistakes is important
Remember when you learned to ride a bicycle as a child? If you fell off, you picked it up again and had another go. This isn’t really any different, but it is important that you understand what happened and that you learn from your mistakes.
Written by Moira Day (female rider)