This post is not about some exotic moto trip that we have taken, so we are breaking from form here a bit. But it is about motorcycling. To be more specific, it is about a facet of motorcycling that we motorcyclists would rather not experience. But we all do, at one time or another.
Note the photo above. That is not me. I have a full head of hair. That is not my bike. I ride a Honda, not a BMW. But if you put hair on the gentleman in the photo, tilt the bike up about 30 degrees, and replace the desert motif with an elementary school parking lot, you pretty much have a snapshot of me last Sunday. Yes, I fought gravity and gravity won. Tip over # 5.
In the eight years I have been riding my ST1300, I have never had the opportunity to see if I could actually lift this bike off the ground should she fall over. The previous four were achieved in front of people who could, and did, help me right her up. This is a heavy machine, weighing in at 640 lbs. with a full tank of go juice. Practicing picking up your bike that has a small car engine in it is just not done. Roo’s bike, yes. At 300 lbs. it is a lightweight. The beaST, uh, no.
Most of you know that on any given Sunday morn, if not traveling or heading out early with riding buddies, I head to the coffee shop, snort some espresso, then scoot over to the school parking lot to practice emergency maneuvers. And so it was last Sunday. The practice maneuver that got me into trouble was “braking to a stop in a curve.” As motorcyclists, we know when coming to a stop in a curve, you make sure the bike is upright and pointing straight ahead before stopping. I hit it beautifully until the last practice attempt.
Oops. For some reason, I didn’t get the beaST in a full upright position before stopping. Uh, oh. Over she went as I jumped clear. Standing there, like in the photo, I noticed that there wasn’t a soul around. That’s good, I thought. No embarassment. But now I have to pick this thing up. By myself. Thankfully, and to my benefit, she toppled over on her right side, so setting her up on her sidestand eliminated the anxiety of overshooting the mark and having her topple all the way over the other way. So, PRACTICE TIME! Squat down, back straight, head up, PUSH. Up and over she went, standing proudly on her sidestand. My strength training has paid off in an unexpected way.
So, what was my take away from this? The obvious 1. straighten up the bike before braking to a stop in a curve 2. Ride a bike you know you can pick up (hey, I knew I could (-: 3. If you are going to ride a big touring bike, make sure you are IN SHAPE!
It was a good practice session.