Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Importance of Everything...

I was originally going to title this post "The Importance of Gear," except that it's about more than gear. It's about mindset. It's about paying attention to things, and devoting full attention to dangerous tasks that demand full attention.

Long story short: I went down on the Harley.

Now, I'll start by saying I'm fine, and the Harley is fine. Minimal scratches, no engine or significant body damage. I managed to bruise the living hell out of my foot, but otherwise no other physical issues for me.

What happened, you ask? I got complacent. 

I backed the Harley out of the garage too fast; I didn't have my hand resting on the brake like I should have, and when I reached for the brake it threw my balance off just enough that the bike fell over. It happened in super slow-motion - I knew the bike was going over, and I was utterly powerless to stop it. It's a scary, scary feeling.

Electra Glides are heavy. 750 pounds empty, and mine wasn't empty. The back crash guards took the brunt of the crash, with the left saddlebag getting a tiny bit scratched up at the very bottom. It's no worse than the right one's lid where Baby Girl G. has kicked it a few times.

The line they tell you about leveraging your body and leaning way over to right the bike? That's all well and good - until you're trapped under it. You see, the front engine guard never hit the ground. It landed on my left foot, trapping it between the guard and the ground. It was both painful and terrifying at the same time.

Managed to push the bike up enough so that I freed my foot, then took stock of the situation. The rear crash guard took the brunt of the impact (and my foot), and was scuffed - but that's what it's for. The rear saddlebag has some very minor (and barely noticeable) scuffs, but I'm not even sure they're from this incident. No leaks or other issues mechanically - I even rode it to work and back with no problems, once I got it righted.

As for that (righting it), well, I remembered from my MSF course about how you should go to the opposite side and use leverage. Um, yeah. That ... didn't work. I wound up just grabbing the passenger grab bar and the front crash bar and muscling the bike upright. My back might stop protesting next month...

What I did wrong was several-fold. First and foremost, I didn't dedicate sufficient attention to the task at hand. I was jugging backing out of the garage, holding onto a helmet, and holding the garage door opener in my hand to close the garage once I was out (I am HORRIBLY OCD about the garage door being left up). Secondly, I did NOT have my hand on the brakes to slow my egress from the car hole.

What *should* I have done differently? Helmet on, garage door opener in a pocket, and worry about everything else once the bike was out of the garage and on flat ground. Right hand on brake lever at all times.

What did I do right? Well, for starters, I had the right gear. Magnum Boots rock, y'all. Secondly, I kept my cool - first thing I did was shut off the bike to prevent things from going further south. And I listened to the little voice inside my head that said "Get your foot checked out by a doctor" - as it turns out, nothing was broken, just bruised. I'm leaving on Thursday for an NRA Outdoors long-range rifle clinic in Wyoming and I was all kinds of worried that I broke my foot.

So, to recap: Good gear is good. Paying f**king attention is better. Listening to that little voice inside your head? Priceless. 

And remember: Gravity isn't just a good idea, it's the law...

That is all.


Laura said...

VERY glad you're unhurt. also VERY glad this happened while nearly stationary.

also also: welcome to the club.

Robert the Biker said...

Glad you're ok.
If this should happen again....
Turn the bars 'in' while the bike is lying down (so, left if its on the left side). Grab the left grip with your left hand, the right crashbar with your right, and just lit....Unlikely as it seems, the bike will come right up off the deck.
Happened to me? Why, why ever would you think that : ).

Shane W said...

Super slow motion is a good thing when going down on a bike. Much better that than cruising speed. Glad you're ok!

Lissa said...

Eeek!! I'm glad you're okay!

Dave H said...

SBYL boss. Been there myself, except it was a hot exhaust pipe that had my leg pinned to the ground. The hair has grown back now.

My MSF instructor taught us to right a bike the way Robert the Biker there describes, except you put your back to the bike and squat down, grab hold, then life with your legs. He said his 99 pound wife could right his full dress Gold Wing that way. (But then our other instructor pointed out that will all the gear on it, that Gold Wing would only fall over to about a 45 degree angle in the first place.)

Keads said...

Glad you are ok!

Anonymous said...

Glad your fine.

Try and get a horse off of you sometime.


Stretch said...

There is no gravity.
Earth sucks.

No blood? No worries.

Long-Range Rifle Clinic? We hate you!

Srsly, glad you walked away from it.
Don't forget to link to your report on the trip to Wyoming.

B said...

Glad you are ok.

Lift the way Dave this:

And the best thing for us folks who are paranoid about garage doors is this garage door opener:

You can check it with your smartfone! (and open and close it too).

Glad you aren't badly hurt.

Atom Smasher said...

Glad you're good. They cleared the sand off the shoulder last weekend so mine's coming out of the garage too.

Daniel in Brookline said...

Glad you're okay, Jay. Momentary lapses happen; the important thing is that, finding yourself in a sticky situation, you pulled yourself out of it.


Will you think the worst of me if I say that, when I first read "I went down on the Harley", I wasn't sure what to think??

GreyLocke said...

Good Boots are worth triple their weight in Gold Pressed Latinum. Mine kept me from breaking my ankle or worse when I got t-boned and my leg was trapped between my bike and his fender. I"m very glad you're ok sir.