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How to avoid tipping my motorcycle again

Added October 28, 2016
Tipped Motorcycle

A Rider’s Journey: This is the seventh in a series of blog posts by DeAnna DeCaluwe about her journey to recreate her father’s last ride.

The day after we bought the 1985 Honda motorcycle, I was feeling anxious and decided to take it for a ride around the block in our small subdivision. I returned home, extremely proud of my accomplishment. Two days later, I tried it again … and I dropped the bike at a stop sign. 

The clutch and I don’t currently get along. The “friction zone” I learned about in motorcycle training class seems to be a lot smaller on this bike than on the bike I rode in my BasicRider course. When I was attempting to take a left at an intersection, I stalled the bike—and I leaned it too far left to correct. 

I didn’t fall, and I wasn’t injured. I stood there for a minute, thankful to be on a side road and out of traffic. But I was completely shaken by the fact that I dropped the bike. I used every ounce of strength I had to try to bring the bike upright, but I failed.

With shaky fingers, I pulled my cellphone from my pocket and called my husband, defeated.

When he showed up a few minutes later, I was still shaking and asked that he drive the motorcycle back home. I was done, ready to take the night off and mentally recharge. And then my husband intervened. After we were safely home, he stood the bike in our driveway, gave me a big hug, looked me in the eye, and told me to get back on. 

I was still shaky and nervous. I was also extremely aggravated with myself for what had just happened.  But I knew my husband was right—I needed to get back on the bike. So I did. And my husband sat with me, patiently talking me through when to roll on, when to roll off, and how quickly to get out the clutch. He made me listen to the bike. And he told me I couldn’t be finished until I could maneuver our turnaround five times without touching the ground. 

My husband knew exactly what I needed—I needed to take a step back. I needed to return to the basics and get a feel for the new motorcycle. And I needed a little push to do it. 
Here’s to my husband, for his patience through this process. And here’s to hoping the next trip around the block will go a little bit more smoothly.

Tips to avoid a motorcycle tip over

It’s never too early or too late to get a refresher on motorcycle safety, especially when it comes to ways to avoid tipping a motorcycle. So here are a few tips to keep in mind to keep the motorcycle upright and the good times flowing:

  • Practice riding slowly: As DeAnna did, practice riding at slow speeds to work on brake, clutch, and gas controls.
  • Keep the handlebars straight: Good advice when stopping and braking.
  • Focus ahead: Keeping your eyes up helps maintain balance.
  • Watch your footing: Surfaces such as sand or gravel—or even potholes—can mean losing your footing when coming to a stop.  
  • Be aware of slants: Not all intersections are level. Take note and adjust accordingly. 
  • Check the side stand: When parking, make sure the stand is all the way down and watch for similar hazards as with your footing. 
 
 

 

DeAnna DeCaluwe, a married mother of two boys, is the newest member of the Dairyland Cycle family. To recreate her father’s last ride, DeAnna is learning to ride this summer. Join her as she takes a rider’s journey