Kissing asphalt

I got back from New York late on Wednesday and yesterday was my first chance to ride my new bike. My friend Erik picked me up and drove me over to the dealer to pick it up. We got my new plate on the bike and drove off, looking for a parking lot where I could practice for a while. The plan was to go over some of the test exercises and then head to the DMV to get my license.

We decided that the high school would be a good place to practice since school was still out. We were heading to the main parking lot, but when I passed one of the side parking lots, it was empty and had a fresh new pavement laid down with nice bright lines. Perfect, I thought, let’s practice there.

We made a u-turn, and I turned into the lot. I immediately thought I should do a few laps around the lot, very much like the first thing we did on the second day of my class from a couple weeks back. I drove the length of the lot, did a nice controlled turn and headed back the other way. I decided to slow down a bit and downshift before the next turn. I squeezed the clutch, tapped the gear shift down, released the clutch and…

The engine revved… the back tire began to squeal and skid… I wasn’t going that fast, but I didn’t know quite what to do… two seconds later the bike was on it’s side and I was on the pavement. My knee got scraped up. My pinkie got a little bruised and I was shaken up, but I seemed alright. Erik got my bike back up while I surveyed the situation.

I couldn’t tell you what happened. It didn’t make sense to me. I guess I downshifted before slowing enough and maybe tried to enter the turn too quickly after that. But really the skid happened while I was going straight. I didn’t really downshift in a turn. Did I throttle it just as I engaged the lower gear? Was I not going slow enough? Did I go all the way to 1st gear instead of 2nd?

One thing is for sure, the nice fresh black top on that parking lot didn’t help. It may look nice but it was plenty slick. Also, I’m very glad I was wearing a helmet. The accident happened at a very slow speed, less than 10 miles per hour, but when I landed on the ground, my helmet scraped along the pavement for a few inches. My visor got scraped pretty badly, but it can be replaced. If I hadn’t been wearing the helmet, I would have had to go to the emergency room, I’m pretty sure.

My knee feels remarkably well actually. I’m lucky that it wasn’t worse. It was a small scrape and I think it should heal pretty well. There doesn’t seem to be any swelling or internal damage, just a scrape. My jeans are ruined, they weren’t much protection even at this low of a speed. I’m going to want to get some riding pants soon.

After a pit stop to Erik’s house to put a bandage on my knee, we headed out again to another parking lot, this one with a very old, dry black top and I drove around for an hour or so. I can tell I’m going to have trouble when it comes to the tight u-turn you have to make for the test, but I should pass. I put it off until next week though. I didn’t quite feel good enough after the spill to take it yesterday.

4 thoughts on “Kissing asphalt”

  1. proud of you for getting back on the mount after your boo boo. No Fear – I’ll be down in a few weeks and learn ya

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