Let me paint you a picture of an eager, young motorcycle rider—spoiler alert, it’s me. Her brand, spanking new Harley-Davidson® is delivered to her front doorstep. Once she gets past the initial excitement, she revs that puppy up for a rip. Ten seconds later, the bike is on its side, clutch snapped in half. Being a stupid noob, she lifts the bike up with her arms & back, throwing out her back and leaving herself immobilized for 6 days.
The feeling was sickening. Never before had I been so embarrassed as I was when I had to ask the Harley trailer driver to turn right back around and pick the bike up.
I was told this is not an uncommon occurrence with new riders. The dropping the bike part, not the lifting part. If you’ve experience this embarrassing moment, you’re not alone. Since then, I’ve never dropped my bike—nor lifted a bike improperly.
However, I was not to be beaten easily. I would keep up with this and learn it whether I liked it or not. I learned why I dropped the bike—improper balance and clutch control at a slow speed.
A lot of other riders I’ve talked to learn proper clutch control as they go. Sometimes they even stall the bike in the tipping point of a turn by holding back on the throttle.
If any of these things have happened to you—fear not. Learn from the situation. The point is THAT you ride. Here’s how I want you to handle that from now on:
- Do like Taylor—and shake it off. If you’ve jumped clear of the fallen bike, just get over it. Worse things have happened.
- Turn off your engine. Heaven forbid you rev the throttle and the bike lurches.
- Check for leaking fluids—especially gasoline.
- Take charge of your situation. You got yourself here, now get yourself out. It’ll boost your confidence, I promise.
- Ask for help if you need it and if it’s around. Bikes are heavy! No one is going to laugh if you can’t lift half a ton.
- Make sure your bike is in gear. You don’t want it to stand upright and start rolling.
- Back into your bike using your legs to provide strength, cock the wheel in the direction of the lift and then just push. USE YOUR LEGS—NOT YOUR BACK.
- Check your bike for damage. Do a careful walkaround and check the handlebars, clutch, brake, pegs and more for damage.
- Get back on that sucker. Continue your ride. Take a deep breath. You can do this, chica.
So there you have it. Don’t let it get you down—no pun intended. You got this bike for a reason. Now don’t quit! Keep riding—and ride safe.