I just read this story in an American forum:
[b]Rather than be silently ashamed, I tell this story to anyone who will listen, in the hope that someone will learn from my mistake. TAKE THE RIDER COURSE BEFORE RIDING!!! Do not do what I did.
April 2005. I don’t recall ever having put a leg over a motorcycle. So, of course, at 28 years old I decide that I want a motorcycle. I have a few friends who ride and all of them, thankfully, are responsible riders who share a distaste for squids. I didn’t listen to them when they encouraged me to take the rider course before buying a bike. I also failed to listen when they advised me to buy something inexpensive, used and with moderate power. I failed to heed the advice of the well-intentioned, if condescending, salesman at a dealership who practically begged me not to buy a Superbike. Did I listen? No. I knew that I was doing something that most would consider to be ill-advised. I admitted it freely but did it anyway. 2003 Ducati 999. First motorcycle EVER. Can you see this story going anywhere good?
It was a magnificent day in mid April. Predictions were for blue skies, low humidity and mid 70s, which was unusally warm for so early in the spring in Massachusetts. The dealership delivered the bike. I was, thankfully, smart enough not to try to ride it home on busy streets from the dealership without ever having ridden before. The plan was for my good friend, who took the MSF course and has been riding safely for 15 years, to give me a slow and easy introduction to riding around my quiet neighborhood. After a few laps around the block in first gear, I felt as though I was getting a feel for it. I was timid and was too scared to exceed 10 MPH but it was glorious. Everyone was out in their yards washing their cars or raking their yards. As I rode around on my sparkling, red, Ducati, women swooned, men gawked, children cheered. Mine was the world and all that’s in it.
I decided to take a little longer loop and found myself at the intersection of a busier road and decided to go for it since I would only be on it for 50 feet until reaching the next side street. I let out the clutch a little to fast which caused the bike to buck a little. The bucking caused the throttle to roll slightly under my hand and that sent me careening across the street (thankfully I had waited until no cars were in sight). I might have been able to bring it back under control had it not been for the patch of sand in the road that was left over from the last snow storm. The rear whee spun and then hooked up an instant later and in less than a second and less than 15 feet, my beautiful day was ruined. Because I had been going so slowly, I escaped with nothing more than a nicely skinned knee and badly wounded ego. I was so shaken by the experience that, when I tried to pick up the bike, I ended up dropping it over on the good side!!! I didn’t know whether to cry, scream or vomit. The feeling was terrible.
It’s amazing how many pieces get damaged when a bike goes down like that. It’s even more amazing how expensive they are to replace when they all have to come from Italy. Due to a series of errors made by the parts department at the dealership that did the repairs, it took nearly 8 weeks to get my bike back. My insurance had only a $500 deductible but the accident sent my premiums through the roof (the “no fault” auto insurance system in Massachusetts is among the worst in the nation so rates are outrageous).
The total bill for the repairs was $4700 and I still feel that I got off easy. I could have been badly hurt. I had no idea how much power was in my hands or how to control the bike properly. Thankfully, I am a firm believer in minimizing risk so I was going slowly and staying in my neighborhood but I had no business being on that bike without some quality instruction.
I took the cours shortly after getting my bike back. In the meantime, my friend walked me through some of the basics in a large parking lot using his 50cc two stroke Derbi (incredibly fun to ride). By the time I got to the course, I had a few hours of riding my own bike under my belt but the course was incredible. I can’t say enough good things about it. I think of the lessons every time I ride. I firmly believe that I would not have spilled my bike if I had taken the $175 course prior to riding. that would have saved me the $500 deductible and a small fortune on my insurance premiums. It would have spared me a lot of embarrassment and many weeks of lost riding.
The spill did, however, teach me the value of good riding gear. My padded riding jacket prevented any injury to my arms or upper body. My jeans shredded instantly at the knee and lef tme with a nasty road rash on one knee that took weeks to heal and left an ugly scar. Jeans do very little to protect. They are, of course, better than shorts, but not by a whole lot. Purpose-made riding pants are a worthwhile investment.
Ask any EMT and you will hear the same thing. You can bleed to death just as easily from road rash as you can from a bad cut. The difference is that it’s easier to stop the bleeding from a bad cut because it’s a single point of blood loss. With bad road rash, you bleed from everywhere at once and there is no single wound on which to apply pressure. It’s just like suffering a 3rd degree burn. Anyone who has ever seen someone get road rash scrubbed out (“debrided”) with that lovely wire brush will agree that $150 for a good pair of riding pants is worth it.
I admit that I still go out for quick rides to the store wearing just jeans. I know that it’s probably not wise and I really should wear the pants ALL the time. However, any time that I am really going out for a spirited ride, I wear the pants. The pants are Joe Rocket and they areactually made of mesh so they are cooler on hot days than jeans while providing far better protection. [/b]
I hear these kinds of stories all the time here in Taiwan. Guy buys 1000cc sportbike…and crashes it within a block of the dealership. I bet this type of story happens monthly if not weekly in Taiwan.
Heck, I met a guy a few weeks ago who had never even ridden an RZR before…and he went out and bought a 1000 CBR. He luckily seems to be doing ok on it…but he couldn’t keep up with my 70hp bike for the life of him.
Anyone see any riding pants in Taiwan? I mean other than the full fledged racing ones?