Alternate thread title: Testing the Tip Over Shutoff!
I have a U shaped driveway, which is really nice unless there happens to be a car parked in the middle of it. So I got on the bike and instead of shuttling it around to give me a clear shot for the street, I thought I'd take the easy way out and cross that patch of lawn in the center. Now, I'm from up New England way and new to central florida's coast. The grass here is very deceiving. As I've found out, it's really just a thin veil of a disguise for really, really soft deep sand. You wouldnt know it by walking on it, but when you try to traverse it with an 800 pound motorcycle, it takes on a whole new personality!
So, there I was, (all cocky since I'd been out practicing my low speed maneuvers in a local parking lot every day for about a week). Let the clutch out to the friction zone, rolled on the throttle and creeped ahead on to the lawn. I knew it was a mistake the moment that front tire hit the grass. Kind of like a "sinking" feeling. I needed to bear slightly to the left to avoid the edge of the pavement so I leaned slightly right to counterbalance the turn. At that moment, the front tire hit a somewhat firmer bit of sand, probably some weed roots there, and the tire troughed to the left. Of course, I'm gingerly maintaining a slip with the clutch, but the unexpected motion of the handlebars, combined with the already ridiculously small friction zone of this big Vulcan beast, amounted to a release of the clutch by probably not more than a mm. The engine was at idle speed at that point, but since you could enter these bikes into a tractor pull without ever touching the throttle, I now had plenty of forward propulsion to send me, well, on my way.
Down she went. I felt her going and controlled the fall as best I could, but as you know, once she hits a certain angle there's no stopping her. I kept the descent to a slow motion and the bike settled into the sand, along with me, trapping my left foot under the tank and seat. Less than a second later the engine dutifully shut down. Strangely, the only thing in my head at that moment was, "Oh, I guess the tip over switch works.". I untied my left boot and pulled my leg out. A little shaken, I walked into the front door where my roommate, Steve, an old Harley guy who has gotten a lot of humor out of watching me tame this beast recently, looked up at me in my full gear, minus left boot, and cracked his usual toothy, poop-eating grin. All I could muster was, "A little help here, please?"
We got the bike up. The fall busted off the left rear turn signal, and torqued the front fender leaving a kink on the front edge and a belly on the right side. Other than that the bike was fine. I didn't have a scratch. The only benefit the sand had that day. So, about a $450 mistake. But the first money I spend is going to be for highway bars! Getting trapped under a down bike is not a good feeling.
Note that this episode occurred at a creeping speed in about one bikes length of distance traveled. But it taught me a good lesson. I hope this little story deters other beginners from adventuring out on to unknown turf. (-; They say most accidents happen close to home. I wonder how many of those happened in their own front yards. Surely that must skew the statistics, eh? Anyway, not to be discouraged, I glued up the turn signal, looks fine actually. I highly recommend Loctite "professional" super glue for this. I jumped on and went for my planned ride. It was a great day. I've decided to live with the bent fender for a while. It's serving as a good reminder not to do anything stupid.
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