MSF courses for the win - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-13-2013, 04:12 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2013
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MSF courses for the win

It has been years since my first MSF course (took another one last year) and I still praise the skills it teaches you. Saturday I was out riding in a medium sized group of 11 people and of course the qeather was not great on the east coast that day. Well cruising along with heavily wet roads we came around a curve to a light and it happened to change to yellow. Welll the first 3 riders went through but the guy in front of me decided to slam on brakes. I immediatly knew I was more than likely not going to be able to stop and with him riding a much lighter bike (he had a Honda Stateline and me on a Vaquero) I moved to the right just slightly and began applying brakes.

Well my thoughts were right.... With the road conditions and the distance I could not stop and my rear brake kept trying to lock up on me. Luckily my friend in front of me knew as soon as he hit the brakes that I wasn't going to be able to stop either so he stayed where he was and just watched me in the rear view. Despite locking up the rear tire 3 times in trying to stop I never panicked and kept control of the bike. I know the intructors preach to ride out a locked up rear brake but because of the conditions I did not have that option because I needed more control of the bike to keep from hitting my friend or the barrier next to me. By the time I was able to get close to stopping I was already in the intersection.

The things to take away from this are be aware of the road conditions and know your bike. The fact I knew my bike ment I knew to move over to avoid my friend. Watch the person behind you and be aware of your surroundings. Despite the fact my friend has ridden with me many times before and knows I knew how to ride my bike he made sure I was not going to hit him either and kept an eye on me. The thing I should have done was knowing I could have made the light and knew I could not stop I should have just gone around my friend rather than trying to stop. Because I did try and stop I put myself my friend and people in other vehicles in danger because by the time I almost stopped I was already in the middle of the intersection with a red light and decided to continue through for safety reasons.

If anyone has any other thoughts on this feel free to share the idea here is to help new riders learn from others. You can not and will not hurt my feelings.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-13-2013, 04:31 AM
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No criticism from me, it sounds as if you handled the situation well. That being said, I've only been riding about a year and a half and still won't ride wet roads because of situations like you encountered -- it makes me nervous and I'm smart enough to know I'm not a safe driver when nervous.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-13-2013, 06:32 AM Thread Starter
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I typically wouldn't ride in the type of rain we had but it is a tradition we have to go and replace the flags on the graves of veterans in the Valley Forge cemetary. A worth while reason to do the ride and acceptable risk.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-13-2013, 09:14 AM
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Blank, I agree with your "after-action review," in that I would have simply accelerated on through the light. A most excellent job however in handling the bike in adverse conditions. Far to many would have been on here (after the trip to the hospital) with the infamous line "I had to lay it down." I am oh-so-tired of hearing that! Oh, and may I suggest telling your friend that he wants to practice his panic braking, to get his butt to the rear of the formation -otherwise, smack him on the back of his helmet the next time you have to pass him like that!

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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-23-2013, 06:15 PM
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You know Blank, the fact you ARE doing the review shows you care about being a good rider.

I think the stock answer would be "too fast for conditions" because, in the end, you were going too fast to stop. Of course, we are all guilty of that - and probably I was too fast for conditions 8 times in 200 miles today.

So, speed for conditions and anticipating his continuing (rather than waiting to see what he would actually do) were the two obvious problems I see. Maintaining control of the bike and eventually continuing through the intersection were the winning moves! Nice job and good on you for reflecting and remind all of us to do the same.

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-23-2013, 07:59 PM
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Sounds like you handled it well! Kudos for using your head and your skills! To many guys hop on a bike and think, if they can make it go straight and turn, they know how to ride it. I know more than one person with a totaled bike and broken bones in that EXACT same situation, purely because they just simply didn't know what they were doing.

When it's raining it's not so bad. But it's those few minutes when it first starts raining, and those few minutes after when it's really bad. I tend to pull off into a gas station and drink some water or get a snack or something during those two conditions. Truthfully, you still have quite a bit of traction in the rain. It's the oil that seeps up to the top when the rain subsides that's an issue.

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