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Saturday I was practicing slow turns and u-turns in a parking lot. Still shaky in this particular area, but was doing ok. Dropped foot down on one right side u-turn, which tweaked my back slightly, but kept on and did a couple of more successfully. But then lo and behold screwed up a right side u-turn again and this time laid the bike on its side. I was angry and embarrassed.

I then lifted the bike up improperly to add injury to insult (said that backwards intentionally because that is literally what happened).

So as I've been trying to heal my aching back these last couple of days, I keep thinking back to what I did wrong on the u-turn. I know the answer is simple...I looked down and most likely let off the throttle completely to boot. I rode dirt bikes for years when I was young, but have only been driving a cruiser for a year. Yet I feel like I'm still new to riding. Had no problems in the MSF class last year, so I fear I am allowing my brain to start some bad habits with my riding.

But laying that bike down on a sharp u-turn exercise has not only embarrassed me, but has bothered me to no end. I keep telling myself the fix is easy...don't ever look down. But I fear I will let this incident linger in the back of my brain whenever I attempt slow turns or uturns again.
 

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There is absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about. It happens to most of us. I still consider myself a new rider, bit more than one year of riding experience. I had exactly the same thing happened to me couple of months ago. Laid her down while practicing u-turn in the parking lot.
Just keep on practicing. It's all about doing it right. I got myself Ride Like a Pro book and DVD. Highly recommend it.

Good luck and ride safe


Sent from Motorcycle.com Free App
 

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Ok maybe it did. The take away from the video is the bike will follow where ever your eyes are looking. This is one of the first techniques or tools of driving I taught my kids when they were learning how to drive. For some reason when I started riding on 2 wheels again after many years(who am I kidding, decades) away from them, I caught myself staring down double yellows in the middle of curves and road sides when I had to make quick left hand turns across on coming traffic onto narrow side streets. I have to make a u turn every time I come home so I can back the bike into the basement and the only thing that kept the bike from going all the way down one of the first times I did it was the very sturdy floor board bracket.

I have only watched a couple of this guy's videos but he seems to be dead on with the tips he provides.
 

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Absolutely! The farther you can see the better line or approach you can take for what is ahead. I know this is starting to look like a commercial for motorman but he is spot on in this short
 

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Hey man, don't be embarrassed! There are a LOT of guys who will just hop on a bike and go, thinking taking time to learn to ride it is a waste of time. Then, the first time they are caught needing to make a U-Turn or are in an emergency situation, they get hurt, or at least seriously embarrassed, way worse than doing it by yourself when practicing!

I think you're right on the fix. Don't look down, and if it begins to dip, don't be afraid to add power. In low speed maneuvers, generally, adding power will straighten the bike up. That's a hard habit to train yourself because in our cars we are so used to hitting the brakes whenever we get into trouble!
 

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+1 what Romans said - if you feel like your falling, a little blip (LITTLE!) on the throttle will pull you back up. Heck, just drive on out of it if need be, that's why it's called practice.

While it's true that you need to look where you are going, in longer curves I find it better to break the curve up into segments. For a U-turn, I'll focus on halfway through, then shift my focus to my final spot before I get to the halfway spot. Focusing on the final spot tends to result in turning too sharply (for me!) resulting in the dreaded "Oh $hit!" sensation. That is the entire point of practice. Take everyone's suggestions, try them, then modify them to make the one that works best for you!
 

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Tramp,

We all do it, it's part of the learnig process. +1 to what Romans said. A bit of throttle will get you out of trouble most times. Hey! It was way better to have it happen while praticing, we learn more from our mistakes.
The only thing I would add is look into an engine guard it saved my back when I was practicing U turns. Ride safe and don't beat yourself up.

Ron M
 

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Don't feel bad man. During my safety course, everyone but two stumbled on the U turn. I still can't get it quite right, I was over the 24 foot mark by a few inches when I took my test at the end. Not nearly enough to fail me, but it did dock me a few points. I personally avoid circumstances where a super tight U turn would be needed as I don't even do that kinda maneuvering in my cage lol.
 

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Great thread OP, I to am so green that I've own my bike for 3 months now and haven't turned a wheel yet.(because I've been away at work). I have a huge abandon parking lot not far from my house so I know what I'm practicing. I rode bike in my younger years (46 now) so I have a lot of learning to do.
 

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Most important is to keep pressure on the rear brake so you can keep the power to the wheel.
Left turns are easier because your right foot is high and can stay on the brake.
Instead of starting slow. Start with faster larger turns.
then practice down to the slow tight turn.
Lastly, If he were riding his own custom ride and not that taxpayers gift. He may not feel too comfortable either.
 

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It happens, hopefully you'll heal quickly. I've seen a lot worse; guy just finished the riders edge class, bought a clean used Goldwing and drove it right into the side of the shop. Smoke pouring off the rear tire as he bounced off the fence gate, through the landscaping and into the metal siding! The rear tire dug a hole in the mulch so fast, the bike didn't have time to fall over, just came to rest on both mufflers.
 

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One other trick that I have learned - counter balance - in those low speed sharp turns move your butt to the outside of the turn - its amazing how tight I can turn - I practice my u turns regularly (when i drop my son off at school :)
 

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And again, do NOT feel embarrassed. You would be surprised how many very experienced riders still have trouble with tight u-turns.
 
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