Welcome to the taboo world of the crash. What they're about, why they happen and how not to have them. All you ever wanted to know about something you don't want to do
Painful, expensive, embarrassing, sometimes very sad, sometimes downright hilarious, crashing and motorbikes have gone together like MPs and mistresses since man first attached two wheels to an engine. They are the Yin to motorcycling's Yang, the misunderstood bastard offspring of motorcycling's loins, and the one part of riding we could all do without.
Or could we? I don't think so.
Because without crashing where would be the fun in riding? If we couldn't crash, going fast would merely be a matter of opening the throttle and the fastest rider would always be the one with the most cash and the latest missile (with engine blueprint, hot cams, big bore, race system, turbo, go-faster anodised bolts, matching bar-ends and go-faster purple headlight cover of course. Ahem). The skill of riding, the very essence of its satisfaction, would be lost. No longer would you be able to edge towards your bike's limits and dance on the heady twilight of adhesion with the adrenalin pumping into your brain like a neat, cold, tequila shot because those limits wouldn't exist anymore.
Fast riding would be no different to playing an arcade game and every Herbert would be at it. Why shouldn't they? After all, the only reason people don't get into bikes is because they don't see the potential risk (crashing) as worth it. You know as well as I do this risk is way lower than the non-biking majority perceive it to be, but we don't want them to know that just yet, eh? After all, if they thought riding was safe our badassed, thrill-seeking public image would be in tatters. Take the risk out of biking altogether and it becomes as safe as knitting. Oh dear.
Nope, we need crashing and that's that. From the 10mph topple in the drive all the way through to the 130mph GP highside, they're all a part of the experience.
Not to say they're all good. No way, because smashed limbs, hospital food, death - yes, it does happen although it's as likely to come from an errant rollerskate at the top of the stairs as from being on a bike - and the sheer mental and financial anguish of turning your P&J (that's 'pride and joy') into scrap aren't exactly experiences to relish. But without lows, you don't get highs and as bikes are all about seeing, feeling and tasting a little more of life beyond the everyday norm, it stands to reason this can apply to the bad stuff too.
Then again, there's the upside to crashing. Like the stories. Once the crashing's all over, the damage assessed and the injury pinpointed as no more than dented pride and a sprained wallet, crashes can be very funny.
Take the example of my mate (who shall remain nameless) who, following a massive row with the missus, stormed out of the house at three am, leapt on his bike, gave it massive revs and went to make a dramatic departure, leaving his guilt-wracked tearful girlfriend pitifully calling his name into the empty night. At least that was the plan... Unfortunately, cold tyres and greasy tarmac conspired to highside him immediately into a parked car ten feet away before the bike landed on top of him and pinned him to the road. She'd already shut the door and he spent ten minutes stricken underneath it before she relented and came to his rescue.
And inherent in any good crash story is survival. After all, whichever way you slice it, getting hurt sucks, and even when you are alright the financial implications of a spill can still hurt. But, walking away from a major off at the track is an awesome feeling. Looking down on the tarmac from a vantage point 15-feet up while traveling backwards well in excess of the motorway speed limit is not something most people get to do and is an experience you should make the most of should it happen. The same goes for the graceful lowside slither into the gravel and the earth-sky-earth-sky-oh-no-not-the-collarbones tumble across the grass. If you find yourself in any of these situations, relax, kick back and enjoy the ride. After all, what else can you do?
Posted: 14/06/2009 at 00:54
Posted: 08/09/2010 at 11:38
"Welcome to the taboo world of the crash. What they're about, why they happen and how not to have them. All you ever wanted to know about something you don't want to do"
What a shite article, there was bugger all about why they happen and how not to have them, indeed there was very little factual content whatsoever. I feel rather like I want to know more about crashing and less about some bollox of how crap bikes would be if we never crashed and some probably made up story about a mate (on an R1 no doubt) binning it by riding like a noob.
Posted: 08/09/2010 at 12:01
Posted: 26/07/2011 at 18:29
Posted: 29/07/2011 at 15:20
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