Five stupid crashes to avoid

Tyres, gravel and U-turns can be your worst enemies

CRASHING sucks – and it's even worse when it's something stupid that's caused it. Here's five of the silliest spills you can do (and we've all done them…) And, of course, how to avoid them…

1. New tyres

Speak to any bike tyre place, and they'll regale you with tales of 5mph highsides and locked front ends outside their shop every week. New tyres are incredibly slippery for the first few miles, and you can be on your arse very quickly if you forget this. Even just shutting the throttle on a big bike (especially a V-twin) can lock up a brand-new rear tyre, and you can be sideways fast. And if you weren't expecting it, you often get caught totally by surprise.

The answer is obvious – listen to what the tyre fitter told you when you paid the bill! Go super (super) steady for the first few miles on new, cold tyres.

EVEN when they're run-in, tyres have far less grip when they're cold, duh. Go gentle with the throttle and brakes for the first ten minutes of a ride, and your rubber will work much better, saving your hide from an embarrassing spill at the end of your street.

FILTERING up the outside of a long line of traffic, you feel like king of the road. Then, the lights start to change, you rush in at the side of the queue at the lights, and lose the front on all the dirt, gravel and rubbish that builds up at the side of the road near junctions. Plan ahead – give yourself an exit route away from 'dirty' parts of the road, and be prepared to stop more gently if you need to.

A CLASSIC for newbies – but even experts can drop a bike when doing a tight U-turn, especially shorter riders on taller bikes. Stalling the engine is the usual route to the deck, but it's possible to lose your balance even without killing the engine.  Concentration is key, as is practice, and this is something you can easily get up to speed with in a car park. Use your back brake to slow things down, feather the clutch and raise the revs to prevent stalling. Look where you want to go, and don't panic…

NOW this is definitely one to avoid – nothing is more embarrassing than crashing on the in lap... There's something about that final lap after the chequered flag that puts so many people in the gravel – maybe it's the sudden break of concentration after being focused so hard on the task in hand?

Whatever the cause, it's worth paying extra attention here. Once you roll off the throttle and start to cruise round to the pits, stay aware of corners coming up, and don't be distracted by waving to your pals trackside, or high-fiving other riders on track…

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