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First, what Steve Gray said: "SPACE"

Next, after a near disaster earlier this year due to my inexperience with hard braking, I've been practicing regularly. These bikes don't have the greatest brakes but I've discovered that you can get on the front brake really, really hard and brake rapidly and safely. Of course use the rear brake too but that guy will lock up on you in a hurry. Again, practice.

Be safe and welcome to the forum.
 

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hard braking is something to practice often no matter how long you've been riding. It's not something you typically use on a daily basis. I'm due for a practice session. I really think it is the most difficult thing on a motorcycle.
 

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Sorry to hear about the accidents, and I'm glad that nothing but your pride was seriously injured.

That said, I'm gonna give you some tough love now. The important thing when something like this happens is that you don't waste the opportunity to learn something, so you need to figure out what you could have done to avoid the situation in the first place. It doesn't sound like you did anything "wrong", but there's probably one thing you could have changed to avoid them.

In the first case, it sounds like you didn't leave enough space between you and the car on front. That doesn't mean you were tailgating, obviously you weren't, but the cushion you need changes with conditions and experience. For instance, I've only been riding about two years now, but I've been driving for over 20. When I'm in my car I'll get a LOT closer to the car in front of me than I will on the bike. I leave at least two car lengths between me and the guy in front on the bike. Do I get a lot of cars pulling in front of me? Sure! But with two car lengths it doesn't bother me and I don't have to do emergency braking.

The second incident? That one's a bit tougher. Perhaps you cut the corner sharper and got out of the tire tracks created by cars? Remember that a bike can ride on spots of the road that cars never touch. Unfortunately those areas are where the dirt, sand, gravel, trash, and various other types of debris build up. When you're turning, try to stay where the cars go.

Like I said, just think about what happened and try to learn from the situation.

One more thing I'll add... Do you have a ride bell? Maybe you could use one for some good luck! That might have been the answer on the sand incident! :biglaugh: If you don't, head over to the ride bell thread and get yourself one.

Ride safe and welcome aboard!
I agree with Whiskeys comments, You can have the biggest effect on your safety. Learn from your riding mishaps as well as others riding adventures. I like your comments about wearing good safety equipment. Thanks for posting. Remember the bike tends to go where you look so look thru your turns and don't spend too much time looking at the ground. MCs are highly maneuverable much more than cars and looking for a safe place to go may help you avoid a future accident.

If you have a riding buddy let him or her know you if you don't have a ride bell; the story is a ride bell from a riding friend has twice the power to keep you safe from those evil road Gremlins.

Legend of the Bell
Gremlin Bells - Home
 

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hard braking is something to practice often no matter how long you've been riding. It's not something you typically use on a daily basis. I'm due for a practice session. I really think it is the most difficult thing on a motorcycle.
So true. I find that in an emergency situation it's hard for my 2 years of riding experience to overcome my 25 years of driving instincts. The effect is that I tend to jam the rear brake and cause the back tire to lock up.
 

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Welcome from Massachusetts mshepard62. So sorry to hear about your bumpy start, but I can second, third, and fourth all the advise already given. And I especially second your commitment to wearing the right protective gear! For a new rider, and many experienced riders, gear is a must. Get back up there, limit your rides to country roads & lighter traffic situations, and practice, practice, practice.... And Have fun!
 

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So true. I find that in an emergency situation it's hard for my 2 years of riding experience to overcome my 25 years of driving instincts. The effect is that I tend to jam the rear brake and cause the back tire to lock up.

That's interesting, because I tend to hit the front brake first and firm, followed by the rear brake within a second or two. I haven't gone over the handlebars yet.
 

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That's interesting, because I tend to hit the front brake first and firm, followed by the rear brake within a second or two. I haven't gone over the handlebars yet.
I wonder why that is? It seems that most riders I talk to have the same instinct that I do. Have you spent a lot of time riding bicycles maybe?
 

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Depends on your bike a mountain bike which is what many ride today have hand brakes like a motorcycle and older bikes like when I was a kid had coaster brakes not hand brakes. Todays Cruiser Bicycles still come with foot operated coaster brakes.

I spent over 10,000 miles learning to ride offroad on my dirt bike (Suzuki TS250) and sometimes the only major contact I had with the bike was thru my hands. Hence the hand brake was often available when the rear brake wasn't.

I try to use both brakes all the time so when in a panic situation I will automatically use both brakes. But too like Rellalou am likely to hit the front brake first. In parking lots or at really slow speeds I have to tell myself not to use the hand brake or I'm likely to drop the bike if turning real slow and I use the front brake while coming to a turning stop the front brake causes the bike to try to drop to the ground.

The front brake is way more powerful than the rear brake at slowing my MC.:wayhappy: The front brake supplies 70% of the stopping power due to weight transfer under braking which is why the front has a disk brake and the back only needs to be a drum brake.
 

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I'm glad the only thing that was really hurt was the pride. The best thing is it hasn't persuaded you from giving up on riding!! I second all the advice from the other forum members. Get back on her and practice on some rural roads with less traffic and you'll be just fine.

Ride Safe
 

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So true. I find that in an emergency situation it's hard for my 2 years of riding experience to overcome my 25 years of driving instincts. The effect is that I tend to jam the rear brake and cause the back tire to lock up.
Same problem here! I did a couple panic stops tonight, and I can tell you that ABS makes things MUCH easier. ABS is a good thing for me. I'm not super-human.
 

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Discussion Starter #32
I'm a big gut...6'4" and 280lbs. Options are limited. The C50 seems like a compromise between a frame that will fit me and lower cc and weight to grow on. It feels light and nimble (to me anyways) from what I was expecting from a cruiser. Don't know if smaller (or taller) bike would have changed the outcome; but I am glad to some degree this happened when it did (with little cost to skin or accessories) as it may have broke me from bad habits (that I see a lot of on the road now) before they started.
 

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I'm a big gut...6'4" and 280lbs. Options are limited. The C50 seems like a compromise between a frame that will fit me and lower cc and weight to grow on. It feels light and nimble (to me anyways) from what I was expecting from a cruiser. Don't know if smaller (or taller) bike would have changed the outcome; but I am glad to some degree this happened when it did (with little cost to skin or accessories) as it may have broke me from bad habits (that I see a lot of on the road now) before they started.
You've got the right frame of mind. You'll be fine. Just keep riding whenever you can, but don't rush yourself and ride at the level you're comfortable at.
 

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mshepard62: Glad you're relatively ok after taking two knocks.

To throw a cliche or two at you: Don't give up the ship. There are two kinds of riders, those who have gone down and those who will go down. (Not necessarily true, but that's what I remembered when I had my own unfortunate two or three events.)

Two years in on my C50T odyssey, I've learned to keep my head on swivel, anticipate and react to cagers before they act (like covering the controls and planning escape routes when you see someone considering pulling out in front of you), and learned to handle my bike better.

This stuff happens, you seem like you've learned from it and will adjust accordingly in the future. Lots of good advice in prior posts. Hang in there and you'll probably enjoy riding more with each mile you clock. (I know I seem to.)
 

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Discussion Starter #35
Thanks everyone for the responses and suggestions. his forum has been a great place to get experienced information. Being an analyst by trade, I've run what I could have done differently through my head a hundred times. Most of you have spoke to it...practice and situational awareness. I'm a believer of ATGATT and can personal attest to it's value--even in slow speed accidents. I like lots of space...even in my car (here in Colorado, tailgating seems to be a state sport on I-25). My wife was kinda upset at first; but she has a sense of humor about it. Came home today, opened the garage and found the bike with a dozen pillow bungee's to it. I think she's trying to send me a message.
 

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Discussion Starter #36
Good stuff. Car took my space away in #1. Mismanaging the skid likely put me on the ground. Lesson leaned: stay out of center lane in city and leave space to crowded from the sides. #2 was definitely bad angle on my part. Just a few more degrees and I wouldn't be writing about it. Riding bell probably was a karma warning. Didn't have one for #1. Friend said I gotta get one or I'm in trouble. Listened too late. Definitely have one now.

It's not tough love if the advice prevents injury or saves a life. Appreciate the honest response.
 

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Check out "Twist of the Wrist II" on YouTube. While it is somewhat dated and a little (or more than a little) cheesy sometimes, you will get some very good analysis on motorcycles. One scene addresses your second accident with the sand on the road. You probably tried to correct the motorcycle instead of allowing the motorcycle to correct itself. In the video, when the rider hits a slick spot on a curve and tries to correct the motorcycle, he goes down almost immediately. Next, you see the same motorcycle and same slick spot. The wheels wobble the same way but the rider doesn't try to correct it and within a second or so, the bike is upright and in control again.

The video covers many reactions people make when riding in an effort to save themselves but actually counteract the auto-correcting of the bikes when riding properly and focusing on the proper things.
 

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dont feel bad, ive been riding for 30 years and was pulling into my driveway off the main road, and it was drizzling out a bit, and when i turned into the drive i tapped the front brake to decrease speed a bit and wamm boom bang, went down hard front tire slid out from under me, broke 2 ribs and fractured my arm, only minor damage to my 2002 volusia amazingly , i or any other rider should know never use front brakes turning on a wet road, but i didn't hit it hard and was shocked that it (front tire) kicked out from under me, live and learn, like u i was glad/lucky:crying: it was low speed.....
 

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Since the discussion of hitting the front or rear brakes, I've been making a point of using the rear brake quicker and in unison with the front brake, and sometimes alone... I am becoming more comfortable with it. Surprisingly, I noticed a couple of time, I hit the pedal first! New for me!

mshepard62, sounds like your wife loves you AND has a sense of humor. :biglaugh:

Although we try to think our way through all sorts of predicaments, I think to some degree we simply develop an instinct on the road that helps to guide us. Unfortunately, others on the road may not be tuned into our instinct!
 

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I'm a big gut...6'4" and 280lbs. Options are limited. The C50 seems like a compromise between a frame that will fit me and lower cc and weight to grow on. It feels light and nimble (to me anyways) from what I was expecting from a cruiser. Don't know if smaller (or taller) bike would have changed the outcome; but I am glad to some degree this happened when it did (with little cost to skin or accessories) as it may have broke me from bad habits (that I see a lot of on the road now) before they started.
You should take a look at a 650 V-strom with ABS. Nothing wrong with your C50, but the Strom would fit you better, and is a bike you can ride forever. I'm 6'4 and about 250 lbs. and I haven't found a better fit yet.
 
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