Getting back in the saddle - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-18-2016, 08:51 AM Thread Starter
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Getting back in the saddle

So the time has come and i took the ol' V out of hibernation. Had the battery on the tender over the winter, but it still wouldn't start. Ended up getting a new battery and all is well. Rode from the inlaws house where i garage it to my house, and she ran like a dream.
Now the difficult part... The beginning of February I lost a very close friend in a terrible motorcycle accident. He was being an idiot yes, but it was a huge blow to my friends and family. Now every time i even look at my helmet its like ....Ugh what if? My wife has told me since the first day i got a bike she doesn't like them, and would rather i didn't, but it is ultimately my choice. I am careful because i know i have a wife and kid and i value my life, but like she said it isn't me she is worried about. So i feel guilty now every time i throw my leg over the seat and wonder "will i feel like this every time i get on my bike forever?". Am i being selfish for just wanting to ride?
I know the loss is still fresh, but am looking for advise and/ or personal experiences of people who have been in similar situations/ have insight that may help. Im not trying to be a downer, just having a tough time with the whole thing.
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-18-2016, 09:02 AM
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Ian,
I'm sorry to hear about your loss. Especially so recently to the incident, the wounds still fresh.
I had a good friend growing up that lost his dad in a motorcycle accident when we were in grade school. As soon as he turned 16 he was out riding his dads old Harley. It's what he remembered his dad by. The absolute joy the bike brought his dad was handed down to him and he loved it. Yeah, every cyclist knows when you swing your leg over it could be your last ride. But we know (most of us do at least) that we have to take every precaution possible to ensure that we make it home to friends and family.
If the memory of what happened is too much store the bike a little longer. Don't ride just because you feel like you have to with nice weather beginning. The bike isn't going anywhere.
Personally, I do not think of it as selfish if you keep riding. As long as you are taking every precaution to be safe.
Hope this helps, and your friends and family are in my thoughts and prayers.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-18-2016, 10:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IanThomas View Post
So the time has come and i took the ol' V out of hibernation. Had the battery on the tender over the winter, but it still wouldn't start. Ended up getting a new battery and all is well. Rode from the inlaws house where i garage it to my house, and she ran like a dream.
Now the difficult part... The beginning of February I lost a very close friend in a terrible motorcycle accident. He was being an idiot yes, but it was a huge blow to my friends and family. Now every time i even look at my helmet its like ....Ugh what if?
Sorry for your loss


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My wife has told me since the first day i got a bike she doesn't like them, and would rather i didn't, but it is ultimately my choice. I am careful because i know i have a wife and kid and i value my life, but like she said it isn't me she is worried about. So i feel guilty now every time i throw my leg over the seat and wonder "will i feel like this every time i get on my bike forever?". Am i being selfish for just wanting to ride?
I know the loss is still fresh, but am looking for advise and/ or personal experiences of people who have been in similar situations/ have insight that may help. Im not trying to be a downer, just having a tough time with the whole thing.

I'm there and buying the t-shirt ...


LOP
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-18-2016, 10:25 AM
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Ian, I'm sorry for your loss.

I can't tell you really what the right answer is. My personal theory is that a careful motorcyclist is less likely to be in a collision than the average automobile driver, because most drivers are not paying attention. But the biker surely loses worse when there is a collision.

What you can do is commit to being a careful rider. You can have fun, but be smart about when and where. You could consider taking one of the many different rider skills courses. Get a louder jacket (mine is a flourescent yellow, and I see people seeing me because of it). Add a flashing brake light, or brighter turn signals.

For my job I fly airplanes. While I've never lost a motorcycle friend to a motorcycle accident, I have lost a number of pilot friends in airplane accidents. It definitely makes one think more about the risks after an accident happens. Some of the accidents were pilot caused, others were mechanical or weather related. Every accident is in fact a chain of events, where almost without exception there were opportunities to disrupt the chain before the accident. Just like we've all had close calls on the road, I've had one very serious close call in an airplane caused by a confluence of sudden mechanical failure and bad weather. We mitigated the problem because we had discussed the weather and our escape plan if it got worse. The mechanical failure was a surprise but we executed the escape plan successfully.

To be honest, after that incident it took about a year to not get occasional twinges when thinking about it. And I still avoid flying into that airport nearly 20 years later!

We do something called Threat-Error-Management at the airline. What are the threats? We actually talk about different threats at each phase of flight. Maybe there's gusty crosswinds on the takeoff, or we're taxiing around at night in bad weather at an unfamiliar airport. These are potential threats which, while we experience them frequently without disaster, can cause an undesired outcome if we make an error.

So the model is Threat -> Error. A threat is not a problem until we make an error. This is the chain of events. A threat appears and then we make an error, leading to the accident. That doosh weaving around from lane to lane on the freeway isn't a problem if we recognize he is a threat and we take some minor action, like slowing down or moving to another lane. Problems arise when we make an error, like standing our ground to prove a point, which leads to him brake checking us at 70mph and we have to slam on our brakes in the midst of traffic. We made an error which led to an undesirable outcome! If we fail to identify the threat of the guy weaving around, we make an error by placing ourselves too close to him.

No, we can't foresee all threats, and we can't avoid all the surprises. But if we have a mindset of being careful and observant we can dramatically reduce the risks.

I think it is normal that you are having thoughts about your friend as you get on the bike. Those should diminish soon, but when it is consistently anxiety provoking to ride and you don't enjoy it, it may be time to park the bike for a while.
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-18-2016, 10:47 AM Thread Starter
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Ian,
I'm sorry to hear about your loss. Especially so recently to the incident, the wounds still fresh.
I had a good friend growing up that lost his dad in a motorcycle accident when we were in grade school. As soon as he turned 16 he was out riding his dads old Harley. It's what he remembered his dad by. The absolute joy the bike brought his dad was handed down to him and he loved it. Yeah, every cyclist knows when you swing your leg over it could be your last ride. But we know (most of us do at least) that we have to take every precaution possible to ensure that we make it home to friends and family.
If the memory of what happened is too much store the bike a little longer. Don't ride just because you feel like you have to with nice weather beginning. The bike isn't going anywhere.
Personally, I do not think of it as selfish if you keep riding. As long as you are taking every precaution to be safe.
Hope this helps, and your friends and family are in my thoughts and prayers.
Thank you. I am sure my friend wouldn't want me to stop, and maybe i look at it like that.
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-18-2016, 10:53 AM Thread Starter
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Ian, I'm sorry for your loss.

I can't tell you really what the right answer is. My personal theory is that a careful motorcyclist is less likely to be in a collision than the average automobile driver, because most drivers are not paying attention. But the biker surely loses worse when there is a collision.

What you can do is commit to being a careful rider. You can have fun, but be smart about when and where. You could consider taking one of the many different rider skills courses. Get a louder jacket (mine is a flourescent yellow, and I see people seeing me because of it). Add a flashing brake light, or brighter turn signals.

For my job I fly airplanes. While I've never lost a motorcycle friend to a motorcycle accident, I have lost a number of pilot friends in airplane accidents. It definitely makes one think more about the risks after an accident happens. Some of the accidents were pilot caused, others were mechanical or weather related. Every accident is in fact a chain of events, where almost without exception there were opportunities to disrupt the chain before the accident. Just like we've all had close calls on the road, I've had one very serious close call in an airplane caused by a confluence of sudden mechanical failure and bad weather. We mitigated the problem because we had discussed the weather and our escape plan if it got worse. The mechanical failure was a surprise but we executed the escape plan successfully.

To be honest, after that incident it took about a year to not get occasional twinges when thinking about it. And I still avoid flying into that airport nearly 20 years later!

We do something called Threat-Error-Management at the airline. What are the threats? We actually talk about different threats at each phase of flight. Maybe there's gusty crosswinds on the takeoff, or we're taxiing around at night in bad weather at an unfamiliar airport. These are potential threats which, while we experience them frequently without disaster, can cause an undesired outcome if we make an error.

So the model is Threat -> Error. A threat is not a problem until we make an error. This is the chain of events. A threat appears and then we make an error, leading to the accident. That doosh weaving around from lane to lane on the freeway isn't a problem if we recognize he is a threat and we take some minor action, like slowing down or moving to another lane. Problems arise when we make an error, like standing our ground to prove a point, which leads to him brake checking us at 70mph and we have to slam on our brakes in the midst of traffic. We made an error which led to an undesirable outcome! If we fail to identify the threat of the guy weaving around, we make an error by placing ourselves too close to him.

No, we can't foresee all threats, and we can't avoid all the surprises. But if we have a mindset of being careful and observant we can dramatically reduce the risks.

I think it is normal that you are having thoughts about your friend as you get on the bike. Those should diminish soon, but when it is consistently anxiety provoking to ride and you don't enjoy it, it may be time to park the bike for a while.
Thank you well put. Reassessing situations and being proactive to avoid errors and threats while riding is one thing you can never do enough. I will keep your word in mind next time i am out. I have taken the safety course and have been thinking of taking another at the next skill level as the one i took was for beginners. Also i have a G-max helmet with the integrated light and also the back off brake light which is helpful. But it is true you can never be "too visible".

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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-18-2016, 12:40 PM
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In life we are more likely to regret the things we don't do than the things we do. Be careful when you ride, but, if you really love it, ride.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-19-2016, 03:26 PM
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Ian - there will ALWAYS be something happening to someone you know (or knew) that your mind will 'transfer' to happening to YOU.

That's normal, so just stay cautious - mind clear, eyes open....

ATGATT is a pretty good idea, TOO...!
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-19-2016, 05:36 PM
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RIDE! Will never be able to physically ride with the young man my son in my avatar and signature again... He is always with me though especially when I'm on 2 wheels!
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-19-2016, 08:33 PM
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My wife best friend lost her brother and his wife in a Harley VS truck accident several months ago. Losing them both at the same time left the kids a mess, and was legally a mess.
Because of this, my wife will no longer ride with me. I understand and support her decision but it's hard on me. 6 kids and years of riding together and suddenly my partner rides no more. It's a tough place your in. I don't know what I would do if asked to stop outright, stick to dirt? Go against the wishes? I just don't know, but I know it's rough having those thoughts in your head. I hope all goes well.
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-19-2016, 08:45 PM
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Because of this, my wife will no longer ride with me. I understand and support her decision but it's hard on me.I know it's rough having those thoughts in your head. I hope all goes well.
My wife wouldn't travel alone with me until our youngest went to college. I work for an airline and get free airfare, and honestly one of the big draws to this career was the travel benefits. She was worried we'd both be killed and leave the kids orphaned. She was always fine with all of us going somewhere because there'd be no orphans in case of a crash.

I think women are more sensitive to this line of thought than men.
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-20-2016, 12:31 AM
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I have never had a friend pass away thankfully, but did have my best friend become paralyzed in a bike accident. He was taken out by a car, entirely not his fault. Fresh after the accident, it was very easy to give up my bike.

After I was bikeless, I was sad, and got excited like a little kid every time I saw a bike. All I thought about was bikes. It took me several years to finally get to the point where I could afford another bike, but once I did, I can honestly say I was much happier. I take all precautions that I can, ATGATT, and ride sensibly. But giving up something that made me happy, is not a good way to live a life.
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-21-2016, 07:16 AM
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Ian - there will ALWAYS be something happening to someone you know (or knew) that your mind will 'transfer' to happening to YOU.

That's normal, so just stay cautious - mind clear, eyes open....

ATGATT is a pretty good idea, TOO...!
Yea it is....and it really does help to dress like a fluorescent traffic cone.

To the OP:
My wife also does not like me on the bike, but she knows it is good for my soul.

I understand the value of bouncing stuff off of other people in the motorcycle community, but only you can say when it is time to quit. We can justify riding a motorcycle for gas mileage, cost of ownership or any other reason, but really they are toys to 99% of us...I would bet there are very few motorcycle owners that have a bike as their sole mode of transportation....sure they are out there but that number is a very small percentage.

I would say if you find yourself being side tracked by your thoughts....having moments where you go oh sh!t...where did that come from, or that was my turn...it is time to settle your mind...you may just need some more time.

The day will come where you just don't want to do it anymore.

I have had classic cars most of my adult high income life...father-in-law told me one day you will not want to mess with that anymore...I did not listen.....now at 50 with 2 vintage Fiats, a Triumph, and a few Opels plus a Opel race car...I find myself selling off all this stuff not wanting to mess with it anymore....our live goes on and what we want to do changes...this is not good or bad but just life.

Sounds like you are sitting at a cross roads....take some time, nothing wrong with that....you might walk away for a few years, or you might be back on next week...you need to decide what YOU want.
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-21-2016, 08:54 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for your feedback everyone. It really is helpful. I think at this point i will just keep it parked for a while (just got 6'' of snow so that makes it easier to do so). Just getting it out there and "talking" about it makes me feel better. I know if Steve (the one who passed) could see me he would say "F- that ride bud", but a little soul searching and time will tell me what is right. His two cousins who are also my best friends and riding partners are now selling their bikes (04 honda 599, and 0? harley sportster custom) they are both getting Yamaha TW200's to ride the trails up north. Not really my style, but they do look fun.

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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-21-2016, 01:30 PM
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people die on the trails too, and in the shower, etc.

nothing in life is guaranteed except that it will end.

taking a brake can be healthy, time to get perspective and evaluate your personal risk management.

have a well written will, insurance, and ride for self preservation can make riding relaxing again after some event like that can leave you tense. After a few close calls with deer I've been a bit tense riding certain stretches of roads in the dark, I've just reduced speed on those areas and feel more relaxed again.
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post #16 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-21-2016, 01:41 PM
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Might be hard to believe but i ride about 20 mph less now after all the alerts i get from this site of all the downed bikers in SoCal.....https://www.facebook.com/BikerDownAlerts/?fref=nf
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post #17 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-22-2016, 07:44 AM
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I think reminders of our mortality should not scare us into seclusion but rather should buffer our arrogance and lead to discretion
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post #18 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-22-2016, 11:34 AM
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I think reminders of our mortality should not scare us into seclusion but rather should buffer our arrogance and lead to discretion
Everyone should have a very close brush with death and come out relatively unscathed. It does change one's view.

My closest brush was July 2, 1998. Nose to nose with pure evil, I saw the 4th Horseman that day. Or the Devil. One of them.

It did change my perspective. Some might retreat to a padded climate controlled bunker. I decided I hadn't lived enough yet.
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post #19 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-22-2016, 03:39 PM
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Everyone should have a very close brush with death and come out relatively unscathed. It does change one's view.

My closest brush was July 2, 1998. Nose to nose with pure evil, I saw the 4th Horseman that day. Or the Devil. One of them.

It did change my perspective. Some might retreat to a padded climate controlled bunker. I decided I hadn't lived enough yet.
After crashing into a car, head on, on the freeway I had an epiphany... I would continue riding and I would ride more. You know? The last thing I though as I was going to crash into the car was, in total peace, "I'm about to find out if there is an afterlife". Few weeks after that my family even attempted not one, but TWO interventions to get me to quit riding, nope.

I'm going to go out there and ride, I'm not going to hide from risk and regret all I didn't had the balls to do when dead comes knocking to my door. I've seen way to many risk adverse people pass away from mundane reasons, I'm not going to be one of them.
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