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Old 03-17-2013, 08:15 PM   #1
Hawk62cj5 OP
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Falling , the right way?

Im a newbie to riding and have been riding about 9 months or so and have put almost a couple thousand miles on my Sherpa . I ride mostly onroad or gravel but 5% or so is off road and my only off where more than my pride was hurt was off road . Ive been watching some vids just to see what are the dos and donts and I have noticed it look like most of the guys with experience fall the same way , they end up with legs clear of the bike when it hits the ground. Any pointers besides dont fall ? I figure falling is part of riding off road so might as well do it right .
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Old 03-18-2013, 01:52 AM   #2
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Im not an expert on falling, but my experience indicates trying to stop yourself results in wrist injuries
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Old 03-18-2013, 03:56 AM   #3
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If you can find somewhere that teaches Judo, take a few lessons.

Otherwise, get from under the bike, if necessary push it away as you fall, keep the fists closed and try to spread the impact as much as possible. i.e. don't stick your arms out to break the fall.

Sliding is better than tumbling and you have quite a bit of directional control with your boots and gloves - once you've already hit the ground.

Not panicing and going into brain freeze is the big win, Judo lessons will help there as well.

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Old 03-18-2013, 05:48 AM   #4
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I probably have used that training we did way back in 2nd or 3rd grade where the gym teacher had us jump off of the stage onto a mat, then roll it out, about a million times by now.

Snow skiing was the biggest trainer for how to fall when I got in over my head, so while I'm no motorcycling falling expert, rolling up into a ball and rolling it out certainly seems to work in other areas. Other than one fall at speed at Nelson Ledges race track (in the grass at the end of an otherwise great day), I really only ever seem to fall at about zero MPH now. But with the DR650 that still involves falling from a height. The last time I did it I guess I rolled it out a little and was clear of the bike - this is where wearing a mesh jacket with soft inner armor really helped. I felt nothing as I hit the tiled garage floor... so yeah - wear armor.
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Old 03-18-2013, 06:28 AM   #5
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If'n you're on a cruiser you should always "lay 'er down" to avoid having an accident.





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Old 03-18-2013, 07:51 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterW View Post
If you can find somewhere that teaches Judo, take a few lessons.

Otherwise, get from under the bike, if necessary push it away as you fall, keep the fists closed and try to spread the impact as much as possible. i.e. don't stick your arms out to break the fall.

Sliding is better than tumbling and you have quite a bit of directional control with your boots and gloves - once you've already hit the ground.

Not panicing and going into brain freeze is the big win, Judo lessons will help there as well.

Pete
Agree and disagree. My son studied Judo for 5 years, and is the master of the breakfall. He was 14 and learning on a scooter, did a fabulous breakfall from a 40 kph highside that resulted in his wrist hyperextending fully. At his age he was able to do so with out anything broken (I saw it, and it was sicking to watch), though his wrist took 2 months to regain it's strength.

The rest you stated, heck ya.. In Asia, a 55 year old can tumble off his scooter a few times a year coming home heavily sauced with no gear but a helmet, and just lose a little skin. Same mature () chap falls from his 'big bike', with full gear, and several things inside him get broken.
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Old 03-18-2013, 09:27 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterW View Post
If you can find somewhere that teaches Judo, take a few lessons.

Otherwise, get from under the bike, if necessary push it away as you fall, keep the fists closed and try to spread the impact as much as possible. i.e. don't stick your arms out to break the fall.

Sliding is better than tumbling and you have quite a bit of directional control with your boots and gloves - once you've already hit the ground.

Not panicing and going into brain freeze is the big win, Judo lessons will help there as well.

Pete
I agree with these. ALthough, in reading Fishenough's comment I also agree with him that you don't want to be doing Judo break falls.

Basically, be relaxed, get as much of your body onto the ground as quickly as you can. If you start tumbling, get your limbs in tight.

Oh, and don't try to get up until you've stopped sliding. It hurts your knees and palms. Trust me.

My brother and I are interesting compasions. I ride sport bikes, he rode H-D's. I fell off a half-dozen times including a couple of minor collisions (all stupid, I was younger and even stupider then). He has had several collisions. I never hurt myself except for trying to get up while still sliding at 40 kph (see above). He got hurt quite badly each time, including multiple broken vertabrae one time.

Conclusion - I fall well due to a combination of more extensive martial arts, better gear, natural conditioning (?) and good luck.

And so, I wish you equally good luck.
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Old 03-18-2013, 09:31 AM   #8
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I competed in Judo for 20 years and taught/coached it for 10. There's a lot to be said for knowing how to land. The rollout probably a lot more useful than just a break fall. I've had several over the handlebars type crashes in the past year while racing harescrambles and never been injured. I just tucked, rolled and ended up back on my feet. Of course that might just be luck.
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Old 03-18-2013, 09:50 AM   #9
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This is going to sound strange, and I always ride ATGATT (all the gear all the time) but even so I find it useful to imagine myself riding in only T-shirt, shorts and flip-flops!

The two times I've really hurt myself on a motorcycle I did the same stupid mistake that you're not supposed to do when it all goes wrong - hang on to the bike.

Yes - you and the machine are suppose to be one, but you're not supposed to be one with the bike if it's about to fall off the wrong side of a cliff either.

Between all the different things you think about when riding a bike - try to reserve one space in your head for the "eject button"

I had to learn that the hard way with a smashed knee and later a broken collar bone before I finally got it.

Watch the movie "closer to the edge" about the TT. It's a brilliant film and the guys are absolutely nuts but there's one thing in there that really struck a chord with me.

Guy Martin is the looney race driver that everyone loves, he's on a mission from God and in the middle of it all he has an horrific crash. The kind of crash that only ends one way for 99% of us. But for whatever reason it wasn't his time to go and what he does in that crash to survive is to push himself away from the bike - at +160 mph....

That's absolutely insane but had he not done so he probably wouldn't have been alive today.

Something to think about, if it goes terribly wrong - just jump off. It's going to hurt but bikes are heavy and you don't want to be near them when it goes wrong.
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Old 03-18-2013, 08:43 PM   #10
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Your Sherpa has a low 1st and not much suspension, when it gets rough, you can crawl along, when it gets steep, use just enough speed to get the job done, get a chest protector, it helps keep the ribs from getting bruised etc.
You will go down off road riding, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but sooner or later it will happen, learn to stand on the pegs when riding in the tough stuff, it helps, it has also helped me also make a few graceful exits off the bike when things went south.

In due time you will get faster at both riding off road and making a somewhat graceful exit off the bike when necessary, and then there will always be surprises.
Oh and did i mention get a chest protector.
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Old 03-18-2013, 09:14 PM   #11
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Never try to break a fall. When you fall, just fall and go with it...don't fight it.

As some have mentioned here, IMO there's a huge difference between falling of a bike and doing a breakfall or ukemi in judo, jujitsu or aikido or other martial arts.

In the former you fall on a hard surface sometimes covered with sharp rocks, and you don't plan it. While the latter is done in a controlled environment/situation, done on tatami or mattress which is not as hard as the road surface and you pretty much plan to fall.
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Old 03-19-2013, 04:46 AM   #12
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Quote:
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Never try to break a fall. When you fall, just fall and go with it...don't fight it.

This is exactly right. Even in Judo competition (which I agree is a very different situation) the only bad injuries I have ever seen happened when guys were trying to avoid the fall. Rather than accepting the fact they are being thrown and just going with it, they try to post a leg, arm, or head to try to avoid it--then things tend to break or twist.

No matter what you're doing, it's not the fall that hurts, it's the abrupt stop. Good ukemi in martial arts, tumbling in gymnastics, and PLF's in Airborne all teach you to relax and go where the kinetic energy is taking you.

I watched a guy break his leg Saturday coming down a steep downhill on a 450. His front end washed (due to a handful of brake). Rather than just coming off the bike and rolling down the hill, he panicked, held on to the bike for dear life, and ended up twisted up underneath it.
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Old 03-19-2013, 11:58 AM   #13
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Falling on pavement, atgatt, is much different from falling in any other situation. Leathers and armored gear are designed to take some slidin' right?

After years of BMX, mountain biking, snowboarding, skateboarding, and being a general fool, (putting wheels on a picnic table, lighting it on fire, and riding it down the biggest hill in the neighborhood for example) I'm very confident in my ability to roll from wrist to forearm to elbow to shoulder and so on. This is probably best on dirt, or when riding in shorts and flip flops as a means of not losing all the skin on your body. At high speeds, you might wanna slide it out.
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Old 03-20-2013, 01:20 AM   #14
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I've been doing it so long I don't even think about "how". Probably been down over 1,000 times on dirt, and where I ride it is extremely rocky when it's not roots and mud and trees. I think I've been to the doc or ER maybe three times out of those 1,000.

OTOH my wife, new and seldom rider, has had three broken bones or dislocations in maybe 1/100th the riding time. She broke one thumb and dislocated the other in two different crashes, both by putting her hand out with fingers spread. She broke ribs by raising her elbow (as if to protect her face) so that she landed on her side on a hump in the ground.

As a kid I played, at various times, both football and soccer, so am used to falling to the ground. My wife didn't.
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Old 03-20-2013, 06:43 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Hawk62cj5 View Post
Im a newbie to riding and have been riding about 9 months or so and have put almost a couple thousand miles on my Sherpa . I ride mostly onroad or gravel but 5% or so is off road and my only off where more than my pride was hurt was off road . Ive been watching some vids just to see what are the dos and donts and I have noticed it look like most of the guys with experience fall the same way , they end up with legs clear of the bike when it hits the ground. Any pointers besides dont fall ? I figure falling is part of riding off road so might as well do it right .
Yeah.

Don't fall.

One of the worst injuries I've had happened in a parking garage. I was coming down the spiral ramps and just as I pulled up to the toll booth the front end locks up and I did a lowside splat. Well I had this brand new helmet, bought it like 3 days before, and NO WAY was I going to let my new helmet hit the ground----and it didn't. Tore up most of the muscles in one side of my neck. Hurt for months.
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