The bigger they are, the harder they fall is not always necessarily true, at least if we as riders can help it.
Last Thursday I renewed my membership into the dropped bike club. I don’t know if it is the lesser of two evils, but thankfully I dropped the Ninja and not the Triumph. I hopped on the bike after work to go home, started it up, put it in gear and raised my right leg to the peg. Ouch, what the…my keys in my right pant pocket were stabbing me in the leg. It was quite uncomfortable to say the least, so I put the bike back into neutral and tried to adjust my keys with gloved hand through my riding gear. I stood up and tried again with out any luck. Damn, I’m just going to have to get off the bike, unzip my riding gear and go after the offending key. Anybody who has ridden motorcycles knows what happened next.
With my left foot close to the bike and me leaning, leaning…uh oh…past the point of where the kickstand “should” have been, I couldn’t save it and she went down as I stepped out of the way. Crap, well at least the tank was near empty, saving me from lifting close to an extra 40 pounds as I hefted it back upright. Next thing I heard was a rap from the office window as two co-workers motioned to ask if I was alright. I gave them the “thumbs up” and scurried home with bruised pride and a little embarrassment. I didn’t even look at the damage, I had to make a left turn out of the parking lot and the signal flasher was working fine so I knew the signal lights were spared. I take the back road home so I stopped at a rural stop sign and leaned over to look at the damage. Meh, not bad, some cosmetic scratches, Trobairitz has no emotional attachment to the bike, nor do I, so it is my winter commuter and it's going to get scratched. I'll blame "the previous owner" but it's going to knock a hundred bucks off the selling price.
It isn’t the first time I’ve dumped a bike and I’m sure it won’t be the last. I dropped my first street bike, a '75 CB750Four in the carport at home. I just came back from a ride and forgot to use the kickstand. I think I strained every muscle in my body trying to pick that old bike up. Several years later I dropped my '84 Honda Magna V45 in a strip mall parking lot. I was in a hurry to drop off a roll of film to be developed and stopped the bike in gear, dropped the kickstand, hit the kill switch and let go of the clutch all in one fluid motion. Evidently I was a little bit faster than the motor and the bike lurched forward off the kickstand and down she went. Another drop came with my '76 KZ900LTD. I just pulled into work, pulled up to a parking spot and I got my boot lace caught in the shifter, seemed like the slowest tip over ever and sat me on my ass. I don’t think any of the previous drops resulted in any serious damage so the scratches in the fairing of the Ninja will be the most expensive repair to date.
It happens to all of us sooner or later and to many of us in the group I ride with. We call it napping; sometimes our bikes just like to take a nap. I just wish they'd let us grab a pillow first.