Monday, February 23, 2009

The killer garage door

I've ridden my motorcycle all around the city with no real problems. I've yet to feel like I had gotten into a dangerous situation.

Yet, going in and out of the apartment garage is the single most dangerous maneuver I have encountered on the motorcycle. I've dropped the bike twice now - once going in and again going out of the garage.
  • You have to go up/down a steep incline to/from the street to the garage door.
  • You have to make a 90 degree turn just inside of the garage.
  • If you're outside coming in you can not see vehicles inside coming out. If you're inside going out you can not see vehicles outside coming down the ramp.
  • If you're going out and you're at the top of the ramp you can not see traffic coming up the street.
This is bad enough for a car with four wheels but two other problems come into play when you're on a two wheel motorcycle.

The concrete is smooth. That's bad enough but if there is any water or dirt on the floor it becomes very slick. It's not possible to keep dirt from getting into the garage so there is always a fine powder of dirt on the garage floor that makes it slick.

Whenever a motorcycle turns it leans over just a little bit. It's the power to the rear wheel and the forward momentum that keeps the bike from falling over. That's how motorcycles work. It's not a problem as long as the motorcycle is moving at a reasonable speed and there is power to the rear wheel and the brakes aren't applied. It is a problem at very slow speeds or if you have to apply the brakes. In a turn it is critical to keep power to the rear wheel and stay off the brakes. If you must stop then bring the bike upright, straighten the front wheel and apply both brakes evenly.

This morning I was on my way out of the garage, I opened the door and started the 90 degree turn out of the garage and up the ramp, then I encountered the garbage truck. The garbage truck had backed down the ramp and was parked on the ramp a few feet outside of the garage door. I slammed on the brakes and dumped the bike on the ground right underneath the garage door. My left leg was trapped under the bike and I had to yell at the garbage men to come and lift the bike off of me. I skinned my knee, broke the left turn signal, bent the left peg and bent the gear shifter. I could have gotten burned if the exhaust pipe had been hot.

It is always the rider that droppers or dumps a motorcycle - no one else causes the bike to drop or fall over (excluding someone else pushing it over or being hit in a collision.) Dumping a motorcycle isn't always an error; there may be occasions when that is the best option. The garbage truck should not have been on the ramp but, as much as I want to, I can't blame them for me dropping the bike. Going in and out of the garage is a dangerous maneuver - I'm going to have to develop better strategies for doing it.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Some worthy quotes

"Emotional self-control is not the same as overcontrol, the stifling of all feeling and spontaneity.... When such emotional suppression is chronic, it can impair thinking, hamper intellectual performance and interfere with smooth social interaction. By contrast, emotional competence implies we have a choice as to how we express our feelings."
---Daniel Goleman

"Restraint offers a space between intention and action and the opportunity to protect others from actions or reactions that should exist only in your imagination."
---Stephanie Dowrick

Forni, P.M. Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct. New York, NY: St. Martine's Griffin, 2002. p. 21.
Photo: by Clyde Hoadley, 2009, Creative Commons, some rights reserved.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Frustrated and angry Feathers

"If you can't say anything nice then don't say anything at all."
One of my elders.
Ok. The gently falling snow looks so beautiful tonight. I'm hoping for a snow day.