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Travellers' questions that don't fit anywhere else This is an opportunity to ask any question, and post any notice you wish that doesn't fit into one of the other sections.
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  #1  
Old 2 Jul 2003
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How to fall off?

Hi

My girlfriend and I are going to Morocco in October. She doesn't have much experience as a pillion (or of motorbikes), so naturally the thought of coming off scares her to death. I expect that we will have a couple of low-speed topples - as seems to be the norm for overloaded overlanders.

I'm worried that she might get her leg stuck under the rear panniers or otherwise get injured in a low-speed fall (delicate flower that she is). Therefore I was thinking about staging a little 'practice crash' on grass before we go. This would involve just laying the bike down while stationary. Hopefully this will also give her a bit of confidence so she isn't so worried when we get to rough roads.

Anyone else done this? Is it a good idea?

Also, what tips would you offer pillions for safe crashing on a bike with panniers?

Cheers

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  #2  
Old 2 Jul 2003
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She should remain drunk at all times. After all you never hurt yourself when you're drunk!

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  #3  
Old 2 Jul 2003
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The primary recommendation I would make is that she just stays tucked in and does NOT try to help in a fall over. She can't do anything useful, so best just to stay out of the way. If she puts a foot down, it's at risk - if it stays on the peg it's fine, the bike will take all the impact.

A test layover slowly with a person or three helping lay the bike down slowly isn't a bad idea, so she will know that she is ok.

Fianlly, I would spend a bundle of money on the very best gear for her. Excellent padded suit, (well-ventilated hot weather/cold weather flexible gear), good gloves - a couple of pairs -cool and hot weather, and first class boots. Not a place to cut corners. She'll feel far safer and KNOW you're concerned apout her. see the clothing forum for ideas.

Finally adjust your riding for an inexpereinced passenger - super smooth at all times, easy on the speeds and easy around corners. A year down the road is the time to have high speed fun - for now, invest in the future by breaking her in slowly.

Susan had never ridden when we set off, and now she's fine - no worries at all, sleeps on the back regularly. (A box on the back helps the security feeling)

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  #4  
Old 3 Jul 2003
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Cheers Paul - I'll spike her camelbak with vodka. Is this 'Armstrong MT' Paul or 'DR650' Paul?

Thanks Grant - tho she isn't impressed with the thought of extra padding.



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  #5  
Old 3 Jul 2003
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I'll be in Slough round about the 19-20th by the way if you need any help.

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  #6  
Old 4 Jul 2003
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Hi Barry

I see you've already had some responses to your post, including one from Grant, who is the expert on 'breaking the passenger in slowly'.

I have only ever come off the bike at very slow speeds, virtually stopped in either heavy mud or sand, and once in a parking lot when Grant was trying to turn a little too sharply on exiting. Our panniers are wide enough that they will always hit the ground before any parts of my anatomy do, so that helps me feel more secure.

The first time I remember falling over, though, was in Central America in what was probably a drainage ditch (don't ask why we were riding in a drainage ditch!). Grant tidily stepped off the bike, I stayed with it and ended up soaked in foul-smelling stuff, which he thought was hilarious. Word of advice - if this happens to you, DO NOT laugh at your passenger, no matter how funny you think she looks! We have a way of getting revenge for that sort of experience ;-)

Grant is also right about the padding. If you plan more trips, it is worth investing in newer, more expensive riding gear which is padded without so much weight and bulk, and much cooler than leathers. This would be especially important in Morocco or anywhere hot, where you will be tempted to ride without proper protection if it's too hot and heavy.

That's my two pence worth, anyway.

Cheers
Susan


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