Women Riders

Ouch! Dropped Bike…Down, But Not Out

Written by  February 28, 2007

Happy St. Patrick’s month! May the Luck of the Irish be with you this riding season.
If you are like most of us you have been suffering from a case of cabin fever over the last couple of months. Well, before you know it, the weather will be warmer and the bike nights will begin. Maybe you got a fix for our sport from the recent bike shows that have been in town. I know I have run into readers and friends that I haven’t seen since fall and it’s been great visiting with them.

A reader from St.Joe e-mailed me last month asking the proper way to pick up a dropped bike. Now of course none of us ever wants to think we might have to do this someday, but just in case you do, you need to know the technique and safety measures involved.

I am 5’1” and my bike weighs approximately 700 pounds. I can attest that this technique really works. After washing and detailing my bike one afternoon, I backed it off of the patio area into the grass and the momentum going backward was faster than my reaction and down I went. Darn, I hate that feeling! But in a matter of seconds I had it upright again, and believe me, technique is much more important than strength. Of course getting it off the ground before many more cars passed down our street was also a factor in the speed of getting it up! Mind over matter and adrenalin maybe?

In a maintenance class I took at Gail’s Harley Davidson a few years ago we demonstrated the same procedure and we proudly displayed the skill of lifting the bike. When it comes to writing how to do it I find it difficult. I am more of a hands-on person versus reading directions or instructions. I would like to share a following article with permission written by Carol Skert’s Pink Ribbon Rides who describes the technique better than anyone I have read or seen. You will find this article on many motorcycle websites discussing how to pick up a dropped bike.

Carol Youorski is known far and wide as Skert—because she wears one! At 5' 3', weighing in at 118 lbs, and with a measured inseam of 30' with boots on, Carol feels quite comfortable aboard a BMW R1150 GS with its 31-1/2-inch seat height and its nearly 600 pounds. Carol intends to team up with the Women’s Motorcyclist Foundation to take multiple “Roads to a Cure” in supporting the fight against breast cancer. As a surgeon’s assistant and the friend of a 35-year-old breast cancer victim, Carol has a deep personal interest in helping fight breast cancer.

Dropped Bike Pickup Technique

This technique assumes that the motorcycle is on its left
side. If it is on the right side, the same technique
applies. Just remember to reverse your hands—left
hand on the right hand grip and right hand under
the seat. Also, remember to put the side stand down before
raising the bike!

First, stop the engine using the engine cutoff switch.
When the motor is running, the spinning rear tire could cause
injury. Additionally, when a bike is on its side, no oil is
circulating in the motor which could cause it to seize.
Remember the the engine cutoff switch is always located on
the right hand grip. The ignition key could be anywhere (including
on the ground side!).

Turn off the gas, if necessary, and you can reach
the fuel supply valve. It would be necessary to turn the gas
off if it is leaking!

Before attempting to pick up any motorcycle by
yourself, ask for help! Just because you can pick it
up, does not mean that you must pick it up by yourself.

Always wear your gloves and boots before attempting
to pick up a motorcycle. Not only will these items help with
your grip, it will also help you get your mind focused on the
task at hand.

Make sure the bike is in gear—if you can
get to the shifter. If the bike is not in gear and you cannot
get it in gear, tie the front brake. The only good news here
is that generally you were moving the motorcycle when it fell
which would mean that it is in gear.

You must have good traction under your feet or
your feet will slip. If there is gravel under your feet, sweep
it away with your boots until you get dirt—same for grass.

Place your butt in the middle of the seat.

Stoop down and take the left grip in your
right hand. Pull the grip until it is as close to the
tank as possible.

With your left hand find something sturdy
to grab hold of under the seat. The closer your left hand is
to your body the better. Do not use a plastic part or anything
that will easily bend or break.

Place your butt mid way on the edge of the seat. This is
The placement of your butt too high or too low on the seat
will not give you the leverage angle.

Place your feet close together.
You are pushing the bike with your butt and upper legs. You
will have to pull up with your arms a bit—but mostly
you will be pushing the bike up with your legs.

Be careful not to push the bike over the other
side ;-)

Once you have the bike up, carefully put the side stand down
and lower the bike to it.
If you can’t get to the side stand with the heel of
your boot, turn carefully and grab both grips—then put
the bike on the side or center stand.

“If you feel like there is no way this bike is going up like this, then move the position of your butt. If that doesn't work try changing the flex of your knees. Try not to flex your knees too much to begin with. Be careful! Often when you get the angle just right the bike goes up like it’s made of paper. Adrenaline tends to push the bike over to the other side ;-) If the bike is on its right side, before you start to pick it up, put down the kick stand so you can lean it over when it is upright.” Your hands are reversed, of course. Your left hand is on the right grip and your right hand grabs under the seat.
Thanks Carol for sharing with our readers!
Sounds simple doesn’t it? By using leverage, it really is the most practical way to lift the bike. If you want to practice I would suggest being in a grassy area so there is no damage to your bike and having someone there with you to offer assistance if you need it. If you do drop your bike, your ego will most likely be damaged more than your bike. That too will pass!
** March Announcement: If you are an animal lover, come join us for the Snake Saturday Parade on March 10 in North Kansas City. We will be walking dogs, passing out flyers for the 1st Annual RUFF RIDE Dice Run on June 16, 2007. The Kansas City Brigade Football Cheerleaders will be joining our group for a fun-filled day.
As riders we participate in local charity rides every year, from helping children, the sick, the injured, and the homeless, and simply for the joy of riding. I ask you to help us help our beloved furry friends and make this shelter a reality, not just a dream. NAWS is the steering committee that will be raising funds to build a desperately needed animal shelter in the Northland. If you are interested in being a volunteer please contact me and help us pass the word to everyone in your e-mail address book. Help us build a future for Northland animals.
Check out the web site for the Northland Animal Welfare Society (NAWS) at http://pcnaws.com
Have a green, fun and safe St. Patty’s Day!
Goldie Arnold

“Never rider faster than you angel can fly”

TIP OF THE MONTH: Ask for help first before attempting to pick up a dropped bike.