This page is for the times we dropped a bike but walked (or rode) away. We also remember friends who dropped a bike and never walked away.
I never rode a Velocette But when I'd go out for a ride I'd get it on a road that's wet And drop it on the buttered side.
Trevor Evans recalls an episode.
I remember one trip back from the Dunton Bassett Arms down the A426 Blaby by pass after the customary 'one for the ditch' last half when Howard Wykes had difficulty negotiating one of the traffic islands and opted for the straightest route straight over it. He dropped his bike (Honda 750?) on the island and we stopped to help him pick it and himself up, fortunately not injured. I remember his main concern was to get on his way as quickly as possible before the local police arrived.
- Trevor Evans
Most of the time we didn't (quite) drop it. Martin Sentance tells one episode.
Tony Bradley - who when returning from a club run to Ironbridge didn't see a small roundabout on the A5 or, if he did see it, realised it was too late to change direction, rode straight across it, only eased the throttle slightly, looking round at the obstacle he had just crossed and gave it a look of total disdain!!
- Martin Sentance
When Alan & Sue Wright, me and a couple of Market Harborough lads were returning from Wales in the Autumn of 1980 the lead riders hit unlit roadworks at the A5 Atherstone roundabout. Two bikes written off and two lads with legs that now point north. As people got out of their cars to observe the carnage Roy Crofton-Mann lay very still in the middle of the roundabout as he had hurt his back and didn't want to make matters worse. Ian Sharpe had a mangled leg and was screaming his head off. He said later that he heard one driver say to his wife "The one over there is dead" and thought "I hope they don't mean ME!"
On a run through the Peak District, Martin Sentance on his 750 Honda Four, Alan Watkinson and Ben Crossley on Nortons. They were scratching down a minor road and at the bottom of a hill was a sharp bend piled up with loose gravel. Alan slid the Norton but dropped it, breaking off a foot peg. For lunch they stopped at the Cat and the Fiddle and stood by the bikes with pints and sandwiches. Alan idly kicked at the spring hinged footpeg of Martin's Honda and innocently asked "Why do they do that?" They laughed so much they couldn't catch enough breath to answer him.
At an Easter camp in Glen Trool Richard Taylor borrowed Phil Freestone's new Laverda for a test ride. After ages he walked back into the campsite to ask for help pulling it out of the ditch.
Ben ...Your memory is going, its your age!! You say that I dropped Phil's Laverda at Glen Trool. Well it was his Commando not the Lav. And in fact I managed to get it out meself and ride it back with bent handlebars and a front mudguard stripped from the rivets on the top bracket (fork brace) and a shattered Tri Point windscreen (remember them?) Believe me I remember it like it was yesterday. And I still maintain it was that blooming great White Volvo car that forced me off the road!!! Bless him, Phil still gave me a lift home!! I had enough of travelling up on the back of Rob Goddards B44!!!!!
- Richard Taylor
Ben Crossley was languishing in the City General following an altercation with a Ford Transit at Kilby Bridge. Dick Taylor turned up out of visiting hours to commiserate and asked the ward sister where Ben could be found.
"He's a motorcyclist." explained Dick.
The nurse's reply echoed round the hospital. "They're ALL bloody motorcyclists!"
Alan "Herbert" Jarvis explained how Paul Draycott acquired his nickname "Dirty Eddie".
It was the summer of 1963, Eddie had a Villiers powered James at that time. Anyway, Wishbone, Eddie, Noddy, myself and Mick Hallick who used to work with us went out for a ride on a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon. We decided to stick to the country roads to avoid traffic and we somehow found ourselves on a beautiful estate in Northamptonshire, south west of Market Harborough. We were unsure if we would be allowed to ride through this estate, but thoughts like that are fleeting when you are young. To gain access to our new found treasure we had to cross over a cattle grid. It is hard to put into words just how beautiful this estate was, it was like a picture in a magazine. The grass was so perfect it looked like the top of a billiard table.
Once we crossed the cattle grid, to everyone's surprise Eddie took off like a bat out of hell cross-country leaving permanent damage to the pristine virgin grass. Still accelerating Eddie rode his bike up a gentle slope then disappeared over the crest of the hill. Then comes deathly silence! We could no longer hear the noisy little 2-stroke.
A few seconds later the silence was broken by the words "OOOHHH S**t!!!!" So we all left the road and made our way to the top of the hill to find that Eddie had tried to make a turn in a massive patch of fresh cow dung and in doing so had dropped the bike and was covered from head to toe in the aforementioned substance.
From that day on we always made Eddie ride at the back!
- Alan Jarvis
Read what happened on another occasion when Dirty Eddie lived up to his name.
Dirty Eddie was on his way to an invitation camp at St Ives Cambs in the fog and ice. On a particularly slippy bend he dropped his Ariel Square Four in the ditch. The first car that came along pulled up and the car behind it skidded into the back. In the end Eddie rode the bike out of the ditch and left the car drivers to sort themselves out.
Gordon Wallace and Ben Crossley were touring in Ireland in the seventies. One road was so slippy Ben looked down to see if he had a flat tyre. After slithering round the next bend he looked back to see Gordon and Honda 250 sliding along on their sides. It was the first time Gordon had ever dropped a bike and it took some pursuasion to get him to continue.
Eric Gibson was giving a lift to Ben Crossley so he could prepare a treasure hunt in the late sixties. As they meandered through minor roads it began to snow. Ben persuaded Eric to continue for another couple of checkpoints but they started to drop the Tiger Cub on a bend. Eric kicked the bike back upright and went straight for a five bar gate on the outside of the bend. Was he going to jump it? Yes, Eric did. The bike went underneath and Ben ended upside down on the hawthorn hedge and slid up to his elbows in the water in the ditch. They straightened the Cub's forks and retraced their way to the last pub. The customers looked as if they had seen a ghost. It wasn't until some time later that Ben realised the snow had spread blood from a small thorn scratch on the end of his nose and his face was covered in blood.
Dave Cockerton was an ambulance man based in Lutterworth and winter Saturday night shifts he would listen to the lads blasting home from the Fox with a skin full of booze then wait for the call after someone dropped it on the icy A426. He would find some rocker picking gravel out of a lacerated leg who would limp into the ambulance cheerfully protesting "It doesn't hurt a bit, mate!" Dave would reply, "You wait until you get into the warm ambulance and the feeling returns."
Dave himself suffered severe bruising between the legs when he was pillion to Terry Reynolds through Lutterworth on the return from the Norton Owners Rally. In the one way system and a car came round the wrong way head on into them. Tony Bradley got his mudguard bent the same weekend.
Les Hobbs created a mantrap out of a piece of plastic covered hardboard about 3½ inches wide that would do for a couple of days as a front mudguard. On the way back from the Big Three Rally in 1971, the front mudguard gave way, leaving the front stay to go forwards and lock the front wheel.
"The resulting locked front wheel threw me down the road. As I rolled down the center of the road I could see the BMW going away in a shower of sparks."
A rolled up coat was placed under his head and a cigarette placed in his mouth. "I could get to like this, anybody got a brandy?" Within two minutes an ambulance was there and he was whisked off to A&E with skinned palms, knocked up knees and elbows, "A meer trifle" reported Les.
Luckily we bounced when we were 21 years old!
Dave Honneyman wrote an addition to the Mad Scots report that brought up the subject of tank slappers.
My experience of that horror involved a Norton Commando laden with camping gear tramping up the A1 towards the Scottish border. The isolastic bushes were in good condition and they were shimmed quite tightly but overtaking a lorry lightened the front end of the bike and began a wagging of the handlebars. Slackening the speed just amplified the wag. They say "don't fight it" but it is not easy to relax your arms when you are gripping the handlebars trying not to be flung off.
I started to survey the central reservation for a wide area of grass to hurl the bike down.
The other bit of advice people are keen to offer is "Don't brake, accelerate." By this stage I was desparate to try anything so I opened the throttle and the speed climbed from 80mph to 90mph without any improvement. But by 100mph the tank slapper had reduced to a gentle weave.
Now all I had to do was slow down without starting another tank slapper when I hit a critical speed. Luckily it all worked fine and I pulled up onto the hard shoulder to rearrange my heavy items to the front of the bike and to empty the brown adrenalin out of my derriboots. That's when I noticed that all the cars had stopped until they knew where I was going to drop it ... but this time I got away with it.
At the 2009 Dalesman Rally Steve Giddens only just kept it together.
Thought I'd relate a tale from the last time I flung it down the road in 1977.
Back in February 1977, Dave Wood lived in Failsworth, Manchester and something revolving around Motorcycling & Alcohol (not at the same time) happened every weekend. Dave and Angela Wood had a nurse (Sue) staying for a short while. As the four of us drank in a Manchester Heavy Rock Club on a Saturday Night it was decided that we would go for a Sunday run out to Edale in Derbyshire with Sue the nurse as my pillion.
It was damn cold and miserable as we left Failsworth but it brightened up a touch as the sun rose more and more. We sat in a pub in Edale and the clientele were taking it in turns to sing folk music.
In the days of more regulated opening hours, we left around 1430hrs to head off home. Dave's Gold Wing had a problem and so Dave and Angela were on Mike Shepherds Honda 750 F1 shod with horrible inverted triangular profile tyres. Sue and I were on my Honda CB550 F1 shod with matching Avon Roadrunners.
A few miles down the road with Dave in the lead we approached a tight (ish) right hand bend - straighten up over the bridge - left hand turn out. Going into the right hander, I lost the front end (black ice) but managed to save it. As my heart was trying to exit my chest and my sphincter gripped leather, Sue and I hit the deck on the left hand exit!!!
I hit the deck left knee first - aaaaarrrrrgggghhh!!! Then flipped over a couple of times as the bike slid down the road. The bike disappeared from under Sue who then landed on her rear end whereupon her brand new jeans were shredded. Was I popular or what!
The bike was fine (crash bars), Sue was ok save the aforementioned clothing issue and my knee was agony. Further to the resident nurse tending my pain as best she could, we remounted and rode, in no little discomfort, back to Dave's house.
That night Sue provided care beyond the call of duty and I shall comment no further!
Now touching wood - this was the last time I dropped it and to this day I cannot understand how Dave got through the Black Ice bends on poxy narrow tyres and my Avon Roadrunners let go.
Such is life.
- Steve Giddens
Bob Nash recounts an episode in his Born Again Biker series.
Phil the Spill did not receive his epithet through clumsiness with beer. This example is from Phil's Motorcycle List in the Motorbike section.
Phil's bike page is full of similar experiences.
Tony Sheppard witnessed a crash with serious consequences and describes it in Chapter 9 of Tony's Chrome series.
It's being so cheerful what keeps us going.
Les Hobbs was on the way to the Tykes Rally when this episode occured.
Another young lady receives collateral damage.
Ted Trett saw the sad end to his K100RS. Here is the relevant paragraph from his full report.
Ted's fun had only just begun...
Andy Hunter and the Kirkthorne & District MCC were on their way to the Iron and Steel Rally and almost missed the entrance.
Didn't stop them enjoying the rally.