I was told often during my MSF course and in the process of seeking a bike to buy that it was best to buy used because I would almost certainly lay it down in the first year, probably doing something stupid. It’s amazing how people with experience often know what they’re talking about, isn’t it?
Today, I was riding home from the train station on our '83 Honda Nighthawk 450. It’s really nice to get on the bike even for a few short minutes after a long day at work, and today had been a particularly rough day. As soon as I got on, I remembered that I’d nearly run out of gas on the way to the station this morning, and that I was already using the reserve tank. So, straight to the gas station I went.
As I pulled up to the pump and shut off the bike, I started to put down the kick stand. But at the last moment, I remembered that I didn’t want to do that because I have a bad habit of forgetting to put the kick stand back up when I take off, and I prefer stradling the bike and holding it straight up and down while I’m fueling up. So I left the kick stand up.
Then I reached for my wallet to get out my credit card, and in the process, I accidentally knocked a favorite pen out of my pocket. No problem. I just figured I’d dismount really quick so I can grab the pen…
Luckily, I caught the bike on its way down, and, since it’s a fairly light bike, I was able to hold on to it lmost all the way. In all, it probably only had about six inches of freefall travel before it hit the ground. No real damage done, fortunately. I picked the bike up before I had a chance to get embarrased, and I refused to look around to see if anyone else had noticed. I felt particularly lucky because another rider pulled into the station about a minute after my mishap. I don’t know why I think making rookie mistakes in front of other riders is more shameful than doing so around any other witnesses, but I never said I was logical.
Anyway, lesson learned, and probably in the least harmful way possible. I still feel like an idiot, but it could have been a lot worse. Methinks I’ll be using the kickstand from now on, though.