How To Gain Internet Fame in Three Easy Steps

How to Gain Internet Fame in Three Easy Steps

  1. Make sure your video camera is on.
  2. Do something really stupid.
  3. Blame it on something implausible.

This will gain you a lot of sympathetic responses from people who are not familiar with what you were doing, as well as a lot of scorn from people who know exactly what you did and are dismissive of your explanation.  Both of these groups will forward and share until the cows come home, and your 15 minutes of fame will be established.

Today’s example:  an unfortunate young man in Minnesota crashed his motorcycle at speed over a cliff and then, from his hospital bed, “explained” that his “steering locked up.”

The steering on a motorcycle cannot “lock up.”  In the old days many motorcycles had steering dampers that could be adjusted to alter the steering response, and if the damper was screwed all the way down the motorcycle would be reluctant to turn.  I rode a Harley XCLR café racer with this circumstance, but it would still turn.

The Internet is twittering with experienced riders viewing the video and then offering an explanation.  He was on the brakes not hard enough or too hard (either will work), and then as impending doom loomed in his brain he stared at where he did not want the motorcycle to go – and the motorcycle followed his gaze.

Others who think they know about motorcycles have offered up the old favorite.  “He should have laid it down.”

Gack!  This drives me crazy!  How long will this myth survive? A motorcycle can stop so much faster on it wheels and on the brakes than sliding on its side.   Creating a crash on purpose is not the solution in any case.

A class or two in motorcycle safety might have prevented this accident, or it might not have.  Excessive speed into a corner is an easy mistake to make, even for experienced riders, and most have come close to this sort of accident a time or two. Hopefully a long time ago when under the influence of enthusiasm and testosterone and inexperience, and it will not be repeated.

But – motorcycle steering does not lock up.

At least he has fame, however brief, to prop up his ego in recovery. He states that he will not ride a motorcycle again, and I think that is a good choice.   I wish him well.


Copyright 2017                      David A. Preston

About david

I am a 69 year old motorsports nut who lives in Bothell, Washington. After a 31 year career as an English teacher, I segued into a self-created job in the motorsports business. Now retired, I was involved in customer relations for Ride West BMW in Seattle, after almost 10 years of similar work for the Cycle Barn MotorSports Group. I have been married forever and have two grown children. I own, at the current time, a Triumph Bonneville T 120 , a Triumph Thruxton, a Fiat 500S and a VW Tiguan. What else would you like to know?
This entry was posted in Motorcycles, Rants and Raves. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to How To Gain Internet Fame in Three Easy Steps

  1. Patrick says:

    Interesting… It depends on what “locked-up” means…

    When applying the front-brake in a panic, to a point where the forward inertia shifts a disproportion of the gross weight and kinetic energy of the motorcycle and rider to the front-wheel, it becomes nearly impossible to ‘steer’. Steering a motorcycle depends on counter-steering to direct the machine and the centrifugal-force of the spinning wheel to maintain an upright orientation. At some point in a lean-angle the handle-bars become almost inoperable. Try to yank-upright a fast spinning wheel that is leaning at an extreme angle… It ain’t easy…. This may seem to the rider, that the steering locked-up…

    To experience this safely (A practice technique that I always suggest newbie motorcyclists practice before they get too happy about riding, in-order to understand the ramifications of using too-much front or era-breaking in a panic situation and the physics of the experience..) Do this:

    Take your bicycle out to a damp grass lawn or football field and pedal-up to speed (not very fast) and then lock the front-brake and see how fast you will smack the turf… Try different front-brake pressures to experience the physics of a panic situation and how the motorcycle steering will respond under these different front-braking responses and combinations of front/rear applications… Doing this here on a soft landing space, will teach you life-saving lessons without killing you (still a good idea to wear a helmet and gloves and knee-pads, etc…) You will get a firm understanding that a spinning wheel is far easier to maneuver than one not spinning, and because of this it is never a good thing to skid a tire… Sometimes you just may have to take a different tack and weigh the consequences of alternative paths, and sometimes you may just have to bail in order to save yourself (hopefully, you make good decisions all-way ’round to avoid the last resort)

    Even with ABS, a disproportional application of the front-brake under the right lean-angle or panic conditions will ‘lock-up’ the steering….

    Braking related accidents can be mitigated further through modern artificial-intellegence (AI) and sophisticated miniaturized sensor technology… More and more motorcycle manufacturers are adopting the BOSCH five-axis Inertia Measuring Unit (IMU) which uses sensors on the front and rear wheels to continually measure speed and other sensors that measure the lean-angle of the motorcycle and the directional inertia of the motorcycle + rider(s). The wheel speed and IMU measurements, plus the amount of brake lever or pedal pressure, are calculated by the ABS control unit to instantly adjust the fluid pressure to the brake calipers as required.

    Sometimes you just run out of options and putting the bike down and bailing away from it may just save your life… Always look for ways out of a panic situation, your life depends on staying cool and clear-headed when faced with a sticky situation that requires quick-tinking… Pack your motorcycle so that you can jump-off and not get hung on some bag or box, etc, as you depart… Shit happens…

    (I can imagine a bike with a steering damper system that could have a malfunction. that seemingly ‘locked’ the steering by becoming too firm or blocked from an internal part breaking or coming loose)

Leave a Reply