I had a Valkyrie Tourer for awhile before I sold it to get my RoadKing. I couldn't control my right hand. When I found myself "cruising" the highways with my feet up on the highway pegs and kicked back, relaxed at a buck twenty I knew that it wasn't the right bike for me. The RK is comfortable at 75 all damn day and it won't get me arrested.
You can go on almost anything that is in good operating condition. I saw a guy at CSS on a full dress Harley, with hard bags and topcase. By the end of the day, he was having a blast and scraping his floor boards all around the track, but that's another story ;-)
The school (notice I said track school, not track day) will help because it is designed precisely to build confidence. The confidence will come from doing the same thing better and better in a constant environment (so you are the only variable), and getting the validation/confirmation from experienced and credible instructors that you are doing it right.
I have gone to Code's CSS, Pridmore's CLASS, and Spencer's, and they are all built the same way: You start slowly, stop, analyze what you have done, decide what you are going to do better, then you go back and do it better. Repeat 5 or 6 times, and by the end of the day, you are going much faster without ever pushing yourself, because you feel confident and in control of your bike. At least for me, it works wonders - so well that I try to do 1 or 2 days each year, just to keep in shape.
I recently crashed in race practice (my second weekend of racing) when a rider made a bad pass and took out my front wheel with his rear at about 75mph. I slid 100m and had nothing more than a discoloration on my back. When the crash truck dropped me off, I said, "put it straight on the trailer, that's enough for the weekend (2 days and 8 races in front of me)." Instead, we fixed the bike and I raced the 8 races and I'm looking fwd to next year. You gotta get back on, albeit a little wiser. Its like life, you gotta be good, you gotta be trained, and you gotta have some luck, otherwise, you'll go down eventually. When you do, you have to make the decision your facing. Mine was to get back on.
I am very surprised that only one MoFo mentioned riding a dirt bike. It really is the very best teacher. You don't need, or really want in this case, a killer dirt bike. A light dual sport (XR250L maybe) for $2k. Slide around and get your feelings back. When you go out and buy a new ST, it will feel wonderful and you will be a better rider.
Don't wait until spring. Get at least a couple of hours riding in ASAP. The crash will fester in your brain and you will have an unidentified deep fear of the road.
School is a good idea as well. Any moto school will be a good thing.
Re: LIMEDUST, you've sure got a lot of good ideas so far.
I sure did alot of feedback from this. I'm pretty suprised by it, and I have a lot of ideas. Thanks for the offer of the bike, OKC is a bit far from Detroit though! I'm sure I'll be able to get a ride somehow, or just take the plunge and buy something new. I'm sure the worst part will be the first few miles and the first few turns, and for sure the first 'emergency' stop. But if it was easy, everyone would be doing this. Its not easy to ride a bike well, thats what makes it great.
I don't want to wait all winter if I can help it. I'll have to see how quick the insurance money comes through and what the weathers doing. I was thinking about buying another, riding it once or twice to get rid of the jitters, service and store it and let myself heal up a little over winter. I hadn't really considered a dirt bike or track days much before this happened, but I'm thinking one or the other, or even both couldn't do any harm. I would imagine tooling around on a dirt bike for a while would make the ST feel like a Cadillac by comparison!
Full face helmets definatly save your mug. A friend of mine ate an instrument cluster on his CBX years ago, lost a few teeth, broke his jaw in a few places and rang his bell pretty good. My Shoei gets a little warm at times but I woudn't ride without it
I'm surprised your jeans held up so well, I wear a Joe Rocket ballistic series 4.0 jacket and pants if it's wet and the JR or a leather jacket and pants if it's dry unless it's real hot, Then I wear jeans and a sweater and be nervous.
Proper gear can be the differance between being achy and stiff for a few weeks and being totaly nackerd for the rest of your life
My crash was a little over six years ago. Like you I was relatively unscathed (bruised knee, ankle, and ribs, some abrasions where the jacket slid against my skin). My riding was affected for several weeks after that. I was slower and more careful than before. At first, I was tentative about going out, and didnt enjoy it nearly as much as I had before the crash. However, as time went by, the hesitation went away and I began to enjoy riding more than ever. The moral of the story? The feelings you have when you do that first ride after the crash may not accurately predict how you will feel about it in the long term. My early rides after the crash discouraged me and made me wonder if I really wanted to continue to ride. However, after several weeks, I moved past that and was enjoying it again, and was perhaps smarter for the experience.
A few years ago I was hit from behind on the freeway while on the way to the dealer to get my BMW serviced. I was at 70 mph and was nailed by a woman doing 80 mph who just changed into my lane and drove into the back of me. After my wife picked me up, I stopped by the dealer and told them there was not a piece of BMW left that was big enough to service. They had a used bike a year newer than mine that caught my eye. I told them that I wasn't feeling like a ride right that moment (Saturday), but that I'd stop by on Tuesday for a test ride. Tuesday I bought the bike and rode it the two hours home...through the mountains. I hated freeway riding before (just too boring) now I have an additional reason to take the back way.
I'm not suggesting that everyone should just jump right back on. I did so because I was comfortable doing it. Also, my wife said it was okay, 'cause I surely must have used up my bad luck. I figured I'd better take advantage of that before she changed her mind!
If you KNOW you're going to want another, you might as well get it now. But ride it on roads, and in a manner, that will allow you to regain a confidence in your riding.
Not much else to add; you've already gotten lots of great advice. Get thee on a bike & to a class! Just wanna add my 2 cents on helmets. Living in Phoenix, I used to wear a half helmet all the time but found that when it was really hot, a full-face was actually more comfortable since it kept the oven-blast off my face, thus allowing me to actually keep my eyes open (kinda useful when riding). I then only used the half-helmet in the evenings or at night, until one night I crashed while foolishly riding fatigued & buzzed (what a surprise, eh? I now avoid both when riding). Luckily the helmet took the brunt of the impact instead of my face, and I've been a firm believer in full-face helmets ever since. I bought a Nolan flip-face type when I was able to ride again, and it lasted 3 years before I crashed again, this time due to going around a blind corner way too fast only to discover to my dismay that the pavement ended abruptly and there was gravel on what little pavement was left. I inadvertantly locked the rear brake, fishtailed, and highsided. Luckily I landed & rolled in a nice soft ditch, so I suffered nothing other than a few bruises, but my helmet took a good thump on a rock(enough to mis-align the flip mechanism - but better that than any of my head's mechanisms) so I'm now on my 2nd Nolan. In retrospect, in the moment of panic when I braked, I completely forgot the techniques I had learned in the MSF Experienced class I had taken 18 months prior (i.e. straighten the bike, use more & more front & less & less rear brake, & fer cryin' out loud don't go around blind corners too fast), and the reason I forgot was that I hadn't practiced them at all since the time of the class. I now practice the technique at every stop, and as your experience reinforces, I scan a lot more for gravel or other road hazards.
There's an old saying that a fool never learns from his mistakes, a smart person does learn from his mistakes, but a truly wise person learns from the mistakes of others. Since I don't want to use up any more of the good luck I've been blessed with so far, I'm always eager to learn the lessons that others have learned (without going thru their pain), so I appreciate you sharing your mishap with all of us MOrons. Hope our experiences help you out too. Ride safe & ride often!
I remember a little more about the crash everyday. I'm pretty sure I just panicked and grabbed the front brake instead of squeezing like I was taught. I guess you get lazy practicing it. Hopefully, I won't fall into that trap again. I've gotten alot advice in the last day or so from all these MOrons, so maybe I'll try and be that wise person who learns from other peoples mistakes.......or that wise guy?
I won't be in hurry next time, I'll try not to grab the brake and maybe I'll try and keep the next one shiney side up. And definately wear good gear. Thanks.
The best thing you can do after a crash, is to get back on the bike as soon as possible, a few years ago I broke my foot (right one, luckily) in a silly crash (my fault) and as soon as I got home from getting a cast on it, I fashioned a wrap out of an old leather jacket to protect the bare toes sticking out of it, and went riding, that did not last more than 20 miles due to lots of pain, the next day I did about 40, and after a while I was back to riding at my normal speeds and distances.
Of course with your shoulder injury, that is not a possibility, but some other MOFOS mentioned taking a riding school when you feel better, and that is a great way to re-gain some confidence and learn some good habits and techniques that will sure help you on your way back to motorcycling, and for sure get some good therapy on your shoulder in the mean time, those rotator cuff injuries can be very bothersome if not taken care of properly.
Hey Limedust, the important thing to remember is that you're OK.
I'd hold out on buying a bike right now if I lived in Michigan. Get yourself an old snowmobile to get you thru the winter, if u don't have one already. There is no better way to pass the time waiting for the snow to melt or to rebuild confidence at this time of the year. I'll bet you'll be looking for a new bike come thaw.
Limedust, I was rambling on so much yesterday I forgot to mention one thing. If you want a slower bike but not a heavyweight cruiser, consider one of the middleweight cruisers (i.e. 600-800cc). Depending on the model, there are so many accessories available (both factory & aftermarket) that with the right seat/bags/screen etc you can turn one into a decent tourer (that weighs only around 500 lbs).
I've wiped wearing a carhart jacket and a pair of jeans (speed probably 20mph when I hit) and I have to say the jacket was tops--no road-rash at all, and I still have and wear the jacket. To really test the limits of your outerwear, you've got to come off clean at a fairly high speed and slide quite a way. Around town, I think jeans or something like them is suitable.