Enjoy the Ride
Most motorcycle riders will tell you that riding is great experience. Words like “blast”, “exhilarating” and yes, “fun” are terms often used to describe the joy that is motorcycle riding. So why is it many new riders will confess that riding a motorcycle can be a scary and intense activity?
One reason that comes to mind is experience or, in the case of the new rider, lack thereof. Let’s look at why.
In my previous installment of Risky Business, I looked at being vigilant and acutely aware of the hazards when riding on the street. This time let’s take a look from the other perspective, making yourself visible to other vehicles on the streets with you.
How often have you heard someone involved in an crash say “I never saw the other driver, rider, etc”. More often that you would think, this is actually a true statement. The driver may have actually been looking right at motorcycle and their brain never registered the bike as an object to avoid or be concerned with.
Drivers can get used to just looking for cars and other hazards on the road. Let’s face it, motorcycles just aren’t as plentiful on the roads as cars and trucks. It’s hard for some motorcyclists to understand this but as riders, we often take note of other bikes. Being on a bike seems to make us “tuned in” to see other bikes where drivers of cars simply aren’t.
So what can one do as a rider to mitigate this phenomenon? Let’s learn how to be seen. The following are some ways to improve your visibility on the road.
Elena at Barber Motosports Track
Former AMA Pro racer Elena Myers published a great article on mental preparation and racing over on the McGraw Powersports blog. Even if you’re not a racer or have aspirations as such, it is still a good read. It also makes a good point about how being prepared mentally for riding (on the track or anywhere) is an important part of creating the best riding experience.
Here’s a short teaser…
When you’re swapping paint with your competition at over 180 miles per hour on the straights, with 50+ degree lean angle in the corners, there’s a lot that needs to be right. Split second decisions have to be made not just to win, but to stay upright. In the blink of an eye, you could be off the track or crashing into another rider. There’s no room for error. This is why being mentally prepared is crucial for professional motorcycle racing.
Click here to read the full article.
I’m very saddened to report that I cannot no longer support Lee Parks’ programs. As good as the program is I, cannot support Lee Parks and how he has treated some people who work for him. It is unfortunate that it has come to this.
Please continue to search out education on improving your riding skills. It is important to always to keep learning but I cannot recommend anyone participate in the Total Control Advanced Riding clinics.
I’m very pleased to announce that the Lee Park’s Total Control Advanced Riding Clinics are coming back to Nashville this summer. In partnership with Music City Motorcycle Training, David Beyer will be returning to Nashville this July to teach Level 1 clinics on Saturday, July 8th and Sunday, July 9th.
The classes will be hosted at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway at 625 Smith Ave. Nashville TN 37203. These classes are limited to 12 spots each day so don’t wait too long to register. You can register by clicking here or by going to totalcontroltraining.net .
How typical is this of Nashville weather. Yesterday it was 68 degrees outside. Overnight the temperature dropped 40 degrees and turned the light rain into snow and ice leaving rooftops with a snowy sheen (see the photo at the right). Many motorcyclists will let their bikes hibernate for the winter, quietly napping under a cover with a tank full of fuel and stabilizer with the glow of a battery tender keeping it company.
Personally I don’t winterize my bikes and will get out and ride when the temperatures reach above 30 degrees (F) for at least short rides and to commute. I know facing the cold of winter riding isn’t for everyone but if you’re interested in extending your riding season further hit the Continue Reading button below for a story written my my friend Kevin Anderson over at TDC Cycle.
Risky Business is a series of articles about mitigating risk for the motorcycle rider. I started this series years ago for Nashvilleriders.com but since I closed up that site I wanted to bring this content to Motorcycle Words.
The first in this series is Being Vigilant.
Vigilant is defined as “keenly watchful to detect danger; wary”. Sounds like something every motorcycle rider should be doing, but as there are so many potential dangers out there, where to begin?
Forget “The Force”
Despite Luke Skywalker’s success destroying a death star while keeping his eyes closed, your best way to spot and be aware of potential threats is to use your vision. This sounds a bit basic but I’m always surprised at how many drivers (and riders) out there seem to be using “The Force” to guide their vehicles down the road and not very well I might add. As a motorcycle rider one typically has an unobstructed view of the surroundings. In fact sitting on most sportbikes, sport-tourers, and standards can give riders a height advantage over most car drivers.
Rider education courses point out it’s very important to be watching what’s happening down the road as far as you can. Being able to see farther ahead will help you prepare for sudden stops, debris, and other road hazards you might encounter. You can make it much easier to have a good vantage point by doing a few things such as:
I’m sure this has happened to you. You’re out for a ride on a hot Sunday afternoon. The back-roads offered up plenty of fantastic twisty asphalt for your pleasure and you’re beat. You’re now plodding down the secondary roads and you come to a quiet intersection with a traffic light. As you sit there feeling the heat from your engine flow up around your legs, your mind starts mulling over the idea of just running the light.
I have found a very reliable method for triggering the sensors on traffic lights so that running through the red isn’t necessary. If you can spot the inductive loop sensor on the ground (a thin rubber strip making a box on the street) try to position your bike so that you can put your kickstand down right on the strip. Putting a steel kickstand down right on top of the inductive loop sensor is often enough to “trip” it to let the lights know you are there.
Want to know why this works? Read on…