Rick’s Gentleman’s Express Blog

Motorcycle news and opinion

What I have learned about motorcycling – some of it the hard way

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Image courtesy of taoty at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of taoty at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  • More fatalities are caused by oncoming cars making left turns in front of you than any other traffic situation.
  • Bikes are less stable the slower you go. That means the parking lot, approaching stop signs/lights; making turns in intersections are places where you’ll just drop the bike without knowing what happened.
  • If you’re tired, sick, upset, or just don’t feel sharp, don’t ride.
  • Get the right gear: full face helmet, riding jacket, boots with ankle protection, and good gloves. Wearing jeans is a bare minimum.
  • Try to get long term disability added to your health insurance. It’s Murphy’s Law. If you get it, you’ll never need it.
  • Assume no one sees you. Plan accordingly.
  • Learn how to double swerve. That means making an evasive manoeuvre to avoid a car, person, dog, bicycle, tree, and then make another manoeuvre to get you back in your lane.
  • Always be aware of your options. They are typically: slow down, stop, swerve, double swerve or downshift and add power.
  • Front brake is 80% of braking. If you get on the rear brake hard you’ll skid and wreck. The rear brake should only be applied to supplement the front brake. Using them together 80/20, you can minimize the bike’s braking distance. If you brake really hard while the bike is leaned over in a sharp turn, the bike will stand up. Always be aware of your entry speed into a turn.
  • Where you look is where you go. Commit this to memory. This means when you identify a road hazard, use your eyes to find your evasive manoeuvre. If you stare at a hazard, you’re going to hit it.
  • Racing a car is a quick way to become a grease spot on the road. 99% of all bikes are faster than 99% of all cars. You can pretty much beat any car hands down. If you have to prove it on a regular basis, go fill out your last will and testament.
  • Oil, water, cold weather, manhole covers, painted lines, sand, gravel, paper bags, plastic bags all will reduce traction and cause you to lose control of your bike. If you are riding on a low traction surface, minimize the amount of steering/braking/acceleration changes you make, until you get back on clean pavement.
  • All rodents, cats, dogs, squirrels, deer, etc. can and will eventually decide to be in the same place in the road as you are at some point. Plan accordingly.
  • Bugs can hurt. They can also explode on contact with your body/face/helmet etc.
  • The faster you go, the higher the chances of serious injury or fatality. It’s not a linear relationship though. Generally speaking, above 80 kph is when the chances of serious injury increase dramatically.
  • Large trucks on the highway can be hazardous to your health. They can lift things like 4 by 8 sheets of plywood, not to mention rocks the size of walnuts.
  • You have no bumper, seatbelts, airbags, traction control or ABS brakes (save a few high end Honda and BMW cruiser/tourers). Your error margin is small. You have to stay within the safety envelope. Every rider breaks this rule at some point. Try not to break it often.
  • If you’re going to lose control of your bike at 160+ kph, your gear only benefits the fire department in cleaning up the accident scene.
  • Most helmets meet all of the safety requirements (DOT, SNELL). The cost of the helmet is directly proportional to the comfort of the helmet. Also, as cost goes up, the weight goes down. Different helmet brands are shaped differently. Some fit oval heads better. Some fit round heads better.
  • Boots that claim to keep your feet dry from rain will cause your feet to get wet with sweat.
  • All motorcycle maintenance items/repair costs cost 2 – 4 times more than for cars.
  • Riding a motorcycle is much more interesting, exciting, entertaining, thrilling, demanding, and fatiguing than driving a car. Don’t expect to ride 1000 kms per day until you’ve actually done it. The sportier the bike, the less time you can ride it without a break from the numbing vibration/ harsh suspension/ cramped position.
  • The testosterone level in a male rider in a group is equal to the sum of the testosterone levels of all the males riding in a group. Don’t push yourself beyond your means.
  • As dangerous and scary as all these things make motorcycling sound, there is still nothing like it, and it’s completely worth it, as long as you do the right things to mitigate the risks involved.

Oh. I almost forgot. Have fun!

Written by admin

January 9th, 2016 at 3:04 pm

Posted in Uncategorized