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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Riding...

I'm a rider, I ride a motorcycle and I love it. There are some very important things that one needs to remember when riding a motorcycle.

My first rule of riding is to be aware of what is going on around you. To survive on a motorcycle you must believe that you are invisible and nobody can see you. Expect them to pull out in front of you and make sure you are prepared. Expect them to turn without signals, and be prepared. They are in a tank, you are riding an eggshell. Who wins in the crash? The tank beats the eggshell every time.

Even when there is no law that tells you to wear a helmet, it's really a good idea, because eventually everyone goes down, and the helmet can be the difference between being a dude on crutches or being an organ donor. A good friend of mine ( who has gone down!) says all the time, "Dress for the crash, not for the ride." His point is that while 99% of the time you will probably have a normal day, a few idiots drive you nutty, but all in all there is no incidents, but that 1% of the time you will be very happy to have put on the helmet and long pants, gloves and long sleeves. Some people go all out with the leather and the pads, I'm not quite that bad. I do believe that you should never ride in shorts, take a stone thrown up from a tire in the side of the leg once or twice, or perhaps have your calf bump into a hot tranny, jug or pipe, and you will remember that skin is much more delicate than you can believe. Good shoes or boots are always the better choice over sandals. You laugh, I have seen knuckleheads riding in shorts and sandals! You never know when your gonna have to drop a foot to the road surface, it's not common, but a sandal or your bare foot is pretty useless at that point, a boot is always a better friction source. I am guilty of riding in short sleeves, but only for small rides, in general when I am riding for more than short run to town, I try to wear long sleeves, especially if I'm on a road trip. First of all the sunburn is killer. Secondly, it's just better protection for the skin, bees and hard-shelled bugs can actually draw blood. I have had it happen!

Keep the Bike in good repair. Cobbled brakes, cracked tires and oil leaks are not good. There is nothing worse than being out on the road away from your tools or your mechanic and having bike trouble. Ask me I know! Of all the problems I have ever had, only the dirty air filter was completely preventable. I have gotten bad gas, and had to have the carbs drained and cleaned, while on a road trip. I have blown a headlight out on the highway at dusk! I have fouled spark plugs and had speedometer and tach cables break. You can never prevent everything that can go wrong, but by taking care of your equipment you can minimize the things that do.

Enjoy the wind, and ride safe. If you don't ride, keep your eyes wide. Bikes are small and fast. Look twice and be sure that there is no bike coming before you pull out, Please! We will do our best, but we need you to look out for us too.

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