Ride Your Own Ride

2bikers The best piece of advice I think I could ever give anyone is to “ride your own ride”. I’m not talking about riding your own motorcycle. I’m talking about riding within your own skillset.

Most of us who ride, have ridden with others who may be more experienced, a little daring, or even careless and reckless. But just because someone else takes a chance, doesn’t mean we have to follow suit.

There are so many instances of this, I could never list them all. Maybe you can add some of your experience by leaving a comment below. But here are a few examples –

Trying to keep up by racing through a yellow light. I know I’m guilty of this. But when you consider how many bikers are taken out in intersections, speeding up to get through one is not always the best idea. The biker in the lead should be considerate enough to either stop at the yellow light, or pull over and wait for you on the other side. It’s no big deal. Just be sure that before you twist the throttle to speed into the middle of an intersection, you won’t T-bone, or get T-boned.

Never trust an automobile driver to do the right thing when it comes to sharing the road with you and your bike. Never!

Weaving in and out of traffic, making abrupt lane changes. When riding in a congested highway situation, I tend to ride a little more aggressive to stay out of the herd. I like to either get out in front of the cagers, or settle in behind them. Sometimes that means speeding up and making a couple of lane changes to find my comfortable spot on the road. You may need to do the same thing, but remember to pick your own path, throttle up and make your own safe lane changes. Don’t just try to follow the leader. There’s plenty of road in front of you to safely catch up.febnyc1301

Riding on curvy roads and feeling the lean is one of the things I enjoy most when riding my motorcycle. For a new rider, curves can sometimes be a little intimidating. Again, stay within your ability when riding curves. There has been many a rider who ran off the road, or lost traction in a curve by hitting it too fast and leaning too hard. Especially when you take into account the sand, pebbles, leaves, pine straw, etc., that may be lying in wait to booby-trap you. If you haven’t done so already, be sure to read my recent article on counter-steering.

Clint Eastwood said, as Dirty Harry, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” Obviously that goes for women too. Passing vehicles is another area where we need to know and adhere to our own limitations. There are many things to consider when passing, especially on a two-lane road. It’s critical to know the power of your motorcycle, your ability to handle your bike at higher speeds, how much room you have to get around, wind buffering, animals running into your path, semi trucks throwing trash and recaps, etc. If your riding buddy passes another vehicle, before you launch, make sure you aren’t just following the leader, and that you are riding your own ride, safely.

There is so much more to say about riding your own ride, but I’ll leave it here and look for some of your own experiences and advice in the comments below.

I hope this helps.

Ride Safe & Ride-A-Lot!

Geno

Photo Credits: Thanks to the photographer who shot these two great photos.

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Counter-Steering

On a recent trip to Hot Springs, AR, another couple joined my wife and I as we traveled across the Talimena Scenic Drive and through the Ouachita National Forest. It was an amazing ride with lots of hills, curves and beautiful panoramic views.

img_1165It wasn’t until we stopped for lunch on our return trip home, that our new rider friends
shared a harrowing experience they had. Apparently, they hit a curve a little too fast and drifted over the center line nearly hitting a pickup truck that was coming from the opposite direction.

They were both nearly exhausted from man-handling and wrestling their 800 lb. Street Glide through all those twisties. The more we talked about the incident, I realized that he had never heard of counter-steering. He had always just used his body weight to lean his motorcycles. That works pretty well on a dirt bike, or a smaller road bike, but his 175 lb. frame was no match for the Street Glide in tight corners.

After learning of his not knowing about counter-steering, I began asking other riders if they use this technique of controlling their bikes. I was surprised at how many riders have never heard of counter-steering.

It’s really simple. If you want to go to the right, put pressure on the right hand grip. If you want to go to the left, put pressure on the left grip. Go right – push right. Go left – push left.

This works great at leaning your bike over in turns, but it can also get you out of a real bind when dodging traffic, potholes and debris in the road. Anytime you need quick response, counter-steering your bike is the way to get it.

You can practice counter-steering while going in a straight line down the highway. Just use the technique to change from one lane to the other, and then back again. Use light pressure at first until you get the hang of it. Then start practicing in curves, lightly pushing the handlebar in the direction of the curve. The sharper the curve, you may need to apply greater pressure to lean the bike more.

“Dodging” is a little different. If you push the handle bar aggressively and then release the pressure, the bike will dart in the direction you push – then it will straighten up when you release pressure. Dodging potholes, traffic and debris, is simply a quick bump release action that yields immediate response.

Counter-steering not only provides greater control of your bike, it makes the ride much more comfortable when you’re not struggling with the weight of your bike.

I hope this helps. Now get out there put on some miles today.

Ride-Safe & Ride-A-Lot!

Geno

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An Aussie Road Trip

Ken flew over from Australia to buy a really nice 2014 Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited from us, and then ride around the U.S. for a while. I received the following email and a few pics from him this morning –

“Geno,

Some happy snaps of the trip, had fairly good weather and missed all the Tornadoes and torrential rains which was handy. The bike ran like a dream, and hope to pick it up in about 6 weeks.

Hope all is well back there in Arlington.”

regards,

Ken

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