Sunday, January 15, 2012

Pack Riding.

I just got back from a huge run for a local dealership with 'Celebrities' Dan Hagertey, Barry Carroway...Etc
It was the 'Rub' Crowd.
Scary as hell....3/4's of the jackasses riding couldn't hold their own.
Wobbling, weaving, slow speed near misses..redlight slides..almost hitting parked bikes..[Mine] I'd could go on but since your reading this I imagine you've seen plenty of what I'm describing.
We have all heard the rants about cagers 'Not respecting our right of way'
This is True.
But just as many go down due to their own stupidity or inexperience.
I have never been one to 'claim' riding expertise.
I let others speak to my abilities.
This time I gotta speak up.

So you bought a bike....Good for you.
You overcame the fear and grew a pair and learned to ride.
Got your license and leathers..and are gonna be part of this 'Biker community'
Welcome aboard!!
Life just got infinitely more exciting for you.
However there's plenty of excitement in this life to go around.
Barely making it because of shitty riders shouldn't be part of it.

You know that new hire at your work...who thinks he knows everything and don't know shit??
Guess what?
That's you.
Ohh that's right, Not obviously are smarter than the average bear.
Nope, You ain't.
All of us 'Roadtramps' paid our dues to earn that name.
It didn't happen overnight.
The best ones took the advice of Scootertrash and observed...and observed and emulated...and still do.
Day in day out....still watching and learning.

I personally have worn bikes out with many many miles.
Many at an excessive rate of speed.
Not safe?
Probably not...Yet I have had many a rider along side wheel to wheel hauling ass.
And both of us felt safer than sitting in our living room chair.
When it's done right....It's artistry, synchronicity almost religious in feeling.

Want to ride like that??
Perhaps not. And that's fine.
But you should try to ride good enough to be able to.
You will end up at some point riding's damn near inevitable.
Small or large, doesn't matter.

The building blocks of a good rider are surprisingly simple.
They really are.

Try this.
When riding always ride like you're in a pack...always.
I don't care if your in Death Valley and are the only bike for a hundred miles.
Always, always ride pack style.

One foot from the line.
Simple,that's it.
One foot.
One foot left if you ride right side.
One foot right if you ride lead left.
That's your line...period.
Always ride that fine line.
Get used to it so it becomes habit.
And in doing so, you have taught yourself not to wobble.
When turning...stay in that line.
Left side turns tight into that line.
And right side stays out in theirs.
Right doesn't cut in font of the lefts line and always swings wide enough for left to clear.
Left does not swing wide and push right out of his/her lane.
Simple no?
You'd be amazed at how often this simple rule gets ignored.
Always expect it to happen...even with experienced riders.
Nobody's perfect.
Always watch your partner.
Riding 'Outlaw'
Stay wheel to wheel.
Not just a little behind or ahead.
There is a blind spot.
If your front wheel is even with my engine, you have vanished.
I look left and no bike....I look in my bike.
Your gone....Now I'm looking everywhere for you...WTF where the hell did he go?
He was just here a sec ago.
I roll off throttle and lo and behold there you are.
This is seriously bad.
While my attention is momentarily diverted looking for you and not focusing on my 'line' foot.
It takes constant vigilance to maintain.
As it should be.
It keeps you alert and aware at all times.

"I don't ride Outlaw I ride staggered because my Hog riding book says so"
If this is how you feel comfortable riding, Then ride there far enough back so I can see you in my Mirror.
It's a false security.
At the average speed of 60 you're only milliseconds behind and that old chestnut of 'Room to maneuver' is deadly.
You didn't see what made me swerve right as I am most likely blocking your view of the obstruction anyway.
Following behind at a 'respectable distance still ain't gonna give you enough reaction time.
Seen it happen time and time again.
We both see the Object at the same time and both instinctively swerve right in unison.
But better than the other way and if you wanted a Segway.
Also how many times have you been in a hurry in your car to turn left...wait for the car in the left lane to pass and gun it across lanes to get in.
We have all done it..Don't even try denying it.
And after the car went by...oops there is a car/Bike just behind in the right lane.
Luckily you were paying attention... could have been a helluva wreck..Whew!!
This is actually where a lot of left turn cagers meet bikes
They didn't see you..they couldn't.
Try this.
Go to your hallway,stand on the right.
Have your spouse stand a few feet down the hall facing you on the left near the middle.
Have someone else stand just behind them closer to the wall.
Can't see them can you?
Your spouse is blocking your view.
Always try to match the traffic going through an intersection, don't be just behind them.
Following traffic.
If your partner is riding a few feet back...Throttle off and stay along side.
Don't ride ahead even just a few feet.
Kinda gives you pause on the whole staggered thing don't it?
And in a pack... staggered spreads the line out so far you have idiots racing to catch up..and as you'll note the novice riders tend to congregate back there...recipe for disaster.
I have seen too many riders overtrust the braking ability of themselves and the bike.
Happens more than you think.
A excellent riding Buddy of mine was guilty of this from time to time.
He finally tagged a car and went down.
He was almost stopped when he hit so no damage of consequence..except his pride.
Yet just three little feet back.....never would have happened. 3 feet.
Your table that you're sitting at probably ain't that wide.

Is this all? No, not by a long shot.
But do these things and practice braking, downshifting, situation awareness,tight turning.
Watch the "Scootertramps" around you and learn.
Ask them for advice.
I'll have far more respect for you than if you try to fake it.
You can't..Trust me.
We can tell.
But if you do these Simple things,Perhaps you'll someday overhear.....
Man, That fucker can RIDE!
Trust me...ain't no sweeter words ever uttered than that.