Thursday, September 24, 2009

Rilea Bound.

"I need to go to Camp Rilea."


"It's a little over a hundred and fifty miles one way."

"Is it worth the trip?"

"Yes. Need to troubleshoot a problem and touch base with a customer."


"I'm taking the bike."

"Have a nice ride."

Thus went the conversation between the boss and I. Which is how I found myself on the road to the Northern Oregon Coast. 330 some miles. Six and a half hours on the bike. An hour or so on the job. Not a bad work day. As it turned out, going the day before would have been a bit better weatherwise on the coast. Not that I'm complaining, mind you.

The ride over was fairly routine. I tend to take the direct route to someplace when I'm riding for work. Get done what I need to do. Explore and play afterwards. Yesterday was no different. Elvira and I hit the freeway to Portland and then headed West on the Sunset Highway. Elvira's thermometer indicated between 57 and 61 degrees ( F ) depending on how the morning sun hit the roadway. I had a sweatshirt on under the 'Stich. Coincidentally, the sweatshirt says Aerostich on it, too. It's perfect for cool mornings. Not too bulky, but of a dense material.

Somewhere about 1600 feet in altitude we crested the summit and headed down towards the coast. Sunshine gave way to that typical coastal fog and gloom. There was a hint of moisture against my face when I raised the visor. Just enough to be refreshing.

A bit after 10:30 AM saw us pulling into the entrance to the military reservation.

As is to expected these days, you have to pass inspection at a guard station. Pretty routine. What are you doing here? May I see your ID please? Do you have any weapons? Oops.

My first reaction was to copy a bit of dialog from a Tommy Lee Jones movie. U.S. Marshalls. He asks the guy ( who turns out to be the Bad Guy ) if he has a weapon. The guy says,

"Yeah, a big one. How about you?"

Tommy's reaction is what mine would have been.

"Are you sure you want to get cute with me, Kid?"

I'm sure the guard wouldn't have appreciated it so I squelched the impulse.

I've carried concealed for so long I don't even think about it anymore. What was the penalty for carrying onto a military base? Actually, why should it matter? It's not like there's not already a bunch of guns here, you know? Except maybe they want to be the only ones that have them.

I told the guard about the pistol. Also that I had no cannons or explosives. Like that would make the pistol less of a threat in comparison. The guard asked me for my CCL. Satisfied, he gave it back to me and waved me on past.

People with toys like this probably don't need to be worried about a pistol.

Now, if there were some way to conceal one of these babies. They would come in handy in certain traffic situations. I'm going to have to start shopping for a bigger tank bag!

After leaving Rilea, I braved Highway 101 and headed up to Astoria. All the North-South traffic has to use this stretch. At least to my knowledge. There's a new Home Depot just South of Warrenton. Now there's more activity right across the Highway. Robinson Construction is building a Costco. Yikes!

I had a stop to make at Tongue Point Job Corps. We had done some warranty work there early in the year. As you may have guessed, I kind of like messing with people's minds. The trouble is that there's a lot of unarmed opponents when playing Mind Games. Anyway, I decided to go do a quick check on things.

The building involved is the mess hall. I arrived in the middle of the lunch hour. The place was hopping with kids. Standing near the door and watching the line of kids come in was this woman. I'd had a bad experience with her on my previous trip. Let's just say she was pretty demanding with a less than pleasant personality. I still had the riding gear on with the coat unzipped. As I walked by her, I saw no spark of recognition in her eyes. I guess I was a peon not worth remembering. I put up with stuff in the line of work that I won't personally. Today I owed her nothing. As she looked at me, she asked,

"Can I help you?"

I gave her the cold, hard, stare that cops work so hard on.


That was it. No explanation. I just let it hang there between us. She didn't know what to say. I could see her mind going a mile a minute. Does she call whatever security they might have? Does she personally challenge me? As I passed by her I could almost hear a couple of sputters. In the end, she did nothing but watch me go by and out the far end of the building. I sort of expected to be stopped at the gate on my way out, but the guard that had let me in just waved as I left.

Lunch happened in a Safeway parking lot. Both Elvira and I got a bit of fuel. I find that when I'm on the bike, I don't like to let too much take me away from riding. Like lunch breaks in a restaurant. The weather was still gray, but it was nice to look out at the Columbia River for a bit.

As I was standing there sipping coffee, a guy in a beat up old car drove by. He'd pulled out of the fuel station. There was a black point and shoot camera sticking out the window. As he drove by he snapped a photo of Elvira and I. Weird. I had an impulse to run him down and see what he was up to, but let it go.

Now that business was done, I headed down the coast towards Tillamook. Thirty miles North of there, the road heads up high onto a bluff. The fog was so thick it was actually a heavy drizzle. Everything was wet as if it were raining. Spray was coming up from traffic. That lasted a few miles and then things dried out again. It's around 75 miles to Tillamook from Astoria. It was one of the most frustrating rides of my life. The highway was packed with motorhomes, trucks, or head-up-the-ass drivers. Two hours of my life passed by stuck in traffic with little place to pass. Not that passing helped. I'd go by somebody to find myself trapped two minutes later. Where's that tank when you need it? The only relief was in Rockaway Beach. Not from traffic, but from boredom. Just shoot me now, will you? This was a major mistake.

I was standing up on the pegs for most of the stretch through the town. The speed limit is 30 mph. Nobody could have gotten a speeding ticket if they tried. A Rockaway cop pulled out of a side street and followed me. I stayed up on the pegs for a bit longer. My butt and knees were feeling the strain of so much slow riding. Technically, if a cop really wanted to be a hero about it, I could be cited for reckless riding. Like a stunter, you know. I guess the cop decided a real stunter wouldn't be in a hi-viz 'Stich and left me alone. I was almost sorry he did.

Finally, I got to Hebo. Highway 22 heads inland here. Along a river. Which means tight twisties. A pain in a car, paradise on a sleek, sporty, bike. Did I mention that the FJR has a real sporty side? Slow traffic was easily dispatched. Pegs were scraped. Good humor was restored. God, have I really turned into "that kind of rider"?

Once inland, the mercury climbed from 66 to around 90 degrees. Just hot enough to make a cold beer taste good when I arrived home a bit after 5. Drinking a toast to a great work day, to be sure! Yes, I know how lucky I am.

Miles and smiles,


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Letter to myself.

Wednesday was my birthday. I've quit counting, of course. It just doesn't matter anymore. I did find myself considering the fact that I've more riding years behind me than ahead of me. I've been riding for 43 years. I'm pretty sure there's not that many still to come. My life's riding season is well into Fall.

My middle son had a birthday the day before me. He just turned 25. I was awake most of last night thinking about another thing. If I could write a letter to myself at 25 what would I say? A lot, as it turns out. However, since this is a motorcycling blog I limited myself to that subject. That's really been the platform that everything else has been built on, anyway. Looking back, here's what I'd write. It means something to me. It may mean nothing to you. So be it.

So you've turned 25. Let me be the first to congratulate you on still being alive! You've survived a lot for one still so young. An Asian jungle where you lost some buddies. Now your nose is buried in police work. You grew up in an environment where guys proved themselves with their fists. You can thank Gramp for that. Yet, he also taught you about honor, respect, and duty. About how you never touched a woman in anger. Gramp was a man who should have lived in the Old West. He immersed you in that same cowboy code. Complete with horses, rodeos, and horseshows when rodeo got too hard on his body As time goes by it will seem like fewer and fewer people are showing these traits. Don't cave in and become apathetic. These qualities will always matter. Lead by example.

Never lose the piss and vinegar. Those elements are too deeply ingrained into your being. Besides, it makes life a lot more fun! Doors will open because of it that might otherwise have remained forever closed. It might amuse you to know that Katie still considers us to be her swashbuckler. The slight limp from that rodeo crash and stomping will stay with you forever. It's okay. Katie says we're Indiana Jones walking like John Wayne. There's much worse things a wife could say about her husband.

The key is to remember that you control the aggression, not the other way around. You must exercise controlled aggression. In other words, be strong enough to be gentle. That's something you will instill in your own sons in the years to come.

I'm going to offer some wisdom about one of your great loves. No, not Katie and your young family. They are certainly your greatest love and will remain that way. This is about your love of riding that's been there since you got that first dirt bike at eight years old. The reason you need this wisdom is because you're at a crossroads, of sorts. So far you've ridden smaller dual purpose bikes. Dirt riding is still hard to resist. Now you're considering trading up to a dedicated street bike. There's this two year old Honda 900 you've got your eye on. You can afford it, now. There's an obstacle besides money, however.

People are saying things to you. They point to your young family. How can you be so irresponsible as to even think about riding one of those dangerous motorcycles? Some people are even calling them "murdercycles". There seems to be no shortage of folks telling you how it's selfish to take the chance of depriving the family of their breadwinner. Nobody should be subjected to the pain and suffering of seeing a loved one maimed, crippled, or killed.

It's starting to get to you. You're a good man who cares about your family. The things people are saying certainly have a validity to them despite the less-than-tactful presentation. You're just about ready to give up riding until some misty and vague time in the "future".

I'm urging you with everything I've got not to give up riding. Sure, there's risks. Most of the family won't approve. At least, not for a long time. On the other hand, you'll gain insights and value far beyond what you can imagine right now. The key is to do it right and to do it for the right reasons. I'm going to leave you hanging there for a bit while I tell you a story about what happened to me today. Bear with me. You'll understand what I'm saying so much better when I'm done.

Today found me on the motorcycle like most days. I'm blessed with riding for work. You'd be amazed to see how far bikes have progressed these days, by the way. I'm riding a 1300cc black beauty made by Yamaha. It's classed as a sport-touring bike, but her wild heart pumps mostly sporting blood. We're a hundred miles from home in Vancouver, Washington. There's a Fred Meyer department store with gas pumps close by. The bike gets fueled. I decide to do the same for myself as it's past lunch time. Your weakness for department store deli counters will probably haunt you for the rest of your life.

Normally I try to park away from the crowd and out by myself. This place was so busy that it just wasn't possible. I scouted out a space next to the building. There were three empty spots. I slotted into the middle one and dismounted. As I was pulling off my gear I noticed a large, silver, Mercury Marquis sedan heading for one of the spots beside me. The driver was an old man alone in the car. Fair or not, I kept a wary eye on him. He didn't just pull smoothly into the spot. It was more of a fit and start kind of thing. He'd pull forward a foot or two and then stop. I watched as he looked at my bike, the car on the other side of him, and the upcoming sidewalk. Satisfied that he was okay, he'd pull forward another foot or two. The recon process would start anew. Finally, with tires bumping against the curb, he was settled.

The Mercury is a big car with big doors. The old man slowly swung the door open wide. He needed a lot of room to maneuver himself out of the car. I noticed that he was careful not to hit the bike with the door. A fact that I greatly appreciated! I saw the cane emerge first. Then the left leg touched the blacktop. Followed by him twisting in the seat. The right foot came out and found terra firma. Standing up was a slow and painful process but he got there. I assumed it was painful judging by the wincing he was doing.

The man looked over at me. His eyes appeared to be all pupil. I couldn't see any colored iris. I wasn't sure if his eyes were actually like that or if it was an effect from the lenses in his glasses. He offered a greeting. I returned it. The old man lingered. He could be resting up for the walk but I felt like he was waiting for something. I had the feeling he was waiting to see if he'd be brushed off or not. Seeing my smile, he looked at the bike and then back at me. Then the old man asked me how I dealt with traffic, bad weather, and some other things.

I knew he wasn't actually after information. He was well past any riding he might ever have done. Besides, I've found that guys who actually used to ride will say so early on. There wasn't any note of challenge in his words. I correctly guessed that he was just hungry for conversation. The old man probably knew that riders liked to tell war stories and he was providing the opening lines of the script. This wasn't about me, it was about connecting with a lonely old man. I gave him a short, but polite answer and turned the conversation back over to him. His face lit up and we were off.

I won't bore you with the details of our conversation. This is really about the connection. He told me that he was there to have a chicken breast and mashed potatoes. The old man told me his trick. You ask the deli clerk to make an indentation in the top of the potato pile. That way, he said, you get more gravy! I told him that I was after some food, too, but I liked the fried chicken strips with some coffee. Would he like to keep me company? Needless to say, we had lunch together.

So what does this have to do with your decision to keep riding? More than you know. Here's the moral of the story.

Remember how I told you to ride, but to do it right and for the right reasons?

The doing it right part is self explanatory. Good training and quality gear will go a long ways in mitigating the risks. The naysayers are correct in that you have the responsibility to look after your family. It's your responsibility to do everything you can to manage the risk of riding. The same as any other risk. Interestingly, giving up riding will not eliminate all risk from your life. There's still plenty of things left waiting to suddenly attack us. So enjoy, but ride prudently.

Providing materially for your family is only a part of the picture.

Katie will prove to be the most loyal and trusted friend you could ever want or imagine. I know you won't really appreciate that until much later. For the next few years life will be full of the pressures and routines of raising children, conducting business, and making a life with your young wife. One day, though, you'll be walking along and holding her hand. Over three decades of being married to that same pretty young bride will be behind you. You'll marvel that this woman is not only your wife and mother to your children, but the closest buddy you've ever had. For right now just remember that she deserves your very best.

You'll be drawn to demanding jobs. You thrive on the personal challenge and proving worthy. Victories are so much sweeter when they're hard fought, aren't they? Deny it if you want, but I know you better than anyone else will ever know you. You and I are one and the same. The downside of these careers will be that some days will leave you totally drained. Other days will leave you wound up tighter than that time you ran over Gramp's new throwing rope with the lawnmower. The rope was wound impossibly tight around the blade shaft. Gramp was would up even tighter. Your wife and family will rightly expect their loving husband and father to be the one coming home to them, not some pissed off jerk.

You've already had a taste of how the motorcycle ride home both drains off the tension and recharges your battery. Life just somehow seems right when you're riding, doesn't it? This is a very good thing. Reap its benefits. All of you will be much better off for it. Remember, they deserve your best. Riding helps bring out that "best".

You also have the responsibility, privilege, and joy of helping your children to realize the fullest potential they're capable of. What kind of humans they turn out to be will depend so much on what you do now. You know what's interesting? Sociologists say that what happens with children in the first fews of their lives sets up what they will be later. At the time children are the most impressionable and vulnerable, young fathers are still trying to find themselves to some extent. How do you lead the way when you're still trying to find it yourself?

Thing of it as guiding your youngsters through a very thick textbook. You may find it comforting to know that you don't have to get to the end of the book yourself right away. All you need to do is keep a few chapters ahead of your pupils! I hope that helps.

This is where we come back to the old man. Remember I earlier told you to keep riding but to make sure you were doing it for the right reasons? It might help to zoom out a bit and look at the bigger picture.

A lot of people don't ride for noble reasons. You know what I'm saying so we'll leave it at this. If a person isn't enough without it, they'll never be enough with it.

It seems people are always being judged for their accomplishments. Some folks leave behind some medical breakthrough or scientific invention that totally changes the world for the better. I'm sorry to say, but we haven't won a Nobel prize or done anything spectacular. If you think about it, the percentage of humans who actually achieve such a thing is pretty small. So how do the rest of us know what we accomplished?

Rather than look at personal accomplishments, what if we looked at what a person helped others to accomplish? It's like having the camera focused on us but then turning it around. Now the focus is outward. This next bit may seem like it rambles a bit. Bear with me. It's the best this old man can do!

A motorcycle will prove to be the physical vehicle that takes you on a spiritual journey. A tremendous amount of physical miles will pass beneath the wheels of your motorcycles. The miles will be far surpassed by the personal growth you will experience in the process. Different people have different vehicles for this journey. Some use meditation. Some use academic study. The list is very long. Motorcycling works for you. You've tried some other things but keep coming back to riding. This is the summation.

Everyone has the duty to become a better person tomorrow than they were today. You are a better person on a motorcycle. Therefore, you have a duty to ride.

Lead by example.

Here is how you focus your reasons for riding. I'm not saying you can't have fun. Boy, would that suck! Ride with a purpose, not just for fun.

People look up to a rider, man or woman, who appears to have it together. I'm talking about the way they ride, the gear, the bike, the quiet confidence, and so on. You've seen examples. The kid who waves from the back seat of the car. The mother in the front seat who looks worried as they look you over. Seeing that you don't appear to be a "threat", her face relaxes into a smile when she sees you waving back at her offspring. You've seen it with men in cars next to you at a traffic control device who look almost envious. You've seen it in the people who approach you at a gas station or a store parking lot. I saw it in the old man who struck up a conversation with me.

Your mantra should be this. People look up to me. I am an example. What am I an example of?

Making the deliberate decision to always exemplify the best while on a bike will spill over into your personal life. The rewards to you, your family, and others who you touch will be tremendous. It all starts on a motorcycle. In fact, for you, none of it will be possible without riding. You need to keep riding for so many reasons.

People already seem to open up to you. Total strangers will tell you the most intimate details of their life. You're puzzled by it. Sometimes it can be a real pain. I'd encourage you to take a look from another angle. The reason people open up to you is because they feel safe near you. That's because you come across as strong and confident. Strong, but gentle. Sound familiar? You're taking what you were taught and internalizing it. Through the process of riding a motorcycle.

I'm not saying you should be the listening post for every soul who needs to express themselves for whatever reason. What I'm saying is that creating that condition is a very valuable skill. Believe me, you'll need it when some of your children become teenagers!

The old man in the Mercury was drawn to me. It cost me absolutely nothing to treat him with respect. Nor to let him enjoy some conversation. It was obvious he was hungry for it. I actually enjoyed his company. You can bet it made his day. In a small way I made his world better. Multiply that by each small encounter you will have. It adds up. Do you want to leave the world the same as you found it or a bit better? I know your answer. Remember, I am you, but older and wiser.

One day you'll discover you have a real passion for training riders, both new and experienced. You'll actually be pretty good at it, if we may say so ourselves! You have this drive to always get better. Lead by example, remember? Your riding skill level will be very high. That same drive to excel combined with caring about people will push you to develop even better communication skills. They will need to trust you and open up to you. In order to get them to point X it's critical to know where they are at the start of the trip. You won't just be teaching people to ride, either. You will be helping them to achieve their own dreams and goals. The same as you did for your children but on a much larger scale. Nobody will ever be as important to you as your kids, but you will certainly affect a large number of people for the better. You won't ever know, exactly, but the sheer odds say you will save a lot of lives. You will save a lot of families from dealing with losing a loved one. A tremendous amount of pain and suffering will be avoided. Not to mention the important fact that you will be helping them to enrich their lives. The same way that your life continues to be enriched through riding.

Some of your students will go on to become instructors themselves. As so the benefit multiplies.

I'd say that's not a bad answer for those accusing you of being selfish at the moment, don't you? If there is a final accounting for humans, your lifelong pursuit of riding a motorcycle will leave some pretty impressive entries on the credit side of the ledger.

So, young man, I wish for you the very best. Keep riding. Trust me. It will all turn out pretty darn well. I envy you, actually. I'm looking in the rearview mirror. For you, though, there's so many possibilities still ahead of you over the handlebars!

P.S. In two or three years there will be a man named Howard. He will open a trendy little coffee shop in Seattle named Starbucks. When the company goes public, buy stock. Lots of it.

Miles and smiles,


Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Jewels in the Sky.

This is probably a first for this blog. The post you are about to embark on has absolutely nothing to do with motorcycling. With the small exception that I rode Elvira to this event. Maybe there's some sort of connection between hot air balloon pilots and motorcyclists. I'll leave that to you.

I rode early in the morning to the NW Air and Art Fair. This three day event is marked by hot air balloon launches. This was the first day. Forty two balloons rose to become jewels in the sky.

My thought here was to just share some of the photos from the morning. A couple of things were noteworthy. The balloons lend themselves to pictures. They are beautiful craft without a doubt. Secondly, it was the first time I've gone to an event like this and felt like I sort of knew what I was doing with a good camera. These pictures were taken without the aid of any automatic help from the Nikon. Actually, I did use the aperature priority setting for a few shots. This is the also my maiden voyage in using the camera on fully manual settings. The summer spent studying the subject has increased my confidence level, if not competence level! My brain is filled with the image of aperature, shutter, and ISO settings fighting each other to stay balanced on the seesaw.

So here are the photos. I'm only going to offer a couple of comments in between. I hope you enjoy the photos!

Not a bad way to start a day. He's surrounded by color!

This next photo was by special invitation. I must have looked like I knew what I was doing. A woman from the balloon crew asked me if I wanted a unique shot. She then invited me to snap a quick photo from the top cap of the balloon. This is the opposite of what you usually see.

The fire shot is harder than it looks. You have to catch it at exactly the right time. Once the flame starts, it's hot and blue in no time. Efficient, but not photogenic. This took a few tries.

This guy is not in a basket, if you notice. He's hanging from a harness with the burner strapped to his back. My kind of pilot! This photo convinced me I need to buy a lense bigger than 200 mm. I'm also quite thankful for the tripod!

This is from playing around with PhotoShop. The balloons look kind of cool to me all wrapped in plastic.

Have a nice day! Once the balloon is in the air, only other pilots will see the smiley face. I guess there's a payoff for coming to the launch.

One more special effect from Photo Shop.

Miles and smiles,


Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Loud pipes.

I'm pleased to introduce you more directly to Dean W. You've seen his comments on the blog. Dean's a good friend, and a former protege of mine. These days Dean's a Master in his own right and has been for a long time. We teach ART and police training classes together. Dean also happens to be a fellow FJR rider. Actually, he was riding one well before I bought Elvira.

Figuring you all might like a break from me, I invited Dean to do a guest post. The loud pipe issue is one we all face as riders. Dean decided to tackle a common proclamation. Without further ado, here's his thoughts.

You all know the saying: "Loud pipes save lives".

You've probably heard the justification: Car drivers don't see us, so having a loud exhaust will force them to hear us. Just blip your throttle and you can see their windows rattle...

It's always bothered me. Not just the noise- but the notion that it was helpful. ( I actually like the rumble of a well tuned motor. That doesn't mean it has to be ear-splitting loud.)

My first sticking point was that if a driver doesn't see you, there's no guarantee they're going to hear you, either. I'd be willing to bet that with windows rolled up, A/C on, and increasing efforts to isolate drivers from their environment, most any modern car audio system can be turned up loud enough to drown out those loud pipes. You're probably all thinking of a 20-something with a booming stereo that can be heard for blocks. I'll offer a retired couple enjoying their favorite symphony, or a 40-something reliving his youth with the AC/DC blaring. (Wasn't me, honest!)

Next, let's talk about sound propagation. Go look at any motorcycle, and the exhaust opens to the back. That means the sound waves are pushed out the back... not the most helpful if you're worried about a lane violation from the side or front. But sound does propagate in all directions. Unfortunately, low frequency sounds (rumble rumble) are hard to localize, even if the windows aren't rolled up. So maybe they know there's a bike around, but quite possibly, they don't know where it really is. Not helpful.

( editor's note: That's why emergency vehicle sirens are high pitched and pointed forward )

And loud pipes are... loud. If they're going to be loud enough to be heard by someone else, what are they preventing you from hearing? Horns, like the rest of us use? Sirens? Screeching tires as the car behind you loses control?

Finally, there's background noise. On an ongoing basis, your brain receives an incredible amount of data from your senses- sights, sounds, smells, touch, temperature, taste. It can't always process all of it, all the time. Ever notice how, over time, a constantly present sensation- a sound, smell, feeling, or even some commonly present visual object- fades away so that you don't notice it any more? Your brain has determined that it's not a threat and learns to ignore it. So, the constant bombardment of sound from a loud motorcycle exhaust will soon fade into the background, defeating the purpose.

(This is where I argue for a loud HORN, which is only loud when you need it to be. I've replaced the horns on my FJR with a louder pair. I chose the new horns so that when I push the button, the driver's first impression- before looking- is "1970's Buick Electra 225".)

More than once I've used those horns to temporarily convince another driver that they were about to collide with the proverbial irresistable force, and then escape during their confused and frantic search for one of the largest 4-door passenger vehicles ever built by GM. Afterward, I allowed myself the luxury of patting myself on the back for the foresight of installing these horns. . . then I beat myself up for getting into a position where I needed to use them.

The epiphany came when I was teaching a class. One of the topics we cover is "Mental Motorcycling". Amongst other things, this is where we discuss rules for lane placement, and present SIPDE (Scan, Identify, Predict, Decide, Execute) as a process for risk and hazard management.

Further along, while talking about specific hazards, we discuss blind
spots- how do you know if you're in someone's blind spot, and what you should do.

It came to me that this is the very situation that aficionados of exhaust noise claim justifies their aural assault- using noise to gain the attention of drivers that don't see them.

In contrast, the solution presented in the book is a two step process that can be done by anyone, on any size motorcycle or scooter with any size engine.

Situation: Are you in someone's blind spot?

Recognize: Can you see their eyes in their mirrors?

Hazard: If they can't see you, there might be a lane violation. (Fancy phrase for "collision")

Solution: (and here's the epiphany) GET OUT OF THEIR BLIND SPOT.

Remove yourself from the situation. Just that simple. You can speed up, slow down, or just move to one side a little- but get to a place where they can see you. I'll go a little further- get to a position where, if they do change lanes, they can't collide with you. That means moving ahead of or behind the car. Give yourself enough space cushion to evade if need be.

So, here's a challenge: next time you go for a ride (or drive), watch for how many times you catch yourself beside another vehicle. Then when you recognize the situation, take control of the it and do something to alleviate the hazard.

If you'd like to visit the website for PJ's Parts ( who sell the t-shirt ) click on the photo of the girl.

Irondad's comment: This is the part where you'd normally find the disclaimer: "The views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the editor's." In this case I happen to agree with Dean's comments. I appreciate your taking time to contribute to the blog, Dean.

No matter what other arguments a person might have, there aren't any magic bullets. Nothing is as powerful a tool for a motorcyclist as are well developed physical and mental skills.

Miles and smiles,