Thursday, October 29, 2009

What is it about riding?

Great! It's raining so hard that there's standing water on the freeway. I've already taken a shower today, so why are those southbound vehicles throwing water over the barrier onto me? I've got to get out of the left lane. If only I could see. Black clouds are so dark that the freeway street lights have come back on. Not to mention the water curtain over my faceshield and Elvira's windshield. If you've ever wondered what it would be like to ride under a waterfall, I could give you a pretty good idea.

Thus began my trip to Kirkland this past Monday morning. Elvira and I are in the Terwilliger Curves during morning rush hour. Nobody's going anywhere fast. As a matter of fact, we're crawling along. I hope the crotch of the Roadcrafter pants keep shedding water. The 'Stich is getting another adverse weather test. It's eleven years old and has seen countless miles. How many more storms can it weather? ( get the pun? )

Strangely enough, I'm happy about being on the bike, even in the storm. How weird is that?

When we were at the coast I had Katie bait these gulls with a mini bagel. This kind of represents what's happening in my world these days. Everyone's fighting for a piece of an ever smaller pie. Or, in this case, a bagel. I've been summoned to the Mother Ship for an all day meeting with the whole crew on Tuesday. I need to make a stop at the University of Portland to troubleshoot an electromagnetic lock installation. I don't know how long it will take. When I'm done I'll finish the trip to Kirkland and spend the night. The ride home Tuesday night will be a late one.

Speaking of the ride home, I stopped at the same Starbucks in Woodland where I had dropped Elvira earlier this year. I'm glad to say I really can exit the parking lot while staying upright! Of course, we'd only been on the road for about three hours this time.

Having the choice to drive or ride, I chose the bike. It will prove to be an overall cold and wet trip, although nothing will equal the Monday morning storm. If you don't count Tuesday morning's hail, that is.

With the amount of stuff I had to carry, there was absolutely no room for the Nikon. Since some of you complain that there aren't any bike pictures in some of the recent posts, I'm recycling some pics of Elvira from trips earlier this year. Before I became the dazzling photographer I am now! :)

I could have been warm and comfortable in a car. Food and hot coffee would be a casual reach away. My little XM radio receiver would sound a whole lot better on my car's Infinity sound system than through the tinny ear buds I have under the helmet. Yet, I look at the traffic surrounding me and feel glad to be riding. What's up with that?

I originally started this blog to encourage using a motorcycle as much as possible for everyday transportation. That's why I'm listed on the Ride to Work site. Andy's philosophy and mine align in that regard. He was gracious enough to include me when the RTW blog roll was in its fledging stages. Riding for utility is a worthy and noble pursuit. One I want to encourage as many as possible to share in with me. You know, you can even haul the family Christmas tree on a bike. Check it out here. There's more to it, though.

I never sit in my S-10 pickup and think how cool it feels. Nor do I get that free and agile feeling in either the truck or the car. No, there's something more to riding than just utility.

It's not about riding twisties as I'm doing the super slab thing both ways. It's hard to explain, but the world just feels right on a bike. Being in a car seems so cumbersome. Maybe it's just the decades of riding. You're comfortable with what you're used to. Maybe there's some magical aura that surrounds a motorcycle engine. Or, perhaps, it's just plain ego when I see all those folks in their cars while the swashbuckler is out on two wheels.

I'm also pretty sure I'm not the only one who feels this way. Even if we might actually be safer or more comfortable with four wheels, we choose two. Here's a recent example. Dom couldn't wait to ride the bike and sidecar in the snow, for heaven's sake. Maybe what it all boils down to is that we're just plain crazy. There may be more truth to that than we're actually willing to admit.

What about you all? How do you justify your insanity?

Miles and smiles,


Friday, October 23, 2009

What happened here?

I was strolling along the beach and came across these glasses and two socks in the surf. The second sock was far enough away that it isn't in the photo.

A question popped into my head. What happened here? I hope nobody had drowned. Glasses and socks seem strange as the only things left behind.

It also crossed my mind that sometimes we end up asking ourselves that same question. Despite our best intentions and efforts, things happen. A bike on its side. Sometimes worse. Then the questions.

What happened here?

If we're lucky we're able to answer the question, continue to ride, and end up a little wiser.

Miles and smiles,


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Harley Mama.

I'd like to introduce you to Karen. She has her own story, but she also represents where a lot of people are coming from. There's a lot of folks who might have tried motorcycling earlier if they could have gotten over the fear. A fear spawned and nourished by the words of others. Unfortunately, there's also those who never will give it a try.

During the first night's classroom session Karen said her reason for taking the class was to become a "Harley Mama". I'm always intrigued by the personal stories of my students. I waited until the second day to ask more. Karen had never ridden before. The first day requires a lot of concentration on the part of new riders. There's a lot of stuff to coordinate. I didn't want to distract her from that, so I just let her explore.

The weekend was also a chance to work with a new instructor. This young man has impressed me from the beginning. I introduced you all to him in a post dated March 11 this year. Jeff got his audits done and went through the instructor prep session in August. I had the opportunity to teach this session along with my buddy Mary Kaye. After having worked with him I can confidently say that Jeff has the potential to be an awesome instructor.

My dear friend Al was working with the afternoon group. Al showed up early to help us with bikes and to bring hot chocolate. Al had been one of my regular students before he became an instructor. He's associated with GWRRA ( a gold wing group ). Every other year or so the group would take an Experienced Rider Course together. I'd had the honor and privilege of helping to mentor Al on his journey to become an instructor. Now he's a mentor himself. Passing it along, so to speak. Al has a heart as big as Texas. Even if he does give me a bad time for no longer riding an ST!

Some of my students this weekend had ridden before. A typical situation is men who've ridden when young and then done other things. Now they want to come back to riding. This is a great way to rediscover the old skills as well as add new ones. These two guys were pretty serious about their riding. Interestingly, they both have the same first name. They are both strong riders and were excellent students.

On Sunday morning I asked Karen more about her Harley Mama statement. Karen explained that she had ridden as a girl on the back of her Dad's bike. A lot of people during the ensuing years had told her how dangerous motorcycling was. Interestingly, even her own Dad who'd given her rides. Don't know if it was true concern or a controlling thing. Either way, Karen had grown up afraid of motorcycles. Still, somewhere in the background, the spark still smoldered.

I really hate it when people do this kind of thing. Why are they so vocal about spreading the fear? I've got some thoughts but they would take up a couple of posts all by themselves.

Karen told me that she had gotten to a certain age and decided it was now or never. She found the class and signed up. Karen's husband was there as well. He was the typical rider I mentioned earlier. It had been thirty years for him. As you can see, we actually got Karen on a bike. We even managed to elicit a smile or two along the way.

Karen wasn't the only one who had heard all the bad stories. A young man in the class had expressed a similar concern to me on the first morning. Despite that, he was determined to give it a try. He did fine and learned how much we can actually do to take care of ourselves.

Being an instructor offers me opportunity for tremendous challenge and awesome reward. When a student is obviously scared it's a challenge to get them to trust you enough to step off the ledge, as it were. The reward is seeing them gain confidence after they've had some success. It starts to dawn on them that they just might be able to do this after all. I can't tell you how much I enjoy seeing their progress through the weekend. Karen was no exception.

Karen finished the weekend without incident. Yes, there's still quite a bit of trepidation hanging about. Only time will and experience will help with that. On the other hand, I'm pretty sure she'll accomplish her dream of becoming a Harley Mama!

This is a gratuitous shot of somebody having fun on a TW200. I threw it in for Lucky.

Miles and smiles,


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Images from a class.

I taught a class this last weekend. It's always fascinating to me how a group of diverse personalities blends with the two instructors into a group. That's one of the reasons I keep teaching. Next weekend will be another class. Different people, same process. Everybody's got their unique story but they all want the same ending.

In the next post I'll introduce you to one of my recent students. She'd never ridden before. When we have the students tell why they are in the class, she told us she wanted to be a "Harley Mama." I think you'll enjoy meeting her. In the meantime, though, I wanted to share something a little different for me.

Now that I've gotten the photography bug, I'm looking at things a little differently. Or maybe just looking at more things. When my classroom session was finished on Sunday afternoon, I dug out the Nikon and just wandered around taking some shots while the afternoon class rode. Careful not to make the students nervous, of course. There's always the people aspect. I thought it would be fun to record the other images of a class. Here's a few.

Spare bikes waiting. We hope they aren't used because it means there was a problem.

It seems like there's a lot of the color orange in an instructor's life. There's these small cones. Despite being so small, they have a huge part in the play. There's something magnetic about this color. Student's eyes are drawn irresistably to them!

There's these big ones. Do you want me to stop or just slow down?

There's orange in the flags that mark the boundaries of our parking lot kingdom. Amazing how a parking lot becomes your world.

Our water jug is very big and orange. Just water, no orange juice, despite the color. Apparently, it also works as a good place to put gloves. The yellow and black makes a nice contrast.

Thankfully, the water cups aren't orange. Blue and white seems to be universally associated with water, somehow.

Speaking of water, bikes and helmets wait during a break.

Back to work. Which is also fun. Not a bad deal all around, don't you think?

This picture illustrates a question. Just because you could, does that mean you should? At least the leaves aren't orange!

Maybe this one falls into the same category. Or, maybe after a long day, I was thinking of home, beer, and potato chips!

Saturday had brought us a huge downpour. Water was standing on the parking lot. By Sunday the rain was past, but puddles remained. Water puddles contain their own worlds. The rain is a major pain in the rear when we're teaching. What it leaves behind can be fascinating.

Puddles reflect other things. Then again, they offer content of their own.

I'll end this little journey with the artistic beauty of an instructor's bike. I think this one came out kind of nice. Once in a while an enthusiastic beginner gets lucky.

Hope you enjoyed this post. I had fun putting it together. Stay tuned for the next post. We'll go back to the human interest side. People are actually the most interesting part of teaching anyway!

Miles and smiles,


Friday, October 16, 2009

For Bobskoot and Conchscooter

Bobskoot says he likes lots of photos with less text. Conchscooter told me I should try to quit flashing people. So, for once in my life, I am going to put on a fake smile and play nice. I shall try to please both of them. But only this once.

Man, have I got a lot to learn about taking good photos. It's okay. Sometimes a person needs to go back to the bottom of the hill and start climbing again. Consider this being barely off the ground in the climb. One of these days I hope to look back and shake my head at what a "newbie" I was. Until then.

Had a chance to go to the Newport Aquarium, as I said earlier. I vowed not to use a flash. Time to learn how to use all those cool buttons and stuff on the Nikon.

The lighting is accurate for where we were. My tripod isn't too portable or practical in these kind of situations. The slow shutter speeds make good focus pretty darn hard.

Stronger light means a faster shutter speed. This one actually looks halfway sharp.

I think this fish is related to Al Pacino. Is this me or does the glass of the tank help screw up the clarity?

That was The Boss above. This is The Muscle.

There are some tunnels that people can walk through. This is looking up. You're surrounded by water and fish. One tunnel even has sharks. Interesting to see a shark above your head. I couldn't seem to get the sharks in focus and still get a good exposure. God, I wanted to flash something!

Best I could do under the circumstances. Always open to helpful hints from those of you who actually know what they are doing. ( that's a hint, just in case you missed it. Ok, call it begging )

This is an experiment in aperature settings and depth of field. I should try not to get distracted. One minute I know where Katie is and what she's doing. You can't turn your back on her for a mintue or she's getting into trouble. Kind of like me, I hate to admit.

Such has been the lot of Warrior Knights for ages. Called upon to rescue Damsels in Distress. Since I didn't think the aquarium people would appreciate me firing my Glock .45, I had to settle for firing my Nikon D40.

Things got a little crowded in the tunnel so I retired to do some people watching. I hate to admit it, but I fell off the wagon and I used my flash. I'm so ashamed.

The instant gratification of the flash just isn't worth the depth of color and light you lose. Besides, I got a dirty look from this pixie's mother. She had the girl all posed for a photo. The thing was, I didn't realize it. When my flash went off, the pixie started running around. She thought my flash was from her mother. I think I hear Katie calling me from Somewhere Else!

This is one of the big reasons I'm working on photography with so much zeal right now. Grandchild coming in January! Man, I have got to work on holding the camera still.

Funny what some people choose to wear to an outing at the aquarium. I was successful in convincing Katie that I was just taking a picture of the hat, despite it's being the back side of my subject. Not so lucky in a few minutes.

One thing I've quickly learned is that photos are so much more interesting if you filter out all the noise and get up close to something. For example, this coffee counter at a wide angle isn't that dynamic. I decided to zoom in close. For some reason Katie thought I was zooming on the attractive young blonde girl. So Katie punched me in the arm. It didn't hurt, but I almost spilled my coffee. Not to mention that my first photo was pretty blurry. Not my fault this time.

Now there seems like there's a point to the photo. At least to me.

Anyway, that's it. I have managed to get what I think are some really good photos. I'm hoarding those for some future posts. Have a great weekend. I'm teaching again. Hope to have some good stories about motorcycle riders showing up here soon.

Miles and smiles,


Thursday, October 15, 2009


This is about focus. Something I've found myself becoming a lot more familiar with using the Nikon. Focus is also a thing motorcyclists need to be worried about, too. I'm wrapping up a loose end from a couple of posts ago. I think you'll see how it all relates.

Back in July, when I started the photography class, we did a photo shoot during our third class. The shoot was supposed to happen later, but the guy who owned the subjects of our shoot was only available this week. The subjects were a couple of classic cars. The one that's pertinent to the post is a 1958 Edsel.

I'll show you the car in a minute. As an interesting side note, Harry Carter is an old friend of my Grandfather. Harry says they used to work together before I was even thought of. As another interesting side note for Mike, I'm taking a lunch break at the food court of Clackamas Town Center as I start this post. Seems we both use mall food courts for mobile offices.

Our instructor had Harry move the Edsel into the sunshine next to some trees. We were supposed to work on getting good exposures. We were also tasked with making some "artistic" shots. Yeah, right. I was going to do good just getting the lighting right.

The Edsel wasn't doing much for me. We were in the bright sunshine photographing a stark white car. I'd barely heard of an SLR digitial camera before I'd recently purchased mine, let alone know how to adjust all those mystical settings the instructor kept talking about. And as for artistic, well, it's me we're talking about.

"Good God, Jim, I'm a Warrior, not an artist!"

However, life ain't all bad, as they used to say on Hee Haw. As I was framing a shot of the car, I spied a black Kawasaki Ninja in the background. Now I'm into familiar territory with something I'm actually interested in. With my attention definitely captured, I raise the camera lense a bit to look past the car. Remembering to eeeeaaaaaasssse down the shutter button, I fire off the shot. Hmmm, something's wrong.

I'm looking at the bike, but the camera isn't. I try again with identical results. Time to regroup. I've heard a definition of insanity as doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results. Why is the camera so in love with the car while I want to pay attention to the bike? I mention it to Paul, our instructor. He tells me to check the auto-focus settings of the camera. The what? Being a kind of "If I give you a fish, versus teaching you to fish" kind of guy, Paul tells me to look at the owner's manual. Sure enough, there's a setting that tells the camera what to focus on. It's set to focus on whatever is closest to the camera. I can change that. Cool!

Ok. To those of you who might be snickering at me right now, I say cut me some slack. I've used freakin' point and shoot cameras for over 40 years. What can I say?

Having changed my settings, I try it again. While not the best photo, and certainly a world away from artistic, I'm pleased to get the subject I want in focus.

Now the camera looked past the car and focused on the bike. Speaking of bikes, let's go back to riding.

While this was just a photography exercise where I learned something about focus, neither of the previous two photos are good examples of where and how to focus while riding. Especially in a group. I'd posted earlier about a group of motorcycles travelling together. When traffic conditions on the freeway changed suddenly and unexpectedly for the worse, the riders were caught by surprise.

Here's the official release from the Oregon State Police:

News Release from: Oregon State Police
Posted: September 19th, 2009 1:26 PM
Photo/sound file:

Photo 1

Photo 2

Photo 3

Photo 4

Photo 5

Oregon State Police (OSP) troopers are continuing the investigation into Friday afternoon's multi-vehicle traffic crash south of Wilsonville on Interstate 5. Ten motorcyclists traveling together as part of the Brothers Speed Motorcycle Club was injured, two critically. Names of three other injured motorcycle operators are available with this release.

On September 18, 2009 at approximately 2:45 p.m. approximately 26 motorcycles were traveling northbound in the left inside lane near milepost 282 in a formation of two columns when traffic ahead began to come to a stop. The first two motorcycles maneuvered to avoid a collision with a 2005 Toyota 4Runner but the rest of the motorcycles could not react in time and crashed into the sport utility vehicle and into each other. A second vehicle, a 2004 Nissan Pathfinder sport utility vehicle in the center lane was also struck by one of the motorcycles attempting to avoid the collisions.

Medical responders arrived and subsequently transported eight motorcyclists by ground ambulance. Two others identified as HERBERT SINCLAIR, age 48, from Heyburn, Idaho and DAVID BOWYER, age 44, from Coeur d'Alene, Idaho were transported by LifeFlight to Oregon Health Sciences University and Legacy Emanuel Hospital, respectively.

Both men are reported in critical condition.

Names of three of the other 8 individuals injured in the crash are identified are confirmed as JUAN RAMON MATA, age 60, CHRISTIAN J. GANKEMA, age 40; and, GARY PAWSON, age 38, each from Idaho.

The names of the two drivers are not available for release.

Interstate 5 northbound lanes were closed for about two hours before one lane was opened. All lanes of Interstate 5 were open at approximately 5:40 p.m.

Oregon State Police troopers were assisted at the scene by Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue, Clackamas County Sheriff's Office, ODOT, Aurora Fire Department, Canby Fire Department, Wilsonville Police Department and Marion County Sheriff's Office.

No other information available for release

Photograph Source: Oregon State Police

If you click on the links you should be able to see the photos taken by OSP. As Dean W commented on the original post, one of the critically injured riders from Idaho has died of his injuries.

So what went wrong?

A large number of bikes were cruising down the freeway in formation. I'm not going to comment on the being in formation in the first place. For most riders it's not a good idea. Some choose to ride that way. All I'm saying is that it's a risk factor that needs to be taken into account.

The real issue seems to be that all the riders were surprised by changing traffic conditions. Traffic ahead of the bikes began to slow. Directly in front of the bikes was the Toyota 4Runner, which would block the available visual lead. I, obviously, wasn't there. However, based on everything I know about managing risk and where to focus in order to do so, it seems pretty clear that the riders weren't focused nearly far enough ahead. If they had been looking farther ahead, the disaster probably wouldn't have happened. Surprise equals inadequate visual lead. A simple formula.

Riding in formation compounded the situation. It's easy in a group of bikes to let the attention focus on the bikes. We all look cool. Hear the rumble. Whatever. I don't mean this as ridicule. There's just this fascination with a large group of bikes. We want to look at the bikes and our fellow riders. On a freeway we expect to make unimpeded progress. The camera lense seeks that closest to it.

A 20 second visual lead required when we ride. We want critical information just as early as we can get it, don't we? The faster we ride, the farther that 20 second projected path of travel extends ahead of us. That doesn't change if we ride alone or in a group. Visual lead is visual lead. In fact, when riding as a group, riders should be hyper vigilant about looking past the bikes and scanning ahead. Even in a group, we are responsible for our own rides.

That's not to say we shouldn't focus closer, either. Just as we shouldn't look close to us and ignore those things farther away, we would be foolish to look far away and not scan close to us.

Here's the key. Scan at least 20 seconds ahead to pick up clues just as early as possible. Scan more aggressively 10 seconds ahead of us. That's where the immediate action will be. Which, hopefully, we got a clue about in our 20 second scan. See how it all works smoothly together? Do it successfully, alone or with others, and we can be like Goldilocks. It's all "just right".

The Edsel's in my immediate focus but I also have a clue about the other car and bike coming up. That's how we should focus while riding. Now you'll have to excuse me. That image of us all being a bunch of Goldilocks with our blonde curls blowing in the wind has me freaked out. Time to go get some coffee!

Miles and smiles,


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Making photographs!

Making photographs. I borrowed that phrase from Steve Williams. It's a term that he uses and has been applied to him by others. Interestingly, I finally have a clue as to what it really means. More on that in just a bit.

Some of you may have noticed that I haven't posted much, lately. If you're one who's noticed, I'm flattered and honored. I guess I just sort of lost interest. So many things demand our time, don't they? I'd gotten to the point where I felt like I'd run out of things to say. It's interesting how time seems to "label" us. For example, the above mentioned Steve Williams has always appeared to me to be the philosophical professor with artistic leanings. When I think of Steve I first think of photography. Gary C. was the dashing test pilot. Jack R. is the naughty boy who was always getting his hand whacked by the teacher's ruler. Lucky in Arizona is the quintessential Viking, looting and plundering. Conchscooter? Well, he's sort of in a unique and refreshing class by himself. Although I noticed he just satisfied the urge to become an Iron Butt member! Congratulations.

The above descriptions are meant with the utmost respect and high regards, by the way. All of us have our unique spaces we occupy. Mine has been that of a teacher and riding guru, it seems. That's both rewarding and limiting at the same time.

I'm still riding and teaching. Just not writing about it. I mean, how interesting can it be reading about where I go during my day? I like reading about you all, but don't find the same interest when it's about me. There's still some great stories from my students and people I meet. I just lost interest in sharing.

You might remember how back in July I took a photography class. It was a five week course, meeting one night a week for three hours. Something clicked for me. Since then I have spent most of my spare time reading and studying books on photography. The world of exposure, composition, ISO selections, shutter speeds, and aperature settings suddenly make sense. I'm finding out what an amazing camera the Nikon D40 actually is for someone like me. Obviously, I'm nowhere near an accomplished photographer. However, I've let go of the automatic settings and set out on fully manual adventures with the camera. With some results that aren't too bad, either.

Here's an example from this weekend. This is inside a dark room at an aquarium. There were so many people trying to get photos with point and shoot cameras with a flash. While this particular photo isn't spectacular, I was able to get a clear and colorful shot by manually adjusting the camera's settings. It was something I would never have known how to do until recently.

Another amazing thing has happened. A lot of my enthusiasm has returned. Motorcycles will always be the main part of my life. Behind Katie and family, of course. I'm a motorcyclist. It's who I am. It's what I do. Exploring photography has started me out looking at everything in a different way. Maybe I was ripe for a new challenge. I've always been the kind that needed a carrot on a stick held out in front of me. The experience of trying to conquer photography has gotten me looking at motorcycling in a whole new way, also.

It's time for a fresh approach. I'm going to try to make motorcycling connections through my camera lense. It will be fun, I think. Photography and motorcycling are alike in one way. When you first start out, everything looks like this:

This was actually the result of a dumb, but funny mistake. This is from a hotel room balcony. I had the camera on a tripod and set for a slow shutter speed. Then I used the self timer to make the shutter fire so I didn't shake the camera when I pressed the button. So what do I do? As soon as the camera clicked, I forgot that the shutter was still open and whisked the thing back into the room! Interesting effect, though. I'm sharing this because if we're afraid to look silly then our learning will be severely curtailed.

Keep working at it and the picture will begin to make more sense!

I know I have a loose end hanging from the last post. Sooner or later I'll tie it up. Right now I have to go sort through this weekend's photos!

Miles and smiles,


Friday, October 02, 2009

Expert skills; just physical?

Sorry for the lack of posts. Life gets busy and it seems blogging gets pushed aside. I feel sort out of touch with you all. It will be good to sit down and see what you have been up to on your blogs. In the meantime, I just wanted to put up a quick note. Sort of a preview, so to speak.

In what little free time there seems to be, I've been concentrating on this photography thing. I've found a few books that deal with digital photography. Maybe I'm just primed for something new but I'm finding myself really drawn into this thing. Blame
Steve Williams. There's something about his photographs that are more than just a picture of a moment. In a small way I've been trying to emulate that. I find myself looking at things in a different way. Exposure is kind of a tricky thing, yet makes such a huge difference.

For a few nights I've been doing some night time security work at a volunteer construction site. A new church is being built. Since I get by on little sleep, I've volunteered to hang out from 3 AM to 7 AM. With a laptop I can actually get some work done. It works out well since the factories I deal with are on the East coast, three hours ahead of us. Rounds have been made with the Nikon and a tripod along. I've had the chance to play with some stuff. Just for fun I'm including a few pictures. Nothing spectacular, just new ways of looking at ordinary things during the early morning hours under the parking lot lights. The photos have nothing to do with the post subject. Consider them farkles.

Meals are served to the volunteer workers. Here's some bananas waiting to be introduced to some hungry workers.

Anyway, to the point. I've written quite a bit about skills. You may remember me writing things like this:

Your skills will only stay sharp to whatever level you hone them to.

We don't rise to the occasion, we default to our level of training.

And here's one I'm adding:

Amateurs train until they get the drill right; professionals train until they can't get it wrong.

Most of the time we associate these principles with physical skills. Of course, a rider really needs physical skills to be at the highest level possible. There's more to riding a bike than just getting on and twisting the throttle, though. Consider our definition of an expert rider:

An expert rider is one who uses expert judgement to avoid using expert physical skills.

So while a rider should strive for expert physical skills, developing expert mental skills is even more critical.

A couple of weeks or so ago, there was a huge crash on Interstate 5 in Oregon involving 26 motorcycles. One of the rescue personnel described the bikes as "falling like dominoes". Despite some critical injuries, there were no fatalities that I am aware of. The incident bears looking at to see what we can learn from it. Stay tuned.

Miles and smiles,