The great news? I get to ride a lot. A down side? There are bogies everywhere. More than ever. Some of these are other roadway users. We talked about that earlier. Other bogies are built-in so to speak. They're not looking to run into us. The challenge is to avoid running into them. At the least, to avoid having issues because of them. Good ole' stationary hazards.
How soon do we need to get this critical information? Just as soon as humanly possible. I know I'm preaching to the choir in a lot of instances here. That is totally awesome and I tip my helmet to you all. What I would ask you to do is to share with other riders, as well. Heaven knows there's a lot of riders who need it.
Time and again we find that the area most riders fall short in is their visual lead. These riders look 3 or 4 seconds ahead of the bike, if that. I once went nearly insane trying to teach a class of so-called experienced riders. No matter what we did, neither of us two instructors could get the students to look up from their front wheels. I know I don't have Hollywood good looks, but for heaven's sake I'm not that ugly, either!
Riders worry about what's happening at the front tire, and rightly so. What sucks is that if something is that close to our tire we're already screwed. It's way too late. Riders need to be looking as far as they can see. Instead of 3 or 4 seconds they should be looking 20 seconds ahead. The higher our speeds, the farther that 20 seconds is. Not to mention that higher speeds mean worse consequences if we miss something critical. There's another advantage of looking farther ahead that I'll share in just a bit.
Here are some snapshots of things I've encountered in the past few months.
Fall leaves are slippery, wet or dry. They always seem to end up right where we need to do our braking. Look how late that SUV dove into the left turn lane. Maybe right in front of us? Oncoming traffic needs attention, too. There's a lot going on and falling down in front of everybody is embarrassing and dangerous. Wouldn't it be better to know about the dicey traction way ahead of time and adjust accordingly?
By the way, I had a police cruiser behind me running interference while I parked in the middle of the street to take a few photos. The officer pulled in behind me to check out what was up. Once I explained he was pretty cool and got into the spirit. Wonderful person with some humor and common sense.
Geez. Just when you think you have a dry day to go strafe some twisties! This mud was left on the road from farm equipment. I think the mud's going to mess up the corner a bit, don't you? How soon do we need to know about stuff like this?
These next snapshots aren't mine. A fellow instructor took them and graciously gave me permission to use them here.
Yikes! Makes you pucker to think of whipping around a corner and encountering this, doesn't it? Again, how soon do we need to see this stuff? It also brings up a timely reminder. When do we commit to the apex of a corner? When we can see the exit. If we can't see the exit, what do we do? Stay to the outside and expect the worse. Which means slow down in case we come out of the corner and see stuff like this. We need to keep our eyes intensely working to see hazards just as soon as they become visible.
I know most of you already practice good scanning habits. Help me spread the word, won't you? There's entirely too many motorcycle accidents happening.
Another benefit of looking farther ahead? It slows the world down a bit. Try it. Look right ahead of the front wheel for a bit. Carefully; don't put yourself in danger of missing something important. Don't look for very long, but give it a shot. Notice how fast everything seems to be coming at you.
Next, look as far ahead as you can see. Things slow down, don't they? Everything seems to be coming at you more slowly. Which means we have more time to see and react to things. Instead of feeling like everything is happening at the last minute with lightning speed, there's time to scan and plan. Time to act instead of react. Time to find trouble before it finds us. A much happier situation all around.
More miles are going to be put on more bikes as the winter slides away. I care about you all. There are other riders you care about. Spread the word, won't you?
Miles and smiles,