Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Dreaming of twisties!

I am so sick of freeway riding! Right now it's something I have to do. My other choice would be to start so early that I'm riding back roads in the dark. Add to that the fact that I would never see Katie at night if I took the long way home each night. At some point I will move North. That's been delayed somewhat by the fact that Grandma is 87 and I live fairly close to her right now. As you may remember, she's actually Mom to me. I hate to have to yank her out of her house although that day is coming soon anyway. I'm also helping my birth mother through losing her husband and my biological father. It's only been two weeks and she's not very strong.

Actually, it's not just that I'm sick of the freeway. I'm starting to get combative. So far not physically, thankfully. Tailgaters in a rush deserve their own special punishments. I totally hate people who dive in front of me with no turn signal. How can you be so lazy, stupid, or arrogant that you can't move a little lever? Almost worse than those who don't signal are those who do. These jewels of high intelligence must think their turn signal is some sort of magic force field. As long as the signal is on they don't have to wait for an actual opening. Just start moving and the magic force field will move cars out of the way. Don't even get me started on truck drivers. Not all are rowing the same boat, but it seems a lot are.

So many truckers are driving 70 or 75 mph and tailgating it makes me shudder. Can they spell "stopping distance" and "momentum"? You can't get away from these maniacs on the freeway. Just about the time you put some space on them, traffic slows down and they're right back with you. I sometimes stop at a rest area early in the morning. Looking at some of the creatures crawling out of the cabs and heading out to do their "morning constitutional" I wonder if they got their CDL's out of a Cracker Jack box. Most look like they have never seen themselves in a mirror. If they all took up a collection they might end up with two or three brain cells between them. The guy on the porch in "Deliverance" looked smarter. And I'm having to use the same road?

I fantasize about having the power to shut a rig down and slide it off the side of the road into the median. No matter what is done to the vehicle, it won't start for 30 minutes. All the while a voice they can't shut off comes out of their radio speakers. It says "You're being given this time out because your driving sucks!!!"

The more I ride the super slab the more I miss my carefully selected twisties to the South. That was a perfect ride to work situation. I could finish off my work day with an hour ride and still arrive home in time for supper. Oh well, the big picture is much better so we suffer for now. Still, bikes and curves go together like oranges and sunshine. Most of you who ride to work probably do what I did. Ride some sort of direct route to work and then have even more fun on the way home. It's only natural. Motorcyclists crave corners. ( we won't talk about the boulevard posers )

I have wonderful dreams of commuting on twisty roads again. My dreams are almost obscene in pent up desires. Reading about others still lucky enough to be doing so makes me so jealous I want to pull my hair out. Thank goodness I can't get to it under my helmet.

Cornering on a bike is awesome, isn't it? It's ironic that one of the sweetest things we do on a bike is also proving to be one of the most lethal to motorcyclists. Here in Oregon, somewhere around 75% of our fatalities are riders in corners. Those who haven't crashed are vulnerable without an understanding of how the process really works. Corners are a wonderful thing but riders have to get it right. Every single time. If I can't ride corners much right now, I'm going to write about them. Over the next couple of posts I intend to write about technique and timing. You might be surprised by the dynamics you didn't know about. Followed by lines and apexes. If you lucky dogs are going to get to ride curves then I'm going to make sure you get it right. I guess I'll have to live it vicariously for a while! Besides, I kinda of like ya.

Miles and smiles,


Steve Williams said...

You're commute sounds like a nightmare Dan. Just reading about it causes me to imagine choosing a cage for it now and then just to protect my riding spirit.

I get to ride a few curves on the way to work but with the scooter I never really get to push hard enough to feel the power of cornering on a bike.

During the rider course where the turns were tight I could lean the scooter over in ways that just aren't needed on the roads even on the windiest of roads. Ocassionally I will come upon one of those really tight turns marked at 15MPH where I can lean it over but I generally don't for fear of overriding my vision and coming upon a gravel path, manure spread or stopped car...


Anonymous said...

I have recently started riding to a workplace once a week via 150 miles of twisty roads in Scotland - thought I would make you jealous.
I look forward to your forthcoming blogs on corners, as most of my riding has been as an urban commuter. (Sometimes, mainly when there is a big gradient, things have not gone a smoothly as I would like)

Anonymous said...

at least I'm still on the bike. It's just not as relaxing as it used to be. It's not so much the powering through a corner as it is the "whoosh" factor. Stay tuned.

Ok you've made me jealous but thanks for stopping by, anyway. Curvy roads in Scotland, huh? Sounds like a beautiful thing. Maybe I should move farther than I planned!


Anonymous said...

irondad, I feel your pain.

Freeways do indeed suck. No getting around it. There are so many "drivers" out there who turn their brains off after they merge from the entrance ramp and set the cruise. Hell, most of them even botch those simple maneuvers.

I'm riding city-grid streets right now, so cornering is an elementary thing at the moment. My river roads have some wonderful, tasty corners... but the speed limit is 25 mph, so I risk a ticket every time I "flow" through there.

But as you said, at least your still on the bike. If this is a long-term situation, then moving must be the way to go. I know you will do the right thing.

Ride well,