|It weighs 580 lbs, not 20. Stock photo from WWW|
Very similar bike to the one in the garage
Rider in photo knows what he is doing, unlike some
Second, I find myself working even harder to maintain optimal lane position, situational awareness, and visibility. I'm scanning like a fighter pilot flying into Germany. I work even harder to second guess motorists and do my "what if" drills. Riding at 15-20 mph usually leaves you more time to contemplate an unfolding Holy Shit Moment compared to riding at 35-55. If you have any doubts, call my Dad, whose BMW R60 kissed the side of a left turning motorist who failed to yield. Fortunately, both the old man and the BMW are still with us, although both required considerable collision work. He shakes his head when he thinks about his three sons all riding motorcycles and everyone else riding their cell phone. Can't blame him, given he knows all about Mr. Pavement.
Thirdly, when things start to go wrong they can go wrong in alarming ways. On Sunday, we were doing chores all morning after walking the dogs. I decided to let lunch settle by taking the K1100 over to the gas station and filling up before we left the house for a bike ride on the tandem. On the way home, I decided to take North Mesa Road rather than South San Ildefonso, because North Mesa road has a nice set of 15 mph (advisory, W13-5) curves in it. Well, it was pretty cold out and the bike was only five miles into a ride. In the first 15 mph curve, I felt the rear tire start to wash out, so I countersteered to straighten the rig upright a little. It worked, fortunately. I found this note on the web about cold motorcycle tire side tread and curves. Sides of motorcycle tires don't heat up very fast, since they generally aren't doing much work.
Finally, that responsibly used 100 HP at the flick of a wrist can be seductive and addictive but its kinda overkill for riding to work and back. The moto will never replace the human power bike for the short haul, i.e., for me, 5-10 miles or less. Especially if I want to look like me rather than like a guy trying out for sumo wrestling.
Its interesting to push the envelope this way, but pushed too hard, the envelope pushes back. I lost a couple turn signals back in my misspent youth, had friends lose turn signals and footpegs, and one lost an elbow as I watched the sparks fly. But getting back on a moto has given me a chance to see what I have not been seeing for a while; outside the box a little. The application to bicycling is that there is always something you don't know yet, you can always be a better rider, and most of safety is between the earlobes. Watch for those surprises, Practice, Practice, Practice, and don't ever paint yourself into a nasty corner, real or metaphorical. Motor or not, we are all on two wheels. Keep the rubber side down, he says knowingly.
p.s. In response to Walter's SIPDE comment, which is a brief version of my situational awareness tome, and more quantitative (Aloha, Walter!):
- S—Sweep, Search, and Scan (keep your eyes moving at all times to effectively see imminent danger)You should search a minimum of 25 to 30 seconds down the roadway. At highway speeds (55-70 mph) this would be a minimum of 1/3 to 1/2 of a mile down the roadway. In an urban setting (25-30 mph) this would equal at least one to two blocks.
- I—Identify hazards, Identify what's happening 12 to 15 seconds in front of you. (road-way features) (take notice of things that could cause trouble)
- P—Predict which hazards could potentially come into conflict with you; predict 2 things 1-worst case scenario and 2-actions
- D—Decide 3 to 5 seconds in advance on a safe action (decide on something to do should the dog run across the road)decide on the path that will put you in the least amount of danger.
- E—Execute that safe action; use communication; confidently execute the manoeuver.