Saturday, December 30, 2006

Song of the Sausage Creature. Super Cool.

This is probably of of my favorite wirtings on the web...

There are some things nobody needs in this world, and a bright-red, hunch-back, warp-speed 900cc cafe racer is one of them - but I want one anyway, and on some days I actually believe I need one.

Read it here if you're interested: Song of the Sausage Creature, by H. S. Thompson.

A bit of my take on Motorcycling

If you ride and you haven't read "The Pace", go read it. Seriously. I'm not just trying to be a jackass.

One thing I've noticed is that as cities grow larger, there's more traffic, and people are more impatient and easily angered. Probably my favorite thing about riding in the city is that riding allows you to escape a lot of the chaos on the road. You can lane split up to the front of a line of cars waiting at a light and take off quickly enough to catch the line of cars at the next light and repeat the process. This way, the bulk of the cars on the road are either behind you or stopped in a line in front of you; it's easier to maintain a good defensive position on the road when you aren't stuck in the middle of a clump of twitchy cars and it's easier to spot hazards ahead of you.

Unfortunately, it takes a lot of riding to learn how to move through traffic efficiently and maintain some margin of error. There's a pretty steep learning curve, but after a while, near death, butt puckering, experiences become few and far between. I guess I was pretty lucky to get to start in a smaller city like Redding. I actually got run down by a small pickup truck right after I got my old bike (first one w/ a shifter; I'd been riding a 250 scooter for a while). It's worth noting that this happened only moments after I patted myself on the back for riding so well over the past two weeks and let my mind wander for a couple seconds. It's a pretty good bet that the next time I get myself into trouble, I'll be a little too confident in what I'm doing and or I'll just be spacing out.

Maybe the most important thing I do when I ride is to look ahead and plan each move I make. This works for traffic or the twisties. (I'm climbing up onto my soapbox) It's a fact (statistics blah blah...) that most (greater than half of) motorcycle accidents are single vehicle accidents; Rider error. I've watched myself as well as almost everyone that I've ridden with run wide through at least one corner. I've seen more than one rider panic and ride into a ditch, pasture, grove of trees, etc. Check out the following from the pace regarding entering a corner:

.... If the brakes are required, the front lever gets squeezed smoothly, quickly and with a good deal of force to set entrance speed in minimum time. Running in on the brakes is tantamount to running off the road, a confession that you're pushing too hard and not getting your entrance speed set early enough because you stayed on the gas too long. Running The Pace decreases your reliance on the throttle and brakes, the two easiest controls to abuse, and hones your ability to judge cornering speed, which is the most thrilling aspect of performance street riding.

If I have decided upon and set my cornering speed before I enter a corner, then instead of puckering my butt and riding the brakes all the way to the double yellow and then banking wildly into the corner (I've done it too many times), I can put my attention toward looking through the corner, looking for obstructions in the road, thinking about setting up for the next corner, etc. If I'm not traveling at a speed I'm comfortable with, then I won't be able to change my line mid-corner or straighten up and come to a stop if need be.

Blah blah blah... developing as a motorcyclist is a life-long process; There's always more to learn, the scenarios are always changing, there will always be another humbling moment when life (the road) puts you in your place; every moment is an opportunity to grow and learn something new. (Okay, I'm off the soapbox.)