RIDING UNDER THE INFLUENCE

RIDING UNDER THE INFLUENCE…OF GPS

From all appearances, the rider you are following is intimately familiar with the twisty stretch of pavement youve on. You’re impressed with his ability to keep a quick pace until, that is, everything goes wrong. As you approached what appeared to be a tight uphill corner, you weren’t comfortable with his lane position, his entry seemed too fast, and his lean angle was too shallow. Predictably, his corner exit was way on the wrong side of the center line.

Luckily traffic was non-existent, allowing the rider to recover unscathed as he continued to look toward the exit of the corner, down shift, and move smoothly back into his lane. It dawns on you that the rider has spent a lot of time looking down, failing to keep his head and eyes on the high plane to take in pertinent information about the roadway. As you follow the very lucky rider into the next turnout, you notice his handlebar-mounted GPS and instantly recognize what the issue is.

By now there shouldnt be any doubt that most of the decisions we make are based on what we see. If we dont see something, we cant possibly make an informed decision. More and more riders are using GPS as a crutch, keeping their eyes focused on the screen and not on the roadway. While GPS may have a place, and can be used to roughly gauge how tight a corner is in a general sense, it shouldnt be used to determine how fast you can ride through the corner. We need more information besides how tight the corner is—debris, animals, traffic, potholes, camber. The list of the myriad of things that the GPS cant tell you goes on and on.

Keep your head and eyes up and continually take in all the information that is available to you. Never let technology take the place of good riding skills and techniques.

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Streetmasters Motorcycle Workshops

TIPS FOR SAFELY PASSING A CAR

Ride often enough and you’ll come to view moving cars as dangerous, rolling roadblocks. Motorcyclists have two great advantages over automobiles—acceleration and maneuverability. Smart riders use 
both to their best interests.

BE DECISIVE The key to proper overtaking is to execute the maneuver as quickly as is safe. When ahead of or behind the car, you’re relatively safe, but when you’re beside the other vehicle you’re vulnerable and have fewer collision-avoidance options. Don’t speed up when you’ve pulled beside the car; instead, make the decision to pass, indicate, and then begin to accelerate while you’re still far behind the vehicle. Downshifting allows your bike to accelerate faster, but you don’t want to have to upshift in the middle of your pass. Choose a gear that’s low enough for aggressive engine response but that still lets you finish the pass.

BE AWARE Avoid passing in intersections, and be extra careful in areas with lots of driveways or side roads on the passing side. Why? If the car wanders into your lane, runs wide, or decides to change lanes or pull into a driveway, you need to have a way out already in mind. When you begin your pass, look for an escape route if the car changes direction.

BE CAREFUL Watch the driver’s mirrors and front wheels—these often hint at a turn a split second before the driver changes lanes. Be particularly careful if the driver seems distracted by things like texting or talking on the phone, eating, or other non-driving activities.