Tuesday, April 15, 2014

My first ride of the season was very eventful thanks to some obstacles on and off the road...

I managed to grab a little time to take the bike home from work for the first time in many, many months.  Mile by mile, what happened on the way home took me right back to the basics and the things I talk about on Hot Metal’s weekly motorcycle talk show: Road Hogs with Rocky Marks on DVE.  (Insert shameless self-promotion).

I jumped on my bike and decided to head across the street to the gas station to top off the tank.  Less than .3 miles under my belt I managed to cover my tank with gas by being in such a rush to get gas in and get going.

After wiping the mess (and my pride) off the tank, I headed out onto the road.  Within the first mile, I met my first challenge, a pothole.  I failed.  I was looking right at it and you guessed it, ran right over it.  I talk about this every week, wherever you are looking that is where your bike will go.

Within three miles of the shop I had someone almost merge into my lane by texting on the phone.  Wow, I totally forgot about “those people”.  I thought to myself, “Okay, I really need to get my defenses up.”  Thinking back to all the things I’ve learned I tightened my grip and rode on.

Mile five was interrupted by a fancy BMW with tinted windows weaving in and out of traffic without it’s turn signals on.  I knew I had to give myself distance from that person as they were an accident ready to happen.  A little further down the road closer to the seven or eight mile mark, a sport bike passed me on the berm. 

By this point I’m just shaking my head.  I discuss these situations every week on the show, and now I feel like I’m caught up in the madness of the beginning of motorcycle season and I’ve only been on the road for 15 minutes!  So what do I do next?  I decided the best thing for me to do was simply relax.

Yes, even after all of those situations, I decided that it was time to go back to the basics:  put 4 seconds between me and the car in front of me, look 12-14 seconds down the road and play the “what if” game.  It’s the one where you think about what if “this” happens or “that” happens, how am I going to take evasive action and get to safety.

I think it’s a pretty good game, especially for this time of year where most of us have been sidelined due to what seemed like a never-ending winter.  My final ten miles home were very relaxing once I went back to “the basics” and enjoyed the therapy that the motorcycle was originally intended to give me in the first place.

As we get into “Motorcycle Awareness Month,” let’s all get back to the basics. Maybe think about a free refresher course from the state before they get booked up or simply pick up a copy of the PAMSP manual at a local dealership or DMV.

I can tell you firsthand, once I went back to the basics around mile ten the second half of my ride home was very refreshing as was every trip out of the garage I’ve taken this year.

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