Archive for July, 2012
“Stay thirsty my friend” – NOT When Riding!
With temps in the 90s and beyond dehydration is a REAL risk and needs to be taken seriously. The key is to replace liquids at a faster rate than is being lost through the skin. Most people don’t drink enough water (a good rule of thumb is: your body weight divided by 2 equals the number of ounces of liquid per day). Under hot riding conditions that number needs to increase dramatically. It’s important drink a glass of water before you start riding and continue to monitor your intake throughout the day. Also remember that “all liquids are not created equal”; caffeine drinks will actually push water out of your system and dry you out. If you must have that caffeine fix – drink an ounce of water with every ounce of caffeinated drink you consume.
Some signs that you are not getting enough water include:
Dizziness and confusion
Dark yellow urine
If you have any of these signs, stop riding – things will only get worse!
To insure a safe ride:
Drink lots of water
Stay covered – clothing will keep the sun from sapping you of moisture – not to mention preventing sunburn
Don’t ride in the hottest part of the day
Take many breaks
As a cooling tip in hot and DRY conditions – try dowsing a cotton shirt with water and wearing it under your jacket. The evaporating water will keep you cool (at least for a while).
by Larry Scalzitti, LRN2RYD
One of the most important things that motorcyclists can do is to continually strive to become better riders. Every time we climb on our bikes, the goal should be – that at the end of the day we’re better riders. The desire to constantly improve helps us to grow and develop. If you say to yourself that there is nothing you can learn – that you know everything there is to know – that you are the best rider you can be – then it’s time to stop riding – you’re an accident waiting to happen. Now I know some of you reading this will take issue with that last statement, but I believe it and I hope that you’ll be open to what I have to say.
I think we can all improve our skills in a number of ways. Here are my thoughts:
Rider Improvement Step 1
We all know our weaknesses, in life and in our motorcycling skill set. Take some time to make a list of things that you’d like to improve on. Then when you ride this season, pick one thing from that list to work on. Make it a habit to reflect on each ride – before (goals), during (monitoring) and after (reflection and analysis) each ride.
Rider Improvement Step 2
Every rider should have as a minimum at least two books in their motorcycle skills library. They should be reread every year as part of your ongoing rider improvement program. I read and reread these books multiple times each year and I always pick up on something that has slid to the back of my mind. No matter how many times I’ve read it before, there is always a new way to see something and I always end up walking away a little smarter for the time spent. You can get David Hought’s books on Amazon for less than $20 each. The rest are excellent reads as well. Ken Condon and Pat Hahn’s books are the newest on the list. Larry Grodsky and Reg Pridmore are tremendously talented riders who have written wonderful books and expertly share their collective knowledge. Here’s my short list of books to read.
Proficient Motorcycling David Hough
More Proficient Motorcycling David Hough
Riding In the Zone Ken Condon
Maximum Control: Mastering Your Heavyweight Bike Pat Hahn
Stayin’ Safe: The Art and Science of Riding Really Well Larry Grodsky
Smooth Riding the Pridmore Way Reg Pridmore
There are a lot of excellent motorcycle magazines on the market. I subscribe to Cycle World and Dirt Rider. I also receive the American Motorcycle Association and the BMW Motorcycle Owners Association monthly magazines.
My favorite is a less popular magazine titled Motorcycle Consumer News (www.mcnews.com). What sets it apart from all of the rest? There are absolutely NO ads in the publication, so there’s absolutely NO bias in their writing based on ad revenue. Believe it – that really counts for a lot! Like the other magazines, there are great articles, terrific columns and tons of gear and bike reviews. Unlike some, there are also monthly columns on riding strategies, motorcycle safety and medical topics related to motorcycling.
Many of these publications can be found in digital format. There are also a number of training videos and DVDs available as well.
Rider Improvement Step 3
The last step is to take a class. Too many riders fail to continue to learn, when in fact there are many courses out there that any of us can benefit from. There are even a few alternative school choices, like the “do it yourself DVD” that has become more prevalent these days.
My strong recommendation is that every rider should take a formal class at least every other year. The Harley Owners Group (HOG) agrees and feels strongly enough about this idea that every member can get a $50 refund when they provide a receipt showing that they took a structured motorcycle class from any legitimate provider.
Twists of the Wrist – An excellent book/video/dvd – pick you media type. These are the work of Keith Code, famous for his California Superbike School www.superbikeschool.com). He started the school in 1976 and pioneered step-by-step advanced rider coaching that is often imitated but never replicated. One of his most unique classes is the wheelie class. The classes are held in a number of locations. Information is on the website for ordering classes and training materials.
If you really want to work on cornering techniques that will help you master any turn try reading Total Control by Lee Parks (www.totalcontroltraining.net). You can also sign up for a class. The one day school is taught locally by Total Rider Tech and the schedule is on the web site (www.totalridertech.com). Both the book and class teach you how to fine tune your bike’s suspension. That in itself is often worth the price of admission. This is NOT a sport bike only class. Riders of any bike can benefit greatly from the skills taught here. To make it even better sign up for the optional follow-up skills day that directly follows the Total Control riding class. The extra day gives you plenty of time to think about and master the principles taught in the class.
One of my favorite things to teach is slow speed control. There’s one guy who makes a living doing it, Jerry Palladino. Known as Motorman, his DVD and class teach riders of even the largest bikes to “Ride Like a Pro” (www.ridelikeapro.com). Next time you’re in Florida sign up to take a one day class from the master himself.
There’s a new player in motorcycle training town. BMW has launched a Motorcycle Rider Training Program at the BMW Performance Center in Greer, South Carolina. There are lots of courses to choose from, so take a look here. The on road and touring classes look very tempting.www.bmwusa.com/Standard/Content/Experience/Events/PDS/ProgramsandCourses…
Stayin’ Safe offers courses designed around a two or three day tour and are offered all across the country. Total Rider Tech offers this course locally (www.totalridertech).
Take a Motorcycle Safety Foundation Training Course. There are lots of places to find the Experienced Rider Course. My school, LRN2RYD motorcycle training (www.lrn2ryd.com), offers small class sizes and the ability to tailor a course to fit the needs of the riders in attendance. Think about the people you ride with. If you can find three other riders, we can design a class specifically for your group!
Where to look for this stuff
There are many places to find the books and DVDs. Take some time and shop around to find the best prices. Here are a few web sites and stores that I visit often.
www.aerostich.com One of my motorcycle favorite places to visit. Everything and anything about motorcycles can be found here. If you’re not getting the informative and often amusing catalog mailed to you, then you’re missing out on some great ideas and great ideas!
www.whitehorsegear.com More motorcycling books than you can shake a stick at. They have lots of other things to sell these days, but they got their start as The Whitehouse Press, publishing motorcycling books that no other publisher would touch.
You can also visit your favorite motorcycle manufacturer websites to learn a thing or two. Better yet visit the plethora of motorcycle forums and newsletters that will be filled with slightly used copies for sale.
Bottom Line – Pledge to be a better rider every time you mount your motorcycle!
Channel 3 news in Kutarere, New Zealand reported last week about a motorcyclist, who swerved to avoid being hit by an oncoming motorist, hit a ditch and launched his motorcycle into a tree. While the facts of the motorcycle accidentwere sparse, the motorcyclist was serious injured and was rushed to the hospital for treatment. With the accident itself unique as the motorcycle was caught in a tree and wasn’t seriously damaged, the rider did suffer serious injuries.
The accident itself only goes to prove that amotorcycle accident can happen anywhere at anytime and it is important to always wear safety gear and take a proactive stance whenever you ride.
Every State offers motorcycle safety courses to help educate those new to motorcycle riding and one of the additional benefits of taking an approved riders safety course is that it can also help reduce your motorcycle insurance premium.
The key idea of any motorcycle safety course to prepare the inexperienced motorcycle rider for “real” riding in a variety of situations with information on how to plan your ride, and best practices tips that are designed to help the newbie motorcyclist with confidence building riding skills that will aid the rider later on when riding on the streets and highways.
The most commonly reported aspects of motorcycle riding that many new riders need help with are preparing to make turns, how to effective apply the brakes and how to avoid road debris and hazards.
The most important things newbie riders should know is that they need to assume that they are invisible to every other motorist on the road and it is their job t make themselves visible and seen but the driver who is not looking for them. It is also important to always be thinking ahead while on the road; being watchful for changing road and traffic conditions and always have a safety escape route should trouble or road hazard happen.
Owning and riding a motorcycle isn’t for everyone, but for the inexperienced rider who is committed to learn and make safety a top priority and safety includes good riding habits appropriate clothing and gear combined with a proactive riding stance, then there is a good chance that the will not become an accident statistic overnight and crank out enough hours in the saddle to one day make them a seasoned rider.