The Practice Ride


  • Gizmo
    started a blog post The Practice Ride

    The Practice Ride

    Although I make a point to ride at least once a month, even during the harshest of winters, my riding year really starts after the snow is finally gone for good and the days get longer. This year, that was today.

    A stiff northwest wind was the only negative to an otherwise lovely day of "practice" on the Gold Wing. So, what the heck do I mean by "practice"? For me, everything about that first serious ride is a relearning process. It's time to practice what I preach. Even I am not dumb enough to throw myself into those first curves without some practice...getting the feel of the tires' grip and again becoming confident in my eyes. Learning again to look further down the road than I had become accustomed after a long winter of driving cars and trucks. Watch those sideroads and driveways. Paying better attention to other drivers should be automatic but riding a motorcycle requires it all at a much higher level. There is no room for error and it takes practice.

    I don't claim to be a safety expert or a super skilled rider but I believe that repitition of good practices makes them automatic whenever we throw a leg over the saddle. Likewise, when we constantly get away with bad practices they become automatic as well. Either way, we mostly make our own luck; good and/or bad.

    Today, I was euphoric to be finally out for an extended ride on a beautiful spring day. I gave into temptation and twisted the throttle far beyond what was prudent on an unfamiliar road. There was a series of sharp hills and it was thrilling to crest them not knowing what was lurking just ahead. Today, the devil took the form of a herd of deer that were crossing the road just over one of those hills so I got to practice my panic braking skills. Fortunately, they worked!

    It could have been a hidden sideroad with slow farm equipment pulling out, a drunk driver or any number of other things lurking over that hill that are not as forgiving as deer can be. I was lucky this time and, hopefully, I relearned the most important lesson, one that I know all too well. It's called THINK!

    • Rocky
      Rocky commented
      Editing a comment
      My policy is simple. and has worked since my dirt bike years.
      I treat every ride as a practice ride.
      Ride like I'm invisible.
      Scan for the unexpected.

    • IH8NY
      IH8NY commented
      Editing a comment
      One of my favorite motorcycling quotes: "Motorcycling is not, of itself, inherently dangerous. It is, however, extremely unforgiving of inattention, ignorance, incompetence, or stupidity.”
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