April 1, 2020
It’s April Fools Day today. As I sit hunkered down in my house waiting-out the Corona Virus I started thinking about the start of the 2020 riding season. I began riding back in 1981 and at the beginning of each year there are numerous motorcycle injuries and deaths as the riding season begins. This year I believe it may be worse due to the Rebound Effect.
The Rebound Effect is what happens when you’ve been cooped up through the winter season not being as active nor enjoying your favorite outdoor pastimes as much or at all. As warmth starts to fill the air people flock to the outdoors with a feeling of freedom, urgency and a dose of invincibility. It’s this exact sense of freedom and urgency along with diminished skills (and some carelessness) that are the root of many of these early season accidents.
As warmth begins to arrive here in the Mid-Atlantic states many of us will be thinking of the rides and destinations we want to visit like Maine, Nova Scotia, the Adirondacks, the Great Smokies… but oops, I digress ;-). Soon our Social Distancing “stay-at-home” order will be lifted and riders (i.e. everyone) will be surging to the roads to enjoy the outdoors. With so many vehicles of all types on the roads, anxious to get somewhere, we must use common sense and some prudent judgement if we’re to survive.
With this in mind here is my top-10 list of simple things I’d suggest to help keep you happy, safe and alive.
- Make sure your bike is mechanically ready for the road.
- If you’ve been dormant through the winter start moving and exercising so your 800 pound bike doesn’t feel like a 1,200 pound bike.
- Get your mind ready for riding. Start thinking about your bike, its controls and operation. Visualize starting, stopping and the balance of riding through turns.
- Brush up on Physics especially friction, gravity, inertia, momentum, counter-steering and gyroscopic forces. They all play a vital role in safe motorcycling.
- Remember how small an area of tire rubber actually touches the road. It’s less than you may think.
- When you head out to ride make sure you’re feeling good and alert. If you’re not sure you’re up to riding it may be your inner sense warning you. Pay Attention!!
- Don’t rush, enjoy the ride and always practice your riding skills along the way.
- Stay alert, don’t let euphoria cloud your judgment.
- The road surface tells a story. Watch up ahead for changes in color, shine and contrast. There may be grass clippings, oil, water, sand, stones, animals, etc. all waiting to knock you off your beautifully washed & waxed bike.
- Careless and distracted drivers kill (especially at intersections)! Better to wear more protective gear than less, especially early in the riding season.
*Now get out there SOON and enjoy yourself…