Learning Curves It’s about the Journey
I am writing this month’s letter from our boat on Lake Powell in Northern Arizona and Southern Utah. This annual family experience every July has been a tradition now for over 30 years. Being here with all my grandchildren, children and their spouses and now with Glenda by my side brings to mind how we in the Hammond Family have been blessed in so many ways. One of those ways is the opportunity we have been given to make so many new friends in the professions that continues to bless our family through our family project we call Learning Curves.
We completed our July ride through Yellowstone and the Grant Tetons last week with several new ideas and also several new riders and also several return guests. Everyone who rides seems to agree that the new routes we put in place for all our rides last year have brought new joy and excitement to the experience we are here to bring to you.
As you read this letter, Glenda and I are on the road for our annual trek to Sturgis. People often ask, “Do you ride all the way there?” My answer to this question in regards to our Sturgis ride, or our ride of 3900 miles to the Pacific Coast and British Columbia last month, or any of our rides, is that “it’s not about the destination, but it’s about the journey.”
Maybe we each need to remind ourselves that this also applies to life itself. “It’s not about the destination, but about the journey.” Stop and enjoy the roses along your path through the challenges that day to day private practice can bring. Maybe the roses will include a humanitarian experience to serve among populations in need, or a Learning Curves adventure. It is a blessing to each of us in the Hammond Family to be on this journey with each of you.
Keep the rubber side down.
I was always taught by my parents and I have always taught my children the importance of learning from our mistakes. With this in mind and the goal of not only learning from my mistakes, but taking the opportunity to learn from the mistakes of others without the need to make the same mistakes myself.
I am taking this opportunity to share a brief description of riding lessons I hope I remember when faced with a situation of possible danger that can be avoided. There are no fender benders when riding a motorcycle and even a simple tip over can cause injury.
- The Curve – Slow into the curve and power out. The one time I have laid a bike down was when I made the mistake of entering a curve too fast and ended up on a shoulder and had to lay the bike down or go over a cliff. I ended up in the operating room for two hours to repair my right leg.
- Passing Zones and Left Hand Turns – Over and over I hear of accidents where a biker is following a group of slow moving vehicles waiting for a passing zone. The rider then, when all seems clear to pass, starts around the group of vehicles only to find that the driver of one of the vehicles is making a left-hand turn down a country lane to the surprise of the rider and the entire group of other vehicles. This puts the left-hand turning vehicle right in the path of the passing rider.
- Painted Lines – Painted lines and markings in the pavement are not normally a concern when dry or in a four-wheel vehicle. But!! On a bike during or after a rainstorm or even if a water sprinkler is running on them, these painted areas are as slick as ice. Do not try to turn or stop on these areas.
- Yellow Lights - You may try to beat the yellow light in your four-wheel vehicle, but don’t even think about it on your bike. You are no match for a driver of a car or truck who is turning left in front of you or coming into the intersection from the opposite direction.
- Balanced Passenger – I have done it—dropped my bike while maneuvering in a parking area with my passenger on the bike. This extra weight makes balancing the bike just that much more difficult. For the safety of your passenger and you and your bike, unload prior to backing into a parking space or maneuvering at a gas stop or any similar situation. Balance of the bike is most difficult at slow speeds and you will do better with less weight on the top end of the bike.
- The Slant – We often find it necessary to stop the bike on a slanted surface. Always, always lean into the uphill side and also unload your passenger on the uphill side. If you let the weight of the bike go toward the downhill side, there is no stopping it and down it will go with you and your passenger underneath it.
- Group Pressure – Ride in your own comfort level. Often on a mountain road I am passed by a group of riders on BMWs. These guys can take the curves at twice the speed that is comfortable for me. My instinct is to try to keep up, but we all need to remember that if we push past our level of comfort with this peer pressure it is not a safe or wise decision.
- Gravel Surface – Not a good place to be when you are on a street bike. A few things to remember: Complete concentration on the task at hand; slow down; avoid the front break; no sharp turns.
- Kick Stand – I will close with this one. Seems so simple, but it has happened to me and maybe even to you. Remember to put your bike stand up before you take off after a stop. Leaving it down to catch on the next bump will break the spring and then you have the challenge of keeping your bike up until you get a new spring. Even more critical is to be sure and put the kickstand down when you leave the bike. Forgetting this essential step can be a real surprise to you and those around you, particularly if you are packed in a row of bikes when the domino effect takes over.
Hope these thoughts help you in your ride avoidance efforts as you enjoy your summer and fall seasons on the wheels.
Unforgettable Rides to Come
At Learning Curves our season end is not far off. Our August ride is sold out and we are looking forward to hosting and serving these great riders. There is still space for our September Ride on the Big Island of Hawaii and this is a great way to really see this beautiful part of our great nation.
Don’t hesitate now to sign up for our one and only Learning Curves ride in the Alps of Europe in June of 2012. This ride will soon be sold out. Make your deposit now.
Thank you for all of your support.
The Hammond Family
Plan for Adventure
Register now for 2011 & 2012!.