Several years ago I was on a group ride in the Midwest of our good old USA. Three guys riding single were the three bikes at the head of the group. My wife and I riding two up were next in line and the rest of our group of twelve bikes followed.
Those three lead bikes had what has been called wimp-o-phobia. They were riding up each other’s tail pipes mile after mile on our curving route. Suddenly the lead rider decided to slow for a left turn into a national forest restroom without any signal or warning. The next two bikes in their effort to avoid the lead bike collided with each other and both went off the righthand side of the road. The good news is that neither rider was injured. The bad news is that we had two $20,000 Harleys that could not be ridden any further.
The point I would like to make here is to ride your own machine. Drop back far enough from the rider in front of you that you don’t get a fixation on their tail light.
Dropping back a little is also helpful to the rider ahead of you. When you ride up their pipes they spend all their time in the rearview mirror concerned about how their next move may result in your loss of control to endanger both them and you.
Those of you who have been part of our Learning Curves Tours know we encourage everyone to ride in a staggered formation on straight roads with a one-second space behind the rider ahead at your right or left. This gives a two-second space between you and the rider directly in front of you.
On the twisters, we drop into single-file and open up extra space. This allows each rider to follow their cornering lines to gain maximum traction, improved view and separation from opposing traffic.
All it takes is one rider with wimp-o-phobia and an uncontrollable urge to show of the skill that they may or may not really have to destroy the enjoyment of the entire group.
Share the road with courtesy and safety.
Our Task for Europe
Our international rides have included Canada, New Zealand, and now Europe in just two more weeks. I look forward to our ride in Europe with great excitement but also extra caution. The good news is we will all be riding on the right-hand side of the road. This is not the case for our New Zealand ride in 2014. The bad news is we will be traveling on twisty roads and even more important, through many small villages with many urban intersections where an automobile can jump out at any time. On top of this, we will all be on strange bikes of an unfamiliar type. This tour will take place on BMW bikes.
More good news is that statistics show that riding a motorcycle in Europe is much safer than in the US. Why would this be when the Europeans normally ride faster on narrow roads with many curves? The Europeans take their riding very seriously. They have more serious licensing tests. They take their riding gear used for protection very seriously. They follow very strict lane positions based on speed. There is very strict enforcement of driving while intoxicated. Far too many of our US accidents involve alcohol while driving.
In general, the attitudes about the serious aspects of riding a motorcycle in Europe are much different than here in the US. There is a lot to be learned from our friends across the water. I look forward to riding side-by-side with my good friends, Donna and Graham Beker who spend their entire year riding in either New Zealand in the southern hemisphere and Europe in the northern hemisphere.
Safety brings joy to the ride—
Make plans to ride with us!