Learning Curves has Gratitude
It seems that I always have the opportunity to reflect on so many things to be grateful for as the month of July comes to a close. July is one of my favorite months of the year filled with so many opportunities to be out and about to enjoy the beauties of the world and make new friends. As I write the month’s newsletter, I am blessed to sit on the deck of our home high in the mountains above Provo and take in the grandeur of the surrounding peaks.
Glenda and I returned to our home on July 2nd from our amazing international ride with eleven great couples in the Alps of Europe. Without question, the scenery was totally amazing and equal in amazement were the challenging roads we were privileged to ride. I came home filled with gratitude for the opportunity of a lifetime to take this ride and to have a BMW for the kind of roads we encountered there. But, I am also filled with gratitude to have some wide open spaces to lean back and relax on my Harley Davidson Road King now that we are back in the USA.
Our July Learning Curves adventure through Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Utah was a total success. The group was large with 26 bikes and 50 people. The quality of the people was once again a total “10.” I am once again filled with gratitude for the support we receive from Steve and Greg Anderson and Crown Council to make this, our Smiles for Life ride, a huge success every year.
Glenda and I were able to have a day at the park with a talent show and great food with all 10 of our children and their spouses and all 31 of our grandchildren. We then spent a week at Lake Powell with 14 of our grandchildren and four of our children and their spouses. There have been days with grandchildren on the golf course and at the pool and in the mountains eye-to-eye and knee-to-knee. This is where the rubber really meets the road. For this I am most grateful.
As you receive this letter, Glenda and I are on our no-plans, no-reservations, no-time-commitments ride, just the two of us, to the Sturgis Rally in Sturgis, South Dakota. We will have the opportunity to see what’s new for 2013 at Harley Davidson. This will be their 110th Anniversary preview and big things will happen in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, next summer.
Last, but not least, I express my gratitude for the trust and support we receive from you, the riders and friends of Learning Curves. That is what makes this family endeavor possible and what makes it possible for us to go forward with our efforts to make a difference through our Smiles for Hope Foundation.
Speed is Your Friend
Now don’t take me wrong. Excessive speed is not what I am promoting here. What I am bringing to your attention, hopefully, is that when you do your maneuvers at a slow speed in a parking lot or at a gas stop it becomes much more difficult to maintain your balance. This degree of difficulty is compounded with the weight of a passenger on the back. This fact was unexpectedly brought to my attention in the Alps last month after rounding a steep sharp hairpin turn only to find the bike was not in a low-enough gear to maintain speed and the engine quit and there was no way to maintain balance on the existing side hill. The rest is history and I won’t review the embarrassing details but all that came out of my mouth was, “Get ready Glenda, here comes the asphalt!”.
Slow-speed riding is one of the most challenging aspects of riding a motorcycle. Speed is a stabilizing force and thus slow-speed riding requires our most excellent control and attention to prevent tipping over. Adding a passenger makes these slow speeds even more challenging. On our Learning Curves Tours we always recommend the passenger to get off the bike prior to complicated slow speed maneuvers.
While riding the mountains of the Alps I was reminded of two other very important riding rules that need to be part of our skill development:
- You go where you look. Never look at the dangers. Always look out of the curve and never look at the car coming from the other direction into the curve at the same time you are rounding the curve.
- Anxiety and tension in your body makes maneuvers much more difficult. As you become more proficient at riding and can relax and maintain a steady speed, especially around corners, your balance will automatically improve.
Hope this bit of insight helps you somewhere along the road and I hope that as I try to lead I also learn and do as I say to do.
Still limited space for our August and October rides. Don’t let this riding season pass us by.