At Learning Curves, New Zealand is Back!
Several weeks ago Glenda and I had the joy of sharing two days in our home with our good friends, Donna and Graham Beker from Queenstown, New Zealand. Graham and Donna were on their way back to New Zealand from their four-month stay in Europe where we were blessed to have them host our Learning Curves Tour of the Alps.
While they were here, we enjoyed the mountains around our home and the fall colors. We evaluated the “twisting” roads that surround our mountain home for motorcycle riding. But, most important, was the time we spent planning our next Learning Curves Ride “Down Under.”
It has been five years since we have had an international ride to New Zealand. It is time to return to enjoy the untouched majesty of this peaceful rural country. Our ride is all set for January 6-18, 2014. Now, one year in advance, is the time to reserve your spot and begin the joy of anticipation. As with all of our international rides, this ride will be limited to ten couples.
We will fly from Los Angeles to Queenstown where we will check out our Harley Davidson motorcycles. We will then, over the next ten days, circle the South Island stay in the very best hotels and with our hosts Donna and Graham see all of the special sights of the South Island during the peak of their summer months.
We will take in costal routes and mountains and glaciers. We will enjoy the ride to Milford Sound and spend the afternoon on a boat in the Sound enjoying the waterfalls and unbelievable surroundings. We will visit a sheep ranch after traveling across a huge lake on an old steam ship from the 1800’s. We will enjoy the quiet laid-back surroundings of the small towns of the South Island. Donna and Graham have planned a route that allows not even one stop light for the entire ten days.
The South Island is home turf for the Bekers and they know every turn and bump in the road. On top of this, they know how to keep us on the left-hand side of the road and keep us safe.
Don’t miss this chance to experience “Down Under” on two wheels. Register now and make your deposit to hold your space.
To See & Be Seen
When we stop to evaluate our own proficiency in riding, we normally put our emphasis on our physical skills, such as braking and cornering. This is normal because our ability to control the motorcycle is the most obvious demonstration of our proficiency. Here, I hope to point out some visual proficiency skills that could keep us from the need to use our superior physical skills to avoid a serious accident:
- Riding in the late afternoon can be very pleasant as the temperature cools and the long shadows add a new dimension to the landscape.
- Here is the point: the sun low in the sky is what casts the shadows. You often end up riding directly into the sun and then suddenly you are in a curve bathed in dark shadows. As you ride from bright sunlight into the shadows, you can lose all ability to see the road as your eyes adjust to the darkness. This can cause you to drift to the center line or even the opposite lane of traffic or not be aware of an obstacle in the road. If you recognize this potential challenge, you should slow down under these conditions.
- Your eyes should be in constant motion. Avoid fixating on any one object for more than a half-second.
- Always scan both mirrors and also look over your shoulder to check your blind spot before changing lanes.
- You must also depend on your peripheral vision to expand your field of potential problems. You won’t get a clear look at objects there because peripheral vision is not sensitive to detail or color. But, peripheral vision will sense movements that could be a hazard.
- Many accidents occur because the driver of the other vehicle did not see the motorcyclist. You need to be responsible for being seen.
- Don’t ride too close behind large vehicles. Get conspicuous. Stay out in the open. Don’t ride in the blind spot of any other vehicle.
- Use your ability on a motorcycle to use either the right or left of center of your lane. This allows you to ride in a position to see as far ahead as possible and also to be seen by other drivers.
- The glare of the sun riding east in the morning and west in the afternoon is always a hazard. Slow down!
- When the sun goes down and the stars come out be sure you exchange your sun glasses for clear glasses. Please accept the fact that you cannot see hazards as early or clearly as in the daytime. Slow down. My rule always has been to not ride at night if at all possible.
Ride safe and keep the rubber side down—
Our international in June to the Canadian Rockies and our Learning Curves Sturgis Adventure in August are filling up now. These rides are both in peak times for hotel rooms and the high quality of rooms that we require for our guests become a hot commodity. Our cut-off date for the rooms we have on hold comes early in the year.
Plan now to be with us on one of these special rides for 2013 and print your registration form from our web site fax it to Angel and hold your spot with a $2000 deposit. Glenda and I would love to share these wonderful memories with you.