Riding: Words to Live By

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1: Always stay hydrated!
When you ride - dehydration will affect your concentration and judgment, never to the positive.

2: Do not drink alcohol and ride !
You know better - that shot could be your last.

3: Stay off the rear brake unless the bike is vertical !
Never use it in a corner, you will likely end up on your ass! Where does the weight transfer when you are braking? Onto the front tire. Use the front brake as it was meant to be used, smoothly and effectively.

4: Wear good riding gear with a jacket that zips together in the back !
If you think riding gear is too much of a bother - or doesn’t look “cool” - come sit on the tailgate of my pickup at 60mph in your shorts, tank top and flip flops. Now slide off.

That’s what I thought.

Everyone has fire insurance on their house. How many of us expect to use it? If I knew when I was going to have an accident while riding, I would stay home that day.

5: You are 100% responsible for the safety of a passenger on the back of your bike! When you take a passenger on the back of your bike, do not take that responsibility with anything other than 100% acceptance of the consequences of injuring - possibly permanently - someone else. This is not the time to show anyone how fast (and badly) you can ride.

6: Ride at your own pace and comfort level! When you are riding with your buddies - do not confuse your own abilities with your desire to be as fast as them. They may know even less than you - and you could be the one who suffers the scabs, damaged bodywork - or worse.

7: Remember - it is not just you that suffers from the consequences of your riding errors! If that mistake is fatal you have no idea how much suffering you may be dumping on family, friends and innocent bystanders alike. Enjoy the sport, recognize its dangers, but never treat it with disrespect or arrogance.

8: Always leave at least a 10% margin of safety when you ride on the street ! If you have seen the same corner on a track a 100 times in a day, you know what to expect and can use your skills and knowledge to maximize your speed. Seeing a corner for the first time and trying to take it at full speed is like gambling; the house always wins in the end...

9: And last but not least - learn to live with and react to PANIC by practicing good riding skills constantly, before the situation arises.

By constantly practicing good riding techniques, we can live with panic as an element of life we all face eventually. It is how we react to panic that makes the difference between survival and disaster. Tools can be as effective as the person wielding them. Nothing I can say or offer is going to guarantee the success of a person’s riding skill in an emergency situation. But the constant practice of smooth, controlled riding techniques will increase your chances of survival exponentially.