Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Slippin' Along

This rider instructor, Dan Bateman, that I visit posted a blog today about cold weather riding and the like. One of his remarks was about how we all have some part of our skills that are more lacking then others. One of his examples was low traction conditions when it’s cold. This got me to thinking about something that happen to me last summer when you would least expect low traction conditions. So I thought I would relay the story here.

I’ve been riding on the street since I was 18 (29 years) never missing a year. I like to think I’m a pretty damn good rider, along with being a safe rider. Sorry, no I have never taken a riders course and yes I know I could learn something. But you don’t survive in the street this long being a dummy and riding hell bent for leather. I see things far ahead that most people never see. I’ve had more close calls (for most people) that were not close because I seen it unfolding in front of me. Am I perfect? Hell no!

What am I getting at you must be asking. Just this past June while on the interstate I had something happen that I didn’t see coming or had happen before. We left town in a light drizzle and yes I know how that makes roads even slicker then in a heavy down pour. About 60 miles out as I was headed up hill at 70mph all of a sudden my rear tire breaks traction and I spin pitching the bike sideways. In an instant it was over but a level head kept me from over reacting and maybe high siding the bike from chopping the throttle close. Easy does it in cases like that.

But what did I learn? Those tar spots can be even slicker then the road. It wasn’t that big of a spot, maybe 10 feet long and a foot or so wide, but it sure caught me by surprise. My buddy looked at me like WFT was that? I just kind of gave him the dumb look of, I have no idea as I shrugged my shoulders. I’ve got 200K on motorcycles and never give it a thought about what appeared to be a tar spot. To be honest I’m still not sure what it was on the road but I keep an eye pealed now for just such a condition.

So the cold weather is coming, heck it only made it up to 61f here today. With cold temps comes cold tires and slick roads. Traction is not going to be like it was in the mid summer so be extra careful as it gets colder. Dress warmer, a cold body can’t react as fast either. You just may need that split second to make or break a bad situation.

Up next my four day 800 mile Labor day weekend ride and I never left the state.


1 comment:

Lady Ridesalot said...

There has been a couple times I locked up my back brake and luckily (or skillfully) I corrected the situation and did not have any mishap. Gives you the ol' rear end pucker, though I can tell ya! We can always learn.