Tomorrow I am off out for a ride to Normandy and the D-Day beaches. The weather is looking good, the guys are all up for long weekend of culture and beer and the route we have planned to get there should be scenic and twisty. Of course I have prepared the bike, and packed a couple of pairs of underpants. I know I probably won’t need them but it is best to be prepared.
So I am about ready to go and that is a bad thing because it has given me time to think about last week’s post and some other things that I have been known to do wrong. It is not just bad habits that can get you into trouble, sometimes it can be lack of concentration, lack of preparation or just sheer stupidity.
I would never ever do this, honest officer!
Let’s start with sheer stupidity as that is what generally gets me into trouble! Trying to get your knee down on a public highway really doesn’t rank in the “Good ides I have had” category. OK, it is always fun to grind your knee sliders into dust and it does look cool, right up to the point where a car pulls out of the junction, there is a cardboard box on your line or a wild animal of some sort decides to cross the road. Yes you can go round a corner quicker but changing direction and emergency braking are a hell of a lot harder and that is the sort of thing that is often useful in a real world situation. If you are going to do it check out the road first, look for junctions, road surface changes and other hazards that might make you decide to go on a track day instead….such as the police, they don’t seem to be fans of this for some strange reason.
Should never be allowed, yellow boots,
what was he thinking?
Oh, and the same goes for wheelies….. I would never ever do either of these two things….honest officer!
Next up lack of preparation, and for this I would nominate over tightened chains. Now I am pretty good when it comes to this but I have been known to cock up and over tighten a chain and that can be a bad thing. For instance it can knock out your output shaft bearing which means splitting the gearbox to replace it. It can wear your sprockets down prematurely, cause horrible noise and it can break. A breaking chain can cause all sorts of damage, your only hope is that it just flies off backwards and doesn't collect any friends behind you on its travels!
Of course an under tightened chin can be just s bad, it probably won’t fuck up the bearings or try to escape but it might jump off and cause rapid deceleration and / or smash up some of the casings. Seriously, keep an eye on your chains boys and girls, because you are worth it!
Then there is lack of concentration, of which there are a million possibilities, so how about not paying attention to the world around you. When you ride you are the best safety feature you have. Use your eyes to read the road, different road surfaces have different grip levels, potholes can be spotted at a distance but don’t stare at them because your bike will go where you look. In towns and villages an open gate on a house could mean a kid or animal might run out, and a lane entrance could hide a cop car. What are vehicles head of you doing? If they are all braking be prepared to do so as well and if they are all over taking it means there is something slow moving ahead. Shadows can hide damp patches and what looks like sticky tarmac might have the consistency of treacle on a hot summer’s day. There are so many things that you can work out from the world around you so it is a skill worth developing. A great idea to use your helmet cam and make a commentary of what you can see that might be a danger to you on your ride and then reviewing it at leisure when you get home and seeing what you missed.
Oh well time to go and find that spare pair of pants (not trousers…I am English and pants go under trousers!)