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GLOBAL SAFE MOTORCYCLE DAY–TOMORROW!

April 10, 2012

 

            

Ok, so there is no “Global Safe Motorcycle Day”  but I wish there was. 

I have a friend, let’s call him “Red”  Red has a motorcycle and a basic idea how to operate it.  He also has stacks and stacks of motorcycle magazines, gear catalogs, and glossy advertising brochures.  His bike is festooned with a massive variety of accessories and parts.  

On almost every occasion I’ve ridden with him, he has dropped the bike.   Not crashed, not implying that.  Just dropped.  An ill timed stall, getting off balance, whatever.  One mistake and down he and the bike goes.

He has the latest in Aerostitch clothing, boots by SPIDI and a high visibility helmet from Arai.  What he does not have is KNOWLEDGE, SKILL, or EXPERIENCE.

25 years ago, I was pretty much in the same boat.  I learned to ride on a friends 250 cc on/off motorcycle and almost immediately purchased a screamingly fast Kawasaki GPZ 750. No gentle learning curve, no incremental steps up on slightly larger bikes, 250cc to 750cc immediately.

I managed to crash that bike a few times.  One slow speed lowside on oily pavement and once on a gravel  90 degree turnoff that I was unable to see in the dark.  Both times I was wearing protective gear, but the majority of the time in those days, it was the exception rather than the rule. 

Immediately after that, I graduated to a liter bike.  Or what at the time were called “Zoom Splat’s”.   The fastest production motorcycle in the world at the time was the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10.  Zoom splat indeed.

I managed to ride this bike for a few years and never crash it.  I did as often as possible stretch 2nd, 3rd, 4th and occasionally 5th gear.  So you can imagine the sorts of speeds we are talking about.  There is one very long stretch of highway near the Dover Delaware air force base that immediately comes to mind……………

Anyway, what’s the point here?  Experience, Knowledge and Skill.  I had virtually none.  No safe riding class, no training, no book learning, no shared skills downloads from more experienced riders – nothing.  Just a leather flight jacket and gloves, a helmet and sneakers.  I had no idea how seriously ignorant I was – lucky too.

There is a huge variety of training opportunities and resources these days.  From books (A Twist of The Wrist, Total Control, MSF Books, etc.) to you-tube videos about safe riding to the gold standard – the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF)

The MSF offers a variety of “Rider Course” classes.  A complete listing can be found by clicking HERE.  This is the single best way to gain skill and knowledge about the art and science of riding a motorcycle. 

YOU THINK YOU DON’T NEED TO TAKE A CLASS?  BEEN RIDING FOR YEARS?  YOU ARE A GRIZZLED WORLD ADVENTURE RIDER….

TRY THIS RIDER PERCEPTION TEST  – I got 15 out of twenty. 

The MSF has a massive free library of information and education.  Check it out here.

The video below gives a quick overview of the Basic Rider Course offered over two days by the MSF.  My brother and his wife have both attended and really enjoyed the experience.

 

Click the picture below for the 2012 version of this classic gear awareness poster.

 

So, get yourself over to the MSF Website and at the very least take a few of the online tests or watch a few training videos.  It might save your life…………….. Ride safe!

Eric

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Frank Gorshin permalink
    April 10, 2012 1:28 pm

    Nice piece. And just a wild guess, On first glance, might one think “Red” is sort of across between King of the Hill’s Bobby and former WCAX-TV reporter Mark Bosma?

  2. April 14, 2012 12:54 am

    Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something.
    I think that you could do with some pics to drive the message home a little bit, but instead of that, this
    is magnificent blog. A great read. I will definitely be back.

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