Excellent ,I can relate to that. I drive my truck that way.I live in las vegas, where the rules of the road are"there are no rules". My wife used to complain about me not taking this freeway or that, or going a little out of my way for a safer route I like,but after 15 yrs,she has come to believe in what I do.And that is coma. cover my a$$.
Art, magic and all that. Maybe alone on the road. But if you share the road with multiple wheeled vehicles, you are putting your trust, your life maybe, in the hands of strangers. Every time you ride...
You have a point, cuz sh-t happens. But I see the 'art and magic' as including not only getting around curves and corners, but also how we deal with traffic and the unexpected that happens on the road. When you are in the zone, the dipsticks in the other vehicles have a hard time touching you because you keep yourself out of their reach. As the article says, you use "The predictor of bad stuff, the closest thing we have to a crystal ball."
At the risk of sounding as if my ego is a bit large, this is what I've always chalked up my lack of crashing to. It certainly has never been for lack of grossly exceeding the speed limit, taking curves very fast, and a wheelie here and there. However I've always been fairly reluctant to do that which I felt was quite obviously over my limit. I took years and many thousands of miles to increase that limit slowly. In my earlier riding years this meant that my riding was very reserved compared to my sometimes lunatic friends. Nowdays, however, after quite a bit of racetrack experience, it means that I can comfortably ride at a pace that allows a good margin of error yet one they cannot match.
To the uninitiated, which unfortunately includes the police, it might look reckless. Free your mind from such shackles----for it is not. Many things can be dangerous in the hands of the unexperienced and uninformed (some of which, to our dismay, still choose to participate, proving the point.) In comparison to the motorist population at large, I retain more control over my vehicle than all but a tiny handful of like-minded enthusiasts. Rules of the road, for me, have long since faded into silly anachronism, power enforced upon me for it's own sake rather than the safety of anyone around me, or even myself.
Of course I say all this in the wake of my first big crash just a week and a half ago. To my credit, however, this was in practice at a club race, and the crash was the result of fallen oil and a somewhat lately thrown flag, there was little I could do. Even when you know what you're doing, there is a measure of risk. Choosing to push my limits in the right setting helped ensure that I walked away from the 100+mph crash (but now I'm -1 racebike darnit.)
Dream on, pilgrim. I thought the same way until my luck ran out. Read Boehm's column in the latest Motorcyclist. And it's not the first time he has spoken of what should be glaringly obvious-no amount of skill and being in the zone is going to help when a confluence of events result in being directly behind the ole eight-ball. Remember that on the way to the OR in the back of a meat wagon.
The guy on the V-Rod who spanked me through some twisties a few months ago, reminds of this. Smoth Gray Beard (SGB), as I call him, knew I was behind him cause I could see the smile on his face when he saw me in his mirror. It seemed like he, SGB was playing with me....With every turn , speed and lean angle kept increasing until I gave up... SGB kept going smoth as can be.... I suspect it had been awhile since he crashed on his own..i.e single bike accident...Good article thanks MO
I just rode with a motorcycle messenger this morning. He rides at ridiculously fast speeds everywhere, all the time. I mean like 80 on city streets. He weaves in and out of traffic and lane splits 40 mph faster than traffic with inches-and I really mean a few inches to spare. Once he wedged his bike in between two cars lane splitting.
So of course, he's just a dumb squid who's going to get killed, right? Did I mention he's been doing this for 5-8 hours a day for 17 years?
If you really feel your life is in somebody else's hands, you need to quit riding a motorcycle. I know where you can buy a nice, safe, quiet SUV.
I wouldn't trust a car driver any further than I could throw them. Who controls whetehr I crash or not? Me and me alone.
I've had 30+ serious crashes. I only had one involving another vehicle, and I was going too fast.
Great piece of writing. I've tried to approach my riding with a similar attitude and feel that it has paid off. A friend just got a bike 2 weeks ago after not riding for about 5 years. The first thing he said to me after following me down a twisty bit the other day was "damn, your smooth!"
This piece also reminds me of another great article called "The Pace". Articles like this make me renew my subscription to MO. Thanks
untouchable? No. What other people do is out of my control. I could get rear ended, I could have someone pull out in front of me (had this happen a couple times, practiced crash avoidance) and get taken out by something beyond my control. Of course I've done little street riding lately but anyway.
All I'm saying is that avoiding a crash so far is because I ride within my personal limits and mitigate the risk. However it might appear to some to be reckless because I don't neccessarily obey the law.
I was, however, that 21-year old on the GSXR600 at one time. I did some stupid things, had some close calls but never destroyed my bike.