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A great article and a great lesson that is all too frequently learned the hard way. For me, it was trying to ride my old beemer like a cafe bike and low siding it into a drainage ditch. 2 surgeries, a totalled bike and two years later, I realized that the most enjoyable and safest riding comes from living within and cautiously pushing your limits. The joy of a perfect line or a fast switchback isn't in the speed, but the confidence and wisdom to do it safely.
 

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Like I said, sh-t happens. But depending on luck is a bad idea. Sure, anyone can get struck by lightning, but it helps if you are not in the habit of standing on the top of hills during a thunderstorm.
 

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About 16 squintillion years ago, the long lost CYCLE mag had an article about "Flow State"...that magic balance point where the internal dialogue shuts off thus lifting the wet woolen curtain between thought & action.



The article was based on a book on the subject - flow state, not motorcycles - and the author's name is Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. The book is still available on Amazon.



Poke around & you'll find folks have trod down this path before and found some fine nuggets. The non-droolers in the crowd could google "flow state".



Persig address essentially the same issue in "Zen & TAOMM", though not as direct. Joseph Campbell did also in his 13 part interview by Michael Toms (this interview series was played to death on Pubilc Radio affilates in the early 90's), but specifically towards people who are seemingly accident prone.
 

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I was just finishing my first season of returning to a bike when that story was printed. I saved it as part of my required pre-season riding (don't have much else to do during the Maine winter). Ever since, I've tried to make sure I'm taking the bike for a ride- not the other way around. Besides, it's kinda fun embarrassing the squids going up Cadillac Mountain in Bar Harbor.
 

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Interesting article. A few weekends ago, three friends and I went for a ride that was planned to last the majority of the day. In riding order, it was Shaun on the Superglide, me on the Deuce, Sandy on the Triumph Speedmaster (which I just sold to him a few months prior), and John on the Sportster. We were going through a slow-speed on-ramp from one road to another (not a freeway on-ramp), and, as I merged onto the road, I heard a slight screeching of tires and a funny crunching sound. I looked in my mirror just in time to see John and his Sportster laid down sliding across the on-ramp into the curb in a cloud of dust. He had locked his rear tire and high-sided when he let off the brake. He had some nasty road rash, but his helmet was toast……saved his life. No serious injuries. Anyway, after everyone got calmed down and John got check out by the EMTs, we all agreed that that if anyone from our group was gonna go down, it would have been me or Shaun. Shaun and I ride more aggressively; however, we are very careful and actually think about what we’re doing when riding. John, on the other hand (also very careful), won’t take a corner ANY faster than the recommended speed and won’t even come close to considering dropping the hammer with us on the most desolate and straight road to be found. You get the idea.



What a weird day. Who wouldda thought HE would have been the one to wreck?

 

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The point I was making is about the perceived ability of riding with in the limits.

You have the proper training and experience. The 20 year old thinks they do. Same attitute different reality.

I know I don't drive a car or ride a bike like I used to, faster when I want to be, not as fast all the time.
 

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Re: To you sir, I say: HA!

30 crashes? Sorry Gabe, looks like Jesus gave all your luck to me!

I'm 48, been riding since 7th grade & have NEVER dropped a bike on the street (dirt bikes yes, plenty). I've had a few scares but I've never been in any sort of accident, never low sided or high sided, never tipped one over in the garage. Nada.

I've also never even scratched the fender of a car & I've had jobs where I drove 40K miles a year.
 

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Methinks John is so cautious because he doesn't know how to control his bike very well. Locking up the rear and then high-siding (on an on-ramp, no less) is an indication that he may not know exactly what he's doing.



In that case, I would have predicted that John would indeed be the one to crash.



Maybe he should go get some rider training. Or maybe a couple of riding books.



I've got a friend who could be headed for trouble. He's been riding for a couple of years, took the MSF initially, but still doesn't trust the bike much. As a result, his cornering is so bad it's scary. He's afraid to lean the bike too much so his entry speeds are snail-like. He turns in way too early and then has to adjust his line to avoid running wide. I've been trying to help him, but he's still afraid. If he doesn't get over this, he'll find himself in the woods or emedded in the grille of someone's SUV.
 

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Re: No luck involved

There are no "accidents". There is always fault or misconduct. Give me an example where there are 2 anything colliding, one anything crashing, or anyone getting injured, and I can find fault, or negligence, with the manufacturer, operator, inspector, or supervisor every single time.
 

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"A good rider, riding within his proper envelope, will have none of those moments. There will be no spikes in his heart rate. No sudden bursts of adrenaline. Nothing but a smooth, flowing movement across the road. "



Saw an interview on Valentino Rossi and that's what he pretty much said, he's always riding at about 85%. His coach said if he rode at 100%, he'd crash.
 

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Re: No luck involved

My definition of accident came from the dictionary. It states that one side is guilty of causing injury to another who is blameless. A blunder is defined as follows: to make a mistake through stupidity, ignorance, or carelessness. Entering a turn with too much speed and crashing is a blunder. Having a drunk turn in front of a rider allowing no time to react with resulting injury is an accident. My lawyers seem to understand the distinction.
 

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Great article. Interesting comments. I've been hit by cars twice. Once there was not a darn thing I or Valentino Rossi could have done about it. The other one also was "the other guy's fault" he even got a ticket and had to pay for the damage to my bike - but in my heart of hearts I believe that I could have - should have - avoided it. I believe that one needs to come near that tipping point where one tests the bike and oneself. If you don't scare yourself some you're not there yet. BUT, the only place I want to do that is on the race track.

My dad, who flew about 200 combat missions as a fighter pilot in both WWII and the Korean War, told me that it is better to be lucky than good, but only the realy good are real lucky.
 

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This is old hat. Remember The Inner Game of Tennis

a while back. Very popular back in the seventies when everyone was playing tennis: then it was discovered that tennis is not an easy game to play and jogging became the thing. Yes, shut up the nagging inner voice telling you (with no little justification ) you are a sod and you will perform wonders. Just the thing for the wanna-bes hereabouts.
 

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Ever ridden or driven in Boca or Sarasota?



Ditto the slow, grey thing. I've had the tragic misfortune (self inflicted) to work for employers HQ'd in both places.



Thank goodness I don't live in the land of the near dead zombie drivers.
 
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