Safety Representative for the Fall 2016, Val
Safety from this Gals point of view
First I have the motto of, “ride like there is a price on your head and everyone and everything is out to collect.” The one time I forgot this I was less than a block from home doing less than 20 mph in the dark all relaxed and thinking about getting out my garage door opener, when a cat came flying out from between parked cars straight into the side of my front tire. It knocked the tire just enough to take me down. No damage to the bike but I tweaked my back trying to keep the bike up. After riding 64,000 miles on this bike, the only time I have ever been down was from a cat of all things! Moral of the story, never let your guard down…
Gear and Conditions that effect your riding:
I know I should wear better gear to protect my skin but I like the feel of the wind. I do however insist on a helmet. Bones will mend, flesh will grow back, but a closed head injury is forever, so even if you cannot afford the finest out there get a decent helmet and use it.
Heat is a big problem here in Texas. Hydration is essential. Every gas stop I drink a bottle of water and then take another to drink while I ride. Getting dehydrated will cause weakness, dizziness, confusion and fatigue. All these things can take you down.
Never ride tired. Take the time to relax, catch your wind and get your focus. If you are too tired you cannot focus on the task at hand; that being of getting to your destination in one piece and enjoying the ride.
Keep your bike it top order, do a walk around before you ride. Make sure your lights, and breaks work as intended. Check your tire pressure regularly, improper pressure not only causes undue wear but effects handling. Keep an eye out for parts getting worn or loose and replace them if necessary. That little bolt on the stabilizer is there for a reason. Check it, Be safe.
Differences of Gals from Pals:
Whether you are new to bikes or an old hand you will have areas that are hard for you. Know what they are, work on them, learn what works for you. A man can say do this and that, as women we don’t have the power or size that men have so we need to find an equalizer so to speak. Example, banking hard into a corner. My son says just push the bars and she’ll go… Not really, I have to add some body weight behind it and lean down on the bars. I ride a Harley Sportster. It is small and light as I don’t have the upper body strength to control a big heavy bike. Ladies need to be aware of just how heavy these bikes are and just what it takes to pull them through a tough spot if need be. Be prepared for what can occur. Don’t put yourself in scary movie situations if possible. But know that sooner or later you will be put to the test.
Special Safety Tip:
Also, as a woman on a bike, you may be seen as vulnerable. There are a lot of bad people out there. Be aware, keep your guard up. Stay away from places that don’t look safe. Don’t let yourself become a victim to someone who thinks you have a nice bike they want to take from you, or worse.
I guess to sum up, Know your bike. Know your capabilities. Do not push yourself or your bike beyond those capabilities. Stay alert, and watch the other guy, they may want to collect that price on your head.
Safety Representative of the Day Summer 2016: Randy
That is my motto: Ride to Ride Another Day
This is Randy, he’s been a long time member of the site and has often been a great proponent of safety. Randy has had the unpleasant experience of being involved in a motorcycle crash. We all followed him on that journey from afar, and are happy that he has recovered and continues to advocate for Safety. Here are some of his thoughts on how you might approach your riding every day. He makes a lot of sense.
And here is why I say this:
I work at a 300 bed hospital and respond routinely to trauma codes in the Emergency Room. When following patients in the hospital as a pharmacist, I have the opportunity to read what brought them there: Several examples are -- for one, a deer ran out in front of the bike, for another they took the curve too fast, and hit light sand in a curve. For me, I ride through the same things all the time including as a car pulled out in front of me. The road is dangerous!
These are all reminders for me to dress in order to, “Ride Another Day,” and yes, it has allowed me to ride another day. I still remember the 29th of August when one of Mother Nature’s dirt devils blew me off the road at 60 mph. Had it not been for the full face helmet I was wearing, I would not be here now to have written this article. I was totally lying on the edge of the road unconscious. My riding jacket, pants, gloves, and boots, kept me from getting any road rash. Proper gear matters!
How do I approach an upcoming ride?
Most of my rides are solo, thus when I might be getting the bike out I always think about the weather. Winter riding might have temps below freezing thus I don’t ride then. The weather forecast is where I begin my thought process.
Cold and Hot:
The temp has to be above 38 F leaving and coming home. What will be the temperature range during my ride? This then determines what safety clothing I will be wearing. Which bike I am on also factors in which it shouldn’t, my one fault. If I’m on the Rebel, I don’t usually wear lower protective pants, but do wear nylon shell over the pants to protect against wind chill riding to work. The Rebel does not leave town thus usually 40 mph or less in speed. Both rides, always have my bright yellow helmet with night glow reflective flames on it.
When the weather is cooler, I have my Joe Rocket jacket with the padding underneath a bright yellow wind breaker that has a multi-pattern reflective material on the arms. When going out in cool weather on the Bird, I put on wind/rain gear first, then put the Olympia textile pants (light gray) and the bright neon yellow Olympia textile jacket over the rain gear. Depending on the temps, may have just a wicking T-shirt on underneath or if cooler, a flannel shirt over that. When I’m on the Rebel I don’t wear my chest protector. Probably should.
When taking my larger Triumph, I call “Bird,” I wear a chest protector. It is a heavier bike, has faster speeds, and cars/trucks are all going faster too. Also riding on roads that I have not traveled as often compared to roads in town that I’m constantly traveling thus know what changes may have occurred. My hands are always cold, thus have 4 different sets of full fingered gloves for the various temp ranges. When just about 38 and on the Bird for more than a ½ hour, I use the electric gloves to keep me warm. I feel that if you can’t feel your fingers, then it is unsafe being on the bike as the clutch and brake action may not be optimum due to frozen fingers.
The windbreaker goes away when on the Rebel, but still full perforated leather gloves with knuckle protectors. On the Bird, I still wear the textile Olympia jacket and pants along with the chest protector. Come this summer, I will be investing in one of the water/ice cooled vests.
Yellow gear, yuck! That’s not a biker color, but yet I wear a lot of it. Why? I know I’m not going to convince any of you that wearing it will save you. It didn’t keep me from getting blown off the road nor may it save me if some dickhead has the eyes down on the cell phone while texting. What I have noticed though is people do not crowd me as much with it on. I started out riding in dark brown full leathers. Once I switched to the bright neon yellow helmet and jacket, I have seen people start to pull then suddenly stop and number of times. I believe if I had not been wearing the yellow, one of those probably would have kept coming. The other reason is two-fold, 1) in the summer it is cooler than wearing dark colors (they absorb light/heat) 2) in the winter, yellow is more visible in the dreary gray overcast riding conditions. That is just the weather/clothing aspect.
One final thing:
Before any of this occurs, I think to myself am I physically and mentally ready to ride. There have been nice days to go for a ride, but have not gone as I was not feeling physically or mentally fit.
Some articles I have found helpful to read:
I also spend time reading about the dangers of the road. I try to learn from other people’s mistakes. I know I don’t have to repeat their mistakes to learn from it. The other thing I remind myself is to not let my EGO tell me that it won’t happen to me. That I am better than others.
Safety Representative of the Day (Winter 2016)
Alec is a rider from the Ukraine who rides in southern Europe and brings some common sense answers to riders who may have been riding in their own style. Alec has learned that proper riding gear is a "must." Many riders learn that riding gear is to protect you from hazards not just an accident.
Listen to him tell you this in his own words....
About Me. "I am relatively new rider who was not even interested in bikes and biking up to my graduation. Probably like every person starting to ride in an adult age I have been very concerned with safety. Despite driving an automobile for almost 20 years, my concerns and fears were validated by switching to absolutely different "environment" riding a motorcycle.
Like most beginners, I wore full gear during my first riding season. When riding, you are exposed to an increased number of threats and challenges that can be faced on the streets and roads. I began riding by wearing a leather jacket with protection pads in the back, elbow, and shoulder protection; an Arai helmet which was chosen after thorough study of reviews and test videos; Kevlar jeans; and biker gloves with palm reinforcement; etc. The only thing that was missing those days was the special footwear. I was and I still wear cowboy boots! And that all had been worn all the time irrespective of weather conditions. Even at +30-35C (90 to 100 F) I was fully geared and covered when on my bike.
While gaining experience I started to neglect some of the safety rules and gear, again as many beginners. I started to ride in ordinary jeans, replaced my biker gloves with fancy fingerless gloves, leather jacket was changed for denim jacket and at the end of the day, I ended up riding in a ball cap. The only element that remained was my cowboy boots! After several years of riding along the streets, highways, country roads and different countries, I came back to the decision of wearing a real protective helmet rather than the "skid lid" that I bought for a cool biker look.
Flying Insects. Once, while riding in my cool gloves, a bee flew in-between my fingers into my fingerless gloves. After that experience, my fingerless gloves rest in my garage and I replaced them with perforated full finger gloves that protect my hands much better and due to perforation they are not hot. As a matter of fact, bees play a great part in making people more aware or concerned about their safety. This summer while riding through Europe a bee got into my jacket sleeve that was not zipped. Guess what? Now I'm riding fully zipped!
Motorcycle Maintenance. Riders safety depends a lot on the vehicle condition like the required levels of all the fluids, good brake pads and tires, and having all the bolts fastened, etc., is a crucial element of safety. Within a few years of riding I obtained some basic mechanic skills. I purchased some essential tools and a maintenance and service manual. Now I can make some repairs and mods by myself. And what is more important I can check the condition of my bike any time I want or need without going to a dealer or asking my neighbor to do so for me.
One last word. I want to point out that safety is not limited to a proper helmet, jacket and boots. A lot of attention should be given to the technical parts of your rides, your trip package (extra socks, sanitizer, pills and medicines), packing and securing your luggage to your bike, etc. Plus, beware of reacting to other drivers on the road, as one proverb says, "avoid the fight, but don't let anyone defeat you." Getting road-rage on a motorcycle is unsafe and puts you at risk!
We all are grown up people who make their own decisions on a daily basis, just when making those decisions don't forget that we are waited at home by our loved and loving ones! Make it home safe and enjoy riding for another day.
Safety Representative of the Day Fall 2015, William
Introducing William Duke aka TopGunUSLLC a life-long rider, Aviator and former Highway Patrolman. TopGun has been a member for four years and provides members both the perspective of a daily cruising motorcycle rider's perspective of motorcycle riding plus that of a professional safety officer patrolman and the unique view of a person who flies high and fast in jet aircraft. Enjoy his perspectives this Fall--
I have been riding motorcycles since I was 13 years old, a couple of years before the state of Tennessee instituted a law which required motorcyclist to wear a protective safety helmet.
I gave little thought to my safety when riding a motorcycle during my Jr. High and High School years in spite of the numerous critical and fatal accidents that my fellow schoolmates were having on a regular basis. At that time, my thoughts were that it could never happen to me. It wasn't until I was age 23 that I started to give some conscience thought to motorcycle safety. It was at that time that I had become a trooper with the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
As a trooper, I had too many occasions to get up close and personal to some motorcycle accident scenes, some absolutely horrific. One of the first scenes involved a young teenage couple who were riding two-up when the driver rounded a curve on a narrow rural road too fast and lost control of the bike thus leaving the road and encountering a barbed wire fence. Both occupants were only wearing shorts and tee-shirts along with a pair of sneakers. Each of them survived their injuries although their bodies appeared to have been shredded by a meat grinder. I can name countless incidents where observing a few simple steps can help to prevent serious injuries in the event of a motorcycle crash or accident. Even a seasoned professional rider can have a bad day.
A couple of Recommendations:
Proper riding gear will make all the difference in the final outcome. Wear a helmet!
As a pilot, I have learned the importance of having and using a Checklist. In aviation, a checklist should be the most crucial item found in the cockpit. Flying an airplane without a checklist is a gamble as well as risky business.
My approach to taking a casual motorcycle ride won't begin without a complete satisfaction of my safety checklist.
TG is cofounder of the Gateway Eagles of Missouri. We have safely flown and introduced at least 2,000 youth to aviation since 1994. Check out their website at: www.gatewayeagles.org.
Safety Representative of the Day (July 2015)
Here are Rob and Lizette, Canadian riders who joined CCC about three years ago. Many on the site have admired their professional video productions under their handle tbwcontinueumi as they make their journeys all over the Northwestern parts of Canada and the USA. Noticing their "two - up" riding style and the many miles they long on their 1900 Roadliner, they provide some interesting and valuable tips for riders who are taking long journeys. Lizette provides the ladies with tips for being a passenger aboard during their trips--something that is not always apparent to folks! Read their Safety Tips and check out their Profile for more of their videos.
Lizette and Robert, started riding 2 up in 2010. Prior to that Rob had ridden extensively on both street and dirt up to the time they were married (more than 20 years ago), and only sporadically after. We purchased a large cruising bike for both commuting and maybe 2 up riding. Lizette's first, very short jaunt, resulted in her saying "Would you be mad if I hated this?". She pushed herself to try again, and again (it was all her), and by the end of summer she was asking "Where are we going this weekend?"
In late 2011 we bought our Roadliner and began modifying it to suit our needs for 2 up and long range riding.
We established the following priorities for Long Range Riding:
Our goals were safety for the passenger, cargo room, and comfort. And I believe the cargo room and comfort both enable our safety during our rides.
First order of business, more comfortable seats, in long range riding if you are not comfortable how long do you remain safe?
Second order of business was lots of storage. We travel 1 month or more at a time. Where to put all the stuff to make us comfortable and keep us safe?
Adjustments—passenger and suspension improvements. After some test rides we made adjustments to the passenger area for hand holds, also made important posture corrections for the second rider seat backrest, and we increased the shocks with a heavier Progressive Suspension to prevent bottom-out from 2 up riding.
Rob on Pre-Trip Vehicle Prep
I always perform a thorough inspection of the bike's mechanics. What needs servicing? replacing? Before we go is the time to service and replace, not mid trip or when it fails. Although I perform most of my own mechanical work, I like to take it to a trusted professional prior to a big trip to have a fresh set of eyes go over it and see if I missed anything and deal with those issues prior to it becoming an issue.
Importance of tires. Are they near the end of their life? If so I change them before we start our trip. But if they have a couple thousand miles left in them I will use them and pre book a tire change appointment along the way. By pre booking and even paying for the tires in advance I know when I arrive I will get the tires I want with minimal delay and hassle. And even when starting with new tires we most likely will need a new set before we get home. So a bit of preplanning as the trip progresses and we will hit a shop that we have made prior arrangements with and have our tires changed out near the end of our trip. These stops for tires are another good time for that fresh set of eyes to give the bike a thorough inspection and see what I may have missed.
Lizette on Long Ride Preparations
I am the co-pilot, navigator and the second camera aboard for our videos. Unlike Robert, my experience with motorcycles was very limited. As a teenager I had been a passenger on a Norton a couple times. The instructions were to hold on, oh, and lean with the bike. A couple times and I learned I didn't much care for motorcycle riding! Years later I was very apprehensive when Robert asked me to ride with him. After several short rides I gradually became more comfortable with the sensation of riding. It was helpful that Robert appreciated that I did NOT have a need for speed
Before setting out on a long ride, I do pre-trip planning with things such as obtaining out of country medical insurance, assembling a small first aid kit and packing our wardrobes! We have been on the road for as long as 6 weeks at a time. We have left home in the heat of summer and returned in late autumn. Our cargo space has to accommodate 2 people (plus 3 high def cameras and a laptop for file storage) so we are somewhat minimalists but still are prepared for all types of conditions. How to use what storage space aboard is crucial.
We pack clothes that can layer. Starting with light weight thermal underwear and ladies leotards that don't take up much room and can comfortably be worn under jeans. Rain gear like "Frog Togs" can help keep out a nasty cold wind as well as rain. Cold can numb the brain as well as your body and can affect your decision making and reaction time. I wear a kerchief all the time. In cold weather it can keep your head warm or I like to cover my face with it to keep warm. I am gaining a kerchief wardrobe,.. ones from Yellowstone, Yosemite and Death Valley to name a few. Bring 2 they're small.
Importance of hydration. We also always pack a stainless thermos of ice and water. When we were packing for our first trip we had to have a "conversation" about the thermos of ice water I was insisting on packing. "We didn't have room", "it wasn't necessary", "we can stop for water" etc... weeks later, its 118 degrees Fahrenheit in Death Valley and I am nearing heat exhaustion and starting to feel awful sick, I couldn't ride any further, I needed to lie down. Robert remembered the ice in the thermos. He emptied the ice onto my kerchief rolled it up and wrapped it around my neck and cooled me down. I was so grateful for that cold. Now its a given, the thermos goes on every ride. You don't want to be stranded somewhere hot without water with you.
Vigilance for the riding partner. I am not just a passenger enjoying the scenery. A second set of eyes keeping a lookout always improves our safety. At town speeds we use communicators as well as signals we have developed for safety and navigation. At highway speeds we have not had much luck with the communicators which seem to be overcome by wind noise. But we have developed a set of signals instead.
Frequent Rest Stops. About every hour or so it's time to take a break. A stretch and a short walk, keeps the blood flowing to the brain. Without leg movement blood does pool in our legs and our brain gets less blood. A short walk improves mental alertness. Besides, if you have rode for more than an hour and haven't seen something you wanted to stop for, you are probably on the wrong road! Don't over estimate how far or how much you can do in a day. Being overtired is being impaired. We also take this time to discuss what we expect in the next hour, and re-assess and possibly change our goal for the day .
Every time the two of us get on our bike it is an adventure, whether we are just travelling to town or planning on crossing a couple (or more) borders! And so far the adventure has been great!
Safety Representative of the Day (March 2015)
Here is Gert. He is a relatively new rider from a Village named Barneveld in Holland, and has ridden mostly in northern europe during his first few years of motorcycling.
Gert came into Motorcyling only about 3 years ago. Gert began riding a motorcyle after his VW Beetle was falling apart. He won an auction for a 3 hour motorcycle lesson during which he found a love of motorcycling although the training was a bit crazy to say the least. He literally fell into motorcycling from that auction! He started on a 750 Kawasaki Vulcan but after 6000 kms he upgraded to a Yamaha Royal Star 1300 and has put about 12000 kms on it now. Then he stumbled again onto the Cruiser Customizing site when shopping online for a backrest for his motorcycle. He found the online Community of riders and began to develop relationships with the huge Mototribe community of the CCC. He admits he is a newbie to the sport, or lifestyle, but he loves what he has found, especially in the Cruiser Community of the CCC.
Gert has become a regular contributor to the Cruiser Customizing Community and recently contributed a very good video on what to wear while motorcycling. I thought as a new rider Gert typified the excellence we would hope each of our community would emulate. You might not be as funny as Gert in his videos with Marek (aka Polssken) but you can ride like Gert who now cruises on a Royal Star in the beautiful little country that was saved by a kid with his finger in the dike. Welcome to the Community Gert and thanks for your Safety tips!
Gert's Safety Recommendations to new Riders:
Maintenance: "The bike has to be in 100% technical shape with special attention to regular servicing, especially tires. For gear, I always wear leather jeans or Kevlar jeans, maybe not the best protection, but better than ordinary jeans, then a leather jacket with elbow protection plus shoulder and back protection, a safe helmet, leather gloves (during hot days without fingers ooops!) and high leather boots.
During my riding: I try to look as far as possible in front of me, I try to stay within the maximum allowed speed and I try to be a polite guy riding my bike, I mean, not aggressive. I ride my bike as I used to drive my VW Beatle, just for fun and I can assure you..... it gives me a lot of fun! I really enjoy this way of feeling so free. Perhaps that is easy such as in large countries like Australia or USA and even Sweden where you can find roads made for your use only because they are empty, LOL. But in Holland our country is small and quite populated, but still, I'd never before this, experienced the great feeling riding a bike could bring me such as this does.
See Gert's video on what he wears while riding in Holland: http://cruiser.mototribe.com/video/dealing-weather-month-contest-video
Safety Chief "Skeep" will be looking at Member photos and submissions to pick a Safety Representative of the Day to post here!
|Tags: Safety Training||Gear||Maintenance||Riding Conditions|
|Topics: Riding Techniques Rider Training MSF Safety Training||Helmets Jackets Pants Gloves Boots Clothing Protection||Controls Steering
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