So You Want to Get Your Knee to the Ground - 03-30-2009
More or less we are talking about folks driving sport bikes who like getting their knee on the ground as they take the corner. One person may have it down without a problem and others may need years of practice. One thing is for sure, there's a variety of opinions about doing it right.
This isn't something we make a practice of on our tours.
Vegas Valley Motorcycle Tours - Safety Points & Reminders -
I know it all, why talk about safety?
At times we have riders that may not have the experience you have as a motorcycle enthusiast. Riders at times have kept a license but haven't ridden a motorcycle in many years and now has a rental in their hands. Sometimes the desert can offer up circumstances different than your normal routines of travel. Therefore, before we leave there may be a couple of things to share with the group that will enable the rider to have a safer experience. We don't talk directly to anyone nor point out anyone's lack of experience, nor point to the experts, we'll not always ;). We share a few points as a group, nothing is said to embarrass anyone but may ask a question or two from the points below, especially if it has an * by it.
Always wear a jacket with armor, yes, even in the summer. Keeping the sun off your arms and neck can help prevent sun burn and shade your body with flow-through clothing. They make some light-weight motorcycle jackets that can provide good protection for motorcycle travel in the warmer months.
Helmet: Guess what? You're going to sweat, that's all there is to it - See the first bullet to avoid dehydration.
General Safety Procedures & Reminders
Parking: As much as this seems to be an easy task to accomplish, what often times happens, a rider will cut the steering wheel while pulling into a parking slot in such a way as to cause the motorcyle to loose it's balance. The end result will most likely find the motorcycle falling down, if you don't have the strength to keep it up-right. You may possibly brake a clutch or front brake leaver. See (What To Bring)
Gravel: Gravel is an enemy, gravel under our feet, under the kick stand, on corners, in gullies and any other places will cause a slip of traction. Traction lost either under our feet or under the tire while traveling at an angle with gravity and speed will cause a spill.
Sand: Sand is basically the same as gravel but will cause less than good traction.
Soft Shoulders: If you need to pull over to a shoulder and you feel that getting off the road or getting back on the road may be hazardous for any reason, avoid pulling off wait for a better pull-out. Generally, you cannot park the motorcycle on a soft shoulder as the kick stand will sink or slip off a rock and fall over.
Gullies: Different places of our tours have these drainage gullies that aren't real smooth and can result in bottoming out, compressing the spine.
Pace: Drive at YOUR OWN pace, not the pace of the group or other riders.
Lanes: Stay in your own lane. If you are coming around a corner, coming out of your lane, you are going faster than you can control the motorcycle - slow down, you are losing control. Always keep to one lane unless you are passing.
Traffic: If we are traveling as a group and traffic is heavy, the drivers hand-book suggest keeping blocks of travel to 4 per group. - Open it up...
Hills and Slopes - A Possible Scenario:
* A driver sees a perfect photo opportunity and wants to take the picture, so they pull to the side of the road and begin to park the motorcycle, they put down the kick stand with nose pointed down hill and start to get off the bike to take a picture or something. What can result from this?
Answer: As the rider gets off the motorcycle, the bike springs up from the release of weight from the shock absorbers. As the bike springs up it follows gravity and starts to roll down hill and starts to come off the kickstand. The Rider tries to prevent the fall, falls back down on the motorcycle with the kickstand now in the closing position, grabs the bars by pulling up only to find that gravel was under the riders feet. The riders feet have now slipped out from under him, the kick stand has closed, the bike is still rolling down hill AND NOW the rider has several hundred pounds in his hands headed to the ground or on top of him.
End Result: The bike will fall to the ground, possibly on the rider resulting in injury and substantial damages.
How could this have been prevented? Don't park a motorcycle on a downward slope.
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