One of the trickiest things about riding a motorcycle is just talking about it. Language fails us. We don’t have words for the subtle things we might feel on a bike. Just talking about motorcycle “lines” is a mine field. Let me set the stage here by explaining a road game I call “Pick a Lane.”
To play “Pick a Lane,” you need to think of your lane as really having THREE lanes:
- Lane Position 1 is on the left, near the yellow line (the road’s center line), about where a car’s left tire would go.
- Lane Position 2 is in the middle, the center of the road right under the middle of a car.
- Lane Position 3 is on the right, near the white line (the fog line), about where a car’s right tire would go.
HOW TO PLAY
To play Pick a Lane, all you need to do is PICK one of the lane positions and stay there for awhile. See if you have the throttle control, turning skills and patience to put together 10 turns all in Lane Position 3. Try and put together 10 turns in a row keeping the bike right in the middle of the road. (You’ll want to avoid Lane Position 2 in city traffic because of all the oil and crap, but out in the twisties, Lane Position 2 works fine.) Play Pick a Lane till you are perfectly comfortable taking any corner in any lane position.
Sounds easy doesn’t it? Almost too easy. “What a stupid game! Anybody can do that.” Okay. Could be. But if you NEVER ride over in Lane Position 3 because you hate to be near the edge of the road, or you just don’t like all that gravel over there, or you had a car pull out toward you once from your right and you just HATE riding over there, well, you might want to find a way to get comfortable with it. Other folks HATE being in Lane Position 1. “To darned close to those idiots coming straight for me.”
WHAT I LEARNED
I’ve always been an outside-inside-outside kind of guy. I was taught early to make every corner bigger by using my whole lane. So, when I tried just running around in LP3, I found I suddenly had to make right turns MUCH faster. Faster than I usually would. Faster than I was comfortable turning. Good thing I was riding the speed limit, because suddenly the same old roads I’d been riding where a whole new experience.
So, was there a net benefit–beside just having fun on my motorcycle? Ayup. I learned to turn faster (that makes me a better, safer rider), and I became much more comfortable in ANY lane position (and that give me choices and options I was uncomfortable using before).
Sounds simple. Sounds easy. The thing is, you have to try it to see for yourself. Don’t try it to MAKE yourself a better rider. You wouldn’t be riding a Gold Wing if you weren’t already a pretty darned good rider. Try it because it sounds like fun. Try it to see what happens. Trying for something to do. Try it so you have something to talk about. Try it for something to do on a long ride. Try it because it’s fun! Then come back here an tell us what it felt like.Read More
We’ve all played in traffic before–swerving back and forth to music, using the brakes hard for no good reason except to feel what they’ll do, seeing if we can go slow enough to get through a light without putting our feet down. Those are what I call road games, or playing in traffic. If I’m going to share some of the road games I like to play, I feel I need to give a brief warning.
- Road games are NOT for beginning riders. Beginners should play their games in parking lots and around their own little neighborhood.
- If you are going to change your focus and pay attention to something new (a different line than usual, say), you need to be going the speed limit or below. I think that’s just common sense.
- It is not a good idea to play road games at night, in the rain, in a construction zone or on a strange road. No sense piling up risk factors. Save this type of play till the “games” are second nature.
- If you ever wear all the gear, this would be a good time to do it. Life is complicated and unpredictable. Good safety gear is just smart.
- The MOST IMPORTANT RULE for playing motorcycle road games is to be willing to stop playing the game and ride the darned motorcycle! If you are playing with your lane position and there is a dead skunk in the lane you want to use, you know you need to stop playing the game and ride the bike around the danger!
That’s should be enough rules.Read More
We just had a PowerBall lottery for $500,000,000. That’s a half a billion dollars folks!
My plan, if I had won, was to buy a Tailwind trailer for my Wing (color matched, of course), a Ducati Diavel power cruiser with a color matched Uni-Go trailer, plus a Honda 750 Shadow with solo seat, windshield and bags for the wife.
Well that dreams gone! So, now what?
I’m thinking that for now, we’ll just skip the extra bikes and buy a Piggy Backer trailer.
What about you? How are you going to handle your disappointment at not winning a half a billion dollars in free money?
So, I got 10,000 words into the novel before writing myself into a box. Now, I’m writing with a complete and detailed outline, using a nice, expressive pen and yellow paper in a pretty leather folio, then transferring into Microsoft Word.
I’m up to 1,800 words, with more to transcribe when my hands start working again. Lots of typing at work (audits, letters, reports), plus this on top, so my forearm muscles are starting to freeze up. Anyway, I like the new writing process. The hand written pages flow nicely and are super easy to edit. Typing becomes almost a third draft and reads well.
About time for a newsletter, I’d say. If you are not subscribed, you can still join us. I’m going to be posting an announcement about an upcoming Motorcycle Road Games class soon. If you ride, you won’t want to miss the class. It’s going to be very instructive, fun and completely different from anything you’ve tried before.Read More
Check out the new cover for “Gold Wings are Murder: The Crying Stone.” I had Victoria Vinton over at Coyote Press Graphics create an inspiring cover for my new book. I love it. This cover has a nice pulp fiction horror vibe that says, “This story should be fun.”
If you want to know when the book comes out, subscribe to my free motorcycles and mysteries e-mail newsletter.Read More
My father-in-law, Hugh Frank Cunningham, was a 20 year Air Force veteran. He died last year of lung cancer on Veterans Day: 11-11-2011 at 1:11 in the afternoon. He was surrounded by family and friends who loved him very much. We miss him everyday.
Now, my son, Marvin, is off to Navy Boot Camp. If he likes it, and I think he will, he may stay in 20 years too. This may sound a bit morbid, but could a young man hope for better than to die in his old age, surrounded by loving family and friends? That may be about as good as it gets.
Here’s to all the veterans out there, and to all those people who love them and miss them when they’re gone.
My new Wing is one of those from Japan that has a nasty flat spot off idle. Part of that is just me because I feel a little hesitation and have an overpowering urge to pause the throttle, gaze at my navel and wonder, “Gosh, what’s that flat spot all about?” Part of it is the bike.
So, anyway, as I was getting the bike ready for winter storage, I put in a full tank of premium fuel. The Wing is supposed to run FINE on 87 octane regular gas–and mine does, once it is warmed up. The next day, when I started off in the morning, NO HESITATION! It must have been a fluke, right? But I’m on my second tankful of premium gas and when I rode the bike this morning it was 43-degrees and NO hesitation!
If your new Wing has a flat spot off idle, you might want to at least TRY a tankful of premium fuel. One day, there will be a recall and a new fuel map, but for now, premium gas may be a solution for some folks.
Relax and keep one eye on your future.Read More