Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Road Companions: Riding with Others or Going it Solo

I've read an awful lot about the subject of Riding With Others. There are strong opinions on either side, neither really incorrect.

I will take this opportunity to briefly spell out the arguments on both sides. And I look forward to hearing your take on the issue.

It's extremely important to choose a good road partner BEFORE the ride...be it your brother, wife, best friend, your best friend's wife, a fellow rider or your trusty dog. Internet groups have increased the number of riders meeting on-line and riding together – often without a face-to-face meeting prior to hitting the road. Something occurs to relationships on the road. Patience is tested, nerves are rattled, alliances are put to the limit, murders are committed and friendships are strained. OK, maybe there are no DOCUMENTED killings, but I assure you, if looks could kill…

Hundreds or thousands of miles from home is no time to discover that your travel companion’s style doesn’t quite agree with yours. He doesn’t like to leave early, she doesn’t want to ride over 65 MPH, and they like to stop every 50 miles to smell the roses or see the sights or eat or what-not. Small foibles in Omaha become huge obstacles in New Jersey.

Many riders decide to ride solo – either to bypass the problems described above, or just because they enjoy the solitude of the road. Downsides may include loneliness, diminished safety, increased cost of lodging and the lack of immediate roadside assistance should an unscheduled stop occur. To some riders, those are risks worth taking to ensure harmony while traveling.

OK, you’ve decided to ride with others (or the decision has been made for you -- at times, riding with a group is inescapable). Here are some points to consider well before getting on the road:

• What route will the group take?
• How fast will we ride and for how long?
• Who will lead, who will trail?
• When will we start the day and when will we stop?
• How many rest stops and how often?
• How will we communicate?
• How will we manage hotel accommodations or camping?
• How will finances be handled or costs shared?
• What actions will we take if there are mechanical difficulties? Will the group continue with the ride or wait with a stranded biker?
• What actions will we take if we are separated?
• Who should we contact in the event of an accident?
• How will we handle changes to the scheduled itinerary?

While this is by no means an all-inclusive list, it definitely begins the thought process on what discussions should take place during the ride planning.

Whether you ride solo, with another motorcycle enthusiast or with 50 other riders, I hope you have a safe, fun and memorable ride.

I'm interested in hearing your opinions and experiences.

Earplugs: The argument for wearing hearing protection

Riding a motorcycle creates a lot of noise, even when wearing a full-face helmet. Depending on the circumstances and a helmet's design, wearing a helmet may actually increase the noise level.

Longtime bike enthusiasts will tell you stories about hearing loss and a very annoying and constant ringing in the ears (tinitus). Studies have shown that "white noise" from the wind and the road can be more harmful than a jet engine. I think that many bikers don't understand the damage that riding without hearing protection will cause.

Wearing earplugs, properly, can greatly reduce the noise level of riding. They can help save your hearing and also reduce some of the stresses of long-distance riding. Remember, once your hearing is lost, it is lost forever.

Wearing earplugs while riding will make your ride much more enjoyable. If you've never worn them -- or only wear them occassionally -- you won't believe how much less stressful it is to ride without wind noise. And earplugs can make a noisy helmet much quieter.

DID YOU KNOW: That even when wearing a full face helmet, the wind noise alone may exceed the OSHA regulations for industrial noise exposure? Based on several research studies, the major contributor to hearing loss in the motorcycle industry is wind noise. Even riding at a speed of 65mph can produce wind noise levels in excess of 103dB. Over time, this noise is loud enough to cause permanent ear damage. Imagine what you are doing to your hearing if you can't even hear the wind over those straight pipes you put on your motorcycle!

Get the facts at: www.freehearingtest.com/hia_motorcyclefacts.shtml

If you don’t currently ride with earplugs, please consider doing so.

This link has everything you need to know about earplugs and motorcycling: www.webbikeworld.com/Earplugs/earplugs.htm

Like Nike says: JUST DO IT!

Sunday, April 22, 2012


Fellow motorcycle enthusiasts, I am using this series of GRAPHIC posts to hammer home the importance of safe motorcycling. This series of photos from Budapest, Hungary in 2007, shows a rider cut in half by a collision with a pole. If you haven't heard by now, speed kills. Please slow down.
Guadian angels and protective gear can only do so much...the rest is up to YOU. The Snopes link is here: http://www.snopes.com/photos/gruesome/motopole.asp#photo5

Please slow down! (GRAPHIC PHOTOS)

Another grisly reminder that motorcycles are meant to be enjoyed. There are too many good roads too ride and life is much too short. As the photos of a speeding Tulsa motorcyclist who meets the rear end of an 18-wheeler show, speed kills. This incident happened at 2AM on Highway 169 near Tulsa, Oklahoma in April 2007. It's estimated that the motorcyclist was going over 120 MPH.
Here is the Snopes link: http://www.snopes.com/photos/accident/tulsacrash.asp Remember: Helmets normally only protect brains when they're being used.

Please slow down

This older series of photos from a motorcycle-meets-automobile accident in Stockholm, Sweden in 2005 is a grim reminder of what can happen when speed and steel mix. Please slow down, my motorcycle-loving friends; I want to ride with you again.
The Snopes link is here: http://www.snopes.com/photos/accident/seemotorcycle.asp