After introductions and some basic safety instructions, we started up the bikes to practice. The instructor would first explain the maneuver, while the other instructor demonstrated it. Then we would follow suit, repeating each exercise several times. The exercises included weaving through cones, making tight U-turns, emergency braking, quick stops in a curve, swerving and cornering techniques. Apart from being a lot of fun, the course helped a lot in revealing to me where I needed to improve. The swerving excercise was especially useful. I was getting better after each attempt, swerving at higher speeds each time until the instructor had to ask me to slow down! The instructors were great and the maneuvers that we practiced were well designed. The one thing I would have liked the course to cover is good cornering lines for different types of curves but thats probably a whole course by itself. I definitely recommend the course for people with some riding experience.
Ah yes…Fall is in the air. For the first time I was glad I was wearing my heavy leather jacket for something other than protection from road rash! It will soon be time to start using the inner lining of the jacket and full-finger gloves. I rode alone today and didn’t carry a camera, so no pictures – just another boring write-up! Today was all about enjoying the ride, carving the corners and practicing some emergency maneuvers. I headed out on Wesselman Ave and onto E. Miami River road via Buffalo Ridge road. I’m quite fond of riding in this area – nice twisty roads bordered by lush green foliage and I don’t have to take the freeway to get there.
On straight stretches of E. Miami River road, after making sure there was no traffic in either direction, I practiced making panic stops from about 60mph. I did it about 4 times and although I didn’t measure the stopping distances, I felt each attempt was better than the earlier one. Near Ross, OH, I pulled into the Proctor and Gamble parking lot and practiced swerving at around 30-40mph. Next Sunday I will be attending the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s course for experienced riders where I hope to further hone my skills.
From Ross, OH I continued on route 126 for several miles. The morning haze had lifted and the sun was now shining brightly. I tried to take it all in – the black tarmac whizzing by underneath, the green farms on either side, the blue sky, the cool breeze – “euphoric” would best describe how I was feeling.
I am planning several trips to Indiana in October to see the Fall colors, particularly to CliftyFalls state park near Madison, IN and Brown County state park near Nashville, IN. Do check back to read about those trips. And yes, there will be plenty of pictures!
The last leg of the trip was on US52 along the river, back to Cincinnati. Total trip distance was approximately 200 miles.
Angie’s folks have a farm up by Versailles, IN. Since SR129 was closed for construction, we took the detour via SR56 east to SR260 west to SR129 north. We showed up at the farm around 4pm. Angie’s parents Jerry and Phyllis are among the nicest and friendliest people I’ve ever met. The rest of the pictures were taken around their farm.
Two of the books, A Twist of the Wrist I & II are geared toward people with who intend to race bikes. I glossed over them but found them to be very technical, without much information for the street rider. However, I have come to consider Proficient Motorcycling and More Proficient Motorcycling by David L. Hough a must read for both current and aspiring motorcyclists.
David L. Hough is a rider with more that a million miles of motorcycle experience, so he obviously knows a thing or two about riding. I recommend reading the books in sequence, beginning with the first book, Proficient Motorcycling: The Ultimate Guide to Riding Well. The chapters begin with an example of an accident or an incident involving a fictitious rider (with names like Panicky Pete, Motorhead Mike and Knee-dragger Nellie!) and then he proceeds to analyze the mistakes the rider made. Hough talks about motorcycle dynamics, making panic stops, conserving traction during cornering, urban traffic survival, effective steering and group riding practices, all peppered with interesting anecdotes and examples drawn from his personal experience or that of his friends.
In More Proficient Motorcycling: Mastering the Ride, he focuses on the mental aspect of motorcycling, with practical steps that could increase the riders focus and reduce reaction time. He explains countersteering and cornering in more detail, discusses road hazards to motorcyclists and explains how to deal with them. Both books have plenty of photographs and diagrams. The writing style keeps the reader engrossed, with a dash of dry wit making some of the more serious content very readable. Bottom-line: If you are serious about your motorcycling, consider buying or at least borrowing these two books. They are priceless and could quite possibly save your life when you are confronted with an emergency while riding. One other book by David L. Hough worth checking out is Street Strategies: A Survival Guide for Motorcyclists. This is more like a quick reference book, with material condensed from the Proficient Motorcycling series. While none of these books can replace the hands-on training provided at a motorcycle safety course, they go a long way in increasing the rider’s understanding of motorcycle dynamics, thus making it easier to practice the right technique while riding or choose the right course of action in an emergency.
Do check back soon for my next post. Happy reading and happy riding!!