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Posted August 31, 2006 by Mike

Superbike Planet has been running a series of posts from staffers that used to work for the Late, Great, CYCLE magazine, all of which have been very interesting, and bring back memories of one of the Golden Ages of Motorcycling.

Mark Lindemann is the latest ex-CYCLE staffer to contribute his thoughts on life after working for THE GREATEST MOTORCYCLE MAGAZINE OF ALL TIME. From his post at Superbike Planet:
"Then you get out into the rest of the world and you discover that it's largely made up of 15-watt bulbs, and half of those aren't screwed in. It's tough to do your best in an underlit room."
". . . 15-watt bulbs . . ."

That one goes straight into my lexicon.

Go here for more of the same, and a look back on the inside of the best motorcycle magazine ever.

Motorcycle Safety - Saving Your Ears, and Your Life.

. . . 'ya can't think fast if 'ya can't hear yerself think . . .

Posted August 14, 2006 by Mike

I've been using earplugs for motorcycle riding since 1975. I originally started using them to protect my hearing, but almost immediately discovered a much bigger benefit. They protect you from sound-induced fatigue. Continuous wind noise is probably the biggest impediment to rider concentration there is. Cutting wind noise will increase your ability to concentrate more than any other distraction, which will increase your safety tremendously.

When I started racing, they were indispensible. I NEVER went out on the racetrack without earplugs. Thinking fast requires being able to hear yourself think, and earplugs made it possible.

From 1975 up till about 1994, I used the yellow foam ear plugs available at drugstores (shown above), which are now sold as E-A-RŪ ClassicŪ Plugs by the
E-A-R company. They had an NRR rating of 29dB, which was pretty good at the time. The E-A-R plugs came in a little "pillow-pack" shaped package (see right), which could be re-used (beats putting them in your pocket and getting them all linty/dirty/more gross than they already are after using them). Of course, being a poor student at the time, I stretched the "Single Use" earplugs' life out as much as I could. they generally lost their effectiveness after about 2 and a half to 3 days of commuting back and forth to school.

Then early in 1994 while looking for a set of ears for a shooting meet, I found HOWARD LEIGHT MAX earplugs (shown on the right). They have an NRR rating of 33db - that's 4db greater than the old yellow E-A-R earplugs I used to wear. 33db is about as good as it gets without having custom-molded earplugs made specifically for your ears.

If you ride on a daily basis, I HIGHLY recommend these earplugs if you intend to have any hearing left at all when you get to retirement age.

I buy the MAX earplugs 200 to the box now (see right), and use them for everything, including riding motorcycles, mowing the lawn, using power saws and other tools, and driving noisy cars. I keep a handful in my backpack, another couple of packages in my fanny pack, and another bunch in my shooting bags.

They claim single use - I use one pair about every two to three days when riding back and forth to work. If you're really cheap, you can wash them, but they are very difficult to get in your ears after washing - they won't squish down.

Check out your local safety supply store for MAX earplugs. There is also a size for people with slightly smaller ears.


. . . the training sport of choice for road-racing champions everywhere!

Posted February 1, 2006 by Mike

Quiz time boys and girls . . .

. . . anyone recognise the nationally-known US road racer amongst this lot?

(picture circa 1984 - click to enlarge)

Do 'Ya Wanna Sell Motorbikes, or NOT?

. . . flaming idiots . . .

Posted June 15, 2005 by Michael A. Morrow

The whole Supermoto concept (dirt-bike with road-racing wheels, brakes, and sticky pavement tires) looks like way too much fun. So naturally, when I heard Suzuki had come out with the first US market street legal Supermoto bike, I decided I'd pop over to the Suzuki USA web-site and check out the stats on the new Suzuki DRZ400 SM (the 400 in street/supermoto trim). I'm thinking to myself "What a great commuter bike this would be!"

Or not. Apparently, American Suzuki has hired some wiz-bang FLASH programmer to do their web-site. Ten minutes after picking "MOTORCYCLES" off their menu, I'm STILL waiting for something more than a blank white page!

Hey! in the time I've waited for Suzuki's motorcycle page to load, maybe HONDA will have come out with a CRF450 SM street supermoto!

Let's check out American Honda's web-site . . .

Wonderful. a reasonably quick page load, but a condescending pop-up telling me all about "cookies", and how they must be enabled to view certain parts of the web-site.

*** Newsflash to Honda ***

I enable "cookies" for NOBODY !

And I'm not the only one. Get with the program, Honda.

Let's see if Yamaha wants to sell me a motorbike . . .

Well. That's more like it. Quick page load. No goofy FLASH gimics. No cookie crap.

A nice little XT225 is the only thing they currently offer. Let's check out the specs . . .

- oh look - they have a link specifically for the specs. And it loads fairly quickly. Unlike Suzuki's site, which is still a blank page. And I didn't have to enable cookies. Un-like Honda's web-site.

So . . . what've we got?

Horsies listed? Nope.
Is this thing quick enough to stay out of that Volvo's way or not?

Highway milage listed? Nope.

Seat Height? Check. 31.9 inches - lowest in class! (a plus for me)

Fuel capacity? 2.3 gallons . . . bit low for a commuter - here's where a highway fuel milage listing would help. Couldn't be too bad could it?

Electric start? Check! Hot-dog! No more skinned ankles!

Not too shabby. I could slap a set of supermoto wheels and sticky street tires on it, if it'll keep up on the freeway.

Let's check out Kawaski and see what they have to offer . . .

Their web-site loads fairly quickly, and they offer a non-FLASH version. Thank you Kawasaki for not abusing me with a bunch of FLASH crap.

Oooooh. Both 650 and 250 dual purpose bikes. Let's check one out. . . . .

Let's see . . . KLR-650 . . .

. . . maybe the specs are under "INFORMATION" . . . yup.

. . . blah, blah, blah . . . bingo! Specs.

No horsies listed.

No highway milage listing either. But . . .

Seat height? Check.
(too high, but then they all are for me)

Fuel capacity? Check.
(Wooo-hooo! 6.1 gallons! That'll get me to work and back!)

Electric Starter? Check.
(you don't think I'm gonna kick-start a single that big do you?)

Dry weight? 337 pounds. Not bad.
(of course I'll have to add the obligatory 30 pounds of air in each tire, plus gas and oil, but still, all in all, not too bad)

Hmmmmmmm . . . not a bad price either.

Let's check out the KLR 250 . . .

Same as above - no horsies or highway milage listed.

Seat Height? 33.7 - a little better.

Fuel capacity? 2.9 gallons. Hmmm . . . bit on the low side for a commuter. Highway milage would help here.

Dry weight? 258 pounds! Wooo-hooo! Now that's more like it!

Electric start? . . . ahem . . . where's the electric start?

. . . grrrrr . . .

Well. Looks like the KLR-650 is the most realistic option at this point. Add some supermoto wheels, some sticky street tires, a big disk brake, drop the suspension a couple of inches, and I'll be all set. As long as the milage isn't too bad.

Let's check out the Suzuki site again . . . nope, still a blank white page . . .

Dry Gloves in the Rain

. . . motorbiking in the rain . . .

Posted June 14, 2005 by Michael A. Morrow

I haven't spent a LOT of time riding in the rain recently, but back in my starving student college days, it seemed like I always had to do it. One of the most miserable things about riding in the rain is the wet frozen fingers you get, so it was with great joy that I came across this inexpensive way to keep those expensive gloves dry, and my fingers warm while motoring back and forth to school.

It requires only a couple of produce bags from the local grocery and a couple of medium sized rubber bands. When you get caught in the rain and have miles to go to get home, this will make it bearable for the 'ol digits, and improve both comfort and safety. Check out the graphic on the right, and follow these simple steps:

1) Stop at your local grocery store.

2) Get some LARGE freezer bags or other thick plastic bag, at least 10" x 12". If your hands/gloves are bigger than normal, you may need bigger bags. If you can't find any big enough, you may have to resort to the starving student option.
(in my starving student days, I used a couple of produce bags from the fruit & vegetable section - these days, they're a bit too thin, but maybe your local grocer has thicker ones)

3) Tear/cut a hole in the corner of a bag.

4) Pull the lever in to the handgrip and slip the bag over the grip and lever.

5) Use a medium/large rubber band to fasten the bag to the handlebar.

It should look like the graphic above - be sure the bag is big enough for your gloved hand and that the controls operate freely.

6) Slip your gloved hand into the opening of the produce bag

Not only will this keep your hands/gloves dry, but if it's cold out, it will block the freezing air from whistling through your gloves and freezing your digits (unless it's REALLY cold).

Another plus is that the plastic bags and rubber bands can be stored in a VERY small space for rain emergencies.

Just one caveat - make sure the plastic bags are not so thin that the bags might get tangled in the controls.

Also, remember that if you pull your gloved hand out of the bag while you're moving you'll have to stop to get it back in, unless you go with the more expensive option . . .

For those with a little more cash, there's a fancy version of the plastic bag. Long ago, they were called "Hippo Hands", and were made from waterproof vinyl. They snapped over the handlebars with nifty little snaps. I don't know if they still exist for sale commercially, but a person with passing familiarity with a sewing machine and the local fabric store could whip up a set.

I do, and I did. They may look goofy, but it's nice to be able to feel your fingers when riding, and they don't take up much space in your trunk/backpack/tail section.

UPDATE: Well, I guess
Hippo Hands DO still exist, but good grief! I didn't remember them being so humongous and extending all the way up to the elbow!

Check out the picture of the touring rig on the right. You could store a spare helmet in those things!

Not exactly small enough to store conveniently for those of us who don't run car-sized rigs!

My homemade versions were much smaller and easier to stash. Let's see what else we can find . . .

UPDATE to the UPDATE: Ahhh . . . here we go. Much better. Looks like there are a lot of different versions on the market. Here's a much smaller, more versatile (and stylish) option called Moto Muffs. Cheaper, too. The inset picture shows the same set mounted on a dirt bike.

If you're going to mount something like this on a sportbike, be sure to check the clearances and operation of your controls during full-lock turns in the parking lot. It would be really embarassing to dump it because your thumb got squashed due to reduced gas tank/handgrip clearance.

What Doesn't See You WILL Kill You - Part II
"But Officer - I never even saw the motorcycle!"

Posted March 2, 2005 by Michael A. Morrow

It's a brilliant day, and traffic is just inching along. There seems to be a problem up ahead that's got the traffic blocked and you can't see a thing. You turn off the air and roll the window down so the engine won't overheat. Another quarter of an hour goes by, and you finally reach the intersection and see the reason for the delay.

The entire right hand side of the intersection is blocked off. An officer directs you around through a narrow set of cones separating you from the oncoming traffic. As you go by, you see a car sitting crossways in the intersection blocking traffic on your side of the street. A motorcycle is embedded in the side of the car, having hit the car as it turned left across traffic. A group of people are huddled around a prostrate body on the far side. It's the motorcycle rider, identifiable by the riding boots - apparently, the rider cleared the car, but not the curb on the other side. As you drive by, you hear the car driver proclaiming loudly:

"But Officer - I never even saw the motorcycle!"

. . . . he really didn't.

You think to yourself "How could the driver not see something that tall and brightly-colored with it's headlight on?"

It's early, but you're running a little late. The sun is already up. Thankfully, traffic is still light. You can make the time up when you get on the freeway.

Only two intersections before you reach the freeway onramp. A left at the first one, and a right at the next, directly onto the ramp.

You reach the first intersection. A quick look to the left, then to the right, then back to the left again. Nothing coming, so you start to pull out . . .


as you slam on the brakes. The motorcycle coming from the left swerves around you, the rider flashing you the universal hand signal indicating displeasure.

You looked, and didn't see the motorcycle, and yet there it was. There was nothing to block the view, and Scotty didn't just beam it down.

What happened?

The short version? You looked, and you didn't see the motorcycle because "it" didn't exist in your head.

Yea, I know - you think I've lost it. The truth is, motorcycle riders may have more "its" in their heads than most people. So what's "it"?

"It", is the mental image your brain stores of an object.

Under normal circumstances, "it" is fairly well defined. "It" has a shape, definitive characteristics that distinguish "it" from other "its" that are similar, and under rare conditions, "it" may even have a color.

The more involved in your life "it" is, the better your brain's mental image of "it" is.

Let's try an example. Meet Joe Musclecar. He's wanted a bright red '65 'Vette for a loooonng time. This is not a car you get by accident. It requires considerable time, effort, and cash to get "it". Joe's been looking for "it" for a long time. Joe can spot "it" or one like "it" a mile away. His brain has stored an image of "it" that is so definitive, that he'd never miss "it", or one like "it", even under the most fleeting of circumstances. Joe could spot "it" from the far side of the Disneyland parking lot. Parked behind a mini-van. Because Joe has such a good image of "it" stored in his brain for immediate use, the likelihood of him seeing other "its" is increased, even if they don't match the image pattern he's sub-consciously looking for. Joe would have to be pretty stressed to miss a car-class "it". Would he see a motorcycle? We don't know.

Now let's try another example. Meet Soymuffin Moonchild. She's a confirmed advocate of public transit. Specifically, buses. Public buses are the only environmentally responsible form of transportation in her book, although lately she's noticed that she gets all hot, flushed, and excited when the new monorail project is discussed. And that new light-rail project going in on the other side of town positively gives her goose-bumps. Soymuffin thinks cars are evil gas-guzzling monsters. They are the root of all evil in her world. She doesn't own one. Never has, never will (ok, well, maybe a Volvo if she hits the lotto.)

One day, while cruising the local street fair, Soymuffin finds a tie-died Kurdish(**) carpet that would complete her batik-style hippie decor in the communal room to perfection.

One small problem. It's the same size as the floor of the communal room - eight feet by ten feet. No way to strap it to the ratty old bicycle stashed in the stairwell, and too big and heavy to drag onto the bus. After extended reflection over some soy-n-sprouts on peta bread, a vague recollection begins to surface. Doesn't Daffodil Cosmos have an old VW microbus? Maybe she could borrow it. A quick e-mail at the local internet cafe over a soy latte confirms temporary loan of the little future roadside bonfire on wheels. That afternoon, after struggling to load the carpet into the microbus, she heads for home with her new treasure. She comes to the first intersection, where she needs to turn left . . .

A quick look to the left, a longer look to the right, another look to the left, and she chugs out into the intersection at best possible speed (ok, maybe speed isn't the operative word here).

Before the little rolling roadblock can get a quarter of the way into the intersection, an eighteen wheeler blows by, air-horns blasting. Soymuffin stabs for the brake (forgetting to remove her foot from the gas pedal in the process, but it doesn't matter), killing the engine, and leaving her sitting half into the intersection, shaking like a leaf. I looked! Where did that big truck come from?

She looked, but didn't see.

How could this happen?

It happened because "it" didn't exist in her head. It didn't exist in her head, because cars and trucks (and every other motorized vehicle in existence) were not a part of her life.

Her brain had not stored an image of them to be used, because it didn't need to. Now if "it" had been a bus, she'd have seen it coming a mile away, given her status as a bus-rider.

An extreme example? Yes. But think about it. How many car drivers are aware of, or have motorcycles as a part of their life? Not many. So the average car driver probably doesn't have a mental image of a motorcycle stored away for quick reference because they don't need it.

It gets worse. Let's say you've come to an intersection. You stop, and look both ways. What are you actually looking for?

Sadly, the brain doesn't actually store a photographic image of a car (or any other vehicle for that matter - except for the afore-mentioned red '65 'Vette that Joe lusts after). It doesn't have room for all the possible permutations of "car" that exist. So it stores a representation of a car.

Under normal circumstances, the representation of a car that the brain stores may include gross details like a generic car shape (similar to a polygon model in a 3-D computer system). It may also include round black things on the bottom corners (tires), some shiny surfaces on top (windows), and hopefully, a blob inside that represents an actual human being. Most of that blob will be taken up by a human face, probably the single most recognizable object in the brain's file of object representations.

(this is actually really important - it's why you should never use a dark face shield while riding, or have tinted windows on your car, but more on that later).

Rarely will the representation include color of any kind.

Here's the kicker.

The less time you have to identify an object, the more details your brain will leave out of the representation of that object, and the more representations of other objects it will ignore altogether! Like motorcycles! Give yourself too little time, and you won't see anything at all!

An additional problem is the recall priority of all the "its" the brain has stored. In a high-threat environment like traffic or city streets, the brain will be looking for a certain class of "its" - the "threat" class - those "its" that are most capable of causing you immediate bodily harm. In any situation, the most dangerous and likely threat representations are stored for fastest retrieval, and in traffic those are generally "car" or "truck" representations. Other representations ("its") are stored away in lower-priority (less available for recall) locations.

(this is why riding bicycles in traffic is so dangerous - not only are they not represented in context (bicycles in traffic???), they have no "threat" profile in the human brain. Their inoffensiveness makes them invisible in a threat-filled environment full of things that can kill you if you don't see them. And no amount of activism by bicyclists, or bicycle traffic laws will ever change that fact. Ride bicycles in traffic at your own risk!). But I digress . . .

So. Here's the problem.

Combine low awareness of "it", with a poor "it" shape definition in the brain, and then file "it" away in a low priority location because of a low threat profile, and you've got the recipe for the most common motorcycle accident. A car turning left in front of a motorcycle.
Ugly problem, isn't it? But not unsolvable.

There are tried and true methods for increasing "it" awareness in other road users. These methods all rely on increasing your visibility or recognizability to an unaware driver.

Methods of increasing your visibility fall into two categories:
1) increasing your recognizability, and

2) Getting the other driver's ATTENTION
Increasing your recognizability means emphasizing visible attributes that other drivers may already have stored in their heads. The most obvious method is to make yourself look like a car. Simple, yet impractical for most riders who don't own touring bike rigs that rival a cars' size and weight. So what else have you got that other drivers will recognize?

The human form. The human form is one of the most instantly recognizable forms stored in your brain. Unfortunately, most riders are partially obscured by their motorcycle, if not completely hidden behind a fairing. But all is not lost.

Even more recognizable than the human form is the human face. People are always looking for faces - it's built into our genes. This is why it is so important to make sure your face is visible at all times.

I did an experiment while riding the streets and freeways in L.A. Using a full coverage helmet, I rode for a week with a dark face shield, then a week with a clear shield and sunglasses. The results were so striking that I threw the dark shield away and never used it again. With the dark shield, it was as if I was invisible. Other drivers changed lanes into my space, turned across in front of me, and generally treated me like I didn't exist. Switching to the clear shield was a revelation. Suddenly, I existed again. The human face has an uncanny ability to make you human and to catch someone's attention. Make sure your face is visible !

Now we move on to getting another driver's attention. The single most important tool is to have an effective headlight(s). During the day, use high-beam on your headlight. Low beam just doesn't cut it, and can easily be mistaken for glare. Large yellow running lights front and rear are very effective at night. Headlights that flicker are effective during the day, but are a nuisance at night. Make sure you stay away from the frequencies that can trigger seizures.

Next on the list is COLOR. Black is invisible at night, and not much better during the day. If you're going to spend good money on riding gear, think protection and visibility. Black on black on black may look cool while cruising the local beach, but nobody will see it at the next intersection full of traffic. Plus, black helmets can cook your head on a sunny day.

Finally, we come to motion. Let's say you're approaching an intersection, and you can't tell if that other person sees you. One of the most attention-getting motions to the human brain is something moving across it's field of vision. For whatever reason, an object moving across your field of vision is more recognizable than one that is not. When you are approaching an intersection where someone is signaling a left turn, you are coming straight at them, and your relative motion is nearly zero. You are easily lost in the background of objects. Introduce a left-right-left weave, and you instantly get their attention, because you're now moving relative to the stationary background. How much to weave? Not enough to fall down, obviously, but with a little practice, you can tell when you've got their attention.

Oh yea. Sound. Get a loud horn, but only use it as a last resort. Unexpected horns are more likely to cause an accident than prevent one. If you've got the time to use the horn, you probably should have done something else anyway, like take evasive action. And loud pipes. Don't get me started. Just assume drivers are playing their favorite CD. Loudly. Get rid of the loud pipes and save your hearing. They just annoy the public and give motorcyclists a bad name. Get a real muffler, and put your efforts into an active defense. Assume you are invisible, and act accordingly.

Back to the driver at the intersection. The one telling Officer Friendly that they didn't see the motorcycle.

The motorcyclist probably had at least two things going against him.

First, the driver most likely didn't have "it" (a motorcycle image) stored in their brain.

Second, the driver looked quickly, and whatever image they may have had of a vehicle was most likely considerably degraded by the short amount of time they allowed to identify oncoming vehicle threats.

You need to be able to get the attention of drivers not accustomed to looking for motorcycles like the driver in the example above. Use every technique available to keep this from happening to you. It's worth your life.

Car drivers: all this said, not seeing is not a defense against prosecution. In Japan, saying you didn't see the other vehicle is treated as de facto evidence of negligent driving, for which there are very stiff penalties.

In several of our United States, hitting a motorcycle rider is also an automatic jail sentence.

(**) UPDATE: It has been brought to my attention that the floor covering in question was NOT a Kurdish carpet. Kurdish carpets tend to the higher-quality end of the spectrum. Soymuffin's 'carpet' was instead a simple rug, hand-woven from hemp rope by the local 'BC Bud' purveyer's main squeeze, and hand-dyed using crushed petals from poppy flowers.

My sincere apologies to the Kurdish people for confusing their very fine carpets with a crude rope rug that most people wouldn't use as a doormat, and which in all probability, if burned, would attract the attention of every drug-sniffing dog within a 25 mile radius.

What Doesn't See You WILL Kill You - Part I
It's the slow people that'll get ya'

Posted November 16, 2004 by Michael A. Morrow

This helmet was 23 hours old when it did what it was designed to do - protect my head. It was in turn 8/9 at Willow Springs International Raceway, and I was doing well over 100 mph. Total damage? A broken thumb, a bunch of bruises, and a wadded racebike.

My parents told me about a motorcycle accident they had to detour around the other night. When they described the final resting spot of the bike, I knew the rider hadn't fallen off. Laws of physics and all that. Plus I know the corner well. He was hit by a car turning in front of him. He didn't survive, even with a full coverage helmet.

So here's the deal.

The absolute BEST HELMET ON THE FACE OF THE PLANET, that you can beg, buy, borrow, or steal, will STILL protect your head in a direct impact up to a maximum speed of only 22 mph.
No, that's not a typo. Twenty-two (22) miles per hour. That's all you've got to work with.

Question: So how do people survive very high speed crashes? After all, TONS of racers have fallen off at speeds between 100 mph and 170 mph and survived with non-life threatening injuries (me included - three times).

Answer: Their head does NOT hit anything directly - it just slides along.

Toss in a curb, a light pole, or in the unlucky case of the rider above, a car turning left in front of you though, and it's tombstone time.

Question: What to do about it?

Answer: Understand the biggest dangers and watch for them.

Aside from the regular stuff like unsignaled lane changes, wet leaves, wet manhole covers, oil/glycol slicks, furniture jettisoned from the back of pickups, etc., etc., etc., . . .

The biggest danger to a motorcyclist is a car that is either stopped or not going your direction.
Statistically, more motorcyclists are killed by cars that turn left in front of them than any other circumstance. Usually it happens when a car coming the other direction turns left in front of a motorcycle, and the motorcyclist doesn't have time to take evasive action and center-punches the side of the car at a high closing speed. On his own side of the road.

But there's another left turn that can get you.

You're riding along, minding all the moving cars, when suddenly, a car parked at the curb on your right, pulls a left U-turn from the parking space, across all lanes of traffic!

And you're so stunned by this completely illegal and totally unexpected maneuver that you t-bone the car, killing yourself instantly. Unless you've practiced the evasive maneuver known as "going where he was", and are a preternatural counter-steerer.

Yes, it happens. Can you protect yourself? Yes.

First: Basic skills practice. There are two basic skills you need to know for emergencies (and just general good riding habits).

1) Emergency stops using the front brake.


Motorcycling is a SPORT, not a form of transportation. As with any sport, it REQUIRES PRACTICE to become proficient. And like flying an airplane, the consequences of doing it badly should provide incentive for doing it well. Set aside a day and do nothing but front brake stops. Learn how to let up your death-grip on the brake lever if the front tire starts to slide. You need to be able to modulate the front brake. This is especially important if you ride in bad weather (rain).

I did this. It saved my life. While in college, I spent an entire day doing emergency stops using only the front brake. I did front brake stops until my right hand couldn't pull the lever anymore.

A couple of days later, a small pickup truck turned left about 30 feet in front of me to get to a Quickie-Mart on my right, probably to pick up a six-pack.

No signal. No warning. Nothing.

He didn't even slow down to make the turn. One usually gets an inkling of intent from vehicle speed (I've come to expect that any vehicle going slower than 35 mph is guaranteed to do something stupid.)

I was going 35 mph. I stopped three feet short of hitting his passenger door as he went by in front of me. He saw me for the first time at that moment.

My rear wheel landed just as his rear bumper went by. If I hadn't been practicing emergency stops several days before, I'd probably be dead.

2) Counter-steering. In an emergency, you don't have time for anything else. It is the ONLY method racers use. If you have another theory or method you think gets you around a corner, forget it. You're WRONG. You're probably making at least two mistakes to get around one corner.

If you don't believe me, go to your local toy store, and buy one of those little gyroscopes that you spin up with a string. Wind up the string so that the wheel will go around the same direction your front wheel does when you're hanging on to the two handles. Try tilting one side of the wheel up. Which way does the wheel steer? Now pretend you need to make a quick right-hand turn. Push the right bar away from you. The wheel leans over to the right. Now go out to a parking lot and do it with your motorcycle. A Lot.

Second: As I mentioned above, watch slow-moving/parked cars and cars coming towards you with the same intensity you would normally reserve for a coiled rattlesnake.


Third: Develop the "Messerschmitt Twitch".
Many a WW II fighter pilot was saved from being a victim of the (rightly) famous Messerschmitt Me-109 by constantly keeping his head on the move looking everywhere, including over his shoulder (if you want to call them Bf-109s, forget it. Their own pilots called them Me's, so go away).

That's all for now, but stay tuned for PART II, where the car's driver is heard to say:

"But Officer - I never even saw the motorcycle!"

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Copyright Michael A. Morrow - March 21, 2004.