The temperatures are dropping and the leaves are turning, presenting new challenges for all riders. It’s time to start thinking about ensuring that our riding skills are up to the task. Sometimes we can ‘forget’ that our skills are a little rusty. In the melee of life, with so many other worries in these difficult times, we need reminding to think about how well we are riding. A great way to do this is on SAM members’ self-organised group rides. Is everybody riding to an advanced standard? We can all benefit from talking about the hazards to come and remind ourselves how we cope when riding conditions change. On your next ride this week, talk about times you got it right and ways in which you could have made better riding decisions. We all like sharing riding war stories!
Lessons from a difficult ride. The ride from Elbeuf to Boulogne started with a cool, but bright, pleasant autumn morning. Then the heavens opened. Four hours of rain bouncing off the tarmac. Even with three wheels the Piaggio the back wheel would slide and give butt-clenching moments. Stopping after 90 minutes for coffee we sat in a pool of water watching the endless deluge bounce off the road. We must apologise to the staff at Macdonalds for leaving them with two pools of water to clear up. Not much refreshed, we set off again. Hands got colder from sodden gloves and corners needed even more caution to prevent the rear sliding out of control. Aquaplaning wasn’t much of a problem, but the wind made sure that our rainwear was thoroughly tested. What were the lessons? Switch on the ASR (Anti-Slip Regulation) system when it starts to rain! This electrohydraulic system is designed to prevent wheel slippage in low-grip conditions. Also, lobster-claw over-gloves prevent gloves getting wet. So, there you have it, each ride is a lesson in how to do it better. Let’s share the wisdom.
In your newsletter this week, a reminder of the commonest biking accidents and how to avoid them. A new study confirms the value of a graduated licensing system. FEMA produces a position paper on the use of electronics to help riders. ASR systems included. With present technology, Advanced Rider Assistance Systems (ARAS) should not take over the throttle and steering. We’ll support the view that no system should take over the handlebars, or the throttle. Having one nut connecting the bars and footpegs is more than enough for any bike. No matter how many riding aids you have on a bike, it won’t help safer riding if the systems in other vehicles don’t know that you are on the road too. Despite the lack of motorcycle detection, the UK Government has just given the green light to the introduction of self-driving vehicles. Haven’t we just proved that ‘Smart’ motorways aren’t that smart? Still there is a very interesting article about the bikes to ride in a post apocalyptic world. Some motorcycle writers have really vivid imaginations! On a more down to earth note, you can read about camping over a long trip, i.e. around the world. Also, how to take a BIG dog on your bike.
Finally, as if you have had enough wild ideas, every bike trip tells a story and it may include sheepskin and Tibetan prayer flags. Happy reading.