The other night I went to a gathering of folks and met some great people. It was a Bible study that's been in existence for roughly 30 years. I sat next to a gentleman who is in his 70's and is an avid downhill skier. He's been skiing for over 50 years and he's now in an age bracket which puts him into the ski-for-free category. I'm pretty sure there aren't too many 70+ downhill skiers. When you reach that age you get to ski for free. It seems like a just reward for still having supple muscles and joints.
Last year I wrote about we who ride on two wheels being in a subset of the population. This man is in a subset too and judging by what he said and his smile while saying it he enjoys his sport very much.
When I mentioned to him that I ride a motorcycle and that there are some similarities with regard to danger but also a big fun-factor he got serious. He talked about how dangerous motorcycles are and gave a few examples of accidents. You know how that conversation goes.
We all know that riding is dangerous and we all hear these stories and deal with them in our own way, but I find that sometimes a conversation like this can hit something deep inside. And there are times when the soul-searching thoughts can last a couple of days. Am I crazy to be riding? Is something going to happen to me soon and this is a warning? Do I need more training? Should I give up riding and take up downhill skiing? Nah, I'm not in the free bracket yet.
I do some volunteer work at the county jail. I've ridden to and from the jail a lot but I don't take any of it for granted. The ride home late this afternoon was one of the best. It was an aha experience.
Within weeks of getting the Beemer I bought bar risers and a peg lowering kit. I'm over 6' and needed more room in the cockpit. I've never really leaned hard, thinking either the pegs or my boots will scrape but today I hit the corners harder and faster than usual. I put the bike into a more aggressive lean. I figured I'd try to find the limit. I got the bike far over but didn't scrape. I was surprised when the suspension dug in and held the bike firm and with more stability through the curves. Is riding like downhill skiing? Can a person schuss on a motorcycle?
I'm not boasting by any means. My chicken strips are big (big chicken strips = big chicken). And I'm not suggesting for anyone to take corners faster than their level of experience. Let's face it, most motorcycle accidents happen on the curves so we should be good at cornering.
Then I had the thought that an advanced riding class might be in order. Maybe that's what the gentleman at the Bible study was saying. Riding is dangerous and a healthy reminder of that fact every so often is good. It helps keep things in perspective instead of slipping into a false sense of security.
Do you have any training classes in your plans this riding season?