If you’ve been riding for any length of time then you’ve been there: you leave for work in the morning, skies are blue and it’s just a beautiful ride in to the office. But by the time 5pm rolls around, things aren’t looking so good for you. Skies are brooding with dark clouds. Some directions – usually the one you need to head in – greet you with a black wall of rain. What to do? In many parts of the country, afternoon summer thunderstorms are just an everyday possibility. If you ride frequently, chances are pretty good that you’re going to be caught out one day. Below are some tips to help you prepare for such a scenario.
1). Check the weather. Okay, this may seem obvious, and to be honest, this step may or may not be helpful at all. Still, it’s a good idea to have some sort of sense of what to expect that day. Is it a standard 20% chance of scattered thunderstorms, or a more ominous 85% chance of severe thunderstorms in your area that day? Continue reading WRR51: Motorcycle Meteorology
So you’re out on your bike, enjoying a beautiful day in the twisties. You have a good rhythm going, hitting your lines, feeling great – when suddenly AHH! Gravel in the corner. What do you do? Your actions in this split second can mean the difference between riding it out or crashing.
The number one thing you need to take away from this, is DO NOT LOOK at the gravel. Instead, look at the clear patch or the path with the least amount of gravel. Remember motorcycling 101: you go where you look. Quickly draw your focus to the best possible line through the gravel – hopefully keeping the bike in your lane. If you have time, scrub off some speed before you hit it – but once you are on the gravel, LET OFF THE BRAKES! Braking while in a corner on gravel will usually result in you hitting the pavement.
Braking in a corner can also mean your bike stands up and goes wide, and remember, we are trying to stay in our lane. Wiping out on gravel is still better than having a head on with a car or truck!
Continue reading WRR47: Dealing with Gravel on Motorcycles
I received a sobering reminder of the dangers we face every time we ride last week. One of my good friends and riding buddies left work around the same time as me on Friday afternoon, both on our motorcycles. I got the call around 10pm that he never made it home, and was currently in surgery at the main trauma center for Charlotte. That’s all anyone knew, and let me tell you, your heart just sinks when you hear that about your friend. Granted, if you’ve been around the motorcycle community for any length of time, you’ve likely heard this same scenario played out many times. A car pulled out, they didn’t see the bike, and lives are changed. I’m not saying that I’m not sympathetic to everyone who goes through this, but it certainly hits especially close to home when it’s a good friend.
So let’s talk about what we can do to prevent this.
Continue reading WRR46: Ride Like You’re Invisible
Ever wondered what it would be like to own just a bike, and rely on it as your only form of transportation? In many parts of the world, that’s just the normal, middle class way of life. Here in the 1st world, most families have at least two cars, maybe even a third “Sunday” car that’s just for fun. Maybe you aren’t there yet, or maybe that quite frankly just doesn’t appeal to you. Living life on two wheels is definitely doable, here are some things to consider:
This is really going to depend on what bike you end up choosing. Smaller displacement bikes are generally cheaper to run all around. Not only do they use less fuel, they are also much easier on tires, brakes, chains, sprockets, and other wear items. Insurance companies typically base your rate based on engine size too, so that’s another plus to owning a smaller bike. While bikes can be quite economical and definitely use less fuel than your average car, by the time you factor in the cost of tires and other wear items – are we really saving much money compared to a car? Well, again, that depends on what car you are replacing or getting rid of. My bike gets approximately double the fuel mileage of my truck, so yeah, it’s cheaper for me to ride to work.
Carrying Stuff Continue reading WRR45: Living Cage Free
Buying a used motorcycle can be a great way to get some wheels under you without breaking the bank. A used motorcycle can also make a great first motorcycle, since you won’t cry as hard if (when) you drop it. But what if that great deal turns into a mechanical nightmare that you can’t even ride or enjoy? How worn out is a motorcycle with 20,000 miles on it? Well, to be honest it really depends – and that’s not a cop out answer, read on to see why. Continue reading Buying a Used Motorcycle: How many miles is too many?