I had an amazing weekend of ride, off road, off pavement, off the grid. There is no freedom like the freedom of riding where you want on a motorcycle. I started off looking for The Devil’s Punch Bowl, and missed my turn but ended up in a much cooler place with wooden bridges and shaded lanes of rock and mud.
I see riders all the time put their helmet on cool but precarious spots on the bike. I have tried these “cool” spots and dropped my helmet to the ground every time. Drop your helmet, get a new one.
I found this one spot where the helmet works best for me. I put it on the passenger foot peg on the drivers side and lock it with a cheap bicycle lock to prevent it from blowing off. That way, if it does drop from this height, it won’t get damaged or compromised. If you drop your helmet from waist height or higher, on a hard surface, I would say the strength has been compromised and suggest getting a new helmet. Helmets today are almost disposable. Only good for one drop. But that’s all you need it for.
I have tried every toxic chemical you can imagine to degrease engines and clean my hands after a day of monkey wrenching in the shed. My stepfather introduced me to this product when I was 12, on a camping trip. I filed it away in my brain under, “cool all natural cleaner to brush your teeth, take a bath, shampoo, and doing the dishes”. Yes, it really does work for all those purposes.
Years later I thought… I wonder how this would work on grease. It is amazing. Especially on your skin. My first bottle lasted 2 years before I ran out. You can dilute it in a spray bottle and degrease an engine… or take a single drop to clean your hands off.
Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap is magic.
Here is a short list of driving tips I have discovered from my own riding experience.
1 – Always look at where you want to be, not at what you want to avoid. If you stare at a pot hole there is a good chance you will end up running right into it. Instead look at the space beside the pot hole. Imagine a path you want your tires to take. Your head leads your shoulders which are connected to your arms, which is doing all the steering. So when you look to the right your bike will most certainly drift to the right.
2 – Wear confortable clothing. One of the biggest threats to a driver is their own distracted attention. If there is a loose tag or collar digging into your neck, even a little bit, after 15 mins it will become a road hazard. Pull over immediately and fix the problem before riding any longer. Anything that distracts your attention from the road should be changed or removed.
3 – Pick good times to ride. Avoid bad times to ride like: when you are tired, sick, hung over, upset, anxious, and nervous. Avoid rush hour, at night on Friday or Saturday or during the holidays when there is a higher chance of others drinking and driving.
4 – Pretend you are a pilot and do a walk around inspection of your bike. Make sure all side cases are locked and secure, there are no loose cords or straps hanging, there is no evidence of oil leaks on the ground, especially under the front brakes. If you are a little A.D.D. like me, it will help you from making 10 stops before going for a long ride.
5 – If it is the beginning of the season or it has been awhile, do low speed circles and figure 8’s in an empty parking lot before getting on with a big ride. It will help remind you of your sense of balance and throttle control. You may feel like a geek but it will make you a better driver.
6 -Consider a Garmin GPS with the “trace route” function on and no destination punched in. That way you can see what roads you have already been down and gives you more notice for approaching turns. Also, I love the fact that the GPS will take you in really weird and unexpected roads that the software determined was the shortest distance between two points. It is a great way to get comfortably lost. And when you are ready to get home, one click and it guides you home so you can enjoy the scenery.