I've been doing a lot of post-winter maintenance on the VFR recently and have grown tired of running inside all the time to look up torque settings for the things that I'm taking on and off all the time. It seems obvious but I've not got the best memory and this works well for me. Pic of the obvious. Bonus pic of the stable.
There is a 200% rise in the chance of a bird taking a shit on your bike when you're waiting for someone to have a look at it.
It’s probably been a while since you first started driving a car, right? Even so, do you remember how scary big turns used to look when you were behind the wheel? Maybe you panicked and wondered if you could really make that turn or maybe you almost overadjusted. If you had a good driving teacher, hopefully, they told you to relax and just look down the road. The same is true when you’re driving a motorcycle. Except those turns can look even scarier since you’re that much closer to the road. Some people think they need to lean into the turn (don’t do that!), which is a mistake. But the truth is, it’s just like driving a car. Look down the road and drive for what’s ahead. It’ll keep you from over adjusting and it makes the whole experience less overwhelming.
When we drive a car, it’s easy to just hit a pothole and go “oops”, thinking of the tire alignment. But hit the wrong pothole on a motorcycle and you’re both going flying. That’s why you not only have to look down the road, but you need to look AT the road as well. Once you get experienced at looking down the road for turns and navigation, you’ll start noticing road issues as well. Do you see any big shadows on the road? Anything other cars are avoiding? If you get a stick in your wheel spokes, you’re not going to recover from that. Instead of a funny YouTube video, you’ll be looking at a coroners report. All that to say, avoid road debris and potholes like they’re fatal – which they very well could be.
It’s nice when you see a car with a bumper sticker that says “look twice, save a life” but even the people in those cars get into driving patterns. Ever been driving a car and realized you’re at work and you don’t remember anything about your commute? That’s called passive driving and it happens all the time. Passive driving doesn’t translate so well for motorcyclists. In fact, you’ll never find a motorcyclist who doesn’t remember their commute. That’s because riding a bike is an active thing. You can’t space out. You have to be in the moment the entire time, paying attention to the other cars and the road. Speaking of the other cars, you need to drive defensively. Drive like they can’t see you. Never pass through moving traffic in the middle and be extra careful coming around turns. This is where motorcycle driving and skiing have a weird connection. On the slopes, if you’re going to “drop in”, as in, come off one trail onto another, you need to look uphill. In a perfect world, it would be up to the other skiers to see you and reroute themselves. In this world, that’s not how it works. When you’re turning onto a road or even switching lanes, you need to look uphill and down. Remember “look both ways” from when you were little? Same idea. You never know when a car that looks stable could all of a sudden switch lanes and swipe you with it.
There’s nothing a seasoned biker hates more than seeing someone on a bike in the wrong gear. Short sleeves, no helmet, no jacket? The people that ride that way give all bikers a bad name. They’re also the ones that give motorcycle riding the fatality statistics it has. When you’re buying a bike, it can be easy to think to yourself, “Oh, I’ll save up for that helmet/jacket,” and ride without it for a while. But do so at your own risk. Ideally, you should buy and have the right fitting gear before you so much as register the new title. It’s not just about you, either. Imagine getting in a wreck with a car. Yes, with a helmet you’re injured but you’re not dead. If you weren’t wearing protection and you died in that crash – think about how the other person would feel. Even if it was partially their fault. Involuntary manslaughter is a terrible charge and killing someone makes a huge dent on the subconscious and mental health. That’s not to mention your family, friends and everyone you’d be leaving behind if you were to die on the road. And all because you weren’t wearing a helmet. And yes – there are some crashes that are fatal no matter what, but why take the extra risk?