Tips for Low-Speed Riding

Tips for Low-Speed Riding

Unless you’re somehow not subject to the laws of gravity, you likely feel a bit wobbly during slow-speed parking-lot maneuvers. This is because the stabilizing effect of inertia and the gyroscopic forces imparted by your bike’s wheels diminish as speed decreases, giving gravity the upper hand. Staying upright and balanced requires a deft orchestration of clutch, throttle, and brake, along with precise lean and steering angles, body positioning, and visual focus. Putting all these pieces together is challenging, but here are a few tips that will make slow-speed riding a little less nerve-racking.
Since your bike is less stable at slow speeds, it’s important to maintain smooth, steady drive. A lot of bikes’ throttles are too sensitive for precise control at a walking pace, so it’s best to keep the throttle steady and instead use the clutch to control speed.  This is called the friction zone. Locking the throttle by anchoring your thumb or index finger against the handlebar switch pod can be helpful.
For even more exact control, drag the rear brake. Not only is it great for fine-tuning your speed, but it also has the beneficial effect of increasing stability by putting some tension in the drive train and rear suspension. The front brake on most bikes is quite powerful, and even a light pull on the lever is going to shift weight forward, compress the fork, steepen steering geometry, and upset the stability you’re working so hard to maintain. Reserve the front brake for stopping, not adjusting your speed.
Now that you know how to preserve slow-speed stability, it’s time to make a tight turn. While it’s common to lean off the inside of the bike in faster corners, at slow speeds you’ll want to keep your body upright and let the motorcycle lean beneath you by shifting your weight to the outer edge of the seat, dirt-bike style. Keep your feet on the foot pegs to stabilize your body and so you can use the rear brake as needed to regulate your speed. Of course, if you mess up and need to put a foot down, do it.
Yes, leaning a bike at slow speed is unnerving, but it is required. Remember that you can lean quite a bit without falling as long as you maintain enough momentum to counteract gravity. Being loose on the handlebars allows quick and fluid adjustments to maintain your balance, and remember to keep your eyes up, even if you get nervous.
Slow-speed riding can be tricky, and it requires a specific set of skills. As always, practice makes perfect, so spend some time riding slowly to get used to slow-speed balance. Use the clutch, throttle, and rear brake technique to creep along slowly. You know you have good balance if you don’t need to saw the handlebars back and forth to stay on course. Now put all the pieces together to make slow U-turns. With a bit of courage and a lot of practice, you’ll be the master of your local parking lot.

Keep The Contact Patch Between The Lines

Michael Theodore
National Road Captain

 

State Watch

State Watch
Ohio
House Bill 548, which would allow motorcyclist to wear earplugs while riding,it passed the state House and has been  referred to the state Senate Transportation, commerce and workforce Committee. Ohio is one of a few states where earplugs are prohibited while riding.

Iowa
All-terrain vehicles and other four wheel utility vehicles can now legally operate on gravel roads in Des Moines County, Iowa. The county began considering the move after receiving petitions containing more than 1,000 signatures. ATV’S and UTV’S also will be allowed on paved roads to get from one gravel road to the another. Among the restrictions reported by Tri-States Public Radio: ATV use is prohibited between 10 pm and 4 am. Vehicle operators must be 18 or older and have a valid drivers license; vehicles can not be three-wheelers; vehicles may not be driven in ditches; maximum speed is 35mph; passengers are prohibited. Those wishing to operate an ATV on a county road must buy an annual $25 permit.

California
Waymo, the self-driving vehicle unit of Alphabet, has obtained permission to test fully automated cars on California’s public roads. The company, the first to receive a driverless permit in the state,plans to keep it’s vehicles in the neighborhoods of Mountain View, Sunnyvale. Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Palo Alto, according to a report by Verge.com. Waymo’s permit includes day and night testing on city streets, rural roads, and highways with posted speed limits of up to 65 mph. Arizona also allows Waymo to operate driverless cars.
Lets hope that they have high tech sensors to see motorcycles.

Michael Theodore
National Road Captain

Novice Rider Heading For The Highway




How much riding experience should a novice rider have before taking their motorcycle out on the highway?
Interstate, or ”controlled access.” highways present a few challenges to the novice rider. as well as some advantages. The main advantage is that. aside from the entrance and exit ramps, there are no intersections. As a result. there are no oncoming vehicles that may turn left across your path: there are no vehicles on cross streets running stop lights or stop signs; there are no vehicles backing out of driveways or rushing out of parking lots at the last moment. And if there are HOV lanes – which, per federal law, riders can use nationwide even when riding solo-you may find them to be the most lightly traveled lanes on the highway.
However, typical highway speeds and a large number of traffic lanes may be intimidating. Lane changes can be perilous, whether you are the one making them or you are dealing with other vehicles switching lanes Motorists might not use turn signals or look over their shoulders in advance of a change, or might not provide a large space cushion in front of you when they pull in.
Your keen situational awareness and sharp reflexes will be tested. I always tell new riders practice, practice, practice. Yes that means first staying in a parking lot practicing all your maneuvers. This also means higher speeds and braking and practice swerving. This is very important to learn how to control your bike in a parking lot from slow speeds to high speeds. By doing this you will see that everything happens faster on the highways. And now you will have developed skills in learning how to maneuver your bike while scanning and evaluating traffic situations.
On-ramps and off-ramps can present their own challenges. When entering the highway, it is best to accelerate and match the speed of traffic when possible in order to merge properly. Precise shifting skills are very helpful here. Off-ramps will vary in length and radius. Good visual assessment of the ramp plus good judgement in braking and cornering are essential. Riding twisty roads can help develop these skills. With well-honed riding skills and an arsenal of risk-management strategies, you can safely venture onto the interstate highway.
But your first time should not be during rush hour, when you would have to deal with tired, impatient drivers doing their stop-and-go,frequent-lane-change maneuvers. If you are not comfortable maintaining highway speeds, you may present a hazard to other motorists. Consider sticking to surface streets until you have logged in sufficient miles and gained an adequate level of confidence.
As always keep the contact patch between the lines.

Michael Theodore
National Road Captain

State Watch

Georgia

The Georgia Motorcycle Safety Program, housed within the state Department of Driver Services, has received a grant for more than $84,000 from the Governor’s office of highway safety for efforts to reduce the number of motorcycles fatalities in the state. The GMSP promotes state and national safety initiatives through its outreach coordinator,who researches, and helps maintain a voice at industry events, local schools and colleges, regional meetings, festivals and other public events. The program also regulates motorcycle training for new riders and experienced riders.

Washington

The Pierce County Council passed an ordinance in November allowing ATV’s to operate on several roadways to encourage tourism, bring economic benefit to the community and improve recreational opportunities for county residents. The sheriff planned to launch an educational program about the change, which becomes effective on Jan 1, 2019

Michael Theodore National Road Captain

State Watch

Ohio
The state Senate passed legislation aimed at decreasing driving by imposing up to a $100 fine on offenders in addition to the standard fine established for the moving violation they are cited for. H.B 95 makes distracted driving a secondary offense. Drivers must be pulled over first for a moving violation before they can be cited for the offense. Under the bill,distractions include, but are not limited to,texting,reading,using tablet or smart phone features or applying cosmetics. In lieu of paying the additional fine, offenders may choose to complete a distracted driving safety course.

Ohio
Motorcycle Ohio, the state’s rider training program, has become part of the state Bureau of Motor Vehicles. The agency previously was part of the Ohio Department of Public Safety. Official’s said the program will continue with “business as usual”.

Hawaii
There is a new bill to allow motorcyclist to ride on the shoulders of the road became law without the signature of the Governor. Who initially vowed to veto it. In Hawaii, a bill that passes the Legislature, but goes unsigned by the governor or is not vetoed becomes law. The state Department of Transportation will determine the areas in which motorcyclist may use the shoulders to navigate around slowed or stopped traffic. The zones designated for shoulder riding must have at least two lanes in each direction and have shoulders that allow safe passing.

New Jersey
S.1400 was introduced which would allow the operator of a motorcycle. motorized bicycle or bicycle to proceed through an intersection on a malfunctioning steady red light if the operator comes to a full and complete stop at the intersection for two complete cycles or for two minutes, whichever is shorter. The rider would then treat the signal as a stop sign.

Texas
The state’s Sunset Commission is considering a transfer of the motorcycle safety program from the department of Public Safety to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, saying it is a “more appropriate, non-law-enforcement agency”. The commission “found the motorcycle safety training and driver license programs have not been administered well at DPS.”

Michael Theodore                                                                                                                      National Road Captain

Wheel He or Won’t He?

Using rotating wheels to determine if a driver is about to roll.

  

Will this car pull out in front of you? Watching for the front wheel to begin rolling is a more reliable predictor than making eye contact with the driver.

For Those Of Us On Two Wheels, The most likely clash with another vehicle pulling into our lane from a side road, parking lot or driveway. How can we know if the driver will hit the gas and shoot point blank into our immediate path of travel? When it comes to that anxious driver poised to pull out from our right or left, is there a way to detect the driver’s intent?
If there’s a wheel there is a way. Determining if a vehicle is beginning to move forward is most practical if we look to the car’s front wheel. Our brain has a much easier time detecting even the subtlest wheel rotation than it does trying to discern if the mass of the vehicle itself is moving slightly from right to left (or vice versa). When you see the wheel on the vehicle beginning to rotate counterclockwise? Be ready; the vehicle is about to enter your lane and space!
But what about eye contact? Even if a driver appears to be looking directly at you, he or she may be looking beyond, never even noticing you. And, even if the driver does see you, they could easily misinterpret the distance and speed at which you are approaching, believing that you are farther away than you are.
Always anticipate the move. Even if you are confident that a driver will not pull out, be ready when they do. The way to do this is by managing your speed. Ask yourself if you could smoothly and safely stop your motorcycle to avoid contact if that driver began to pull out. I always tell myself that driver does not see me so I am already taking defense measures when approaching this type situation. Looking and anticipating while still carrying excessive speed takes away your options and limits your space and time you have to work with should the driver enter the lane ahead of you. And He or she wheel. I mean they will.
Keep the contact patch between the lines

Michael Theodore
National Road Captain

 

Pain In The Grass

How to deal with lawn clippings on the roadway.

Grass on the roadway can be a non- issue or an extremely slippery condition. If possible,slow down using clear pavement ahead of the covered are.

I’ve Got A Grass – Fed Beef, And based on recent conversations, with other riders I am not alone on this issue. We see this all to much while out on the road enjoying a nice ride. Homeowners mowing their lawns and throwing abundant grass clippings onto the roadway can create a special kind of threat to motorcyclist.
Dry grass will typically blow away as vehicles pass through or a nice breeze sweeps it off the roadway. But if grass is wet,it will cling to the surface and can be like grease under your motorcycle tires. If possible, when confronted with grass- covered pavement leading up to the grassy area. Keep your eyes up, look well ahead to increase stability. To maximize your traction, minimize steering,braking and throttle inputs and coast through the grass patches. If the equivalent of one of these Chia Pet patches of pavement appears in a corner,you should minimize your lean angle and look to the exit,not down at the grass or toward the edge of the road.
Remember that grass will stay wet longer than the pavement will. So after a rain shower or in the morning when dew blankets the landscape with moisture, the road surface may be dry, but the grass clippings may still be wet and slippery.
The best way to avoid this problem is ride only as fast as you can see and anticipate the possibility before you encounter it. Slow down and if there is any clear pavement in your lane ride on that instead of over the grass clippings.
If you see homes with lawns especially on the weekends when homeowners are most active doing yard work. There is a good chance someone will be mowing. Larger lawns like those found in rural areas where we like to ride, are often maintained with large tractors that process large amounts of grass and throw it greater distances. While discharging grass onto roadways is illegal in many areas, it remains a big threat to us riders. Anticipating the condition and riding smoothly and calmly through it will reduce the likelihood that grass on the road will clip you.
Keep the contact patch between the lines

Michael Theodore
National Road Captain

7 Tips for Fall Motorcycle Riding

Autumn is definitely the best time for riding. With the cool, crisp air and the captivating colors of autumn, no one can deny that this is the perfect time to hop on your motorcycle and explore the beauty of the great outdoors.
Any rider will agree that fall motorcycle riding can be pretty rewarding for a number of reasons. For one, you don’t have to bear the heat. You don’t have to put up with the traffic, either! It is just you and your beloved bike on the wide, open road. How exciting can that be?
However, riding your motorcycle during this time of the year also comes with its own set of challenges so make sure you take the necessary precautions to avoid any unpleasant surprises that will spoil an otherwise remarkable experience.

Fall Motorcycle Riding Tips: How to Stay Safe on the Road

Brush up on your riding skills. If you haven’t been riding your bike lately, it is possible that your riding skills may have become a little rusty so do some slow speed maneuvering and braking drills before taking your motorcycle out for a spin. Remember, it is always better to be safe than sorry!
Use the right tires. Are you still using those sporty tires you used this summer? Well, this is the perfect time to change them. Sporty tires are made with softer rubber and are great for warm weather but they tend to lose their traction in colder weather. Use touring tires instead.
Check your lights. Now that the days are shorter, you will probably go riding in the dark so check your headlights, brake lights and turn lights are in great working condition.
Watch what you wear. Autumn is notorious for greatly fluctuating temperatures so dress appropriately to counter these abrupt changes. Wear a leather jacket to keep you warm since the wind and dropping temperature can easily tire you out and impair your senses. Layering up may be a good idea but if you find it exhausting, you may choose to wear heated gear instead. You may also want to bring several pairs of riding gloves so you’ll have the perfect pair whatever the weather.
Don’t forget your rain gear. You wouldn’t want to get caught up in the rain without the appropriate motorcycle safety gear since it can significantly affect your riding ability and increase your risk of hypothermia, a potentially dangerous condition wherein your body loses heat faster than it can produce it.
Look out for those leaves. Yes, the changing colors of autumn may be a sight to behold but you need to look out for those falling leaves! While it may look unassuming, a pile of dry leaves can cover potholes and other inconsistencies on the road that may increase your risk of encountering accidents. Sharp objects hidden beneath the debris can also give you a flat tire and put you in danger. Moreover, wet leaves can make the road slicker than it usually is and reduce your bike traction so drive slowly until you have come past the obstacle.
Be extra cautious. While you need to be cautious and alert every time you take your motorcycle out for a ride, you need to be especially careful during this time of the year. The morning frost will leave a thin layer of ice on road surfaces making them more slippery than usual while strong gusty winds can easily set you off balance.
Fall motorcycle riding can be fun but you need to take extra precautions to make sure you reach your destination without a hitch!
Enjoy your Autumn short riding season
Always keep the contact patch between the lines
Michael Theodore
National Road Captain

 

State Watch

California
The state’s bill to protect motorcyclists from profiling by law enforcement officers failed to move forward. The bill, AB 2972, cleared the policy committee on a 5-2 vote. But the measure met opposition on the Assembly floor. Several lawmakers abstained, resulting in a 28-24 vote against the bill, which would prohibit law enforcement officers from stopping and questioning motorcyclist based on their choice of vehicle or clothing. Assembly member Anna Caballer, who introduced the bill was granted reconsideration, but ultimately pulled the bill when it became clear it wasn’t likely to pass.

Minnesota
The state Legislature passed S.F. 3466, which allows people possessing a motorcycle learner’s permit to ride a motorcycle on interstate highways and expressways. A person 16 or older who has a valid drivers license may obtain a motorcycle learner’s permit by passing a written examination and paying a fee.

New Hampshire
Gov. Chris Sununu signed S.B. 516 into law prohibiting motorcycle -only checkpoints by law enforcement agencies in the state.

Tennessee
S.B. 680, signed by Gov, Bill Haslam, removes a restriction that off highway vehicles only be operated on public streets and roads during one day of each of two big event weekends each year in Scott County. The new law specifies that the off-highway vehicles may be operated untill midnight. The law became effective on May 3rd.

Michael Theodore
National Road Captain

Mirror, Mirror, on the Bar


Proper mirror positioning can give you the fairest view of them all.
Most riders position their mirrors to provide the same rearward view. Resulting in a duplicated image and a much narrower overall view. By angling mirrors outward, you the rider can expand and optimize the rearward view while still seeing everything behind.
You wouldn’t ride with a blindfold on. Nor would you ride with blinders to Obscure your peripheral vision (like horses wear). Yet many riders keep their right and left mirrors adjusted in a way that provides the narrowest view (including an excellent view of their elbows). Hum is this you?
Next time when you get on your bike, and before you pull away, take a careful look into each mirror. What do you see? Is the view in the left mirror virtually the same as the view in the right mirror? How much of the scene behind you can you see in both mirrors? If the scene is largely duplicated by each, try angling both mirrors outward to expand the width of your overall view. The ideal adjustment allows you to see a vehicle directly behind in either mirror but with minimal overlap of that image. You should have a distinctly different view to the outside of the mirror now as well. The left mirror  should reveal more of the space adjacent to your bike on the left (where cars pass), and the right mirror should expand the view of the space to the right of your bike (where merging vehicles appear from), significantly expanding your total rearward view.
While we are talking mirrors, it’s a good time to consider what other drivers see. Car drivers have a rearview mirror mounted on the windshield that provides exactly what the name suggest; a rear view. Cars also have two side – view mirrors mounted to the outside of the vehicle one on the left one on the right side. Unfortunately, dispite the name. those mirrors are typically adjusted inwards to take in the same rearward view as the inside mirror. That means that vehicles – including our motorcycles – are easily obscured from the driver’s view. Be aware as you ride alongside other vehicles; if you can’t see their reflection in their side mirror, then they can’t see you.

Keep the contact patch between the lines

Michael Theodore
National Road Captain
Coordinator for Ohio