Hey everyone - This is Michelle here! As the seasons change, so does our personal riding schedule and based on your local riding terrain - that can mean coming into or coming out of weather conditions that present challenges while traveling on 2 wheels (or three even!) . Here in Florida, we are just coming to the end of "Rainy Season". For us, that means safer riding weather and more motorcycles out and about on the roads here. Vroom Vroom!
Today, I want to talk to you about the importance of knowing (and more importantly) respecting your own personal limitations when riding. We hear all the time, well known motorcycle phrases like "Dress for the Slide...Not the Ride", " Loud Pipes Save Lives" and my all time fav. "It's about the Ride not the Destination". As riders, we're taught (or learn the hard way) to ride defensively - being sure to be mindful of every movement around us and prepare for unexpected lane shifts or quick stops from the cars & trucks nearby.
But rarely have I come across an article or post related to trusting your own self, recognizing limiting riding conditions and slowing down, or dare I say it...Even pulling over and getting off the road for a minute. I know some of you might be thinking at this very moment - I don't have to worry about that - I'm an experienced rider!
I also consider myself a safe and experienced rider, but this is not about experience so much as it is about accepting that no matter how much experience you have, your body just might not be able to handle the riding challenges that are ahead and it just might be time to stop.
So this Happened...
A couple of weeks ago, Dave and I rode to Myrtle Beach's Fall Bike Rally. It was our very first long distance ride and we planned accordingly by mapping out our route, planning to take the scenic route, checking weather forecasts, etc.
We thought we had it all covered and honestly could not have planned for Hurricane Michael's arrival. The storm moved in (and intensified) so quickly that the Florida Pan Handle barely had enough time to prepare. On a side note, my thoughts and prayers are with those folks. Now, we were obviously not traveling through the Panhandle when the storm hit, but we were traveling along Florida's East Coast when it was in the Gulf. We spent all day dodging rain drops and navigating through 47 mph winds, as well as sideways rain that was impossible to see through.
We stopped a lot along the way, making our what would have been an easy breezy 6 hour trip turn into 12 grueling hours. The decision to finally accept our limitations and pull over to stop while the rain bands came through came after I skid into an intersection into oncoming traffic. Fortunately, I was able to stop the bike (while looking into the whites of the oncoming drivers eyes)and did not dump. It shook me up enough however and led me on a 12 hour evaluation of my riding decisions!
I feel lucky for the lesson
So, of course I've been telling everybody that will listen to me, about my experience. Most riders change the subject quickly. Maybe they don't want to think about it. I've had a few make (joking around) comments like "You just gotta ride through that!". When I shared my story with our new mechanic Jeff, he said "Well I used to be like that, but not anymore since my accident".
He then went on to tell a story about a rainy ride with friends. He was riding along the North Carolina Mountains and it began to rain hard. While most of the people who were riding with him, pulled off the road to wait for the storm to stop, he and another rider decided to push through it.
With mountain on one side and a steep drop off on the other, off he went all the while thinking I've got this. Mother Nature had another plan altogether, though. you see the rain had washed away a large mud bank into the road, and as he turned the next blind curve he drove right into it. Taking him and his bike into the mud slide. Eventually his bike caught ground and flipped up over him, breaking his Jaw and causing many other injuries.
It's just not worth it folks...
My 12 hour thinking session, helped me to come up with some tips to use when it comes to knowing our limits, accepting them and doing the right thing for safety
Signs that You May Have Reached Your Riding Limit & What You Can Do About It:
These ABS systems have small diameter ports and seals that can be clogged or deteriorate easily cause failure due to contaminates in the fluid. These ports & seals are internal, making it impossible to see any clogs or deterioration before it's too late.
The types of failures that you can expect to encounter by overlooking this routine service, include Seizures (Brake hand control feeling hard, or seized up) and Flow By (Deterioration of the rubber components)
I've unfortunately seen this first hand with a customer recently. He called on me to check on his brakes because his hand control felt locked up on the first pump, but after the second pump - it worked. I changed his brake fluid, but it was too late and within a couple of days, he had lost all use of brakes and ended up needing to replace the ABS module...A costly replacement for sure! Fortunately for him though, he did not have an accident.
Keep the Chrome Shining
I'm sure y'all take a bath at least once a week to impress the ladies and to get rid of the aromas accumulated from a hard days work, well it is just as important to give your ride a bath every now and again too, not just to look great while out cruising but you are more likely to notice loose or broken bolts, screws, parts rusted or missing, oil leaks, or worn items on your bike. after all a clean machine is a mean machine. so give that sled a little bit of TLC and let her shine bright....until next time keep the rubber to the road and be safe!
Would you go to bowling night without your lucky shirt? Or go to the ballgame without your lucky hat? How about heading out on the open road without a Gremlin Bell?
Not sure what a gremlin( or freedom) bell is? Read on my friend and I'll tell you what I know!
The Mystical Story of Gremlin Bells
(As reported in thunder press)
As we all know, life has many mysteries that have no apparent solutions. One of these is Evil Road Spirits. They are little gremlins that live on your bike. They love to ride and are also responsible for most of your bikes problems! Sometimes your turn signals refuse to work, or the battery goes dead, the clutch needs adjustment ( happened to my bike last week!), or any of several hundred other things that could go wrong. These problems are caused by Evil Road Spirits.
Road Spirits(or Gremlins) can't live in the presence of a bell. They get trapped in the hollow of the bell. Among other things, their hearing is supersensitive. The constant ringing of the bell and the confined space drives them insane. They eventually lose their grip and fall to the roadway. (Have you ever wondered how potholes are formed?) The bell has served its purpose. It is also believed that if you lose your bell somewhere out while riding, that it has sacrificed itself for you in order to avert what could have been a serious tragedy.
If you have picked up a bell of your own, the magic will work, but if your bell was given to you, the power has been doubled and you know that somewhere you have a special friend helping look after you.
So If you have a friend that doesn't have a bell, why not be the person to give them one. Not only is it a nice feeling for the recipient to know you personally care, it is also a great good luck charm to have! The bell, partnered with a good preventative maintenance program set forth by the bikes owner, will help to eliminate the Gremlins and keep you safe on the road!
Already Have A Bell and Don't know where to put it?
According to myth, the lower the better, so I recommend you hang the bell at the lowest point of your bike frame, as not to get in the way of any belts, etc. I personally hang mine on the inside of my foot peg closest to the frame and my wife's hangs from an unused bolt hole at the bottom front of the frame.
Don't have a bell and want to know where to get one?
You can find a nice selection of gremlin bells for sale on Amazon and if you google search "gremlin bell " you can find some great sites that specialize in these lucky charms and of course, you can easily find them at your local Harley Davidson check out counter.
Ride on, Live Free and be Happy! (and keep those gremlins at bay!)
It's easy to become dehydrated, or chilled as you get into higher altitudes, so drink plenty of water or Gatorade, eat a light lunch, pack a sweatshirt or jacket and don't forget your clears for when the ride lasts longer than expected. After all, fatigue and hypothermia can ruin an awesome ride.
Be safe and keep the rubber on the road!
while we are all out having fun and riding new or favorite routes lets not forget the needs of the steed.afterall your ride needs to be maintained, oils changed,tires and brakes checked, clutch adjustments,etc...because we all know its best to get home safe and sound than to be stuck in the breakdown lane. so ride on and be safe.
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