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:
With another rainy week ahead we have been working at the shop and at the house trying to clear up some of those projects that have been kicked to the curb for too long, in theory this should open up some time for much needed wind therepy in the near future. I have also been checking our scoots over and making any needed adjustments or repairs that are due in prep for some clear sailing weather. We had a plan of riding up to myrtle beach bike week for the past weekend in order to catch up with some good friends, however we've put that off until early october so that we would'nt drown while heading up and back. So a few jobs got finished instead, and a better plan has been hatched for our fall run up the coast. Until then we will just have to plan some summer runs here....maybe the keys. hmmm
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