I was thinking about the “wave” motorcyclists have been exchanging for decades. Some can barely be perceived while others make Gomer Pyle seem restrained. I always have wondered why the wave started. Way back before paved highways and interstates and motorcycles were less dependable than today maybe it was a way of saying all is good, You? - as you passed going in opposite directions. In the Hells Angels bad boy era, perhaps it was a way to signal affiliation in the same way today’s gangs have colors.
Whether you ride alone or in a group, riding a motorcycle is a solitary act. As we ride, we are exposed to the vagaries of weather, road conditions and our own sense of awareness, strength and vulnerability. All of this is unique to each of us based on our own perceptions and psyche as the ride unfolds in front of us.
A motorcycle is just a static object until a motorcyclist puts it in motion. A motorcycle must be in a relationship with a rider to fulfill its design purpose. More than any other form of locomotion, a motorcycle, once in motion, becomes a part of who we are in that moment. So as we approach on the road as motorcyclists, I wave and have for five decades. For me, the wave is a sign you are not alone, we are part of like-minded individualists, and we have each other’s back as we engage in the triumphs and hardships of our ride.
Thoughts / Suggestions / Insults / Welcomed / Appreciated
July has been a quiet month for RCB by design given the MOA National and other Rallies around the US. RCB events pick up at the end of the month.
First, A&S is celebrating its 50th anniversary this weekend. Members are encouraged to participate, and thank the folks at A&S for their support of the club over the years.
Tahoe Chill is August 17-19 at Camp Richardson. We have the same campsites as last year, and dinner will be served Saturday night. Rumors have been spreading that dinner also may be served Friday. You will have to attend to find out. The event is free to members, but we may pass the hat round Saturday morning for libations Saturday night. Please sign up on the web site so we can get an estimated number of people who plan to attend.
Lost Creek camping is September 7-9 in Lassen National Park. RCB has reserved a group site, and this is free to members and guests. This is motorcycle camping, not glamping, so you are on your own for food and adult beverages. There is potable water at the campground and very nice, clean vault toilets. Grab your camp stove or Jet Boil and join us for a great ride and camping. A National Park entrance fee of $20.00 must be paid when entering the park and before one can camp. Senior passes and yearly passes can be used in lieu of the entrance fee. Go to the events page on the web site for more details.
There have been a few good articles lately. The most recent I read was by Carl Parker, Publisher of ADV Moto magazine. Mr. Parker commented about what you and I already know; few things in life are more exciting than new experiences and tackling new challenges. He observed there is a fine line between well intended encouragement, and pushing others too far out of their comfort or safety zone. Riding motorcycles is exhilarating. However, people get hurt riding, and our sense of acceptable risk is different based on our individual skills, experience, and personal circumstances. Each of us bears the responsibility of our own actions and decisions, but the rest of us need to be aware when good intentioned encouragement pushes someone over that fine line. Often, it is difficult to determine our own limits, and that certainly may vary in the course of a ride, much less those we are riding with. As we get excited for our next ride, let’s be supportive while being respectful of the wide variation in the abilities and desires of those who ride with us. As I have preached many times, ride your own ride and do not worry about being too slow or too whatever. We all are heading to the same place. Being safe and having fun while getting there is paramount.
June was a busy month for RCB.
I want to thank Rick for taking the lead on the Spring Fling again this year. I thought the campground was very nice. Better yet we had it to ourselves. There is a motel and good café close by if we go back for another event. Special thanks to Cindy for cooking. Nom nom. A few RCB’ers became members of the Lewiston Moose Lodge. Be sure to ask those who were there Friday night about the benefits of Moose membership even if only for a bit.
Fifteen riders signed up for a day of learning and practice at Thunderhill. I think all had a good time, and a few came away with gumballs on the sides of their tires. Good stuff. My daughter rode my GS most of the day. Given she had only about an hour of riding experience on the street after getting her MC license about a month earlier, I was thrilled to see her learning skills and getting comfortable on a bike with the safety provided on the track. As I only got to ride two sessions, I am itching for another track day in the fall. If anyone is interested, send me a note. Dudes, if you bought photos from the track photographer please post a few in the Gallery, or send them to a club officer to post. Ray T took a lot of photos which we will post shortly. Thanks Ray.
Scott Moseman organized another Nevada Outback camping weekend with a GS friendly ride in the high desert of northern Nevada. I understand the ride primarily was on dirt roads and well developed two-track with a sprint across the infamous “Playa.” Regrettably, I had to work so I ask those who attended to give us a ride report and photos. Many thanks, Scott.
I read an article in Motorcyclist magazine by Ralph Hermens that resonated with me. On a RCB ride many years ago, I almost rear-ended a good friend in the middle of a corner at a crisp closing rate. WTF? After pulling my LD Comforts out of my arse, I thought about what he was doing wrong. That was my first mistake. Ralph Hermens was at a track day chasing his Buddies round the track. He was excited, greedy and concentrating on his experience. We all know as riders we must be vigilant, and our heads on a swivel. We must pay attention to everything around us all the time. So what happened? As Ralph was getting ready to pass a slower rider on the outside, the rider went wide unnecessarily and cut off his riding line, causing him to go off track to avoid a collision. Result? Many bruises and a broken collar bone. I was accelerating out of a corner after passing the apex. My Buddy was hard on his brakes unnecessarily. I stood my bike up and got hard on the brakes and barely avoided Ralph’s fate to avoid a rear-end collision. Predicting what other drivers and riders will do is important and can avoid an accident. Assuming someone will behave like you, competently, or by the rules of the road can be dangerous. The lesson is to leave enough space for those around you to be unpredictable, incompetent, and inattentive, and always try to give yourself an out.
Whatever we may think about a President or decision to put Americans in harm’s way, we should honor and respect those who have answered the call. By all means, we should thank those who have served. Better yet, we should assure those who have served are able to rejoin civilian life.
I am getting on the soapbox for a minute to say we the people should assure our government provides all treatment, care and support required when one returns from duty. No one who served or a family member of one who served should have to fight their own government for necessary treatment, care and support to rejoin civilian life.
In memory of those who have served, let's do our part by communicating with elected officials to insist they make our government responsive to those who protect our freedom.
Many thanks veterans from one who is not worthy of your sacrifice.
We know what propels a motorcycle, but what drives a motorcyclist? Were we born into motorcycling because our parents were enthusiasts? Many were, but just as many did not pursue motorcycling when parents no longer foot the bill. Many riders, like me, did not have parents who rode although our parents were supportive of our riding. Many others started riding after becoming financially emancipated because parents forbid riding in any form. What is it about motorcycling that drives riders from such disparate backgrounds?
I have no clue, but know this. Despite Hollywood’s persistence in casting us as sociopathic outlaws, most of us are well educated, law abiding, professionally successful, respectful and open minded. For those of us who have the opportunity and courage to live the adventure full time, we read time and again these traits propel adventurers through countries where language and customs truly can be obstacles.
My request of those who read this is to remember we are the beneficiaries of those who have gone peaceably before us and ambassadors for those who follow. Let’s be the world adventurer even if only for a day, week or month by pledging to be courteous, respectful and open minded as we embark on our rides.
At the rate days are flying by I’m going to be as old as Methuselah before I know it. I flubbed once again so we have the April President’s Corner in May.
As I was pondering what to write, I thought about the beginning of our riding season.
About three years ago Steve, Roger, Roy and I decided to ride our dual-sport 650’s in Baja. After a couple days, we arrived in Guerrero Negro well after dark, and decided to take a day off to go whale watching. This departure from our ride was an awesome experience, and I made a new friend, Baby, who was about the size of a stretched passenger van.
We had an uneventful couple days after meeting Baby until we headed to El Arco en route to San Francisquito on the Sea of Cortez. After El Arco and as we climbed into the mountains, the effects of the hurricane that blew across Baja from the Sea of Cortez the summer before made its presence known many months after it dissipated over the Pacific Ocean in the form of washed out roads, deep ruts and most riders nemesis, deep sand. What once was a valley suitable for grazing cattle was a sand wash from side to side with just enough big rocks and ruts to foreclose any hope of getting enough speed up to stay on top of the sand. By late afternoon we were exhausted, dehydrated and psychologically spent. More significantly, we only were about half way to San Francisquito. As we approached the spine of Baja in the mountains at dusk on what barely passed for a sandy Jeep trail, we were contemplating how we could spend the night in the middle of nowhere without camping gear. We decided to press on just a little bit more, and were saved by Rancho Piedra Blanca where we rented rooms for the night, took a shower, ate fresh fish and steak dinner, and drank about a case of cold beer. In every respect, the Rancho was paradise.
As we ramp up the riding season and embark on our travels, take a day off to pursue a different venture. It may lead to an unexpected new friend. When you are at your wits end, look around the next corner and you may find paradise. When you get home, share your photos and experiences by submitting a photo journal or article for the Newsletter.
Last fall, someone asked me if we, the club, do anything. I was flummoxed, knowing all we do as a club and the effort volunteers invest in their events. I went through a few past events, and a few scheduled. I dedicate the March PC to events past in anticipation of another great year.
The rest of the initial conversation was:
"I looked at your web site and the last post was like eight years ago. I had to ask if you (RCB) do anything other than breakfast and the monthly member ride."
The lesson learned is we are terrible, me included, about taking a minute to take a few photographs during our rides and events. Let’s make a pledge to grab our cell phones and take a few pictures. They can be shared on our new web site. We are getting closer to going full in, full time. Details to follow.Thoughts / Suggestions / Insults / Welcomed / Appreciated
Many apologies for being late. We had two trials in mid-February and March 6. Getting ready for trial is a bit like getting ready to take your life on the road – you must be prepared, know your route, stops and destinations well, be prepared for everything, and be sufficiently flexible to change direction at any moment. Any ride is more fun.
My daughter finished and passed her Basic Rider Course. Now what? Here are a few notions I jotted down for her. As we start another riding season, perhaps we all should ponder these notions.
- Vision/Perception, Braking, Shifting and Decision-Making
- Get any of these wrong and you may experience some anxiety. Get it really wrong? Panic? NO!! Relax, Focus on the exit, and the bike will go there.
- Reference Points – Vision – Look through the corner to the exit
- Actively Gage the Topography
- Ex.: If the road is cut out of a hillside and all you see ahead is sky, there is a near certainty the road turns toward the hillside, perhaps sharply.
- Reduce Tasks – “Ride The Motor” eliminating shifting and use engine braking
- Plan Ahead – Get Braking, Down Shifting Completed Quickly and Early
- Develop Skills/Confidence to Carry More Speed
ID What You Do Well – Practice / Reinforce Those Skills
ID Weaknesses – Build Skill
ID “Bad Habits” – Break Them
- When You Make a Mistake, Try To Do It Again. WHAT? Yep, then you have an opportunity to ID the mistake and Break the Habit
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