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Old 02-02-2013, 09:59 AM   #122
Bill 310
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Joined: Dec 2002
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Originally Posted by rocker59 View Post
I keep reading the solo riders mentioning the "added responsibility" of having a passenger vs. each riding their own bike. I'd rather rely on my 30 years of riding experience to keep us safe
I think perhaps that you are misreading the concept of added responsibility and how some of us are defining what it means to us. My wife and I are both experienced long distance riders and it was only because we were deciding whether or not to ship one or two bikes to leave in Europe that the concept of riding two (beyond out for dinner two up at the end of a long day touring 700 + miles) even entered our minds.

Every rider has had a very close call riding when circumstances, rider actions combine to test both our riding skills and our situational awareness. When that happens and you are riding solo it is far easier to slough it off, add it to your road skills dictionary and press on. When it happens and you are riding two up, the after incident thinking is quite different. In any close event one's reptilian brain takes over and it is post event that the thoughts and what ifs come into play.

I have hit a large animal (moose) been knocked down by anther rider at a track day and had other freaky close calls but a two up event is much more difficult post accident.

Risk management and accident mitigation begins before you step on the motorcycle and each of us has choices to make that can effect the outcome of an accident or the total avoidance of an accident. You read about it all the time in the Faceplant forum.

It begins I believe with Motorcycle choice and farkeling.

ABS Brakes

Night riding HID and aux lights

Adding protective electronics such as after market horn, flashy brake light/ turn signal bars , mirror arm extenders

Reflective tape, suspension designed for the weight of the bike and rider(s)

Correct ergonomics and in my case that means custom brake levers, handlebars brake and shift levers to accommodate my physical size

Then we have rider education

Advanced riding schools and lessons

Reading face plant and David Hough's books

Riding often keeps good skills sharp, When we started to ride we rode whenever possible bad weather or good. Knowing what the roads will be like from experience and practice on your terms is better than doing your first night ride in the rain on day four of a ill planned trip.

Taking lessons to ride two up. I can't recommend the street-masters school enough. Riding with and being critiqued by Walt Fulton as you do laps of the Horse Thief Mile is simply an amazing experience.

Walt Fulton is a recognized name in motorcycling. A former three-time winner at Daytona and team racer for Harley-Davidson, Kawasaki and Suzuki, he was a featured rider in the documentary "On Any Sunday." He is a BMW Legends racer, a professional motorcycle accident reconstruction expert, motorcycle journalist and a private riding instructor. He has worked as an editor for Cycle Guide, Cycle World and Motorcyclist magazines and a contributor and the performance tester for Motorcycle Consumer News. He has logged over a million miles on the road and track.

I have also completed the first 40 hours of the basic motor officer school as taught here.

So let me tell you about my onerous responsibility event.

It was a nice summer Saturday evening in Vancouver and the annual fireworks shows were on. I am extremely uncomfortable around loud spontaneous explosions due to past experiences and since we live quite close to the beach and the fireworks are on barges we tend to get out of town for those evenings if we are not away on vacation.

We decided to ride two up that night, the privacy of the intercom system makes riding and chatting a nice experience. We left the house and rode to Squamish for the best indian food in the lower mainland

Riding back down the Sea -to- Sky in the setting sun we decided to bypass the city and zip down to Blaine WA and get our mail. Our route took us over the Port Mann Bridge and down 160th Street to the order. 160th is not my favorite road and looking back it was an error to ride that road two up or solo. By now it was getting into deeper twilight (9:30 pm ) and the road traffic had that irrational feel to it. Construction crews on the way home from a big day of OT, Seniors returning from dinner, teenagers in cars and off course in Surrey the ever present gravel dump trucks .

We were riding on my Tenere (ABS) brakes, with custom suspension set for our weight (Ohlins and Traxxion Dynamics) and HID conversions in the lights. The road had the annoying tar strips running parallel with the direction of travel and as you approach the border the road gets into some rolling hills with limited visibility.

The road speed is 70 kmh I am riding about 10 over 80K. I just get the spiddy sense tingles and as we crest the next roll I have already started to roll of the gas and cover the brakes. The HID's pick up a flash of chrome directly ahead of me and I start braking hard. Of course the road is a mass of tar snakes and I can now see that the flash of chrome was from the rear window moulding of a beat up blacked out late 90's Lexus LS 400 that has been left abandoned (I think) in the left lane.

I am now into maximum braking Susan expects we are about to centre punch a deer she can't see around me
and the ABS is pulsing like crazy due to the tar snakes , I check to see if I can swerve ( the right lane is clear and no one is tight behind me) but make the calculation that I can't steer and turn the bike at the braking level I am at without the front end sliding out on the still warm tar snakes and patches. I know that if that happens we are going to hit the abandoned car sideways and I decide to keep braking because I believe I can get us into the safest position by getting us slowed as much as possible before a potential impact. All of this take probable less thna 5 seconds but it seemed to take a week in head. I get us stopped about 10 feet from the trunk of the Lexus upright and then begin to go right to get around the car and when the car starts up does a qick u turn and race off with lights on. I ride away thinking wtf and then I realize I have my wife still sitting quietly on the back. She pats my side and says "nice riding, thanks"

We stopped for coffee and I began to write/sketch out the whole event and what I could have done better. I made numerous mistakes on that ride but a lucky combination of events avoided me killing or injuring my wife.

I would never have taken the post event review so seriously if I had been riding solo. This is the onerous responsibility that I am speaking of.
Canada "It's a rough place, son. In fact, you have to puke twice and show your razor just to get in. Better grow some whiskers if you wanna go to Canada." Ronnie Hawkins when asking Levon Helm to join his band and play in Canada.
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