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Old 05-06-2010, 02:49 PM   #1
jeff10236
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Default My first real ride today

For the past couple days I've rode around practicing slow speed maneuvering in my parking garage. Yesterday I rode for a short time on a pretty empty set of roads near my apartment (with just a very short ride on a busy road). But, today is the first time I ventured a bit away from my apartment on some pretty busy roads.

Unfortunately, all my gear right now is leather so I was pretty warm (I think I will replace the leather over pants with Kevlar jeans or chaps for summer use soon). Just practicing in the lot I wore jeans (and sometimes my half-helmet instead of my FF). I think the FF helmet will be OK when moving, but I need mesh or fabric ASAP for everything else. The mesh jacket I bought online was too small and I just recently sent it to be exchanged. I'll order the jeans (or mesh/fabric armored pants) tomorrow after I get paid. I was definitely sweating out there (though it was fun).

Most of the ride was fun (though I was a little nervous at first). I had to think about turning a lot less than I thought I would. Traffic can be heavy here, and there are a lot of lights, so I only went about 10 miles despite being out for 30-40min (3:30, when I left, is the start of rush hour here). Riding over 40mph (I got to between 45 and 50) was a little scary, but up to 40 was fine. I remember looking at my speedometer to be sure I wasn't speeding since it felt like I was going really fast and I was just a tad under 40. No big deal, I remember having that same difficulty judging speeds when I first started to drive a car, I always thought I was much faster than I really was, and it passed pretty quick.

Unfortunately, after a while I got passed by a cop using his full lights and siren. So, I made the mistake of getting over and coming to a stop. I don't know about elsewhere, but here in MD drivers are very aggressive and they tend to ignore the laws pertaining to emergency vehicles. Most drivers didn't get over, they just fell in behind the cop. So, it was very hard to get back into traffic (I pulled into a right turn lane to let the cop through, and I did not want to go right). Then a jerk behind me decided he wasn't going to wait and passed me without actually getting into the next lane (his left tires may have gone into the next lane but that was it). Had I leaned over 3-4" he would have hit me! Well, after that, I decided to use the right turn lane after all and turn around (I wasn't having any more close calls). At first I thought I was just pissed off, but I realized that I was a little shaken up when I started stalling my bike and I decided I'd better go back home. The rest of the ride wasn't as much fun as it was before then. So, I came home to cool off, unfortunately it now puts me in the worst of rush hour. Things will get a bit better after 6 or 6:30 so I'll probably go out for about an hour after 6:30 and make sure to be back before it starts to get dark (I don't have a fluorescent vest for visibility yet and I don't want to ride at night in black riding gear).

Last edited by jeff10236 : 05-06-2010 at 02:52 PM.
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Old 05-06-2010, 03:09 PM   #2
seruzawa
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Learning about cagers is no fun.
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Old 05-06-2010, 03:56 PM   #3
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Learning about cagers is no fun.
Especially when it dawns on you - yesterday, I was driving JUST LIKE that F-Bomb'n A-Hole!

I'm an Advocate that all people should have to spend a Mandatory 2-years on a Moto before being given the chance to apply for a passenger-car license.
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Old 05-06-2010, 04:24 PM   #4
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Especially when it dawns on you - yesterday, I was driving JUST LIKE that F-Bomb'n A-Hole!

I'm an Advocate that all people should have to spend a Mandatory 2-years on a Moto before being given the chance to apply for a passenger-car license.
No, that was never me. I always pull to the side and stop for emergency vehicles (I once had someone lay on the horn because I waited at a left turn arrow when an ambulance was coming up from the opposite direction with its lights and siren going). I've never cut into a motorcycle's lane to pass him. Fast, sure, sometimes. Corner hard, I drive an old bimmer. Dangerous, never. I'm always careful, I always watch for traffic, and I've always watched for motorcycles.
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Old 05-06-2010, 05:36 PM   #5
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Learning about cagers is no fun.
+1!

Jeff, think of this way: Every car and every driver out there is going to try to hit you, block you, cut you off, run you off the road, open their door into you, piss on you with their windshield cleaner...etc.

Assume the worst and develop an ongoing mental plan for what to do about each and every car that could possibly target you. If there's a car leaving the parking lot just ahead of you, plan for him cut you off.

I know this sounds obsessive, but you'll be amazed. Cagers can't see bikes, they just can't. Eventually it will become second nature, and you will never be surprised when somebody pulls one on you.
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Old 05-06-2010, 06:08 PM   #6
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Kens right, they are out to kill you, never forget it.
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Old 05-06-2010, 07:58 PM   #7
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Thumbs up Don't forget the head check...

Not too bad for the first outing, eh? Sounds like you managed well. I was fortunate to learn riding on the rural backroads of eastern Delaware -- not too much traffic, just deer that pop out of a field without warning. Yikes!

Anyway, don't forget to do the head check (look into the blind spot) before changing lanes or pulling over for emergency vehicles. I have had people pass me on the right, I guess thinking I was going to make a left hand turn. When in reality, I was travelling straight and was just slowing for traffic ahead.
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Old 05-07-2010, 12:49 AM   #8
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I went back out leaving between 6:45 and 7 and returning at about 7:30. There is a hill on one of the roads I took that is about a mile long with a light at the top (this road is bordering my apartment so it is one of two route choices for me to get out of here). Between the traffic that time of day and the light's timing it took me about 15min just to get to the top of that hill. It sure was hot in my leather jacket and full-face helmet waiting for that light (this time I just wore jeans so my legs weren't as warm as the first time). So, with the daylight starting to dim, I did not quite get to the nice residential neighborhood where I had planned to practice. By the time I got there I would have had to turn around. So, I stopped in an apartment complex to call a buddy of mine who lived near me so I could stop by. Unfortunately, he didn't have time for me to even stop by for 5 minutes to rest, say hi, and show off my bike, so I just turned around and went home (without any bright gear for visibility I don't want to be stuck out after dark).

I still was a little nervous at 45+ (on the bike it felt blistering fast), but up to 40 felt comfortable. Drivers around here are pretty bad- I was in the slow lane so I ended up stuck behind a bus, we were going about 4 or 5mph under the speed limit, and the guy behind me started honking at me (like I can go any faster than the vehicle in front of me, and the bus has to make stops so he wasn't going to go any faster). I used my half-helmet in the Rider's Edge course (it was hot and I knew I wouldn't be going very fast) and in some of my parking lot practice. I am finding the FF to be an adjustment- I feel much more isolated from what I'm doing (I'm not sure if that is keeping me from being as nervous, or if it is making me more nervous since it doesn't feel as natural and feels isolating) and I do notice a big visibility difference. Still, I'm forcing myself to use it since it is safer. Overall, I enjoyed this ride a lot more than the first one, though riding in gear more suited to warm weather would be more pleasant and certainly riding at a time of day with less traffic would be nice (both would probably allow me to ride a lot further before I felt like I should head back). I'll also have to vary my route next time- the time of day I've left it is hard to make a left out of my apartment, but a right takes me to that light (which I don't like even in my car) and coming back there is a small stretch that with the traffic patterns and crazy drivers around here I also hate driving in my car. So, next time I'll wait for a left, or use the other street that borders my apartment (right turn only on a road going into downtown, very busy commercial street, but I can turn around and head towards some better riding conditions, and despite being busy the traffic patterns are better than the way I have been going).

I think I'll have to speed up my timeline on the night riding gear and buy a fluorescent vest. Traffic is much lighter here at night (it is a very commercial area, but I'm a few miles from the nightlife) and that may actually be a better time to practice as a beginner. There will be some traffic, but it won't be nearly as heavy.

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Old 05-07-2010, 02:35 AM   #9
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One thing that might help with the ventilation - most full-face helmets have a notch that opens the visor about 1/2" or so - I've found that's usually enough even when moving at slow speed.

If it's got a chin-curtain, remove that as well (they're just sort of wedged-in around the perimeter of the "trim edge" of the chinbar). Some even have removable breath-deflector/nosepieces.

And don't forget to open all the vents up - some Icon helmets have a small "twist-open" vent on the inside of the chinbar - you'll never be able to open them when on your head.
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Oderint Dum Metuant
Let them hate so long as they fear
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Nothing to see here, Citizen. Move along now...
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Old 05-07-2010, 05:40 AM   #10
jeff10236
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Originally Posted by The_AirHawk View Post
One thing that might help with the ventilation - most full-face helmets have a notch that opens the visor about 1/2" or so - I've found that's usually enough even when moving at slow speed.

If it's got a chin-curtain, remove that as well (they're just sort of wedged-in around the perimeter of the "trim edge" of the chinbar). Some even have removable breath-deflector/nosepieces.

And don't forget to open all the vents up - some Icon helmets have a small "twist-open" vent on the inside of the chinbar - you'll never be able to open them when on your head.
I do make sure I have all the vents open. I start to notice the airflow through them around 20mph. The top one seems just to run air over the faceshield (I guess to keep it from fogging up). I don't have a breath box, chin curtain or anything else to block the air (I will need to buy a breath box for when it gets cold). I thought about riding with the faceshield up, and put it up a few times at intersections, but I decided against riding with it up (with only my eyeglasses to protect my eyes I'd worry about small bugs, dirt or pebbles getting behind them). I will definitely try your suggestion to ride with the faceshield partly up.
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