7. Know how to use your brakes

Motorcycle Stoppie

(Photo courtesy of  mobocup.com)

I can’t do a stoppie if you point the camera at me and ask me to, but I did a tremendous one once when a guy on a Suzuki Boulevard suddenly jumped into my path from in front of a truck when I was lane-splitting down La Cienega Blvd. one morning in stopped traffic. I grabbed the front hard enough to stand my Ducati Monster on its nose, a big rolling stoppie – wooohooo!! You’ll be amazed how hard your bike can stop if you squeeze the lever nice and progressively.

If you haven’t been riding that long, get a feel for how powerful your bike’s brakes are in a big parking lot. One with no cars in it. Also, if you ever have to panic-brake in traffic, do NOT forget #10 about your mirrors. It will do you no good to stop short of the bumper in front of you if you get sphincter-punched by the one following you. Always have an escape route to the side. If your bike doesn’t stop hard enough to make your eyeballs bulge, see #9 (unless your bike is an old BSA or something – and if you’re still alive riding something like that around all these years, you’re the one who should be giving out the advice instead of me). Side lesson: Always look before you pull into the gap to lane-split.