Many of the snow bound regions of Canada and the northern USA are finally experiencing spring. Motorcycles are being dusted off, oils and fluids being checked, same with tires and belts, but how many of you are checking your own skills?
That first few rides of the season are amongst the most dangerous. If you sat in my chair, sifting through the news feeds from across town, across the country and around the world, you would be dismayed and astonished as to the number of crashes there are reported every day. Hundreds and hundreds of them.There are so many things to be aware of, from potholes, road snakes, cracks and sand and pea gravel to drivers on their cell phones, drivers who are inattentive for a variety of reasons...the dangers are many and very real.
Taking some time to get your "sea" legs under you, checking your skill with covering your brakes and feathering your clutch, making sure your crash avoidance skills are honed and ready - these things more than any other will help to keep you safe. SIPDE - Scan, Interpret, Predict, Decide and Execute - this was the mantra drilled into me during my motorcycle course 8 years ago. It is one every rider needs to remember, to put into practice EVERY time they get on their bike.
There are tons of ways to make yourself seen, something bright on your person, lights on your bike - sometimes more is better...the use of your throttle to rap your pipes, can, in Urban riding situations cause the driver who does NOT shoulder check and is starting to move into your lane to realize that you are there, beside them or coming up close behind them. Or use a Stebel Nautilus Air Horn on your bike - the 140 DBs will have people paying attention!
There are a few other things you can do to keep yourself safe out there - NO DRINKING not before you ride, not during a rest stop - WAIT until you are done riding for the day. In Pittsburgh they are reporting that there are still FAR TOO MANY riders who are drinking and riding. Your skill with your motorcycle is your best defense in crash avoidance - reaction times and the ability to read the situations presented to you as a rider decrease with every ounce of alcohol ingested - we all know this so, so why there are so many who think it is OK to drink and ride?
Spring fever also tends to be when many speed, stunt and show off. It seems to me that we all get a wee bit silly this time of year - we are giddy with relief - we are so happy to be out of doors - no longer cooped up that we take our exuberance too far. Please - please, please, please - be cautious and aware. Your wife/hubby, your kids, nieces and nephews, colleagues and friends are all affected by your choices and decisions.
My hope for all of my family members - no matter where you live, is that you have a riding season filled with open roads, just enough rain to make you truly revel in the sunshine, that it be full of the feelings of gratitude and joy at the freedom to ride, that you have riding companions when you want them and the solitude when you need it.
I hope that your eyes take in the beauty around you, that you are able to experience the scents, and the sensations...I hope that somewhere along the way, respect for those who work night shift, live in old folks homes, extended care and hospitals, mom's with sick kids, business people who are conducting business is exercised - we SHARE this world, and too often we do not share it well - with empathy and consideration - let the 2011 riding season be the beginning of a shift in our thinking as a riding community - world wide.
For those who enjoy rallies and runs - may your fund raising and awareness efforts be successful.
Ali and I have created and are constantly striving, to improve the tools we offer our community.
The Canadian Riders Support Network is a group of people from across Canada who have stood up to say - if you get jammed up, break down, need help or advice, if I am home and can help I will, contact me...(Peter from Ontario originally started this service and asked us to administer it as time constraints made it tough for him to grow it)
The Never Ride Alone Program from Intercon Messaging - normally a $65 call is FREE to registered members of www.beltdrivebetty.com - you call them, tell them where you are going, what you ride and your contact info and then check in with the service during fuel stops - and should you not make it to your next or final stop within 15 minutes of the estimated time of your arrival - the service will start attempting to contact you at the numbers you provided - if after two attempts they are not successful in raising you - 911 services are dispatched to go find you from your last check in point. For areas where cell phones don't function well, or GPS and cell is damaged in a crash, this service could save your life.
The BDB Club Support Centre from Intercon Messaging is a toll free service that allows you - our registered members to access the Never Ride Alone Program, The Canadian Riders Support Network and information and support from the Injured Riders Fund from the CMTA.
The Rider Friendly Business Association Phone Book on line, in mobile format for your cell phone or in print for your saddle bags is your passport to savings and assistance while on tour in Canada.
www.greatcanadiandayrides.com offers tourism information and showcases the Rider Friendly Business Association members involved in eat, play and stay businesses to help you get the BEST accommodations, meals and attractions to take in, in Canada. Please consider supporting us by purchasing the services you need anyway from our Rider Friendly Business Association Partner Businesses and remember, unless you tell our business partners/advertisers that you heard about them from us - we won't be able to grow the services!
Our partnerships with Moto Rescue - a Motorcycle Specific Road Side Assistance program for $49.95 per year (Make sure you say you heard it from belt Drive Betty) or our Full Service Road Side Assistance Program for registered members of www.beltdrivebetty.com provided through Best Roadside is another wonderful set of support tools to make your riding season safer and more enjoyable - 6 calls, shareable between spouses, transferable from car, to pick up to motorcycle and comes with travel benefits in the USA - $89.50 per year - that's about a $110 savings over CAA and AMA services. Part of the way we fund our web site id through the very small comissions we earn from these two services, make sure you tell them WHERE you found out about them!
Please take a look at all of the tools your free membership on our web site offer you and remember - we have you covered for road side assistance and travel benefits in Canada AND the US of A!
Like every day, I welcome your thoughts and feedback on the topic of the day. Suggestions, comments and ideas are all very welcome - Ali and I can't improve what is offered to you unless you talk to us!
In other news:
In Florida - the original Bruce Rossmeyer H-D store is being converted into a museum.
East Coast Biker's latest on line magazine is available for your reading pleasure
In Scotland - Operation Zenith will be kicking into high gear
In Georgia a Pastor is Jumping for Jesus
In Michigan - helmets could be a thing of the past
Have a fabulousMonday - and if you are riding PLEASE ride like EVERYONE is out to get you.