I don’t have any simple formula for humility or honesty when it comes to riding and safety. I suppose we each come to it in our own way, some quickly, some not so quickly. I feel fortunate to have crossed paths with several people who have steered me in the right direction – for me. Learning to ask questions related to personal skills, habits and beliefs is a good first step. A healthy measure of suspicion of riding truths and beliefs might be a good second one if you can manage it. There are a lot of sacred cows out there. Some are worth keeping but others need slaughtered. (I heard my boss utter those words in a recent meeting.)
So what am I doing kneeling on the road. That has to be safe right? Consider it an editorial illustration stressing the importance of paying close attention, which in this case is a check of the road surface. Whenever the temperature is near the freezing mark or lower I have a personal ritual of walking out in front of the house and checking for ice. Not on my hands and knees but a quick stroll and some twisting of my boots on the pavement to gauge traction. Not a perfect test or necessarily relevant to what’s over the hill but it does get my brain consciously thinking about why may lie ahead. With so many hills and dales and trees overhead conditions can change suddenly and dramatically. After a day of rain and temperatures dipping into the 20s during the night I knew ice might be a possibility. I was pleased to discover that everything must have evaporated during the night and the road surface was dry and illuminated by bright sun under a clear sky.
It’s just one thing I do to try and make my ride safe.
Sometimes I stop by the local training course used by the Pennsylvania Motorcycle Safety Program for their Basic and Advanced Rider courses. All the paint and numbers would be a hopeless jumble had I not already been through the courses.
I’m not sure if the piles of Styrofoam panels are a new obstacle on the course or just being stored there temporarily until classes start in the spring. I was able to avoid hitting the pile and spent some time navigating through the course.
I think I may register again for the Advanced Rider Training to polish my skills. I’m never sure what I may have forgotten.