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7 ways to know you should call it a day
January 29, 2016
Great info for great riding
7 Ways to Know You Should Call it a DayOn any motorcycle trip -- even a short ride -- fatigue, discomfort and other distractions can reduce your ability to anticipate, observe and react to the action around you.
Your desire to reach your destination or just go a few more miles can cause you to forge ahead when you should stop for a rest or even call it a day.
Fatigued riding is one of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents. The consequences are not worth it, so why press your luck?
Many years ago when I was returning from a long road trip to Alaska, I got the crazy idea to ride all night so I could put on extra miles and get home as soon as possible.
At about 1:00 a.m., while droning across the plains of Alberta, Canada, I pulled into a truck stop for gas.
Before heading back onto the road, I decided to fortify myself with a cup of coffee and something to eat -- maybe a nice piece of cherry pie.
I settled into a booth in the truck stop's virtually empty dining area and ordered my food.
About two hours later I woke up with a cold cup of coffee and a half-eaten piece of pie in front of me. The waitress had slipped my bill under the coffee cup and let me sleep.
My body had decided that attempting to ride all night was a stupid idea.
I'm glad I was safe and warm in the dining area when I fell asleep and not on the road.
I realize that noise, wind and often cold weather make it difficult to actually doze off while riding. But fatigue and discomfort can sneak up on you and diminish your ability to stay alert and react quickly.
You might not fall asleep, but you won't be able to deal most effectively with emergencies and with the physical and mental demands of riding a motorcycle.
Here are seven telltale signs of rider fatigue and of when you're losing your edge…when you should consider parking your bike to rest and perhaps call it a day…
Your speed becomes erratic…
You quickly accelerate after realizing you've been traveling well below the speed limit…or much slower than the traffic around you.
Then, within a few miles, you realize again you're driving too slowly.
When you can't maintain a constant speed, your body and brain are fading.
You need a rest.
You're not concentrating on your ride…
Your mind wanders, you're daydreaming and you lose focus.
You're not anticipating or reacting promptly to potential hazards cropping up around you.
For example, you don't notice the car in the opposite lane drifting toward you or the traffic ahead slowing down.
You find yourself swerving or applying the brakes far too often to avoid such dangers.
You've got aches and pains…
Your back hurts, your legs are stiff, you've got a knot in your shoulder, your buns are numb or some other pain is gnawing at your body.
When you're devoting too much time and attention to stretching your muscles and shifting around in the saddle, you should pull over.
Give your muscles a good stretch. And if you're so inclined, take a couple of ibuprofen tablets to help relieve the aches and pains and prevent them from returning.
You're popping the clutch and making jerky gear shifts…
You get sloppy when operating your motorcycle's hand controls.
I realize I'm not working the controls smoothly when I imagine how uncomfortable I'd be if I had a passenger behind me.
My jerky acceleration and braking would have our helmets banging together and the grinding gears would make me seem like a newbie driver.
You forget to signal or check your blind spot…
Too many motorcycle riders move from lane to lane without signaling. I try not to be one of them.
If I do forget, it's usually because fatigue or discomfort is reducing my ability to concentrate on the vehicles around me.
The same is true if, too often, I forget to check my blind spot before changing lanes.
You're extremely cold or hungry…
You can't stay focused and ride safely when your body is shivering from the cold or when hunger pangs are gnawing at your stomach.
Take a break to warm up or get something to eat…or both.
Too much of a good thing…
As enjoyable as a cruise on your motorcycle can be, you're going to reach a point when it's time to call it a day simply because enough is enough.
When you're no longer having fun, you should head home or otherwise pack it in.
Save some fun miles and enjoyment for tomorrow.
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Blatant self promotion...Books by Brian Salisbury
Please join me on my trips to popular destinations and rides down roads less traveled...
I recently launched a three-book series containing motorcycle travel and adventure stories and observations drawn from my jaunts throughout the United States and Canada.
Click here for a complete description of these books along with the road tales they contain...
Or click on any of the following book covers to go directly to them at Amazon…
I've taken all the information in my website describing riding techniques for dangerous situations and added to it in the book "High Risk Motorcycle Riding."
Here's information you can put to good use to ride smart and well prepared when you're on the road and the going gets tough.
Click here for a complete description of this book along with the high risk riding tips it contains for riding at night, in the rain, in cold weather and across long distances...and more...
Or click on the following book cover to go directly to the book at Amazon…
For more information…
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