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Riding Public Roads after Eight Months Off Them


David

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I was sick this El Paseo, so didn't get to ride. The last time I rode one of my bikes on public roads was basically last fall. So it was pretty interesting to do 300 miles with Jim Williams, Shannon Poindexter, and Christopher Patterson this weekend. I didn't take any pictures and don't have any Ride Tale comments--this is more about some observations.

 

After spending eight months where the only pavement I saw was on the track, here's what struck me about riding on public roads again:

 

  • The "track" is really narrow now. tongue.gif Egads. There's very little room for error. Even though a particular line on the track, if executed properly, might only vary by six inches, if you want to move around, you can. But 12' feels a whole lot different than 45' everywhere.
  • Car drivers are freakin' idiots and are driving like they're playing some stupid video game. There are about a dozen ways to die per hour.
  • It feels a whole lot safer at 160 mph on the track than 65 mph on a public road.
  • Attention spans. Attention spans. Attention spans. It's not hard for me to focus like a laser for a 20 minute session, but doing it for hundreds of miles is exhausting (and quite possibly boring). You really have to pace yourself or attention wanes.
  • The limiting factor in speed is judgment related. If I didn't care about tickets, sight lines, traction-killers, or unpredictable motorists/animals, I'd be going a whole lot faster than I was. You'd have to be a whole lot more courageous than I am to drive some of the speeds I see riders take on public roads.

 

Those of you who think riding a track is dangerous have no idea how well you've already mastered your environment by simply living one more day on your commute. grin.gif

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russell_bynum

Seems about right to me. I've been down at the track at ~90mph...I know exactly how far you slide. That knowledge colors my decision process when I'm setting my corner entry speed.

 

Run-off at the track is almost always clear, open, and designed for run-off. Run-off on the street is guardrails, mountains, oncomming RV's, and 4,000ft cliffs. To quote Valentino Rossi: "Faak".

 

So, I ride like a little old lady on the street. The Tuono lets me use embarassingly slow corner entry speeds, but then fire it out and maintain a fairly decent overall pace.

 

As for the quality of the people who are sharing the environment with you...my experience is that the worst track day rider is just slightly below the average driver on the street...except they're going the same direction as you and they're generally fairly easy to avoid (since the track is anywhere from 30' to 50' wide) unless they hit you from behind.

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So, I ride like a little old lady on the street. The Tuono lets me use embarassingly slow corner entry speeds, but then fire it out and maintain a fairly decent overall pace.

 

+ 2 on that.As I get older I find myself getting slower and slower on corner entry.For sure, age and reflex are taking their toll tongue.gif but the real reason is fear.I have seen too many corners with gravel,alive and dead animals,hay wagons,toyota trucks with a wheel(or two eek.gif)in my lane and even one corner with cow pies all over road eek.gif

 

The fast entry risks are not worth the possible consquences on the street.

 

 

 

However if you are willing to lead,we can pick up the pace a bit since that will give me another second or two reaction time lmao.gif

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[*]The limiting factor in speed is judgment related. If I didn't care about tickets, sight lines, traction-killers, or unpredictable motorists/animals, I'd be going a whole lot faster than I was. You'd have to be a whole lot more courageous than I am to drive some of the speeds I see riders take on public roads.

 

+1

 

I'm really glad I pay attention to sight lines after encountering a Williamson county deputy about 3 feet over the yellow line in a blind corner! confused.gif

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russell_bynum
So, I ride like a little old lady on the street.
You don't seriously expect us to believe this? lmao.gif

 

I pick where to be fast very carefully. I don't mind firing it out of a corner...or even entering the corner at high speed when I can see what's going on. But when in doubt, I'm in very slow and I use the bike's gobs of torque to fire it out and make up some of what I lost.

 

If the road is tight, I'm generally pretty quick. If there are lots of long turns, I start losing ground to riders who are comfortable with faster corner entry speeds.

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So, I ride like a little old lady on the street.
You don't seriously expect us to believe this? lmao.gif

 

Here's the lady.

99275_angelle_sampey.jpg

 

Go Angelle, go.

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With the right attitude, the right bike and the right roads, you don't have to ride fast to have fun on public roads. I have slowed down and now concentrate on practicing my craft in the twisties -I take great pride at a series of well-executed curves and don't need to be running at hyper speed to get my jollys anymore.

 

I've always ridden the street with the mantra of "ride like you're invisible and all the other drivers are going to try to kill you". This has kept me accident free since 1975.

 

I know what an adrenalin rush one can get from the track, having ridden many laps around Road Atlanta. Still, I prefer the public roads better because the scenery is always changing grin.gif.

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ghaverkamp

Typical post from a private road person.

 

"I had forgotten how bad public roads are. Public roads are poorly maintained. Public roads are dangerous. You find a lower caliber of person on public roads. Private roads allow you to perform better than public ones."

 

Sure, you couched it in terms that were supposed to make us believe you were exhibiting you're own failings, but us public road types are hip to that tactic.

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Lone_RT_rider
Those of you who think riding a track is dangerous have no idea how well you've already mastered your environment by simply living one more day on your commute. grin.gif

 

Try doing 5500 miles in 11 days. I am really glad to be home. I still took the R1100S to work this morning though... grin.gifthumbsup.gif

 

Shawn

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lawnchairboy

Try doing 5500 miles in 11 days

 

Just as soon as uncle sam allows me the time, I sure will. thumbsup.gif

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ShovelStrokeEd

Try doing twice that and get an inkling of what the Iron Butt riders go through.

 

David, you are right on the money about the street riding thing. Doesn't matter if its back roads or highways, the hazards are far greater and increased by the long duration of the ride. Cruise control is not just a gadget, it can become a state of mind and a fatal one at that.

 

I have to ride this weekend and not for pleasure, I'm heading up to Auburn University to do an emergency service call. Not only will I be putting up with the utter boredom of a 580 mile freeway trip, I'll have a holiday weekend to do it in with all the folks who drive long distances only once or twice a year, celebrating drunks, assorted crazies and, I suppose, an enhanced LEO presence just to keep my speeds in line. Altogether an unpleasant prospect made bearable only by the fact that I don't have to do it in a cage. grin.gif

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David

Forgive the slight hijack here, but I'm thinking of signing up for the two day camp at Pocono (8-22/23).I'm 53, have never done a track day nor had my knee down.I'm a big fan of continuing education and do something every year. I'm a fairly competent (if not particularly fast) rider with 10 years on the street and 10 before that in the dirt,but am concerned about being the only sguid among the sharks at the track.Tell me not to worry.Please.

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harleyjohn45
David

Forgive the slight hijack here, but I'm thinking of signing up for the two day camp at Pocono (8-22/23).I'm 53, have never done a track day nor had my knee down.I'm a big fan of continuing education and do something every year. I'm a fairly competent (if not particularly fast) rider with 10 years on the street and 10 before that in the dirt,but am concerned about being the only sguid among the sharks at the track.Tell me not to worry.Please.

 

be careful and you might be surprised how many sharks you outperform.

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I have to ride this weekend and not for pleasure, I'm heading up to Auburn University to do an emergency service call.

 

I didn't know your work extended to consultation around college football, too? grin.gif

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David

Forgive the slight hijack here, but I'm thinking of signing up for the two day camp at Pocono (8-22/23).I'm 53, have never done a track day nor had my knee down.I'm a big fan of continuing education and do something every year. I'm a fairly competent (if not particularly fast) rider with 10 years on the street and 10 before that in the dirt,but am concerned about being the only sguid among the sharks at the track.Tell me not to worry.Please.

 

Dave, you sound like just the sort of guy who would love it. You'd be one of my favorite students, given your background and willingness to learn. By the way, I may never touch my knee down an entire day, either, so don't use that as some measuring stick. It's overrated. smile.gif

 

If you get a chance to come watch a school ahead of time, you might be more comfortable about it. But I'd not hesitate to do it in your shoes.

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steveknapp
David

Forgive the slight hijack here, but I'm thinking of signing up for the two day camp at Pocono (8-22/23).I'm 53, have never done a track day nor had my knee down.I'm a big fan of continuing education and do something every year. I'm a fairly competent (if not particularly fast) rider with 10 years on the street and 10 before that in the dirt,but am concerned about being the only sguid among the sharks at the track.Tell me not to worry.Please.

 

I would not worry about it. Keep in mind many of the more agressive types aren't paying for Code, or so is my theory. They are going for the cheapest no-instruction track time they can get.

 

I did Level 1/2 at Code, and it was a great experience. Not intimidating at all.

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