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daryll

How to break all the traffic laws and get away with it

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daryll

I worked as motorcycle support today for the 3rd annual LA Triathlon. Although it was hard work, it was a * of a lot of fun. I saw Kris' post on doing motorcycle support for a Triathlon in Santa Cruz. It sounded like fun, so I thought I'd try. The website for the LA Triathlon had email addresses, so I dropped a short note asking if they needed motorcycle support, and they did.

 

There was a prep meeting on Saturday with the event on Sunday. The prep meeting was really informal. They talked to the marshals about how to recognize drafting. They handed out volunteer t-shirts. They gave us all access vehicle passes and a map, and we were set. We were in an out in half an hour.

 

The biggest downside is that I had to be at Venice beach at 5:45 in the morning. We had picked 5:45, because the police were supposed to shut down the roads at 6:00. The police were already on top of it, so as I arrived near Venice beach, the left I wanted to make was already blocked with cones. I figured what the heck, and made the left anyway. Soon, a nice motor officer pulled up next to me and asked me if I hadn't seen that it was blocked off for no left turn. I said "I'm motorcycle support for the event. I've got my all access pass, let me pull it out." He said OK, told me not to bother, and turned around to go back to his position. This was just the start of my scoflaw adventure. Getting down to the starting point required a couple rides the wrong way down one way streets.

 

We got ourselves organized at the start and waited for the racers. I was going to carry a marshal during the first 2.5 hours, then come back and get a photographer to cover the professional racers. Riding with the marshals was easy. I'd just cruise up the route (running red lights, driving on the wrong side of the road, etc) and pull up to the groups of cyclists. We only had to warn a couple people. We could easily tell the ones that were really drafting, and they'd usually hear us as we pulled up and stop before we got to warning them. Every once in a while a copy would yell orders at us and we'd just wave our passes/yell/ignore them and keep doing our jobs.

 

At 8:45 we were back at the start to pick up the photographers. Brian saw me riding by on the way back, and rolled up next to me to say hi. (Thanks Brian!) The two of them were fighting over who got to ride on the BMW. The first photographer back after the swimming portion got to ride with me. They had their own helmets (unlike the marshals) and were very familiar riding pillion. This is where the fun began.

 

The leaders were out a good 10 minutes before we got going on the bike. The photographer wants lots of photos of the leaders. They're also looking for some artistic shots with scenic backgrounds.

 

So we took off after the riders and he'd tap me every time we came to one of the important or lead riders. I'd pull up next to and slightly in front of them, and he'd lean off the bike and turn around and shoot pictures. Then we'd pull up to the next ones.

 

The leaders are really fast on the bikes. They'd be doing up to 30 mph on the straights. Since they had a 10 minute lead, that meant we'd have to zip to catch them. My photographer was really worried about not getting good pictures of the leader, so we took off. We're doing 60 mph through surface streets in LA and Hollywood with the roads blocked off. Whee! Once we catch up to the leader and get some good shots, he wants us to pull further ahead so he can take some scenic shots with the Hollywood sign behind the riders.

 

The next step is the foot race. I got a quick break while the photographer shot the racers as they transitioned from cycling to running. When he's ready, we take off again to cover the runners. This was the toughest part. First, neither of us really knew the route well enough. Once we figured out what direction they were heading we rode around until we found the end of the route and started backtracking until we got to the leaders. Getting pictures of the runners meant riding really slowly. Of course, the trick is to do that without using the clutch too much. I think we managed fairly well.

 

My final instructions were to get my photographer down to the finish line. So we just took off riding down the race route. The problem is that we didn't know where the finish line was, so we almost drove across the finish line! The volunteers yelled at us enough, that we figured they knew what they were doing and backed out of that last turn. My photographer jumped off the bike and ran to the finish line, while I headed around the corner to park the bike.

 

Since I had an all access pass, I wandered over to the finish line and cheered for the racers as they finished. My photographer gave me his card and said he'd email me some pictures. He also told me he was talking to the other photographer, who was very jealous that my photographer got the better rider. WIth the zipping around at high speed, slow speed maneauvers, and u-turns it was a pretty good test. I was proud of my performance.

 

I came home and collapsed. 4 hours of sleep (because I was at the BBQ last night) and 6 hours of precision riding was enough to wipe me out. I took a nice little nap.

 

The Laws:

  • 3 counts of Illegal left turns
  • 6 counts of riding the wrong way on one way streets
  • 15 counts of riding on the wrong side of the street
  • 50 counts of running read lights
  • 2 counts of disobeying an order from an officer
  • 26 miles of riding 60 mph in 30-35 mph zone
  • Riding around police officers with their lights on

 

I think they'd lock me up for life with all these violations, but my All Access Vehicle pass saved me from everything! It was a blast. I wish I could get one of those passes for real life! They said they'd talk to me next year. I hope to see some of you then!

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Sean

Hey Daryll, thanks for the ride report. That sounds like a lot of fun, I might have to consider doing some of that sort of thing myself one day.

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Kris

I've been telling ya... supporting triathlons is a lot of fun. Now Daryll, wasn't it hard getting back into the groove of following the law again!!!

 

We're still looking for bodys (and bikes) for the tri in Santa Cruz this coming weekend. They're seriously hurting for help... so, come on out and help!!

 

kris

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daryll

I believed you. In fact, I believed you enough that I went out and searched the web for an upcoming triathlon in my neighborhood. I was surprised to find the LA Triathlon was coming up. It was perfect timing.

 

Yes, it was hard to start obeying traffic rules right after the event. In fact, the other rider was telling me he was having a hard time running red lights. Somehow that didn't bother me at all! (What does that say about me?) I got very good at quickly scanning ahead to determine if cops were controlling traffic and matching my speed so that I would cross with the riders as much as possible.

 

It was a hoot. You NoCal folks should join Kris!

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PeterScottNJ

You've got me all excited again. I missed the Lake Placid Tri this year but ABSOLUTELY plan on doing it next year.

 

Great report

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JB80120

Great post, Daryll. I'll have to give it a try sometime.

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BrianT

It's even more fun when you get to do it on a black and white motorcycle with flashing red and blue lights and get paid time and a half to be there. Only down side is it wasn't on a BMW. I wasn't sure it was you until I got close enough to see the BMWRT.COM sticker and had to say hi.

Edited by BrianT

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murrayg

Hey Daryll, you made all motorcyclists look good. Thank you. Now get back to obeying the laws young man. tongue.gif

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tmuenster

Nice write up! Sounds like it was a cool event.

 

Thanks for posting the story,

Tom

 

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