Riding with a Mission: Always be Aware

Today I rode with a purpose. I am rider #828 on the Tour of Honor website. Since the Governor opened up Georgia (as if it was really “closed” to begin with), I decided to go document some helicopter displays that are on Ft. Stewart by taking pictures of them. I also continued on to a K9 memorial that was listed for Richmond Hill. Along the way I came across my riding instructor laying out the riding course for Ft. Stewart. All I could think about is, “Don’t drop the bike! DON’T drop the BIKE!”

It was a beautiful day for riding. Started out wearing my second favorite jacket: the Hi-Viz weatherproof jacket with ventilation. It was about 68 degrees when I started out so it was very comfortable while riding. Of course, I was wearing all the gear that I had been taught to wear, especially the boots. When I stopped to say hi to Bruce, I inadvertently got off the bike and stood on an ant hill. We talked for a few minutes (there was another rider there with his bike) and I just had to take a look. Bruce complemented me on my choice of motorcycle (the V-Star or as he calls it “the Star”). I explained that it had everything that I needed to include saddlebags. As compared to the other rider’s bike. I do not have “distractions” such as the multiple buttons on the throttle or clutch controls nor an entertainment package. One of these days I may consider the bells and whistles, but not now.

As I walked back to my bike, that’s when I noticed the pissed off ants where I had stood when getting of the bike and that they were all over my foot. Corrective action? Move the bike (roll it away) and clear off the ants before those suckers could get up the boot and possibly start biting the leg. Not a good thing to deal with while riding. Needless to say, this is not one of those things they talked about in the class. Ants removed and crisis averted.

I had mentioned in a previous post that I had yet to ride in the rain. Also means I had yet to ride after it had rained and left wet roads. I suppose I could also include standing water on the road or soggy ground. Going to one helicopter display, I found there was a rather large puddle of water I had to negotiate. No problem. Slow down and steer to the smaller end of the water in the road. Easy. Not the slip and slide I was afraid of. Going to look at another helicopter meant I had to traverse some soggy ground. THAT was not as easy.

I’ve been very cognizant of possible slippery conditions – sand, gravel, debris in the road, etc. I have ridden on dirt roads and know how the bike handles even when making slow turns. That was easy. The soggy ground I had to cover coming out from this other helicopter was like trying to ride down a super slippery “Slip-n-Slide”. There is a reason it is referred to as a street bike. The tires offer absolutely NO traction or control when it comes to sideways movements. This is after I mentioned the triple dump during my rider training. All I could think about was that I was about to dump my bike and get very wet in the process. I can only imaging this was what it would be like if I were having to ride through snow. Definitely not something I want to ever do again, but like my posting about the brake lockup, it’s something I will probably come across again. I just hope I will have a better result and not slide around as I did this time. Again, always be aware of your surroundings and be ready for anything. Just because it’s a beautiful day for riding does not necessarily means that every condition will be perfect for riding.

Jeff Allmond

25 April 2020

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