The ROLL Method: Ride, Observe, Learn, and Live

Saturday’s ride was all about observations I learned to help me (and any rider) live. The ride was also the farthest solo to date – 130 miles. I know I have to keep my head in the “game” to be safe when riding. ALWAYS!

The ride was a planned ride to a Tour of Honor Doughboy site (not for points because the state is technically in lockdown) in Waycross, Georgia. The route was literally a straight shot down Highway 84 with the first part in what I would consider local. That’s one lesson: It does not matter where you go, danger is all around whether riding or driving. It is just more dangerous on a bike.

Going south into Jesup (Wayne County line) you cross a bridge and then up a hill into a left curve to a traffic light. On the near side of that light is a convenience store that is popular with truckers who have to turn into the parking lot at the crest of the hill. The lesson here is that a motorcycle is invisible. I tend to ride in the right lane unless I am passing. Well, just my luck, there was a truck who evidently did not see me when he made his turn across my lane. The one great fear I have is dumping the bike or having to lay it down. Thankfully he was empty or I may not have been here to write about this. He gunned it which cleared his trailer from the far-left side of the road and gave me an out. Not the greatest feeling to start a ride, but I am glad the skills from the Riding Academy proved themselves (the swerve). Again, thanks to Bruce, Vance, and RA236.

The next lesson is dealing with a group of riders: If you are not part of the group, treat them like any other “vehicle” on the road. As I left Jesup I came upon a group of three riders. Thanks to my ride-along with Jim, I knew they were together and were to be treated as if they were a single vehicle, which meant I was not going to merge into them, but pass them as a unit. They were in the left lane as I was coming up on traffic. The trailing rider dropped back to give me an out as the car started to slow down for a turn. Not my intention to merge into the group, but I did exit the group and continue my ride as before – an individual rider. Whatever their destination, it wasn’t mine and our paths parted.

The rest of the ride to Waycross was uneventful. Traffic did start to pick up and the lights were favorable. I only had to focus on traffic entering and exiting the road (another thanks to RA236). I had only driven this way once before, so this trip would be considered “new road” since I was on the bike. The destination seemed to just “pop up” in front of me on the right. I pulled around to the monument to get a good picture while sitting on the bike. I guess this would be another observation: Take every chance to stand up or get off the bike if only for a moment.

Leaving Waycross, I ended up being surrounded by traffic. Yes, I was a little nervous, but I was all right. That is until Mr. Macho in the Mustang. Why is it that every muscle car thinks they have to “beat the bike” off the light? When he hit the gas, I was startled by the noise of his pipe (yes, I understand why most motorcycle riders want loud pipes, they can be heard). Mr. Macho “won” that round. I wasn’t impressed.

I enjoyed the ride, which is the main intent, right? That is the way we ROLL, isn’t it?

Jeff Allmond

12 April 2020

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