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Thread: head games

  1. #1
    Senior Member dirtgirl's Avatar
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    Jan 2014

    head games

    I am riding along and scanning for pot holes, traffic, critters and such. When I get into traffic I begin the what ifs.....what if my front tire blows and I get pancaked by the semi? Or.... what if this driver is texting and doesn't notice that he's crossing the middle line? Or, what if this guy is high and pulls out his gun just for kicks...or throws a beer can at me...and so on. At what point do you, the experienced rider, feel more relaxed and can actually enjoy riding? I see seasoned motorcyclists enjoying the ride but I can't help but wonder if it comes with experience after traveling x number of miles on their bike. Does it come after say, 10,000 miles? At what point did you feel relaxed and confident on the bike?

  2. #2
    Senior Member plumbstraight's Avatar
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    Mar 2013
    Montesano, Washington
    Most of your what ifs are just head games with yourself. Stay alert on your bike, know where others are around you. Keep your bike in top shape with good tires and watch the road and trails for sharp objects like pointy rocks. Don't know how long you have been riding but just keep your mind on you and your road and you will relax a bit about your worries. The one thing I watch out more for is when people are merging into traffic that they don't seem to see bikes and the sign that says YEILD. They think the highway is supposed to slow down for them or they don't speed up to merge.

    Have the confidence to know you can avoid most anything by giving yourself room and knowing what is around you.
    Last edited by plumbstraight; 05-29-2015 at 10:18 AM.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Purple's Avatar
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    Mar 2015
    Ynys Môn
    The only time you will potentially have a problem is when you become complacent and start to trust the rest of the world to know what they’re doing.

    You see yourself as “un-sure” – I see you as “aware”

    There’s a big difference between the two – sounds to me like you have it about right

    Plumbstraight has it right too – do what you can – then it’s only everyone else you need to worry about ……
    (Warning - Forum may contain nuts) ...... Hidden Content

    TW200 - 1998 - Japanese import - 7000 miles on the clock - TW225 Special Edition 2007
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  5. #4
    Senior Member Xracer's Avatar
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    Jul 2010
    Lake Placid,Florida
    Try riding with a high milage grey beard. One that has thousands of accident free miles under their belt and learn from them.
    TWilight likes this.

  6. #5
    Senior Member phelonius's Avatar
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    Nov 2010
    Frostbite Falls Ill
    You go out to your bike. Throw a leg over and start it up. You say to yourself, "I have had a good life and if I die today It won't feel as if I were not fulfilled". Then ride off into traffic.
    The American Indian version is "Hoka Hey", and ride off. Translation, "It is a good day to die".

  7. #6
    Senior Member arbolmano's Avatar
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    Feb 2012
    Arroyo Grande, Ca
    Hey, I'm a gray beard on two wheels since 1977. I agree with Twilight in that you have to be
    an active rider and I would go further in that you need to be the best rider you can. Being fearful or hesitant is the worst thing you can do IMHO. The only advantage you have over cars is your maneuverability. I highly advise taking MSF courses, I still do and actually they are a heck of fun. Riding where you can go balls out helps too wether it
    be on the track or off road. Hard to know your limits 'till tested. Making sure your bike is the best it can be is also important. Things like tire pressure, chain adjustment, brakes, controls etc are your responsibility to your own safety. I believe in protective gear as well. Sometimes no matter what you do you just get whacked. My worst was when I was stopped at light behind a car and up from behind came the drunk going 40mph, he didn't even slow down. Totaled my bike, the car in front of me but I walked away thanks to leather did get some pretty bruises though. It's important to be hyper alert, I treat everyone out there as blind homicidal maniacs. Being hyper alert really stimulates me and it's one of the things I enjoy about riding in general. Makes me feel more alive.
    Tonto on the "Left Coast"
    1987 TW200 (2) 2015 BMW F700GS
    More Wagging and less Barking
    "Enjoy yourself, it's later than you think"
    Make Love not War

  8. #7
    Senior Member JustPassinThru's Avatar
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    May 2015
    Quote Originally Posted by phelonius View Post
    You go out to your bike. Throw a leg over and start it up. You say to yourself, "I have had a good life and if I die today It won't feel as if I were not fulfilled". Then ride off into traffic.
    The American Indian version is "Hoka Hey", and ride off. Translation, "It is a good day to die".

    In 1986, I had a wreck. BAD. In the hospital a month.

    I bought another bike but I was reacting like the OP describes. Exactly the same.

    And my now-ex, wasn't wild about me riding anymore, either. She went from looking forward to getting on on back (she wasn't on when it happened) to making a face and hinting that she'd be really happy if I quit.

    I did.

    Life goes on. Six cities; three different careers; she is now gone so long I doubt we'd recognize each other if we met.

    On my 50th birthday I had a crisis. I had just quit a good job that became a hellish sweatshop with a Wall Street merger. Then the bottom dropped out of the economy; gasoline prices were over $4.25 a gallon.

    I needed to be out and about; but I didn't have the money for gas like that. I had it; but I had to budget, with nothing coming in.

    I looked at myself, that day: I'd had a good life. I was on the downside. If, the next day, I stepped off the curb and got run over by a bus...it was still a long and wild ride. A hundred years ago I'd have beaten the odds and actuarial tables.

    Did I really want to get old, be alone in a VA nursing home in dirty Depends? Because that was what I was saving my life for. That was what living safely would take me to. If I got out there and got squashed...been there; done that. Shock, physical shock, is a wonderful thing. If I had died on the pavement instead of getting to the ER...it would have been painless. Really...I didn't feel a thing for about three hours; then, the pain was such I thought I WOULD die.

    So. I went out, and bought a learner's bike - a Virago 250. I was disappointed that Yamaha didn't have the SR series anymore; if they'd had the SR 400, which is nearlly identical to the SR 500 I wrecked on...I'd have been there with a check.

    But I bought. And I learned. And, yup, I quickly got my skills back past what the Virago offered. 'Sides which, that thing was sized for a small woman or an Asian...so, I moved up; a GL500; a Burgman 650; a BMW R1200GS.

    Yes, there are things that scare me. I've had the rear shoot out a couple of times. On the TW, on a dirt trail...that would have been almost fun. On the Honda, which weighs twice as much, on wet pavement...not so much.

    But, if my number comes up tomorrow...it's been a good life; and I've done a lot of what not many people can do or have done.

    Ride more. Worry less. Take reasonable cautions; the rest is out of your hands.

  9. #8
    Senior Member ejfranz's Avatar
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    Feb 2015
    Maple Ridge, BC, Canada
    All good points.
    Know your limits and ride within them. Be aware of all that is going on around you.
    If your holding up traffic, pull over.
    I ride a bicycle to work every day and it is the same thing - be aware.
    I have never felt unnerved on the road, but I grew up riding dirt.
    I have had a can thrown at me while bicycling.
    I have had a car come straight at me as it was passing another car - instinct takes over and I got out of his way and went over an embankment into an orchard and came to a stop. The car that almost hit never stopped, but the guy he was passing did.
    My son has his license and I am currently working with my daughter to get hers.
    Motorcycling is a way of life, go out and enjoy the ride.
    immgunn and TWilight like this.
    2001 TW200 sporting a MT43 up front. Duro has gone to a good home. 2015 VStrom XT, 1996 DT 200, Broken 2010 Xingue 400 XY. 2009 WR250r now shared with my son.

  10. #9
    Senior Member old mad max's Avatar
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    Mar 2011
    Gobles, michigan
    I've been riding 50 years... Logged 220,000+ miles, and I still think about all the if's out there.... I have two that really bug me.. Texting and animals..... I try and make eye contact with the drivers I see pulling up to at corner.. "WATCH" the front wheel to see if he's moving out.. If so either honk or flash your high/low/high beams on to grab his attention. Dogs or deer really scare me.... They are so --------------------pause---------------- NUTS.. Just look and use your head, and try to relax a little. OMM

  11. #10
    Senior Member RobG's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Fulltime in an RV (currently PNW)
    Wow, my riding experience is pretty tame compared to 50 years and 220,000 miles, but I'll chime in anyway.

    I started riding in January of 2010, in Los Angeles -- the whole idea being to split lanes to get to and from work faster. That worked beautifully, but like you said, I was always nervous. Wondering if I would miss something that I should see... a car about to turn left in front of me, a car about to turn from my right, etc, etc. It was a little unnerving. Over time it got a little better. Nevertheless, I loved riding, and rode all the time; pretty much every day... whether commuting or just to get out and go someplace.

    About 2-1/2 years later, I started yearning to listen to music while riding. Previously, I felt like it would be a distraction. I just didn't have the bandwidth to listen to music and pay proper attention. But then one day I did. Now, I usually have my phone playing Pandora through my helmet via Bluetooth.

    It was around the same time that I noticed I was relaxing more during my rides. I instinctively was seeing the stuff I should see. It had become a sixth (and seventh, eighth, etc) sense just like when you're driving one of those four-wheeled contraptions... crap what are they called? Oh yeah, cars.

    Now, 5-1/2 years and about 50,000 miles later (I added up the mileage I put on all my bikes to date to get that figure), it's all become second nature. In fact, being that alert is actually invigorating. It's almost like meditation in a way. It's difficult to explain. But on top of that, I really do expect every car to NOT see me and for them to try to kill me, intentionally or not. I pretty much wait for it, then just go, "huh, whaddaya know" when they don't.

    The other thing, which I'm guessing you already do since you're on a TW200 forum, is ride in dirt. I learned more about riding on the street and controlling a motorcycle by learning to ride in dirt. On top of that, coming to Oregon and having to learn to ride in the rain as well. They have a saying up here.. In Oregon, if you don't ride in the rain, you don't ride.

    I hope that helps.
    Smitty Blackstone likes this.
    '12 Suzuki V-Strom DL650
    '96 Suzuki DR650
    '92 Yamaha TW200
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