Defensive Riding!!

I’ve been riding my bike commuting to work every day. And it has a nice and good feeling to it.  It’s been a month since I’ve started! and the experience was pleasant and still is! Of course, there were times I felt having all my gear can be troublesome.  Especially when shopping at the mall carrying all that gear can be daunting and a hassle. That’s why it’s best to always meet someone or be with someone and put your gear in the trunk of a car. If you’re expecting a good hot weather then just wearing a helmet plus gloves will be just fine :).

When you’re riding in the city your maximum speed is 50 km/hr so the risk of being seriously injured from a fall doesn’t exceed the same risk as being on a scooter or bicycle.  Yes, I’m all for gear all the time every time, but only if you have a big bike or going fast enough and you’re planning to go on a motorway! Anything else will be left to your best judgment? The risk of being hit or hitting an object is the same with or without a gear and believe me once that happens being fully geared or not won’t make a huge difference on a slow road.

What I’m trying to say what matters is your attitude when riding! what you do in town is the deciding factor in making it or breaking it!. That said, I’ll throw three examples I’ve noticed during my commuting ride here in Nz and what makes having a defensive attitude worth it?

Example 1:

You’re coming up a traffic light and as you’re going to slow down you notice you can lane split up to the front with the intention that before you get down in gear and fully stop the light will turn green and you can easily dash thru. The horrible mistake in assuming this? is that you aren’t giving yourself the time to see what is exactly happening at that intersection?

a- Are cars still passing the yellow light on the other side?

b- Pedestrians (especially mothers with baby strollers)  are still crossing the street?

c- The first car might be daydreaming and suddenly remembers to turn instead of going straight?

Example 2:

Tempting to speed instead of slowing down when overtaking or thinking to overtake and doing it on the driver side. This is like asking for it?! once you do that you will give the driver a straddle! As he is not expecting anything to pass him from his side of the seat and second you more likely to be facing incoming traffic from the opposite lane. You can always use the left side of the road or the cycle lane if needed to just make sure not to make it a habit as it is illegal to use the cycle lane. in this case, just slow down and once the traffic gets to a halt pass with care.

Example 3:

Think of the unexpected. like if you are following a vehicle what happens when something surprises you on the road from underneath the vehicle? will you have time to react? sudden braking or falling off items are things to consider. Hell, even the bugs and birds (like that Seagal in the horizon eyeballing for a nice dump on that shining gear of your’s) not to mention those little jack russell barking their teeth out at every chance a biker pass by. sometimes a dog might get too excited and managed to run away from his owner and cross the road and causes cars to suddenly brake or shift look always ahead of at least 3 cars. (that’s why having a higher seat position is important)

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Motorcycle Training

I know it’s been awhile since my last blog, but believe me, I have spent my time riding last week close to the coast with astonishing views that demanded some nice pictures.

NEW BRIGHTON BEACH

I’ve also started my week with a motorcycle training (bronze course). this course aims to improve your skills and road awareness and increase your confidence on the bike. as I never rode a motorcycle before I was lucky to start my training with Dan Ornsby when I was a novice. I had never owned a motorcycle and never even rode one, not even a dirt bike, hell if you’ve read my previous blogs I barely knew they exist!! 😨. Dan showed me the basics and taught me the fundamentals which were crucial for not practising some bad habits. I could easily compare it with swimming as I used to compete at university long time ago. (he was the coach who would teach you how to breathe under water and float and if this becomes second nature then you could learn any swimming technique you would like). another thing is; he would focus on safety skills as a number one skill. You could see that from his quote: “My father strongly impressed on me at an early age, the dangers associated with riding a motorcycle on a public road. Never assume you have been seen and never expect that anyone will do anything they should. In his words “Treat everyone as an idiot”.

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The Second person I was also privileged to meet was Pete an Ex-officer who really knows some tricks of handling a bike like a pro. you can easily chat with him and learn at the same time.

The Third person was Hank. Hank would let you experiment with your bike and have some fun. At the end of the day, it’s up to you, to make the right call, and ride the right way you feel confident to do so. No one can tell you which way to ride best.

All three instructor’s I’ve met and thought under had a way of teaching. Dan will help you feel and look at your bike in an artistic way he will make a big deal about your head position and where are you looking due to his racing background. While Pete can help you use some techniques that make’s life easier and manoeuvre your bike effortlessly. And old Hank will let you feel young again 🤣.

Going back to my group which is quite special. 4 people including myself from different countries. Two recently came to NZ. We had a Sydney fella on a Ducati-
monster (pipes only soo loud and noisy, which made staying in a neighbourhood out of the question. it was so loud that when passing through  Lyttleton under mountain tunnel you needed to stay 500m away from it due to the amplification of the noise). a British Lady on Suzuki GN250 who use to be a pallium for her partner who loves bikes, and a kiwi lady who just got her learners 2 weeks ago and is getting a new bike tomorrow, she enjoys riding horses and bikes. finally myself with Hank as the instructor.

A British Lady on Suzuki GN250 who use to be a pillion for her partner and loves bikes. A Kiwi lady who just got her learners 2 weeks ago and is getting a new bike the second day. She enjoys riding horses and bikes. finally myself with Hank as the instructor.

bronze-course-trip

I led the group three times during my group ride, my confidence was high which was great when attacking corners in the mountains. I had a lot of fun (a blast) and managed to actually get some lead and pull away from the group, I’m sure it wasn’t the power of my bike, as I had the smallest bike of the bunch. but the little Suzuki sure can turn tight. As instructed by Hank to enter wide and finish tight on a corner. the only thing I regret was not catching it on camera :S/. especially when half the group got lost but we managed to re-group and I’m confident enough to do my restricted license if I wanted to. First I’ll take the silver course as I’m near the end of my 3 months registration! Can’t believe it’s only been 3 months since I’ve started!! amazing how much fun and places you can go on a bike..