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Friday, June 09, 2006

The Challenges of Riding

I was having a discussion earlier this week and one of the topics we touched on was the challenges of riding.   Right now, the “tough” ride is the Pike’s Peak Harley Davidson 5-in-1 Ride.   While I would love everyone I know to be able to get out and ride with me, I also know that this ride is not for everyone.  

One of my girlfriends was a little upset when my other girlfriend started talking about the ride—girlfriend #1 was upset that girlfriend #2 was really talking in a way that ‘might’ discourage other riders.  I told girlfriend #1 that I didn’t get that at all….this ride is a challenge:  both physically and mentally.

I gave her my opinion of the subject (well, she did ask)….the ride itself is physically grueling just due to the mileage alone.  Add the factor of group dynamic of 20 to 25 motorcycles increases the challenge.  In addition, there are mountain passes and the fact that everyone’s skill level is not the same.  The last thing anyone wants is to have a rider mentally break down in the middle of the ride!  That makes for a dangerous situation that invites the opportunity for a crash.

I told girlfriend #1 that girlfriend #2 wanted to minimize the potential for accidents.   She was not trying to discourage anyone that had the skill level and could handle the ride….in fact, girlfriend #2 wanted to encourage everyone, but was trying to be very clear on how difficult this ride would be—especially if someone loses it before the first 100 miles are done.  Not only do you have a rider that is mentally done—now the issue of getting that motorcyclist off the mountain becomes a problem.  It’s not like you can cut them out of the group, turn them around and then send them home.  Well, they do that, but I wouldn’t let my friend go back alone—especially if she’s freaked out.  

Of course, our discussion had the intended effect on girlfriend #1—she started doubting her riding abilities.  Grrrrr…….not what I was trying to convey—I know she can handle the ride.  However, I also wanted her to understand the challenges she had ahead of her.

I know that the HOG road captains have two other route rides scheduled and I suggested she think seriously about riding in with them.  It would be a smaller group and she would see what the route was like.  Even if she doesn’t do the entire route, she could at least get a better understanding to what she was facing.

I had a similar conversation with my friend Karla a couple of weeks ago regarding her challenges of riding Run For The Wall.  Her near-breakdown was a bit past the midpoint—it took everything she had to NOT turn her bike around and go home.  She said that she had mentally hit the wall—and she was done.  She was no longer interested in riding…all she wanted was to go home.  Thank goodness for the encouragement of her fellow Road Guard team.  She pushed through it.  We talked at length about our various riding friends and their skill levels and discussed who would be up to the challenge of doing RFTW.

We both agreed that it is an experience that everyone should try if the opportunity presents itself.  However, it is NOT for everyone.  

I’m guilty of “glamorizing” this sport….I often agonize on trivial matters of which chrome thingabob to put on my motorcycle or wonder if my bike makes my tush look too big….  In all seriousness, I understand the inherent risks of riding a motorcycle.  I know the difference in mental energy it takes to ride a motorcycle versus driving a car.  

I have plenty of experience, but I also know I have a heck of a lot to still learn.  I believe that I have the experience to do both the 5-in-1 and could ride the RFTW.  I know a lot of my friends should not be attempting this type of ride…at least not now.  

That’s why the warning went out.  Not to discourage anyone to ride…but rather work on their riding skills to be able to handle the challenge.  We all have seen the results of rider in a situation that is beyond the capacity of their riding skills, underestimate the capability of the machinery they ride and forget to respect the pavement they are on.  More often than not, the end result is tragic.

If you are capable of doing the ride, then please….ride in.  If you are not or are unsure, talk to someone about it and then decide.  If it isn’t for you…now….wait until a bit.  Your motorcycle, body, friends and family will thank you….because we want to see your beautiful face tomorrow and the day after.

Keep the Shiny Side Up!

~The Rainbow Wahine


Jerry James said...

I hate when my bike makes my tush look to big hehehe Great blog!

Giest said...

agreed, Christine. never take it as discouragement, but a heads up as to what you are going to encounter. i've found that if you doubt yourself too much, you aren't going to give yourself a chance to experience the exciting things that are out there.