Last Thursday morning, I decided that knee guards are not meant for Ninjas like me. The office route seemed to be shorter and decided to use a longer route for a thrill.
I decided to go bump jumping. I get a thrill when springing my bike down then launching it in the air. Let’s say I believed that slowing down at the bump is for the weak and meek. . Nilijua sijui.
As usual just like I used to do on my 150cc, I sprung my bike and launched it in the air. However, landing became the problem. I was wearing the wrong boots for the ride; in as much as they were pure leather military boots but with no ankle protection. To top it off, I had no knee guards on me.
Now let’s talk about landing! My front wheel landed on oil since I was close to a garage which was also by the roadside. This is where all hell broke loose. My foot slipped and stepped on my gear. In the process I ended up gearing down to gear one and that was when I unleashed all the monsters stored in the beast. All I remember is that the bike went “skrrrrra Pa pa ka ka ka Ski bi ki pa pa” .
I skidded with the bike for approximately three meters before I got lodged off from it. I could see my DNA from the first point of contact with the tarmac to the stopping point. It was like I was given a contract to paint the road. Now all I have is evidence of my unpaid labor.
Lessons from the fall
- Even if you are going to buy tomatoes down the road, always gear up! ATGATT (All The Gear All The Time). We tend to lower our protection when we are in our hood and we are more likely to fall in such places.
- Having proper boots is a must for any ride- let the minimum be leather boots. I can’t imagine how bad my injury would have been if I had worn sneakers.
- Knee guards will help reduce the possibility of you doing unpaid paint jobs on the roads.
- Before pulling a stunt consider where you are going to do it. Don’t be like me; I rode next to a garage forgetting that there are high risks of finding oil spills on the roads.
- Before pulling a stunt consider the weight and power of the bike. Don’t let your adrenaline take control of you. What you can do on a small bike might need more time and practice before you can do it on a big monster factoring the power and weight differences.
On a lighter note, the crowd enjoyed the show. The baby’s nursery rhyme – humpty dumpty- has now taken up new Lyrics in our household thanks to my creative wife.
A few questions to ponder on:
- What is your pre-ride routine?
- Have you ever considered your risk matrix? That is, what you imagine or dream you can do verses what you can actually do or what you really should be doing
- What assumptions do you make in your riding? They don’t have to have resulted in an incident
- Finally, what direction do you want to take your riding and are you prepared? (E.g. Stunt master, off road, street racing)
Ride safe y’all and stay sane!
At first riding in wet weather seems a bit daunting. Truth is, it really isn’t that bad and you shouldn’t be afraid of it. Here are a few pointers to help you ride better in the rain.
- Trust your rubber! You have way more grip than you believe you do. Watch the following http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6-h2YZXnzo
for examples of how much traction your tires can get on wet roads.
The first few minutes of rain after a dry day will be a bit slippery but once all the dirt and oil has washed off, your bike should grip pretty well. Just knowing this fact can improve how well you ride in the rain, because otherwise you’re riding with fear that at any time you could slip and tear your pants at the bum, and no one wants that. Riding with fear or in panic mode is never good in any situation. It ruins how well you react to sketchy situations.
I have a theory that bodaboda guys ride very well in the mud simply because they are not afraid of it. That alone reduces the chances of things going wrong because you stay calm, let your bike do its work and leaves you with room to handle any curve balls thrown at you.
It goes without saying that your tires need to be in good condition if you want any form of grip.
- Stay dry and warm. Being wet and/or cold will take away your focus and dexterity. You won’t be able to handle your bike as well as you normally do.
- Be gentle with your brake and throttle inputs. Brake early and use both your brakes.
- Make sure you can see. Clean your visor, and only use a clean soft cloth when wiping it. Any rough or dirty cloth will scratch your visor and effects of these scratches on your visor will become very ‘clear’ when you have drops of water on the visor. There are various products you can apply on the outer side of your visor that make the droplets bead up and slide off very easily. These greatly improve your vision. Personally I’ve used “turtle wax rain repellent” which you can find at any motor boutique.
- Make sure others can see you. Both your head and tail lights should be on and visible. Wear a reflector as well or add reflective strips to your helmet and jacket or backpack. That being said, ride with the assumption that no one can see you. Stay on your side mirrors whenever you’re braking and generally just stay more alert because, as you’ll find out, drivers and pedestrians are usually less alert whenever it’s not sunny.
- Stay calm and avoid road rage.If you go over those points again, you’ll notice that they aren’t necessarily specific to riding in wet conditions. They are things you should be doing every time you are riding on the road. In other words, if you ride properly in dry conditions, you shouldn’t need to change anything when riding in wet conditions.
Some things to look out for with regards to your bike:
1. Rain will wash away the lubrication on your chain pretty fast. Make sure to wash if necessary and lubricate it regularly. Without doing this your chain will start to rust.
2. If your bike is parked outside and you’re not riding it for a long time, let’s say more than three days; cover it with a waterproof cover.
3. This is especially for carbureted bikes. If your bike gets rained on and when you go to ride it, it goes off immediately you touch the throttle; you have water in your carburetor. Luckily, pretty much all carburetors have an easy way to drain them. At the bottom of the carburetor should be a screw which when opened will empty the carburetor bowl of its contents, make sure to turn off the fuel tap before opening the screw. If this doesn’t remedy the issue then you have water in your fuel tank :(If someone cuts you off or does something that you didn’t like, let them be. Pick up from where you were and carry on with your ride. You can even turn it into a game, try and predict who’ll do something stupid on the road, and anytime you predict something correctly, reward yourself. Something like 5 minutes of extra sleep per correct prediction, your boss will understand. You’ll quickly find out that it’s not that hard to predict a lot of the dumb things drivers tend to do. For me, it’s helped me stay very alert on the road while I’m riding.
Riding in the rain can be fun and very safe but, all that being said, don’t force yourself to ride in conditions your gut tells you not to. You don’t have anything to prove to anyone so just stay safe and ride only when you’re comfortable doing so.