Riding my own ride
I can’t stand vibrations, let alone vibrations in between my legs!! Hold up, get your head out of the gutter, you dirty little soul😈. We will get back to the vibrations shortly.
I have been riding for a while now, hit 3,000kms!!!🥳🥳 and I have had a top speed of 107kph (6 months later!!!😢). Some good advice I received when I started out was ‘ ride your own ride‘. This, I was told, should extend to all rides solo, group and couples😍.
As a newbie (uh huh, am still learning and did I invite you to a graduation? 💁🏾), you are learning (1) to look for harzards, (2) your bike, (3) to wave when you see the other biker pass by (I still struggle to release the handle and wave, at times I end up noding after he/she has passed🤦🏾♀).
With all the amount of learning taking place, you are bound to have information overload. It helps to know yourself, what works for you, and stick to it.
A. You are bound to meet so many other riders, trained by different people and using different styles. A buddy of mine, once told me (if you are alone on an empty road, like the southern bypass, achilia hiyo engine because the car coming behind you is speeding and will chota you. This advice makes sense, but it doesn’t apply to me, especially newbie me. See, when I speed, my heart races which means am about to panic. Once I panic, I will not remember how to use the controls and slow down/come to a stop if I need to.
Lesson one: if you are giving advice, package it in a way it will be helpful to the recipient; on the flip side, don’t take everything thrown at you.
B. Group rides are a great opportunity to meet new people, see other bikes and fall for the bikes🙈 and pretend to also like the owners. 🏃🏾♀🏃🏾♀ Remember how we talked about difference in training, this is the ground where it plays out. Some people will ride at the middle of the lane, others will be at the edge of the lane, others will keep racing up and down while pulling stunts.
Lesson two your fellow bikers can be hazards on the road too. You need to watch your side mirrors check their indicators, brake lights and movements. It is not just about the other road users, your mates on that ride are hazards too. You need to have enough reaction time and distance. At times this may mean falling back and letting the ‘fun’ ones take the lead and at other times it may mean pulling over/turning back. I will trust your judgement on the particular instances and not give further guidance. Provided you are clear on your abilities and your weaknesses (we all have them) you should be okay and make the right calls, when need be.
C. Still on group rides, there is an excitement that builds when we are in motion in large packs. This could, easily, lead to confusion and give false courage.
Lesson three Know your limits to the point that you will have fun in that larger group.
I find some of our pipes irritating and can’t ride around them😬. I am not a fast rider, I only speed up when I need to, all other times am enjoying the views at speeds of 60-70kph. Remember those vibrations I mentioned? When I rev at the wrong gear, the bike produces this very annoying vibration, it also produces them when am at high speeds, I think it is a problem with my rev matching…🤔 we shall figure it out.
So in most group rides you will find I have my own sweeper who will go at my speed and let me do my thing.😊
The last one was amazing☺, he’d speed, stop take water and relax. I would pass him. He’d give me a head start of about 5-10mins then he’d hop onto his bike and ride behind me and pass. We did this repeatedly for a distance of about 170kms. By the time we arrived to meet the large group, I wasn’t tired and I had enjoyed my own little quiet ride within the main group ride. 🙃 The return journey is where I hit 107kph, yea I had confidence, having used the road before. 😎
D. As a planning note it may be useful and more coordinated if you access ride rules and plan before hand. It may also be useful to organise people according to Nyumba Kumis that way teams are grouped before the D-day and show up ready.
Lesson four: communicating to a large crowd without a public address system is difficult, let alone informing them all the rules, stop over points and grouping.
Just as you ensured to get proper training and gear, devote some time to understand your self, how you react to different situations and be comfortable controlling that machine. Learn to ride your own ride and you will always have fun!
Now my child, go forth and….🏍🏍🏍🛵🛵🛵