React, Respond, Initiate

What will you do next??

The first almost always leads to bad outcomes.

When things are uncertain it’s easy to react.

Responding is smarter, it forces you to think about the action to take once you identify a hazard.

It’s also easy to get into a rhythm of responding, to others’ actions and movements.

How about the last? How do you Initiate? How do you get other road users to respond to your actions? How do you anticipate the hazards and resolve them even before they develop. How do you stay 3 steps ahead of the risks and hazards on the road?

Light wallet, Heavy Bike!

There is always something else that you just have to get. Something that you want but don’t really need.

New accessories for your bike, new riding gear, small things, big things. That will make either you or the bike or both of you look way cooler.

Expenses, planned or not, rational or not, are still a draw on your income. And all these easy money from mobile credit apps don’t help. Soon your wallet is all moth balls and old receipts. Just sad!

At what point do you invest in yourself, spend money on improving your riding skills sets. Identify a niche you may want to pursue and get professional training?

Or simply get better at your current riding routine. When does it ever become important to learn more and be better.

Like never, right? That’s why Trainings like Bladedoc track training days and Off-road East Africa training and Skid School have such low turn outs.

But guys and gals will still race on public roads, ride off the beaten track, go trail riding. With the same skills they had from when they did their basic rider training, if they were so lucky.

Coz y’all are experts now. Hospital visits and burials for those in crashes that could have been avoided if that knuckle head had put more hours in addition training , suck big time. Please Ask for help and assistance in addressing any riding challenges you have and make the effort to grow your riding skills.

Ride Safe

Ride Your Own Ride by Lucy Monyenye

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….🏍🏍🏍🛵🛵🛵

Helmets Expire – By B.G

Helmets Expire

Just as with most man made things, motorcycle helmets have a shelf life. A helmet loses its effectiveness over time. To understand why, how and when, we need to first understand the structure of a helmet.

The Outer Shell is the external lightweight ‘plastic’ part of the helmet. It is mostly made from some polycarbonate made from polycarbonate, fiberglass, carbon fiber, Kevlar or a combination of these materials. It is the first point of contact with any external collision and is designed to prevent penetration in case of abrasive collision. It is the most solid part of the helmet and thus determines the shape of it.

TIP: Whenever you spot a crack on this part, your helmet is no longer helpful, because it cannot protect you in any subsequent collision. Meshing the crack together with an adhesive (super glue) or as a thin wire DOES NOT mend it.

The impact absorbing liner is the next layer after the outer shell. Ordinarily, this is an extended polystyrene (EPS) foam layer and is biodegradable. You can see it when you remove the comfort lining of your helmet. This is what absorbs the shock in case of any impact. Its main task is therefore to cushion your head from the impact. It is flexible and a bit rigid. It is not too rigid (because then it beats the essence of being shock absorbent) but has some rigidity to prevent full contact.

TIP: With time (storage and use), this layer hardens and loses its ability to protect your head from any impact. It becomes another hard layer that you will be colliding with in case of impact. This is what we mean when we say the helmet has ‘expired’. You can find out the viability of this layer by checking;
To see if it has hardened

For any cracks, chip or dent – This could be there even if the outer shell is perfectly intact. It is advisable that every time you drop your helmet, however lightly, you check for a crack, a chip or a dent on this layer.

The date of manufacture of the helmet. This is ordinarily on a sticker attached to this layer. A helmet’s shelf life (all factors constant) is 3 to 5 years post manufacture.
In case you notice any of this, however small, its best you replace your helmet.

The last layer id the internal comfort layer. This is what your head is directly in contact with. It’s designed for comfort and is thus made from cloth. This layer is removable.

TIP: Remove this layer and wash it regularly. This helps with the integrity of the EPS layer because it absorbs the sweat on your head, which could easily permeate to the EPS layer and reduce its shelf life.

Now that you know about helmet expiration, be sure to keep it safe and replace it before its time.

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