Friday, April 25, 2008

Thanks for the Practice

I recently read a post on Walk the Razor's Edge entitled Angry Riding. Ken tells about his trials and tribulations riding in the Las Vegas metro area and how frustrating it can be riding in the middle of construction and stupid drivers.

My first thoughts were that the drivers I encounter and the traffic I negotiate were quite benign and I was really fortunate. And then I thought about last night's ride home.

My commute takes me through an area that transforms from urban to rural and changes from a four lane divided highway to a two lane arterial. The transition at rush hour often times causes slow going - about 20 mph - for about 2 miles. You know the routine: Stop. Start. Get going about 15 to 20 mph. Then stop again. Repeat for the next 15 minutes. It's a normal, everyday event I have come to expect and cannot avoid. But last night was different.

As the string of traffic approached the slow down I fell into place behind this little green Civic. I soon realized that the driver of this Civic was intent on making it through this stretch of highway without touching his brakes. So instead of moving forward like an inch worm with start and stop motion, he plodded along at a walking pace of 3 mph.

You can see where this is going, can't you? It's pretty easy for a car to creep along a 3 mph. It's a little harder for a motorcycle to keep a straight line at the same pace. With a double yellow line and a steady stream of oncoming traffic I chose to ignore the quarter mile space between the Civic and the next vehicle and use this as a learning experience, adding to my meager set of 2 wheeled skills: balancing a 600 pound motorcycle at a snail's pace for a couple of miles.

In the end, the task was accomplished and I was victorious. I celebrated by rolling on the throttle and passing the Civic a few minutes further down the road. (I was followed by just about every vehicle that had watched my practice session.)

The wind sure felt good in the 80º temps under my leather chaps and jacket!


RazorsEdge2112 said...

Congrats on the practice! I do that as well sometimes, just stay behind slow moving cars or try to not stop at a light that will soon turn green. Unfortunately, here anyway, riding slowly seems to be an invitation for the car behind to tailgate my bike.

I do some slow speed practice in parking lots as well. It really does help.

And, thanks for the comments. They are much appreciated.

Doug C said...

Ditto here, to.