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Crossing the Line

Discussion in '24-7 Lounge' started by Bill Hagan, Apr 14, 2013.

  1. Bill Hagan

    Bill Hagan GT Reference GT Famiglia

    Oct 29, 2008
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    Above Pott's Camp along Braddock's route, Virginia
    Or something.

    Wasn't sure how to label this post.

    I've hesitated to say this here or anywhere, as it might come across, I worry, as patronizing, ignorant, both, and possibly more. Comma but. I sure don't intend to be that, but, as I am curious about this issue, I'll say it anyway and risk the flames. :whistle:

    This is a lengthy rant ... I know no other kind ... :p , so strap in or grab a beer.

    First, some background. So, I have gained about 20 pounds on an already ... erm ... ample base while on my two-year exile to the U.S. tundra on account of a job move. Recently, in anticipation of my retirement and return home to Virginia, I have started to fear that Kathi will subject me to her fascist-inspired nutritional and athletic supervision, involving, at a minimum, a veggie & water diet coupled with an exercise regimen that would make detainees at GITMO confess to the Jimmy Hoffa caper and more. :woohoo:

    As a partial attempt at a "re-entry program," I have taken to going to the gym (conveniently down the hall) and doing the treadmill and weight apparatus. I say "doing" because most any other word choice implies considerably more effort than I am expending. Mostly, I sweat about as much as that guy in the "procrastinate" part of the H&R Block web ads. In other words, I am more a sloth than cheetah. Sigh ... there will be a reckoning.

    But, yes, I digress.

    So, in order to survive my half hour or so on the treadmill, I bring in my laptop and watch vids. Most, but not all, are amateur-posted motorcycle-touring movies on YouTube. I pick a 30+ or so minute one and watch, wishing I were wherever they are/were than where I am/was right now.


    These vids are great. Not only do they get me through the torture session, they often have grand riding venues ... and some, if the truth be known, include some memorable pillions, too. ;)

    In the especially exhilarating ones, tho, I have to be careful not to react as If I am on the filming motorcycle. It happens.

    Here's my beef.

    I think I see what appears to be a pattern -- not universal, but the mode, at least, it seems to me in so many of these movies -- of riders who don't seem to care whatever about the center line. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

    Now, strap a Go-Pro on me and watch how I ride for 300 miles on any given day and you won't see nonstop art; I screw up. But, I am not talking about the occasional cross-the-line on a too-hot entry, but that approach throughout a many-mile, varied-terrain ride.

    If I have time to do it safely, I tend to give anyone who crosses into my lane on a m/c or in a cage a single-digit greeting. I've gotten the same, and deserved it. Again, mistakes happen. But every turn? Why? Aside from the obvious (IMO) incivility of it, it's dangerous to all, and, besides, reduces what to me is the fun of motorcycling: leaning in curves. Heck, why not drive a minivan if your goal is to straighten the road and ride upright?

    And, these are not hooligans posting antics, but presumably serious folks who enjoyed their trips and want to share their experiences. I'd be embarrassed.

    I include one example of such a vid here. The poster is, I think, from Oz. I cut anyone some slack who can ride 100 meters on "the wrong side of the road;" I know that I couldn't, and thus I have no plans to rent a motorcycle if I travel to any "left-hand" road destinations. But, I don't believe it is that at work here.

    And, amusingly to me, the video's poster says that there were "plenty of squids on sportsbikes" on the road.

    OK, I've said it. Watch a few mins of this (or all of it; lovely road and Ducati sounds), and help me understand why this style of riding is routine, accepted, OK ... or not. Maybe I make too much of it.


    Regards from wet and dreary Milan,

  2. GTM®

    GTM® Administrator Staff Member GT di Razza Pura

    Jul 1, 2009
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    Bill, you need an iPad. :silly:

    I've found that when you are riding with a camera, people (myself included) usually tend to "produce" or dramatize the ride to impress the viewer. I of course can't say that the shown riders don't do this all of the time, but the only time I do it is when I can see through a few corners with the road in full sight with no hidden sections. Clearly foolish, and a life-risking venture to take, and the camera might even capture just that.

    But, as such with riding, it's always a risk... and you can be taken out by someone on the oncoming lane just as easily I suppose, as I surely experienced in Dec. of '11. Not fun.
  3. toma nova

    toma nova Cruisin' Guzzisti GT Contributor

    Oct 4, 2012
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    Houston, TX
    Just getting caught up on some old reading....

    This is stupid riding. Why any mototrcylist would want to straighten a curve is beyond me. I agree, get a minivan. Add in the limited sight lines and this guy is in over his head. It looks like he's trying to keep up and not riding his own ride.

    Maybe there's some slack due to being on the right side of the road, but I rode in Japan for three years and rented a bike in Australia from the US and it is much easier to switch sides on a bike than in a car! Likely a rental for him in Italy also.

    I also noticed no head checks when pulling away at the beginning - not nearly cautious enough riding for me!

    Squid, indeed.

  4. Rafael

    Rafael GT Reference

    Feb 16, 2009
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    San Leandro, CA
    One of the squid characteristics is crossing the line because the driver goes into a turn too fast for his/her ability. This guy didn't do that, he just wandered across the line and gained very little from flattening the turn. A bad habit that increases risk for nothing. I flatten my turns all the time but its to STAY in my lane and increase speed. The turn is never totally flattened. I did see his buddies did a couple of delayed apexes. That road had too may driveways to enjoy above the posted speed limit. Lucky we have some great roads here in CA and the rest of the US. That's a "enjoy the scenery" road to me.
  5. ghezzi

    ghezzi High Miler GT Contributor

    Jul 7, 2011
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    Bill, I enjoyed reading your rant, no apology necessary.
    Didn't watch the vids, I get pissed off watching suedo Rossi's in real life.

    My philosophy is;
    "If you can't place the motorcycle precisely where it needs to be, you are out of control."
    So I get pissed off with myself if I have to cross the centre line, due to mis-judging apexes etc.

    I've always ridden mountains close to my 'comfort zone' limit, beyond it is hard work, dangerous and scarry coz I am out of control. Luckily I survived those rides in my "young dickhead" days to now be safer and enjoy my "old fart" status.

    I wouldn't say I am fast, or even now riding my fastest but at least I am smoother and more accurate. Eye sight and brain function/process speed and reflexes can only deteriate from here. :(

    Hey, everybody commenting here has been in agreeance with you Bill. Does that mean we are all "grumpy ol' farts"? :lol:
  6. wittangamo

    wittangamo Cruisin' Guzzisti

    Sep 30, 2011
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    Richmond, VA

    But the fact that we've all lived long enough to bitch about the risks other riders take means we have at least learned some basic riding and survival skills along the way. I was once young, foolish and immortal myself. Luck kept me alive through more than one boy-racer goof.

    It's now half-a-century since my first adventures on a two-wheeler with a motor, and I tend to ride at about 60-70 percent of what the bike is capable of on any given road. Even so, I'm occasionally surprised by a decreasing radius curve or a scattering of gravel in my lane.

    Riding is more enjoyable when I'm not pushing the limits of control, and crossing the center line is a sure sign things are getting out of hand. Whether it's showing off for the camera or letting ego lure you over your head because some other idiot wants to race, maturity allows the freedom to sacrifice pride for self-preservation.

    (Not to mention that riding smoothly and safely is often faster than the squirt and squeal gas and brakes style of the average squid.)

    So it's OK to be grumpy old farts. We've lived long enough to earn the merit badge. :evil:

    P.S., I just watched the video Bill linked. Despite the lovely road, I couldn't make it to the end because I was getting the heebie-jeebies every time the cameraman ducked across the line on a blind curve. I think in this case it was purely lack of experience and training. He couldn't keep up with his riding partners and it seemed to me he was cutting corners to try and catch up. If he doesn't learn some basic skills, or at least a little patience, he may not post too many more videos.

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