(cover picture: Jacquie Lopez, July 21st, 2019 class)
So you decide you are ready to buy a new motorcycle, want to return to riding or want to upgrade your current ride. You build up courage and head over to your local motorcycle dealer. Congratulations! You have taken the first step towards an eternal life of fun and weekend riding. But wait! you have to try out your new future motorcycle before you buy, right?
So at this point, you honed in on a particular large motorcycle and the dealer hones in on your intentions. The dealer prepares the motorcycle, gets you a shiny fluorescent vest and takes you for a test ride, side by side with him/her riding on another motorcycle. All of the sudden, you realize you need to make a u-turn on a 700-900 lb. motorcycle you have never ridden before, and you are embarrassed to let the dealer know you cannot make that u-turn he or she just did in that amount of space (24 feet – the standard lane width in the United States is 12 feet.)
Here is how most people process the situation (this actually happened to me):
– I am riding an unfamiliar motorcycle
– The motorcycle weighs a ton! (actually, you are riding 2/5 of a ton assuming 800 lb. motorcycle – for the math geeks!)
– I am going to fall if I turn and this will be very embarrassing
– Oh no! The dealer turned and is leaving me behind. What do I do?
– WAIT! WAIT FOR ME!!!!!
…..I was thinking all this while duck walking the motorcycle in the middle of US-1 in Miami, FL (if you live in Miami and ride motorcycles, you have probably figured out who the dealer is…)
So now you decide that the big motorcycle is not for you yet or you are brave enough to go ahead and buy the motorcycle and pray you never have to make a u-turn in a busy street (or empty!) Fear no more. Maneuvering a heavy motorcycle is not about the ability to handle the weight but to understand the proper use of the friction zone (which you learned when you got the endorsement,) posture, head and eye positioning and the rear brake. Remember, you are not carrying the motorcycle so weight is not a factor.
Don’t be a member of the Foot Draggers Club! – Learn to Ride Like A Pro!