Sunday, March 25, 2012

And "Down goes Fraizer!!!"

You may know the title quote from the famous fight between Muhammad  Ali and Joe Frazier where Ali knocked Frazier down in the first round of the first minute.  Well today I witnessed a rider go down right in front of me and I could almost see it unfolding in front of me.

Don't Ride in the Rain if you don't have to
I've only ridden in the rain a handful of times but one time on a drive from San Francisco to Santa Barbara where I rode in the rain for a total of 3 1/2 hours.  Just to put it out there, that's the most miserable I've ever been in my entire life.   I was freezing to death, soaked to the bone, trying to go 90 mph just to get through the clouds.  When I arrived in Santa Barbara my friends said "It just started raining!"  I knew that I had been under the cloud the entire time I was traveling south. That was enough for me to say I was never going to ride in the rain again.  If you don't know what the weather is going to hold in store for you, your better off driving or waiting it out.  I had one experience on that same trip where I hydroplaned on my bike --officially one of the scariest moments of my entire life-- and I wouldn't want that to happen to anybody else.  "According to testing cited by the NTSB (National Transportaion and Safety Board), the speed at which hydroplaning can be expected to occur in a vehicle is 10.35 x square root of the tire pressure."  I was lucky to make it out of that trip nothing short of being cold and miserable but the extent to what "could" have happened may have been a lot worse.
How To Ride in the Rain if you have to
Why not follow advice from the fastest people on the track, they know how to ride under extreme conditions both wet and dry.
I have a few movies of a few random Moto Gp seasons and they race when it's wet so I thought it best to take their advice when approaching a wet day at the track to riding on the street.  Valentino Rossi (6 time World Champ) explains it as, having to be the smoothest possible, not making any abrupt changes that will make you fall.

 Today in the bay
 So if you live in the bay area you all know it's been raining a lot lately and today it was especially hard.   After swearing to never ride in the rain again I chose to ride in my truck to drive the truck to school and work.  I was waiting in traffic as I saw a motorist splitting lanes and approaching me pretty quickly, I could already tell he wasn't prepared because of his sneakers he was wearing.  Motorcycles + Sneakers + Rain = newbie (new rider) or just plain under-prepared.  As I posted before the safest thing for our feet are boots, they support and protect our ankles in the event of a crash.  This motorist wasn't the best at splitting lanes and tried to cut into the left lane a little too abruptly.  Mind you, this happened right in front of me, I watched his front tire wash out as he tried to steer too quickly, he shook the bike to try and keep upright and the bike tossed him up and over the side at a speed of 10 Mph.  I pulled behind him when I noticed he was limping and shaken up.  I put my emergency flashers on and got out to help him pick up his motorcycle and move it off the road. He was still able to walk fairly well so I believed his ankle wasn't broken but I knew that he did tweak it to some extent.

I think that by having some knowledge of how to operate motorcycles at extremely high speeds while wet can be extremely helpful and perhaps if this young chap that I met today would have known the same thing and been better prepared with boots he might have walked away unscathed.  To the rest of us, be prepared mentally and physically!

-Jon 5

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