Lucky Riders vs. Good Riders


In the military my favorite saying was “I would rather be lucky than courageous when the bullets and bombs start to fly”.  The simple fact is that over the last 10 years I have been a lucky rider more than a safe rider.  Luck is a wonderful travel companion but tends not to be a lifelong partner.   One of these days our luck will disappear and we will have to survive on our good judgment, experience, knowledge and talent.  Now that I am getting older, I am wise enough to understand that my luck may not always be there for me on every ride.  This year I want to focus on improving my riding skills and becoming a safe rider.   Safe does not equal “No Fun”.  I define safe as the reduction of risk through any means possible without giving up the joy that makes one so passionate about motorcycling in the first place.  Riding is about the elation of life which drives us to smile as we navigate the roads of never ending bliss.  The goal for me is to become a safe rider without losing that passion.

My biggest area of improvement is the inability to concentrate while riding.  Have you ever been on a ride and travel an hour or two and find that once you get to your objective that you really don’t remember the journey at all? This happens to me all the time.  It’s a combination of being so relaxed that I kind of remove myself from reality and day dream during the ride.  I lose myself in the ride to the point of not being safe.  This is my biggest area of improvement.  Concentration is the key to good riding.  Focus is needed to improve upon ones physical riding style and ensures mentally that nothing is missed that could jeopardize the rider’s safety.

Trust me I have many other areas of improvement but this I believe is my biggest opportunity to improve upon.




About twotiretirade

Keeping the faith of fanatics who feel fired up for anything motorcycles. It’s all about the journey and the philosophy of riding on two wheels. Let’s bring alive the truly unique culture of motorcycling and never let the ride leave the fibers of our being. View all posts by twotiretirade

16 responses to “Lucky Riders vs. Good Riders

  • Peter Radsliff

    I wonder if the “daydream” issue is less about not concentrating on the ride as a whole and more about concentrating only on the moment. I, too, wonder if I got to the end of the ride and my lack of concentration meant that I was unsafe. But maybe I am really concentrating highly for each moment during the ride, and not needing to remember each of those moments afterwards. I don’t know. I guess the true test of this is whether I remain “situationally aware” enough to make the right evasive maneuver if something were to come at me during one of these daydream rides. Unfortunately, I don’t think one can know until one gets there. I would agree that it is better to err on the side of being “hyper aware” while riding and leave the daydreams for after the ride.

    • twotiretirade

      Peter- You are so right in everything you said. I actually thought of your point when I was writing this post. I think for me that I am definitely caught in the moment and loving the ride but sometimes the moment catches me of guard. For example in September I was riding and was lost in the moment when a car in front of me stopped short. Well by the time I saw it, I had to jam on my breaks and ended up locking up my back tire and skidding. I should have been paying a little more attention. With that said I was diagnosed with ADD when I was a kid and still refuse to take medication for it so paying attention is not a strong attribute of mine. So that may be the issue as well. Life is to complicated so lets just ride, have fun and enjoy the moment while doing our best not to rear end the cage who stops short in front of us.
      Great Points and thanks for the message!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Stevie D

    I know where your coming from regarding the ‘lost in the moment’ feeling. I’ve always figured that if something unusual or threatening occurs, I’ll snap right out of it. These situations come up all too frequently on a bike, and lets face it, you can never really withdraw from reality as much on two wheels as you can on four. Either way, I’m still here to discuss the issue(touch wood) so I guess I must have my finger pretty close to the button most of the time.
    Thanks for you kind words on my blog, by the way.

  • 7acesmotolog

    When I was a younger rider I suffered from “what I don’t know I don’t know”. The result was a tremendous accident involving a deer and a 50 ft. low side slide that put me out of commission for 3 months. I didn’t understand what happens to a bike when you lock up the rear wheel, let it drift and then let off the breaks. I discovered motorcycle physics the hard way. I rode after that but was so scared of repeating the accident that I eventually sold my bike and gave up riding. Fast forward a few years and I had caught the riding bug again. This time however, before even buying a bike I read several books on riding and rider safety. I didn’t want to go out there unprepared again. I read all three David Hough Proficient Motorcycling and Street Strategies books as well as every article and blog that I could. The last step was to take the MSF rider training course again.

    The result is that I have a much better understanding of how a motorcycle works and what to do when things don’t go right when riding. There are practice activities in the books that are invaluable for conditioning your perceptions and body for reacting to incidents. They are also full of information on how to ride well which have increased my riding pleasure.
    We all talk about wearing all the gear all the time, but it’s just as important to put on your mental armor.

    I’d recommend that you pick up either David Hough’s Street Strategies or his first Proficient Motorcycling book. They will help with your goal this year. Good luck out there and keep riding safe.

  • Andrea

    I ride to work most days. As as result, I kind of “tune out”. I start thinking about things I have to do at work or thinking about the day as I am riding home and I too get lost in the moment on a great ride.
    When I first was learning to drive, the best advice I was given was to always turn your head and LOOK at EVERY intersection. Don’t just rely on the light or that people will stop at stop signs. Now I know this is pretty basic but I am surprised that people don’t actually do this. I have conditioned myself to do this at random side roads in addition to lights and signs both on longer trips and on my way to work. It “snaps” me back to reality. So even if I do tune out, I am not “gone” for more than a few(ish) seconds. It has saved my butt more than a few times now that I have moved to a bigger city.

    • twotiretirade

      Andrea- I like the word condition. We tend to always think about our bad habits such as eating to much sugar or smoking. We forget that we can also teach ourselves good habits as well. Your good habit has increased your Situational Awareness and decreased your risk.

  • Janie Reinart

    Hey, Twotiretirade, Didn’t know if you saw my response to your comment on A Cut Above: Barber Gives More, so I am posting on your site. 🙂

    You’re welcome. You are “good people”! Thank you for your service.
    Find the joy everyday in your journey! Take good care of yourself while riding! As a mom, I can say that! I see that you are a parent too! Many blessings.

  • Wanderings of a Girl Rider

    That’s a great goal. The cbr is my second bike, and that first year I had Blueberry, I rode stupid. Still better than most sportbike riders in my area, but stupid is stupid. My goal as a rider is to work on my riding technique. Riding motorcycles has made me a better driver. I’m forced to be more aware of my surroundings (who’s behind me, who’s in front of me, which drivers are doing stupid things, etc). Greater concentration on the task at hand doesn’t distract from the ride =)

    Yeah, Okies ain’t too bad o’ folk.
    Happy Riding!

    • twotiretirade

      I love your comment “stupid is stupid”. Its funny b/c today while driving to work I was thinking of all the stupid things Ive done and got sick to my stomach. Thanks for stopping by and come back anytime

  • eamallory

    I commute to work via motorcycle and there are only so many different paths I can take to get there. Having lived in the same town for 40 years I know this bit of flat terra firma pretty well. I think the brain has a sort of deduplication mechanism. It only stores the deltas. (some of those deltas can be deadly) So sometimes you may not remember the entire ride but you remember what was different. I’ll bet you are more aware than what you think you are. I’ll aslo bet that you are more aware because you are concerned you are not as aware as you should be!

    • twotiretirade

      I sure hope you are right Eamallory. I must admit, I have never heard anyone say that I may be more aware than what I think I am. In fact my wife would say completely the opposite. Thanks, you give me hope!!!

      Seriously I do believe you may be onto something, so I appreciate your comment. Its crazy how your brain works.

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