I think back on what worked for me.
As a young, new rider, I crashed. That hurt and made me think I didn't want to do it again. As a slightly more experienced rider, I crashed again. With my wife on the back. That scared me. Her, too. Fortunately, we were in a parking lot and hit an oil slick at about 10mph. Nothing hurt but our pride. It taught me to always be on the lookout and never take anything for granted.
Pictures of a woman passenger with road rash from head to toe. Picture of a young sport bike rider, dead, with his head stuck in the back of a semi-trailer.
Having to make a sudden stop, and having the rear end lock up and go sideways.
Quiet back roads in SLO county in the '70s and a chance to learn how to ride twisties.
A tank slapper at 100 on a CB350 on 101 near Morro Bay.
40 years of bicycling, where you really are invisible.
What are some of the things that made you the rider you are today?
I've been lucky that I've never really eaten it hard. But let's see.
1) I've seen tons of shit fly off the back of trucks. Keep my distance.
2) When I was a kid, my Dad brought over a female friend of his...pretty lady...I will never forget the road rash either.
3) I don't do it much anymore, but I used to watch crash videos on Youtube a lot. Kept me honest.
4) I was in a pretty awful car accident when I was 16. I walked away. On a bike, I would have been dead. No doubt.
5) I read and research obsessively about anything I am interested in...fishing...bikes...I owe a huge debt to Mr. Hough as do a lot of us.
6) I've seen some pretty bad bike accidents.
7) I ride/have ridden a lot on the streets of SF. It has made me an aggressive, but extremely aware rider.
8) I had an asshole throw a beer bottle and hit me in the face while I was on my bike. Always wore full face...always will.
9) Though nothing bad happened...that also taught me that as much as I want to teach all the idiots a lesson, they will not learn and I might get hurt.
10) Bicycling, for sure! Saved my bacon MANY times.
11) I have locked up the brakes a few times and I didn't high side because I knew what to do. I truly do visualize scenarios. And I practice fast stops, swerves etc on my bike.
12) I've almost been taken out from behind a few times, so I look at my mirrors a lot.
13) As a good friend of mine always says, I ride MY ride. Unless I'm with my boys and they want to ride slower and then I ride their ride.
14) I prove I'm proficient in ways that are far more fun than hauling ass (balance, control, fluidity).
15) I have never been afraid to ask for help or egotistical enough to think I can't learn by watching people who do things better than I do.
16) I keep one of Francine's scrunchies around my throttle. When I do get stupid, I look at it and think how ****ing unfair it would be to leave her without a Dad because I got hotheaded, pushed it too far, etc.
I gotta go take a little ride, probably throw some more up later, but 16 is my lucky number. For now, we'll stick with this. Oh, and every once in a while I hurt myself bad enough (off the bike) to think how horrible years of recovery could be.
And I ride with the best damn group of bikers I know.