So you got your motorcycle endorsement and are ready to hit the streets. Guess what? Now your real training begins. The MSF and Harley Riding Academy courses are designed to get you onto a bike ASAP with the most basic of skills. Once you get that endorsement, you are ready to take your riding to the next level. That's what safe - and skilled - riders are all about.
We all know folks who have been riding since they were kids and are happy with going from Point A to Point B. There's folks on bikes less than 2 years competing in police rodeos. Experience is not skill; time riding is not equivalent to time practicing. U-turns, obstacle avoidance, slow speeds, threshold braking...these are skills we practice weekly, skills that save lives.
And folks...don't think, "I can't do it." Yes, you can. Brand new rider? It doesn't matter what level you're riding at or where you want to reach...our goal is provide you with the guidance to help you become more comfortable, and ultimately safer, on your bike so you can enjoy your rides...and come home every time. That's what safe riding is all about.
The ultimate goal is for you to become a better rider by becoming more intimate with your bike so that you are more confident and comfortable. That requires not only seat time, but working with others who have been in your shoes and have worked to become safe riders themselves. Your Road Captains have all gone through intensive training to ensure your safety, and much of that is how to ride safe...and smart.
What we will NOT do is push you away. We know that not everyone wants to work up to "competition" level of riding. Most folks just want to learn how to handle their machines better and under controlled situations. And that's what we ARE about; working with you on what YOU want to learn and what you think your weaknesses are. And don't worry...it ALL takes time. Put the time in and you WILL become a safer rider.
We have "practices" every week. A small group - growing larger - of riders who enjoy learning and laughing, because yes, it IS fun. If you're interested or want more information, contact me - James - your Safety Officer and I will provide you with more information (locations and times) and answer any other questions you may have. As I told my students as a teacher...you never stop learning...G.I. Joe!!
How do you get to be a better rider? Practice! There's a lot going on, but the basics are clutch, brake, throttle...and not being afraid of making a mistake (or 1,000). This is just some of the fun we have in parking lot practices, pushing ourselves and our bikes to the limits in order to be better...and safer.
Our very own Kristen over a one year period working on her riding skills, going from never being on a bike (back in 2015) to competitions.
A short PDF that details some of the top dangers to riding a motorcycle. Some of these will be addressed throughout the coming year.
Everyone should have heard of T-CLOCS when taking their basic rider course. Proper pre-ride inspections can save you time, maintenance costs, and, most importantly, your life! While there are quite a few items that are covered in the official MSF T-CLOCS Safety Inspection Checklist (provided below), checking your tires (pressure and tread), brakes (pads and grab), oil level, lights (including your turning indicators), and controls should be the bare minimum.
"I didn't see them!"
How often have those words been uttered after a motorcycle-car incident? How often have you been riding down the road at night and not seen something in the road, or have something "pop" up on you from the sides?
One of the most important things you can easily do yourself is upgrade your lights. The image above shows a general comparison between stock lighting (on the right) and LED lighting (on the left).
In the past, this upgrade could get quite costly, especially for touring bikes with auxiliary or passing lights. Replacing all three front lights could cost you over $800...in the past. With recent advancements and mass production (due to increased demand), this upgrade is now a LOT more reasonable and you can easily pick up all three for under $150. And the majority of these setups are a plug-and-play installation.
I can attest to the effectiveness of these. Coming back from a trip to Austin, and riding at night, Kris and I went thru some iffy roads, including hitting a pothole - a LARGE pothole - that "snuck" up me because I couldn't see it with the stock lights. It was at that point that I decided to upgrade our lights, no matter the cost. And we've never been disappointed. As a matter of fact, the first thing we have done on all of the bikes in our garage is to buy LED headlights and passing lamps (if needed).
The difference is literally night and day, and the LEDs punch through the dark as well as providing excellent visibility during the day and the tricky sunrise/sunset situations.
Heat cramps are painful, involuntary muscle spasms that usually occur during heavy exercise in hot environments. The spasms may be more intense and more prolonged than are typical nighttime leg cramps. Fluid and electrolyte loss often contribute to heat cramps. Muscles most often affected include those of your calves, arms, abdominal wall and back, although heat cramps may involve any muscle group involved in exercise.
If you suspect heat cramps:
Heat exhaustion is a condition whose symptoms may include heavy sweating and a rapid pulse, a result of your body overheating. Causes of heat exhaustion include exposure to high temperatures, particularly when combined with high humidity, and strenuous physical activity. Without prompt treatment, heat exhaustion can lead to heatstroke, a life-threatening condition.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:
If you suspect heat exhaustion:
If you are with someone showing signs of heat exhaustion, seek immediate medical attention if he or she becomes confused or agitated, loses consciousness, or is unable to drink. You will need immediate cooling and urgent medical attention if your core body temperature or higher.
Heatstroke is a condition caused by your body overheating, usually as a result of prolonged exposure to or physical exertion in high temperatures. This can occur if your body temperature rises to 104 F (40 C) or higher.
Heatstroke requires emergency treatment. Untreated heatstroke can quickly damage your brain, heart, kidneys and muscles.
Symptoms of heatstroke include:
If you suspect heat exhaustion:
Often, other riders are the first folks on the scene or there when an accident occurs. As such, we are the "first responders" in a motorcycle accident. But, do you know what to do in an accident scenario?
In September 2019, several Fort Worth HOG Members took part in ASM training - basic and advanced. These courses covered the basics of motorcycle trauma care and what to do - and not do - in case of an emergency or accident. There were two parts to this weekend-long event...the Basic Course and Advanced.
2019 Basic Course Participants - Katherine Amerine, Kristen Washok, and James Washok
2019 Advanced Course Participants - Bill Anderson, Lee Ann Barnes, Steve Bosser, Richard L. Greene, Carlos Jones, Robert Martinez, Tiffany Mueller and Geneva Putman