More Night Riding!
July 11, 2009 at 5:48 am #3127
I put in another 60 miles of night riding tonight.
First thing I figured out is the wave doesn’t happen at night.
I had a nearly @@!#-your-pants moment tonight. I’m at an intersection a few blocks from home. Drive it every day. Making a left in a dedicated turn lane. No one behind me. So I’m dinkering with my rear-view mirrors. I can never get them right it seems. Cars start moving next to me, look up, see green and start going. Then, I see a car coming into my path, then it clicks in the membrane that it was a green light, not a green arrow. I guess at night they change the program on that left turn so it’s just green, not a green arrow when it turns in the daytime. Quick braking… not in the car’s path of travel… OK. Wow, I just did a emergency stop in a turn and didn’t drop it like I did in BRC! I straightened it out then gave it the stop. It’s hard to believe how much learning you do happens off the road from BRC.
Anyway, get the hell though it with a clear right-of-way and find the first gas station to take a bathroom break. The point of the story is… don’t take the programming for the light that you ride everyday for certain. And BRC pays off.
I found something even scarier than highway riding outside the city lights at night — twisty country roads! I took one that curved between farm fields, hills and forests on the journey. The worst part was having even hi-beams on and not knowing exactly where the hell this turn is taking me, due to the light limitations. There were a lot of tense moments on that road. It occured to me why most of the accidents where people drop is on country county highways, where people don’t reduce their speed enough to deal with a curve that takes more turn then they thought going into it. They freak out, they lock it up, and they drop. Motorcycling is weird in that you have to force yourself to accelerate and lean at the very moment your mind is telling you to stop now.
After two hours, I had to give up because my rump was too sore. Is there a sweet-spot on the seat of the older Ninja 250s? If so, I have yet to find it. Are the seats any better on a R6 or Gixxer? Or do I need to do glut exercises to get my rear up for sporty seats?July 11, 2009 at 9:01 am #20493zeppelinfromledParticipant
I’m not big on twisties when it’s dark. The headlight just isn’t enough to really see what’s around. And the extra second that it takes you to see that deer coming from the side of the road could be a very important second. That’s in addition to not being able to see through the curve as well. If I ride any twisty roads at night, they’re roads that I know, and I drop the speed down.July 11, 2009 at 7:10 pm #20501EliasParticipant
HEY! Glad to hear you’re ok, a couple of the BBM guys were wondering where you have been, including myself. Scary moment at the intersection, stay on your game, don’t get sloppy out there! Nevertheless, it’s gotta feel rewarding to catch yourself and your bike when it counted in real life. Nice job. As for the twisties, that sounds super stressful! I see myself going super slow through that area, not wanting to be going to fast for my lights. As for seats, I know nothing about the older 250, but I feel the new 250’s are coosh! After 2 hours tho, IDK how much faith you should have in any sport seat, lolJuly 12, 2009 at 5:33 am #20515
I’m still here. Vacation got in the way.
I’m always worrying that someone’s going to pull into my right of way making a left and call it quits for my ride… hard to believe it was almost the other way around.
I’m not doing that twisty county road again at night unless I absolutely need to. Most of the state routes in the country around here are pretty reasonable, assuming you’re going somewhat near the speed limit. I can’t stress enough how over time riding my car and riding my bike, going the speed limit actually makes riding easier.
I love city streets at night because under the street lights I can actually see a reasonable distance. And the speeds are lower. What a match made in heaven.
And maybe the rear fatigue is a good thing to keep me safe. If my rear is tired, my mind probably is fading too, right?July 18, 2009 at 1:00 am #20719dcJohnParticipant
Riding at night is always such a big contrast of extremes for me. Sometimes it’s the most relaxing riding I do–empty roads, just the sound of my engine and the starts overhead. Other times, like when I decide to do my commute after teaching a night course, flying down I-95 between Baltimore and DC, it can be miserable and terrifying–going less than 70mph results in crazy passing from behind, and keeping up with or ahead of traffic speeds means radically over-riding my headlights’ reach and playing the lottery of “I wonder what junk might be on the road ahead.”July 18, 2009 at 2:45 am #20724MunchParticipant
Thats why I bounce from car to car … some what drafting them til I can find one that cruises my speeds…then tail them.July 18, 2009 at 10:07 pm #20736RabParticipant
I commute all year round so of course, that means riding home in the dark in the Winter. Fortunately for me though, it’s mostly freeway and mostly lit freeway, so not a big deal.
I took the Wife down the coast for the day and got lost coming back one time. I ended up taking country roads in the dark to get home. Boy, that wasn’t much fun. You’re right of course, the headlight is just not up to it and I was finding myself in corners without even realizing it. Brake, downshift, lean, oops here we go again in the other direction, aaarrgh… a hairpin!! Brake some more, downshift, 10 mph, upshift, mind that big (thumpity thump) …ouch …pothole. Oops, here we go again… Definitely a scary experience on strange roads; especially two-up.
Best advice (and I’m not alone in this), don’t ride a motorcycle at night if you can avoid it.July 19, 2009 at 12:32 am #20739EliasParticipant
I’ve had plenty of cars just disregard the shredded tire tread on the freeway, and drive right over it…spitting it UP into the air at me…just don’t get too comfortable riding behind a cage. If anything they are severely reducing your 2-4-12July 19, 2009 at 1:36 am #20741MunchParticipant
nah I don’t get that close…. just close enough to use their headlights as a heads up. Plus I have my light aimed a tad high to give me precious more seconds as I ride in the winter to. Before this winter I am getting additional lights.July 19, 2009 at 7:07 am #20750
I still ride at night within the city limits. But once I get out of town in the dark, heck with that. I’m headed back into the city lights, unless there is something in the darkness I want to go to.
For just trolling around wasting time at night (which happens a lot when you work nights) I like to keep it under city lights.July 20, 2009 at 12:16 am #20767dcJohnParticipant
My current night-on-the-freeway strategy is usually to follow cages, but not at all close, lined up roughly behind either their left or right wheels, watching their lights for a sign that they’ve hit something on the road. I figure it at least gives me a chance of a heads-up about an obstruction and the opportunity to swerve into a different lane.
Frankly, there’s no getting around the fact that it’s rolling the dice. Every time I go on the interstate and see a large obstruction during the day, it’s a reminder to me of what might be lurking unseen on the pavement at night.
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