Category Archives: safety

Riding the Back Roads on your Motorcycle

Catching the rare green countryside in southern California
Catching the rare green countryside in southern California

Anytime I take my motorcycle out for a ride, I’m hitting a back road in the southern California countryside. Fortunately it’s not that far of a ride before I’m away from the city and in some beautiful area that makes me forget I live in a huge metropolis. If you want to ride some nice back roads yourself, here are a few tips before you head out to unfamiliar territory. Continue reading Riding the Back Roads on your Motorcycle

The Joy of Just Riding a Motorcycle

My trusty R6 still gets it done at the track
My trusty R6 still gets it done at the track, as long as I keep myself in control

I nearly crashed at my last track day. I was leaned hard in a turn, slid the bike, scraped a foot peg, sh** my pants and wondered how I didn’t go down. After a few more laps I brought myself in and realized I didn’t need to try so hard – it’s just a track day. Continue reading The Joy of Just Riding a Motorcycle

Older Sportbikes Still Aren’t Good Beginner Bikes

My 2005 Yamaha R6 - still not a beginner bike
My 2005 Yamaha R6 – still not a beginner bike

It’s weird; some bikers that have been around for a while tend to think of older sportbikes as good beginner bikes and will even recommend them as such. If a bike wasn’t good for beginners when it was new, why would it be good for them 10 years later? If they were hard to ride in 2005, they’ll be hard to ride in 2015. Continue reading Older Sportbikes Still Aren’t Good Beginner Bikes

Video: Beginner Motorcycle Rider Crashes on Canyon Road; He’s Okay Though

A new rider crashes on highway 33 near Ojai, CA
This beginner rider crashed on highway 33 near Ojai, CA. He was not hurt and the bike’s okay.

It was a beautiful Saturday as seven of us rode out to Ojai, CA. My brother and I stayed in Ojai for lunch while the other five rode up Highway 33, one of the best motorcycle roads in all of southern California. To my surprise one of the riders was still a beginner; he had only been riding for four months or so and was brought along by a more experienced friend.  Continue reading Video: Beginner Motorcycle Rider Crashes on Canyon Road; He’s Okay Though

It’s Spring, Time to Ride Again

snow.
It’s been a long tough winter for some riders.

Spring is finally here and it’s time to start riding again, that is if your region has adequately thawed out. If you haven’t ridden your bike in a few months, may I suggest the following:

  • Check tire pressure
  • Get some fresh gas in the tank
  • Clean and lube the chain
  • If your battery’s dead, get a trickle charger to bring it back to life

For those of you thinking about a first bike this year, we’ll have an updated list of our preferred beginner bikes for 2015 soon. Stay safe out there.

 

Lane Splitting Update – California’s DMV and CHP Remove Guidelines from Websites

lane splitting
To split or not to split? That is the question.

Both the California DMV and California Highway Patrol have removed any language pertaining to motorcycle lane splitting from their websites and printed materials, in what appears to be an effort to distance themselves from any perception of endorsing the practice. California is the only state that allows (or rather, doesn’t disallow) lane splitting or lane sharing by motorcycles. For the record, I still split lanes on occasion but do so rather conservatively. You can read the article I wrote about it a few years ago here:

Lane Splitting — Time Saver or Insanity?

Source: Los Angeles Times

Track Days are Awesome!

Trackday
My trusty R6 at Streets of Willow Springs last weekend.

Oh man, track days are so awesome. Sportbikes are made for the track, so there’s no better place to experience one than in its native environment. There’s also an incredible side benefit to improving your skills; professional photographers are present at most track days. Looking at photos of yourself in action is an underrated tool for improvement. I’ve poured over countless photos of myself at various track days through the years, comparing my body positioning to those of professional racers and highly skilled riders to see what I could do better. I’m still trying to get things right, but having photos of myself at the track went a long way in improving my skills.

If you’re a newer rider looking to get into track days, you can check out the Track Day Starter Guide to see what it’s all about. (Hint: It’s not that hard to get started.)

That said, I am not a fan of street photographers that hang out at busy mountain roads to take photos of motorcycle riders or people in their cars. I respect their entrepreneurial effort, but have seen so many people crash trying to show off for the cameras or make u-turns in ill-advised locations to get themselves onto camera repeated times. It’s my opinion that a photographer’s presence can make an already dangerous road even worse. If you want to see what I’m talking about, just search for “mulholland motorcycle crash” on youtube and grab a drink… it’s gonna take a while to get through them all.

Riding Canyon Roads Safely

canyon road
One of the endless turns on Angeles Crest Highway

Twisty roads are something many sportbike riders look forward to every weekend, myself included. Here in Los Angeles we have an iconic mountain road right in our backyard called Angeles Crest Highway (aka ACH or The Crest), endless canyon roads in the hills surrounding the Malibu coast and various other excellent mountain roads within an hour’s ride. Perhaps you’ve heard of Deal’s Gap and The Snake, an infamous stretch of curvy forest road in the Smoky Mountains along the North Carolina / Tennessee border. These roads attract motorcycle riders of all kinds; some looking for fresh air and scenery, others looking for the thrill of running turn after turn at speed. These roads can also be dangerous, so it’s important to enjoy them safely by following a few simple guidelines. Continue reading Riding Canyon Roads Safely