The road I ride most often is Angeles Crest Highway in Los Angeles, and that typically means a stop at Newcomb’s Ranch to hang out, grab a bite and chat with fellow riders. What surprises me is the number of people drinking beer and other adult beverages at 9:00 AM, some of them having arrived on their motorcycles.
Riding a motorcycle requires balance, coordination and concentration well beyond what’s required to drive a car, so adding alcohol to that equation is a terrible idea. Not to mention on a twisty canyon road like Angeles Crest Highway, you need to be sharp so you don’t end up over a cliff or hitting another vehicle head-on.
Save the beers and bloody marys for when you’re not riding.
Hearing protection is one of the most overlooked safety precautions when it comes to motorcycle riding. It’s not uncommon to meet older bikers who have tinnitus or have suffered some sort of hearing loss due to the constant wind noise while riding. Ear plugs have two distinct benefits for beginner riders:
1. The noise reduction is very calming while learning. It wasn’t until my 2nd week of riding that I tried them out, and they made the learning process much less stressful. I didn’t realize how much the wind noise was bothering me.
2. It’s a good habit to start using them early, and they will save your hearing in the long run.
I prefer the long mushroom shaped plugs; they’re easier to remove from your ears. The brand I buy has a 33 decibel noise reduction rating, which I equate to riding inside of a newer car with the windows rolled up. You can still hear sirens, your own bike, other vehicles around you, etc.
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”
For those of us in normally sunny California, El Niño is about to bring a messy winter. The last time we saw a really rainy winter here was 2004 – 2005, which happened to be my first year of motorcycle riding. Here are some tips for getting through the rainy season if you’re new to riding motorcycles. Continue reading “Rainy Season Riding Tips”
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”
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”
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: