I love going fast. That’s one of the reasons I love riding motorbikes. But going fast is just so dangerous, isn’t it? Well, no not really. I don’t think it is, anyway. Because we all know that it’s not going really fast that hurts, it tends to be the stopping all of a sudden when you hit the floor that does the damage. So no, fast doesn’t mean dangerous, and this is why.
When you’re trying, you’re concentrating. Anyone who’s ever raced a bike, done a trackday, or just got a bit of a move on, on the road, will no doubt agree with me. When you’re pushing on, your eyes are on stalks, every sense is on high alert and you’re ready for any eventuality. Well, almost any.
I’ve lost count of the times I’ve seen people make mistakes on track, because they’ve knocked it back to 90%, thinking they’ll be doing themselves, their bike or their tyres a favour. It’s all good and well knocking the pace back 10%, but if you knock the concentration down 10%, bad things happen. Your bike’s not going to thank you for stoving it into a tyre wall because you stopped concentrating fully.
And the same goes for road riding. Obviously I would never ever condone riding over the speed limit, and I wouldn’t dream of doing it myself. But I’m fairly sure riding a few mph over the speed limit and actually thinking about what you’re doing, is better than driving a few mph below it and tuning your wireless in, or something.
If you get comfortable riding your bike at a reasonable pace, you’ll become a better rider. You’ll become more at one with your bike and have a better idea what it’s capable of. That means that when you’re thrust into the inevitable sticky situation, you’re better equipped to get yourself out of it, safely.
Fast doesn’t mean dangerous, if you’re capable of going fast safely. And the more you ride fast, the safer you’ll be when you ride fast. It’s simple! Ride fast, save lives.
When you’re on a motorcycle, everything is a hazard. In fact, I don’t know about you, but I quite often get the feeling that every other road user wants to kill me! Alas, they haven’t succeeded yet. Anyway, my point is this; the faster you go, the quicker you get out of harm’s way.
When you see something scary on the road, like a car about to pull out in front of you, the temptation is to brake as hard as you can. Sure, sometimes that’ll bring you to a stop before you make a mess, but quite often it won’t. Quite often it’ll be what causes you to ran into Mr. Driver’s bonnet and smash your bike to bits; in which case, you might have been better of giving it a little squirt of gas to get yourself past the danger.
The same goes for track riding. If someone crashes directly in front of you, grabbing the brakes will just make it more difficult to steer away from them, so there’s every chance you’ll be joining them on the floor. Sometimes a handful of power will help you drive round them. Sometimes.
All of us like riding with lovely warm, grippy tyres. And for good reason. The more grip you’ve got, the safer you’re ride will be, right? But if you don’t give them at least a little bit of a pasting in the first place, they’re not going to get warm enough to give you the optimum amount of grip. Unless of course you’re running the hardest wearing, longest lasting rubber you can get your hands on. In which case, there’s probably not going to be a massive amount of grip there anyway.
When your tyres are up to temperature, you can brake harder, accelerate faster, turn tighter and generally be in better control of your bike. So warm your tyres up, ride fast and be safe. Because fast doesn’t mean dangerous.