martes, 24 de junio de 2014

My three motorcycling scares... so far.

In four years of riding, and about 60,000 miles, I've only had 3 scares braking hard on my bike.

First of all, I assume that the world is populated with morons, with murders in their hearts, and they're out to get me.
Second, I accept the fact that I will always be wrong, because not matter how right I am in a situation, I will end up the loser. I don't care if the other guy ends in jail, if I'm dead, or worse, maimed.

The first one came on the K12R. It was my fault. I was going about 120mph, and very new on my bike. A guys sees me, and without a care in the world pulls right in front of me. Those brakes are amazing. I ended up about a yard from the rear fender of the truck, and I definitively suffered from target fixation.

The second and third came on the same day, on my K12LT. I wasn't going fast. I was chilling.

Going on a three lane highway, on the right lane. About 70mph. I see a guy on a beat-up truck going about 30 mph in the left lane. Guy decides to turn right in front of me, across two lanes of traffic. I see him, pulled as hard as I could on the brakes, the truck is too close. See that I won't be able to make it, look for alternative path, decided to go around the front of the truck. Fortunately the guy stops that piece of junk in time and I barely made it around the truck. The LT goes in the dirt, and the rear goes out a bit, finds traction in the asphalt, tries to do a high side on me, but the bike is too long, too heavy and my GF is on back. Bike righted itself, and I stopped.
I'm beyond upset. The guy and his whole family started screaming, and I waved them to leave.
Get back on the bike, and I started laughing nervously. My GF is upset with me and tells me that for me everything is just a joke.
It's not. I have no idea how I pulled that off, and I didn't even think about a single decision/action. All that training with the LT, to practice hard stops, and avoiding target fixation finally paid off when it became "muscle" memory.

Coming back from the event we went. I see another truck going about 60mph, on a country road, one lane only. The truck signals to the left, and gets on the incoming traffic lane, and stays there right about to pass a semi. I assume he's gong to pass the semi. I'm all pumped up from the music blaring on the stereo. Get right behind him, but the truck doesn't overtake the semi, just stays there. Then suddenly the guy without slowing down enough makes a sharp turn left in front of me, and tries to enter a huge ramp up to his property. He caught me completely by surprise. Hit the brakes hard. Won't make it, still hard on the brakes, I turned with the truck, and the LT is very leaned over. The bike stops, after I dragged my left foot and miraculously the LT stops on its side, with me holding its weight on my left foot. I have no idea how I'm doing that, and right the bike with my left leg.
My GF is furious at the truck driver, and starts screaming loudly.
I get off the bike. Realized that I was very, very luck twice in that day.
Tell my GF that it was my fault, and that we should go.
She's now upset with me again, and she's hysterical about two incidents in one day.
We get home, and my left knee is on fire. The next day, is swollen and in constant pain. It's very touchy now, some positions when moving the LT make my left knee flare in pain. I realize that I probably damage something. But I always heal anything, so I give it time. It's pretty much healed now. No more pain, except when in certain positions, with weight, and when I don't exercise for long periods.

I decided that both were my fault. All three instances. My "sixth" sense (arachnid?) told me I was in a situation of imminent danger. I told myself I had the right of way, or the situation under control. I ignored the subtle signs that idiots were in the road at the moment (including me), and that they were about to do something really stupid, which they did.
I promised myself never to ignore my sixth sense again. It's been almost two years since. I haven't been in a scary situation again.
In a country of 5 million, with 2/3 motorcycle accidents per day, and motorcyclist death rate which is crazy (about 200 people a year) for this small country. I think I'm getting the hang of staying out of trouble.

I have sometimes a recurrent dream that I'm going in the zone. Very fast, sweeping the curves, and just having a blast, and then suddenly a semi crashes head on with me. Other times, I just lose traction suddenly and hit a wall. I wake up with all I see it's black. I'm shivering.

The next morning, I get back on my bike, and the world is right again. I intend to do this for a long time, and I won't allow myself an accident, if I can help it.

jueves, 5 de junio de 2014

Quick Review of all my Motorcycle Gear to date

This is a quick rundown of all the gear that I have or had so far.

I believe in ATGATT (more on that). So, if you are thinking in buying gear, save up to buy the best one. Once you start compromising, you ended buying a lot of stuff along the way.
Now, the best protection is the one you always wear. Which is another way to say better some protection than none at all.

So, here we go...

So, I started with a
- Classic Biker jacket. No padding. Extremely thick leather. Outgrew it around the waist. (trying to sell).
- Joe Rocket Mesh. it's a joke. (trying to sell)

Joe Rocket Phoenix 3.0

- Joe Rocket textile. same as above. (trying to sell)

- First Gear Tech-Mesh. Good. (sold).

- First Gear Kenya. This was supposed to be waterproof. Not only it's not. It's beyond hot, and it inflates with the vents open. a complete joke. There were some parts inside made of paper (around the cuffs). Only wore it for two long trips. I think I threw away in anger.

- Harley Davidson Alternator Leather/Mesh jacket. it was ok. Ended up using the mesh more. (sold).

- BMW RR Kushitani Perforated Leather Jacket. This thing offers awesome protection. Extremely tough, very heavy because of it. Put the back protector. On the K12R it's ok as long as you are moving. On the K12LT it's tougher since there's no airflow. Can't beat the protection though. It's a tank. Very hot, but bearable.

Did I mention this thing is awesome?

- FieldSheer Titanium Air 4.0 Mesh Pants: a complete piece of rubbish. The velcro doesn't sitck. The fabric started to rip after only one month. It's hot anyway. I don't see how this piece of garbage can offer any abrasion protection. Rubbish. (trying to sell).

- Dainese Wave Pro Armor Jacket: though it looks good, and it's just the armor. The elastic mesh would not hold a chance against any surface. This thing is meant to be worn underneath a cheap jacket.

- Xelement Mesh Jacket: this is a winner because it's cheap, and I never use it for protection alone. It goes with the Dainese Wave Pro Armor underneath. No logos. It looks stealthy. Did I mention it was cheap?

- Dainese Alien Estivo Jacket: my pride and joy. I think I bought it a size too large (54 instead of 52, I lost weight). This thing is so awesome, sometimes I like just to look at it. I can almost assure you I look handsomer in this thing (albeit handsome with a beer belly). The leather is so supple but very thick. The level of protection is outstanding. I put the G2 back protector. It's a tank.

- Dainese Delta Evo Pro Estivo Pants: Oh my! I bought these just before my K12R had to be decomissioned temporarily. So, the sliders are new (). The fit, the protection. Just freaking awesome. If you need to go to the toilet, you have to take your boots off. Otherwise they won't go down. Same as the Alien Pants. This leather, it's Dainese. People gawk at it. It's breathtaking.

- Dainese Alien Leather Pants: They are awesome. Same fit as above. The quality is superb. If you are riding under the sun. Your legs will get unbearably hot. Gets better if you get airflow. I feel very protected in this thing. It's hot. No perforations.

- BMW Pro Sport Gloves: they're all beat up now. My left thumb develop a hole. I repaired them tearing apart some stupid HD half gloves (no finger protection), and I'm wearing them again. They're all soft now. Love them.

- Icon Pursuit Gloves: These gloves rocket for a while. They started to get too large, and I had the stupid idea to microwave them. They did shrink, but now the thumbs are too tight. Still rideable... They're still good though.

- Dainese Carbon Cover ST Gloves: incredible level of protection. There were others with more "stuff", but these have the palm slider. Think about it, the first thing you extend in a crash is your hands. If the leather sticks (and it will) to the surface, you'll break your hand. The sliders prevent that, as well as pinky sliders. Super comfy. I love them. They are my every day gloves. I've had them for over two years now, and they still look brand new. I would buy again in a heartbeat. Dainese is awesome. I got the ones in gray.

- Thor 50/50 boots: At first glance they look and fit and feel awesome. Then the straps start breaking. A quick search reveals is a know problem and Thor sends me straps. I decided to fix them once and for all and make leather straps. Problem fix right? well, now the boots soles unglued. Junk. Still have them. (looking to sell).

- Harley Davidson boots: Hey I was riding a Sportster, had to have them, right? (looking to sell).

- BMW All Around Boots: These boots have no peer. Not only they are downright comfortable. They are waterproof. I have stepped into a foot of water, and no problem. I've been rocking them for three years DAILY. No signs of overt wear. A bit of shoe polish and they look new. They look awesome and are not yelling anything. Very classy.

- Dainese Giro ST Boots: I bought these to complete the look of the Delta Evo Pro pants. Haven't been able to rock them properly. They are stylish. They are thin though. If you have wide feet, these are not for you. Specially at the heel. Did I mention these are made by Dainese? You get the point. Cool.