John Del Santo mcbwaycool at yahoo.com
Sun Mar 13 16:39:21 PET 2011




By John Del Santo 
       There are a bunch of laws written in a lot of books, but there are certain laws the good rider knows cannot be violated.  These laws are : Friction,  Momentum, Centrifugal Force,  and Gravity.  A rider won’t get a ticket for breaking these laws, but will end up in a ditch or up against a big tree. 
       Friction, or traction, is the one that keeps you stuck to the road.  The first step in insuring traction is a good set of tires with good tread and proper inflation.  If the air pressure is too low, the tire tread will cup or bow, and will lose traction. 
       Read the Road……What looks like wet road can be Black Ice.  You’ll often find this first on the shady side of the hill and on or under overpasses.  Is it an older road that is not banked ?  Or worse yet, banked the wrong way ?  Hit your brakes hard in there, and it’s adios’ traction and hello centrifugal force.  What’s around that curve ?  Does the curve get tighter halfway through ?  Is there a cow or a bunch of stopped traffic just around the bend ?  If you need to brake hard in a curve,  you need to brake through it in a straight line….. Straighten up so that you are not tipped,  and hit the brakes as hard as you can.  If you are running out of room and heading toward the apex of the curve, point your front end more into the curve and brake again in a straight line.  If your back brake locks…..Leave it locked !  If you unlock a skidding rear wheel,  you are looking at a severe change of balance, a terrible
 loss of control,  and a Highside Crash.  Depending on who you talk to and what kind of riding they do,   there are different braking techniques.  Concerning braking, you can never get enough practice.   Even taking an Experienced Rider Course again would certainly be a plus before the day that you really need to stop !   
       When on slippery roads, anything that changes the smooth flow of your forward momentum can cause your bike to head off in a direction you had not intended.  Easy acceleration, light braking, and smooth steering are necessary.  If you double your speed, you will need almost four times the distance to stop because of the increased velocity  (Inverse Square Law).  Triple your speed and you will need nine times the stopping distance !     Following Distance is like money….  You can never have too much,  but if you have a little less than you need,  you’re in trouble. 
       Keep your bike in shape and  yourself in shape.  The good rider will know when to call for a break…. While your reflexes and reactions are still sharp.  Kenny Rogers said it best in a song; “know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em”.  Follow that advice and you won’t end up like Paul Simons’ song;   “Slip Slidin’ Away”.  
       Respect the laws of Physics and ….Ride Safe ! 


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