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Knees in the Breeze

1 October 2018

Despite my chest cold I had a great Shenandoah Valley ride on Friday; video here. My reenacting-turned-motorcyclist friend Barry and I met in Front Royal and rode out to Middletown via the Reliance Road. Then we went down the Valley Pike (Route 11) past the Cedar Creek battlefield. Somehow (Barry, please explain) we got from there to Route 42, the scenic Senedo Road which I have never been on, and eventually took a left onto 211, the New Market Road, into New Market. We ate lunch there. After a brief tour of the New Market battlefield, we headed back to Strasburg via the Valley Pike. I went back home to Springfield via Route 55 and I-66. 255 miles! It was my longest one day ride thus far.

It's October 1st. In addition to pumpkin spice-flavored everything appearing in stores (a guy I know wants to see pumpkin spice gasoline), this day represents a full six months of riding Marva, my Suzuki Boulevard ("Bully") M50. Why is this significant? The Hurt Report - yes, that's what it's called, after its creator professor Harry Hurt - is a famous detailed survey of motorcycle injuries and fatalities. As part of my reading and podcast listening I am familiar with the findings of this report. One of its assertions is that most beginner motorcyclists get into an accident in their first six months of riding. That's how it was relayed to me, anyway. But the exact wording is statistically different: "More than half of the accident-involved motorcycle riders had less than 5 months experience on the accident motorcycle, although the total street riding experience was almost 3 years." Hmmm. At any rate I am now past my first six months without accident, having ridden 4,476 miles on my Bully. Hooray!

However, becoming complacent is a major mistake! Getting on a motorcycling means being wary and defensive when riding, continuing to learn, knowing what one's experience and skills limits are and riding within those limits. I think next spring I want to take a follow-up MSF motorcycle safety course. That will better my odds. Won't it?


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