It is the details that count

| 6/10/2009 9:54:35 AM

Alison and BMWs 

My work takes me far from civilization and roads and motorcycles – consequently in the spring and summer months there are periods when I can only dream about riding; so I read about riding instead. And like a child with a favorite blanket, I return again and again to David Hough’s books Proficient Motorcycling and More Proficient Motorcycling. 

If the titles sound dry, the reading certainly isn’t. Yes, there is a comprehensive discussion about accident statistics and motorcycle dynamics… but mostly it is down to earth, common sense stuff. The kind of information that I read and then say to myself “I knew that” – but I needed to be reminded that I knew it! 

I have probably thumbed through his books a half dozen times each, and every time there is some tid-bit of advice that registers and the light goes on. If you haven’t taken a recent serious look at your riding skills, or even if you have, these books make good sense. We owe it to ourselves and our families to ride in as safe a manner possible. And that means paying attention to the details. And no, I don’t mean detailing the chrome on the bike! 

We need to constantly maintain our awareness of the machine and its condition. Tire pressures, cables, lights, controls, brakes – these things matter and shouldn’t be left to chance. Are the mirrors adjusted to best advantage? How quickly will the bike stop from 30mph? 50mph? Do you know?? 

We need to be awake and aware of our own condition.  Are we alert and calm and focused and fit? Do we have the right gear for the conditions and for possible changes in the weather?  Is our favourite helmet a good one, and in good condition – or just the most comfortable in spite of the dents and scratches?  Will the allergy medication that we took at breakfast affect our ability to maintain focus?