Monday, September 12, 2011

Seen On Highway One

It is a rare day I am the passenger when riding or driving the Overseas Highway, but it happened when the boys took us to Miami in their American Dream.

It turns out the front step well of the RV makes for a splendid perch to distract the driver with chatter and take pictures of the road unfolding before us.

Much to my surprise a forty foot RV can travel easily at the speed of smaller traffic and the easiest pictures to take were those that I snatched while we were held up by dawdlers in small cages. I like taking pictures of Florida riders as their casual attitude not only reminds me of my youth but makes serious riders gnash their teeth. Tolerance is the lost art of the 21st century.

This cyclist in Marathon impressed me with his totally relaxed manner as he dodged giant cars and casually crossed four lanes of traffic with no signs of stress.

I have a suspicion Cheyenne used to be 'walked' in a manner resembling this next picture. She used to start our walks by running after I got her from the pound. I had a little talk with her and explained that I amble and only gallop in emergencies. She took the message to heart and now she gets to be a dog and investigate everything as we stroll. Not all dogs are so lucky.

Some people ride with helmets in the Keys.

No really, even if gloves, which I think can be even more useful in a crash, go by the board. The last time I fell off at 45mph in a badly marked construction zone I scraped my leather gloves but my helmet never touched the ground. Next time perhaps.

Oddly enough some people like to fish more than they like to ride motorcycles. The smartest one's have a two wheeler to ride to the fishing hole and it's equipped with pole holders and poles riding vertically and waving around like buggy whips.

This next picture highlights one of my motorcycling bugaboos: high visibility clothing. This stuff is sold as a passive 'safety' device on the grounds that it makes people more visible and thus increases their sense of safety on our vicious roads. As this next picture illustrates modern faired motorcycles frequently make the concept worthless yet you can bet the riders are unaware of how hidden they are. Helmetless, they ride thinking their "high viz" clothing gives them a mantle of protection like a wizard's cape.

The only safe way to ride is to be aware, and practice your skills. Turning wide is not one of those skills, but modern 800 pound couch cruisers so popular on the straight roads of Florida, make leaning complicated. Oh, and take a riding class where these skills are taught even if they are bound by convention to recommend passive safety aids to make everyone feel better.

Or take off the motor, relax, and watch the cars go by wondering why the rush...

But the lure of the open road is why one needs a motor, some ugly saddlebags and a tank full of $4 gas.

Seven miles to the gallon while you brew coffee and heat a Cuban mix in the microwave on the RV, or you go 45 miles to the gallon braving thunderstorms and distracted cagers while riding the Bonneville. You choose, but at least in the RV no one expects you to wear a high viz vest.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


RichardM said...

Occasionally it's nice to be a passenger. It's easier to take pictures. I have to agree with you on the hi-viz clothing as you can see very little of it from the front and if they have a box on the back then very little from the back. When I took the MSF class, the instructor strongly discouraged hi-viz clothing as he felt it caused drivers to unconsciously steer towards you. He did think that white helmets were a better choice (if you were so inclined).

And nice looking motorhome. I heard that some states are requiring a non-commercial class A license to drive something that size.

Conchscooter said...

i'm glad to hear high visibility clothing is losing appeal in some quarters. I think it is also a way for riders to think they can drop their guard because they are "highly visible."

Chuck and the Pheebs said...

"Tolerance is the lost art of the 21st century."

I really like that - going to both borrow it and quite you from here on out.

Did you read my Riepe AGATT tribute post? it's entitled, "Wasps Hate Me."

Thanks for the insight.

See you soon,


Conchscooter said...

Never did see it, I don't think. Riepe will have room for more I ex
ECG. See you soon.