Thunder Roads LA/MS Gulf Coast FEB 2019 - Page 8

Throughout my years riding, I’ve run into endless opinions on how to ride, what to ride, how to build, how to tune, what to eat and so on. In fact, I’m sure if I pondered on it long enough, I would come up with a time that someone suggested to me a better way to wipe my own posterior. Because of that, I came to the conclusion pretty early on that its almost never worth trying to debate these things. In fact, it’s made it on my own personal short list on discussion “no no’s” right alongside religion and politics. I’m going to break my own rules today though. This isn’t because I think my opinion is better than yours. It’s also not because I’m smarter or better looking than any of you (I could be though.). It’s because whether I know someone or not, I don’t like seeing anyone get hurt. This is especially true if that hurt could’ve been easily avoided. Just about every one of us has heard the old adage, “Don’t bring a knife to a gun fi ght.” This is a pretty good rule of thumb to avoid unnecessary hurt (On a related note, if said reasoning isn’t plain to you, please notify the loved one in closest proximity). Keeping this line of reasoning, I’d like to throw out a new one for y’all to chew on. Don’t tussle with a power tool. This is not to say that I expect every one of you to avoid discussing fi ner ideological issues with random circular saws and such. This is mostly an attempt to get your attention. How is this related in any way to riding motorcycles, you say? Let’s just say that getting into it with a belt sander in particular has more to do with it than one would think. Try to envision in mind’s eye, a belt made of 60-grit sandpaper running around a couple of rollers at some ridiculous speed. Next, consider how effi ciently that belt will remove a portion of wood that happens to be off ending you at that particular moment. After that, consider how much softer the fl esh on your ass is compared to wood. It creates a notion to keep parts you want to keep out of its way, right? Now, try to envision in mind’s eye what the tarmac looks like running by as you cannonball down the road on your scooter. Do y’all see what I’m getting at? It goes without saying that it’s a bit more fun to ride in the warmer months than the colder. This is largely because it’s more fun to feel warm wind in your face than getting frost bite (another rule of thumb for you). The problem is that our summertime toys burn fuel to make us smile which adds to that heat. Sometimes this combination can get pretty uncomfortable. No one likes a case of the swamp ass, so many of us dress to keep cool and dry. So, many of us end up with a riding wardrobe that includes items like short-sleeved t-shirts with tough-guy slogans and bedazzled jeans (don’t get me started on that). I’ve even seen guys out there wearing Bermuda shorts and crocs out there on two wheels. More unbelievably, I’ve seen quite a few women who thought it would be a good idea to wear their bikini while twisting the throttle. Now go back to what I was saying earlier about not picking a fi ght with a belt sander. GOD forbid any one of you go down. If you haven’t, I’m sure you know someone who did. Regardless, none of them got up that morning with a plan to go skittering across asphalt. Keeping that in mind, it seems to reason that with a little planning and forethought, months of skin graft surgery and recovery can be kept to some minor scrapes and bruises. We do this by burning into our minds, “Don’t dress for the ride. Dress for the slide.” When you’re sliding across the tarmac at whatever miles per hour, it’s a matter of time before it eats through whatever you wore and starts really biting into things that you need later. There’s not really a whole helluva lot you can do to change how long you’re going to slide once you’re on the ground, but you can buy yourself some time in making better clothing choices. A high-quality, purpose-built (read not fashion) motorcycle jacket made of leather or some of the new synthetics can buy you valuable seconds and protect your spine. Purpose-made motorcycle pants or chaps can do the same for your lower extremities. Motorcycle gloves (especially the ones with armor) can go to great lengths in keeping you counting to ten without taking off your shoes. In the end, it’s a race. Are you going to stop sliding before that asphalt wears through your gear? Take it from me; you want to win that race and a little insurance to make certain of that doesn’t hurt, my friends. Until next time, keep it in between the lines and shiny side up. Shovel on. Photo credit: 6 Th under Roads® Magazine LA/MS Gulf Coast | February 2019 | By: Nate T. For the Ride or the Slide | February 2019 | Th under Roads® Magazine LA/MS Gulf Coast 7