In Western Washington State, that means dealing with less than ideal road conditions. The ubiquitous rain is just the start. The rain loosens up road film and oil. The rain and wind blow leaves and branches onto the road. Black ice, hail, snow removal sand and so on. Every day, each month brings new challenges. The stakes are literally life and death.
I won't go too much into the idiots in their cars: Eating, texting, reading, putting on make-up. We've seen it all. We share horror stories at the ferry dock. We laugh and shake our heads. Some of the guys joke about carrying a metal chain, or worse, for self defense. I wouldn't, but I fully understand the sentiment.
We get it. It isn't a friggin' game. Oh sure, opening up the throttle can be fun, but we know our bikes, and our limitations. However, there are others.
Every May through September, you see them. The kid on the rice rocket in shorts and a tee shirt. The 60 year old lawyer on his Harley, sporting a faux helmet and new crisp leathers. Their bikes are spotless, like new if fact. They only ride them a few hundred miles a year. And that, my friend, is a real problem.
Insurance industry statistics have identified three major factors influencing motorcycle accidents. New riders (less than a year's experience), riders with new bikes and seasonal riders are many times more likely to be in an accident. Riding a motorcycle is a perishable skill. Every Spring and Summer, I listen to the traffic reports detailing daily some rider getting creamed. Is it their fault? Well, if you believe in the premise that every accident is avoidable, then yes.
Don't misunderstand me. I empathize with any rider that goes down. My point is simple:
You're not that good, so take it easy, genius.
This latest Honda ad campaign steams me. "I Wanna Ride". Right. Encourage a bunch of marginally skilled riders to 'pleasure ride'. Ooooh yes. The open road, wind in your hair, compound fractures and skin grafts. Sign me up.
You wanna thrill? Bungee jump. Ride a mechanical bull. Whatever. A motorcycle is not a toy. Go take care of your mid-life crisis elsewhere and stay off my road.