Same Old Sermon
Published in Backroads Magazine - June 2015; Written by Brian Rathjen
Reprinted with permission by Backroads Magazine; All copyright laws apply
Years ago I heard a story of a pastor who was newly hired by a church. His first Sunday he gave a heart felt sermon to his new flock. They all nodded their heads.
The next week he gave another sermon that was much like the first. Again the congregation nodded in agreement.
The third week it was more or less the same story, as was the fourth and fifth. By the time week six mass ended people began to come up to the pastor and ask if he was aware he was repeating, more or less, the same story and they wondered why he kept preaching the same lesson. He said, “Of course I know it’s the same story…and I will keep teaching it until you get it right.”
Comanche, Oklahoma – April 11, 2015. According to Highway officials one motorcycle driver is dead and U.S. Highway 81 north of Comanche remains shutdown after 13 motorcycles were involved in a major crash. Troopers say the bikers were headed south toward Comanche going around a curve on the highway when a pickup truck heading north crossed the center line, striking five motorcycles. One person was pronounced dead at the scene. Three were airlifted to OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City. The other four injured where taken by ambulance to Duncan Regional Hospital. Trooper Nathan Mackey was one of the first on the scene and he says this is one of the worst accidents involving motorcycles he has ever seen. "This is the first one I have had with this many motorcycles involved. It is pretty tragic. I have had a lot of them with one or two motorcycles, to have 13 involved and five of which hit, that is the most I have ever had at one time," Mackey said. At this point it is still unclear why the pickup went left of center. Preliminary reports say the motorcyclists were headed to the Rattle Snake Hunt in Waurika. Troopers expect this section of Highway 81 to be closed for the next several hours.
The next day after this misfortune, we held Shira’s First Mystery Ice Cream Run. While waiting for all to get ready to leave the Double S Diner in Sussex, New Jersey, all conversation came to a halt as another large group of motorcycles rode by, heading north on Route 23. The group, with various stages of colors on their back denoting the club’s name, ran at least 25 or more machines, all packed tightly in the classic ‘staggered’ formation.
We watched them thunder by and then mounted up ourselves, slipping out the backside of the Double S and heading out on the little travelled backroads. We had about twenty bikes all together, and before we even got started, we broke into two groups - still large, but manageable. We had handed out route sheets, but as Shira and I had the routes programmed into the GPS we took point - with the two groups following behind, properly spaced out. And, I mean S-P-A-C-E-D out.
If something happened to one of the machines up front - say a deer ran out or a car piloted by a texting teenage girl drifted across the lane - just one rider would be affected and the others could respond in plenty of time to avoid being part of the ensuing anarchy about to occur.
Thinking of the large group riding in that staggered, tightly packed, herd mentality along the crowded construction-zone riddled Route 23 that Sunday – I can confidentially say that if something happened to just one of them a number of others would sadly pay as well.
We ride differently.
Talking about it later we knew that both our groups were spread out behind us for at least half a mile. That might seem like a lot, but at speed that ground is covered quickly and having a good deal of distance between your and the rider fore and aft makes for a more relaxed and enjoyable, as well as safer ride. How about you and your friends? Are you caught up in the impression that you must ride in a staggered formation? Does your sense of self crave that attention you get when 25 motorcycles ride Borg-like into Anytown, USA?
In these Welcome to the Jungle rants we have always strived for honesty about our riding choices, styles and decisions; so be honest with yourself. Go ahead – it’s okay, nobody’s watching….
Does the manner in which you and your friends ride put you at a higher percentage of avoidance, escape and survival if the shit hits the fan or do the tightly packed numbers say you and your riding clan will be put into the Cuisinart of the Gods of Chaos when said sh*t happens?
Does your group ride so close to each other that, if anything bad happens and there is a rider or riders down quickly, there is any real chance of you and everybody else getting around them safely?
If you find that your honest answer is no, then your solution is very simple – Space Cushioning. Spread it out and give yourself some real room and a real chance.
You might find, with spreading out that staggered run, that your friends are not going to ride away from each other and that, in the end, you all will have a more enjoyable and less stressful day on the road.
Riding is supposed to be fun.
Yes, I have written about this many times and, like that pastor, I will keep writing about this until you get it right.
Free Rider Education
We again have our SkilledRider seminars scheduled for the months of August and September Motorcyclists Tune Up Information for motorcyclists to refresh themselves of skills and awareness needed to have a safer riding season. This will be a non riding course (information only) that will review topics such as proper cornering, braking, general riding skills, group riding, street strategies, road awareness and more. These seminars have been receiving overwhelming fantastic feedback responses noting that the information on situational awareness is a great asset to help prevent possible conflicts on the road. Call to Register
August Seminar is Hosted by
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New York Motorcycle
222-02 Jamaica Ave, Queens Village
New York Motorcycle has a complete selection of motorcycles from over a dozen manufacturers with tons of models to choose from. They also have a great service dept and available accessories and gear to take care of all your riding needs. They also offer ESMSEP members an in store discount. Click on the image for their website
Time To Play Foundation
This organization promotes all the good things in life (which motorcycle riding is a part of) and concentrates on the positive aspects we deal with everyday to enrich our lives; from well being to health to financial information. Click on the image for their website for more information. Time to Play is a promotional sponsor of our program.
2810 Palisade Ave, Weehawkin, NJ
Just across the river from NYC close to Lincoln Tunnel with Towing and service available for NYC riders. They have a complete service department for all your motorcycle needs and can also take care of your accessory desires.
They also offer ESMSEP members an in store discount
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The Month of August is our last chance for this giveaway contest.
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