Mountain Motorcycle Riding Tips
The city is a tough riding environment. It’s a kind of controlled chaos that doesn’t tolerate mistakes. Although you may be well adapted for the city, it doesn’t mean that your reflexes and judgement are perfectly honed for other riding environments. The brain is very good at learning and adapting, but its training is highly specialized to what it’s been exposed to. This means that if you ever do a cross-country trip in truly rural areas, or take your bike into the mountains of Colorado, your brain will need some retraining.
These riding tips reveal five common rural hazards to watch out for:
When you are riding off the main highways and are on truly rural roads, they can suddenly morph on you. Even though the map says they’re supposed to be paved, that doesn’t stop them from turning into dirt or gravel as you round a corner. A “highway” may have a crazy 90 degree turn on it with a foliage covered sign as a warning. Rural mountain highways can be poor excuses for a road with a line painted down the middle.
Not all towns have the tax revenue to keep up with road maintenance. If you are mountain riding in the spring, expect the road surface to be beat up with cracks, pot holes, and chunks of tar laying about. Colorado winters are notorious for producing lots of potholes. Not to mention that shoulders on some roads are non-existent where the consequences of going off the road are too scary to contemplate.
Inconsistent Road Bends
Sometimes bends in the road are perfect and open up nicely as you round them. Sometimes they do the opposite where the curve tightens up as you exit. There may be a dip, bump or pot hole halfway into the turn. When approaching a curve, play it conservative and enter more slowly than you normally would at home.
Sometimes a road with a steep downhill grade may suddenly tee off at an intersection while the grade is still very steep. Dangerous intersections don’t get changed until enough accidents happen to motivate the town to spend some tax money fixing them. Don’t be one of those statistics.
Non Human Pedestrians
While your urban streets are full of crazy drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists, and the occasional wandering dog, rural mountain roads are frequently crossed by diverse wildlife. You will come across possums, porcupines, skunks, weasels, foxes, confused squirrels, turkeys, ducks, moose, deer, elk & geese.
Many of these animals cross in groups. A mother turkey or mother duck will escort their brood of young’ns across the road. Moose love to cross the road at night, often with a mate. So if you dodge a gigantic moose at night, don’t breathe a sigh of relief just yet because its mate is just a few feet further down the road. Deer also cross the road at night and are very ill-equipped at handling a motorcycle heading their way. They often freeze up at the sight of an oncoming headlight. Don’t expect them to have the common sense to jump out of your way.
For more riding tips, news, and information, come check out the Colorado Motorcycle Expo in Denver, CO.