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Motorcycles, Life & Reruns by Capt. Crash

Like them or hate them, reruns are part of life. Recently I was on a plane with those seatback TVs, you know the ones with the TV above the fold down tray, and I swiped my credit card and coughed up the 4 bucks and started to watch TV at 40,000 feet. Which was cool…until I realized I’d seen a bunch of the shows that were on, meaning instead of having a gallon of gas in my scooter, I had the same “Ace of Cakes” I had watched on the way OUT of Kansas City as I had on the way INTO Kansas City. “Silence of the Lambs” was on too but there’s only so much cannibalism/serial killer/bureaucratic incompetence/saved by innocent ####### I can stand to watch. And did you realize that SportsCenter on ESPN, if you watch it for more than 1 hour, just recycles—RERUNS—the same highlights and stories?

Yup, it’s true.

Eventually I found a “Deadliest Catch” I had seen before (there’s a storm on the Bering Sea and the waves are gi-freaking-normous) and I settled in to watch all the guys I know do the things I expect and barely make it out alive just like they did the last time I watched it; AND I liked it.

All this treading the same ground got me to thinking about my favorite roads. I have favorite roads I love to ride. To be exact I have favorite sections of favorite roads. Places you really commit to memory, you burn them into your brain and you know what they’re like according to the particular time of year or weather. You name your favorite sections of a road; private names you may or may not share with other riders. I have my own ‘carousel’, there’s ‘switchback city’ and there’s a little section of Idaho 21 I just call ‘high and tight’ which includes a spot named “Dan’s corner” and another called “Sara’s corner”. Why name corners? Because I’ve been there enough to feel some ownership, some connection that lets me claim it as “my road” or my “section” of a road something may have happened there OR I just decide in CrashWorld that I’m giving a corner a name to anchor it in my mind.

On my plane ride I was chaperoning teenagers to a national technical skills competition. I’ve been able to attend this competition 4 years in a row now because my students (I teach) have been SkillsUSA State Champions in Video Production for 4 years. I’ve gotten to know Kansas City pretty good. BUT only parts of it. Food Network has helped open my horizons as I try to get to places I’ve seen on shows. I follow the path set for me by people who’ve been there before. Likewise, my students trust me to show them cool things in KC! I’ve taken to asking for help on internet motorcycle forums—trust me—want good advice on where to eat or what to see, ask bikers, it works. Find someone who’s seen the show and they can tell you where the good stuff is and when to change channels.

As I was spending my week with teens we had an interesting conversation one day. It when like this:

“Mr. Crash?”

“Yes Jane?” (Names have been changed to protect the innocent).

“Have you heard about Sally’s new boyfriend?”

“No. Do I want to?”

“YES! She’s 18 and he’s 29!” (GASP!)

“That’s not fair.” I said.

“Fair? What do you mean that’s not fair?” I confused them. I like confusing them; or maybe confounding is a better word, I like confounding them.

I went on to explain that when a 29 year old man is dating an 18 year old girl he is at a distinct advantage in the relationship. He’s been there before. He’s done that before. It’s a rerun to him. He can gauge where the relationship is going and guide it because he’s run the road before. The corners aren’t a surprise to him. He knows that there’s shade in a corner until 11am and in that shade (if it’s been cool the night before) there’s a chance of water and less traction and he knows to slow down. Knowledge of the road, understanding the terrain, can give you a tremendous advantage.

Think of your favorite road. Visualize your favorite turn. See it? Good, then if I were to show up behind you on that road, coming up to that turn, who’s holds the edge? Who has the advantage?

Every road has someone who ‘owns’ it. Someone who, every week comes up and carves it; they learn the road, they love the road and they ‘own’ the road. They pass cars in places they know they can get away with it by timing it just right. Speedtrap? They know it. Gravel spills into a corner?—They know where. Got a mountain spring weeping at the end of blind turn?--They know when it stops running in the summer.

Sometimes a road’s ‘owner’ will use that information to their own advantage. Ever been hustled by someone who knows a road? Ever hustled anyone? I’m talking about gently suckering them in, getting their speed up a little and then BANG you’re at the ‘flip flop’ in the ‘chicane’ and you look back to see them completely screw up and cross the line and scare the pee out of themselves. You evil bastard! But they deserved it, it is your road…and they shouldn’t ride over their heads…and if they’re dumb enough to try and push you on your road don’t they get what they deserve?

We don’t often think in the black and white world of experience and advantage/disadvantage. 18 year old girls don’t think “he’s 29, he might know how 18 years old girls think. He might be able to manipulate me or drive me into situations I’m not used to and put me in place where I might do things I normally wouldn’t do”. Fathers think that way, Mothers too. They think about the unfair advantage that experience brings. Parents worry that their child is in a situation where they could be taken advantage of and hurt.

Do you think about that rider behind you, the guy who answered the call on a local forum for ‘spirited ride’? I’m not saying ride their motorcycle for them, I’m saying is your ego just big enough that on your road you use your experience to feed your own ego. Do you take the advantage? I know it’s hep and cool to say, “Hey, on a motorcycle you’re on your own” but shouldn’t we be careful NOT to use that as an excuse to lever our experience against another rider?

Honestly, couldn’t the world use a few more people lookin’ out for each other a little bit more? You don’t have to ride their bike for them, but maybe, just maybe we should take the chance to slow down a little and teach them the road—not teach them a lesson.
 

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Great post as usual CaptCrash.
 
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