When I first started riding my motorcycle I ended up hanging out with a bunch of really cool people I met on the Ducati Monster Forums. I went on a few group rides with them and I crashed (very minor off road lowside) on the second one.
It was a few months later that after a bunch of other riders in the group had crashed that a veteran member posted demanding that we stop crashing. How were we supposed to accomplish this?
Slow the fuck down.
It has stuck with me for all these years and over all is some of the best and most enduring pieces of advice I’ve ever received. I searched a bit for the original post from Spidey and have copied it in it’s entirety below. It has some other great advice in it, but the TL:DR version is “slow the fuck down”.
WAY TOO MUCH CRASHING
You’re all making this too complicated. I’ll make it easy for everyone (and lemme tell ya, I know about crashing. :) Problem: There *seem* like there have been too many crashes/injuries lately. Solution: Everyone slow the fuck down.
- If you want to ride really fast, do it with your fast buddies. Don’t post up about it beforehand. Better yet, go to the track. We (read: I) crash nilly-willy there.
- If you want to ride like a ‘tard, do it with your ‘tard buddies. Don’t post up about it beforehand.
- If there’s a group ride, everyone slow the fuck down. Remember there are varying levels of skill. Monster rides are different than non-brand specific rides in that there are radically different levels of riding experience. The only thing in common is the brand of bike.
- If you think you’re an experienced rider, you’re not. Slow the fuck down.
- If you have less than 2 years riding experience and are starting to feel confident that you can fast, slow the fuck down. You’re gonna crash, racerboy/girl. This means you. Yes, you. Don’t make me start naming names.
- If you have less than 6 mnoths riding experience and are all gun-ho about riding every weekend, slow the fuck down. The roads aren’t going anywhere. Your bike isn’t going anywhere.
- If someone crashes, it is the rider’s fault. It’s not the fault of the leader or the sweep or anyone else. That said, we ALL must take responsibility for the riders around us. Like telling people not to wear jeans. Or making sure that everyone is riding with a license and insurance. Or pre-emptively telling people to slow the fuck down and then telling them again, while they ride, to slow the fuck down. Did I mention telling people to slow the fuck down?
- Recognize that we’re all dumb, that we all make bad, dangerous decisions, and some bad shit is gonna happy. Try, try, try to limit it. Remember that the big head is far superior to the little one. I’m a little head guy, so this is a constant struggle.
And as far as I’m concerned, being a ‘regular’ doesn’t mean squat. The only reason it matters is that you know some of the riders and their riding style. I know not to follow Tigre’s tail. I also know that when Tigre and datv take off, keeping up requires riding on the edge of my comfort zone. I know that Michael Moore rides deceptively smoothly on Tam and even if you follow his line there are a coupla corners that you need to go in slower than he does. I also know that I’m the one most likely to bin it, so I should take care to watch my own riding and that I don’t have to look out for them. And I know when each of them is riding on the edge, and make sure not to get sucked in. It’s familiarity. That’s it. When there is a group ride, people are not familiar with one another and that when shit goes often down. We’ve been doing a newbie-specific ride–with different paces for each group–the last coupla Aprils. Seems like it’s time again.