Dodging the RoadkillClarksville, Tn — It’s one thing to have the skills to operate a motorcycle, but it’s quite another to have the confidence to be a great biker.  Those of you who have been riding since you were “pooping” solid, ride like nobody’s business.  I love riding with bikers who have those skills and confidence.

I’ve been riding seriously for two years now and my skills are still improving.  My confidence though has taken a bit of a dip.

On a recent trip to the Ozarks, I was riding the beautiful countryside when I was distracted by a “critter” crossing the road as I was going into a turn.  I lost my apex and ended up in a muddy ditch.  

It was a SURREAL experience! 

First, I wasn’t hurt, and secondly, there was no damage to the bike.  Since it had rained the night before, the only damage was the mud all over my jeans.  I stood up and thought, “what the HELL just happened?”

A couple of weeks ago, while riding through Kentucky, I almost hit an oncoming car while rolling into a turn.  I was too close to the yellow line and it took all I had to avoid a collision.

I had to pull over, smoke a cigarette and think about that one for a while. 

These incidents have taught me some serious lessons.  I was getting too cocky and comfortable with my riding.  I’ve logged nearly 60,000 miles without an incident, (until the Ozarks), and it’s easy to do.  You almost get a feeling that you’re “bullet proof.”  That’s the WORST thing that a biker can do.

What it did was, it shook my confidence.

Lately, I’ve been a little “shaky” out on the road.  I’ve throttled back, paid more attention, and “regrouped” with what is important while on the back of the Harley.  I think these incidents were God’s way of teaching me a lesson and grabbing me by the balls and saying, “hey, pay attention, you’re not all that!”

The confidence we have as bikers is fueled by knowledge.  Knowing when to ride, where to ride, and understanding our environment.  Not acting like some sort of daredevil while taking unfamiliar turns, or riding with one hand on the throttle, and a cigarette in the other, or getting distracted by something.  We MUST stay focused at all times to avoid catastrophe.  

WE MUST!

So, as I continue this journey, I’ve learned the hard way that I’m not as good as I think I am.  I’m better than I was, but I’ve got a long way to go.  I must practice sensible riding skills and technique.  I MUST have the confidence to be a better biker.  

Ride safe my friends.  Ride with confidence.