Can you ever really KNOW a road? - Sportbike Forum: Sportbike Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-04-2001, 08:39 AM Thread Starter
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Can you ever really KNOW a road?

I notice a lot of people, including myself, talking about how we will ride slower on a road that we don't know. I would have to assume that this is brought on by the fact that we can't see through every corner so we go slower to allow for surprises like a blind hard decreasing radius turn, or an unannounced stop sign just around the bend. Well last week I was riding a road that I am very familiar with and can just about ride with my eyes closed. It has a lot of elevation changes so you are blind coming over the crests of hills leading into corners. As I was briskly riding along this road I crested a hill and found a pickup truck stopped in my lane at a spot where there is no drive-way or side street. There is absolutely no reason whatsoever to be stopped there. At this point the throttle was firmly against the stop in fourth gear at about 7000RPM and climbing (you do the math). The truck wasn't immediately in front of me or I would be dead. I had a reasonable amount of room to maneouver but not nearly enough room to stop. So I slowed as much as I could and moved into the oncoming lane which was clear and went around him yelling and waving like a lunatic. So I got to thinking that the reason we ride harder on roads we "know" is because we think we know what is around the corner and can anticipate the road and therefore go faster. We always say "you never know what is around the bend, or over the hill" but it seems we consistently anticipate roads we know and turn up the pace. I'm not sure what my point is other than at times it would appear that we are kidding ourselves if we think we can ever "know" a road. And I think that is obvious to anyone that rides with any common sense. But the evidence suggests that maybe we think otherwise.
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-04-2001, 08:46 AM
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Good post, James.
post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-04-2001, 08:54 AM
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-04-2001, 09:02 AM Thread Starter
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Originally posted by fotobw
I guess that's the point I am trying to make. For most of us the answer to this question is an obvious "NO". It's a no-brainer. But it seems that a lot of the same people that preach this, again myself included, will consistently ride harder on roads that we are familiar with. The only reason I can think of is that we anticipate and assume based on or familiarity. Sooner or later it will bite us.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-04-2001, 09:23 AM
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Really good question, Rouge. I would have said that there are a few roads that I know like the back of my hand but you've made me think. Sure, familiarity is one thing, but I also think that in the back of my mind I'm always hoping to be ready for the un-expected round the next bend or over the next hill. I guess it's what keeps us alive as when the shit hits the fan it's experiance, skill and a lot of luck that can decide the outcome.
Joey Dunlop had to ride the Isle of Mann course by going from one section to the next. This was the way he memorized the whole circut. I guess we do the same but with all the hazzards that are there to trip us up.
Not sure if this makes a whole lot of sense, but as I said, you've got me thinking.

A wee tribute to the King of the roads.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-04-2001, 09:38 AM
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No. But riding on familiar roads is more of an educated risk.

Good post.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-04-2001, 09:49 AM
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Flat out on the track.

Chill out on the street.

Ride again tomorrow.

Our greatest challenge in life is living up to our own potential.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-04-2001, 10:09 AM
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Thumbs up What Uncanny timing!

You have hit my biggest problem right on the head! I went riding today, alone, to practice and figure out why I can get the tire to the edge, but still get beat by my friends. I realized that my BIGGEST problem is not my skill level but rather my apprehension of what might be around the next turn! I noticed that as soon as I could see clearly all the way through the turn, I relaxed and leaned harder and accelerated.
I thought, maybe Im just a puss, but maybe Im just smart

Its time for another track day!

Great post BM!

Last edited by HondaNut!; 10-04-2001 at 10:14 AM.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-04-2001, 01:50 PM
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The only place that's really predictable enough to push the edge is the racetrack. Any time you are on a public road, all bets are off. There are people who feel that they are immune to the unpredictability of the street and try to ride close to 100% all the time. There is a name for what these people can eventually become...cadavers.

The answer is no. You can know the terrain and you can know the elevation changes and the camber and rate of every corner on the road. You can have you brake markers and turn in points memorized for the entire road, but you can't know the road.
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-04-2001, 05:02 PM
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Re: Can you ever really KNOW a road?

Originally posted by Birdman
it seems we consistently anticipate roads we know and turn up the pace.
Personally, when I say that I "know" a road, I mean precisely this: I know the ROAD, and that's it. I know where the turns are, the elevation changes, the "hidden" drives, etc., but nothing beyond that. I am not willing to risk another bad accident based on an assumption.

I am willing to pick the pace up a bit on roads I know, but only when I can clearly see a good distance ahead of me. As soon as I come upon a turn and I can't see to the other side, I take it easy in anticipation of what COULD be at the end of the turn. I mean, knowing the road does not mean that you know what is coming up in the road or what is ON the road at any given time. I may know that there's a nice right-hander coming up, but I may not know that 10 minutes ago a redneck in a '71 GMC Pickup broke down and dropped 2 quarts of oil in the middle of the turn.

That to me is the difference between knowing the road and knowing what's in/on the road. Big difference in my mind.

Illustration: Kind of like your friend who dates the hottest girl in school even though she's a skank. You never know what she'll be wearing, but you always go to school in the hopes that she'll be wearing nothing at all and willing to be ridden all day long.

Last edited by CBR_Brutha; 10-04-2001 at 05:05 PM.
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