Ride faster and safer

Top tips on stay­ing safe on a new twisty ride

Motorcycle News (UK) - - News - Adam Child MCN Se­nior Road Tester Bike jour­nal­ist for 15 years, and TT racer

Trac­tors and trail­ers

Farm traf­fic will in­crease, es­pe­cially to­wards the end of July, through Au­gust and into Septem­ber, as farm­ers get ready to har­vest their crops. In ru­ral ar­eas you need to be aware of this, es­pe­cially on late sum­mer evenings. You may think the roads are vir­tu­ally empty but be pre­pared for slow-mov­ing farm traf­fic as grain is lugged along. Watch out for breaks in the hedges as these can mean field en­trances.

Look for clues

When you are rid­ing roads for the first time you need to gather as much in­for­ma­tion as pos­si­ble about what lies ahead. So think about your road po­si­tion­ing – to­wards the left for right han­ders and closer to the cen­tre for left-han­ders so you can gain the clear­est view through cor­ners. If in doubt, peg back your speed. There will also be in­for­ma­tion to be had from look­ing at the way hedges and even tele­graph poles line the road – but al­ways be aware that the tele­graph wires can veer off to the left or right.

Shad­ows

If there is a huge shadow in front of you then ob­vi­ously the sun is be­hind you. The longer the shadow, the lower the sun is. This means any­one look­ing di­rectly at you will be star­ing di­rectly into the sun and may lose you in the low light. If you are ap­proach­ing a junc­tion with wait­ing traf­fic and you have a large shadow cast in front, be pre­pared to stop. The driv­ers wait­ing to pull out might not have seen you at all.

Don’t get car­ried away

The roads are dry, the sun is out, there’s hardly any traf­fic about late on a sum­mer evening – per­fect. But don’t get car­ried away. I see more crashes on road and track when the weather is per­fect than when it’s wet. Rid­ers get over am­bi­tious, and push their lim­its in sunny weather, trust­ing the road con­di­tions and in­creas­ing their speed.

The right kit

Race leathers may get sweaty, hot, and un­com­fort­able in sum­mer, but they will save your skin if any­thing should go wrong. Rid­ing in just a T-shirt may look and feel cool in sum­mer, but it’ll def­i­nitely feel like the wrong de­ci­sion if you end up bounc­ing down the road. Al­ways try to wear the cor­rect kit, and keep every­thing cov­ered, that in­cludes gloves and an­kles. Stone strikes at even 30mph hurt, and can re­move skin very quickly.

Farm­ers will be work­ing around the clock and may not no­tice they are leav­ing mud Rid­ing out of the sun, you’ll be vir­tu­ally in­vis­i­ble to the driver com­ing the other way

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