A Sight for Sore Eyes

sturgis100_4434

If you read anything I write about my zany travels on my motorcycle you know there are many times I talk of wild animals, crazy drivers, Walmart bags and what appear to be flying squirrels coming at me as I roll down the highways and byways of Kansas. Although I make light of these things there is a seriousness to riding bikes. Nature and garbage are one thing because they know no better, but those drivers who refuse to notice me are another. I’ve never been the type to say “look at me!” but in this instance I am.

I can go on about my frustrations, but I won’t. But what I did do was reach out to the Kansas Highway Patrol through their twitter account explaining my experiences passing through the intersection Of I-70 and Ks. Hwy 77 every morning on my way to work. As a motorcyclist it was refreshing to see a Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper sitting along the highway monitoring traffic exiting 1-70. With a big wave I thanked the trooper, but to me it wasn’t enough. As I pulled into a car dealership driveway to circle around, my intentions were to hop a barb wire fence to personally thank him. Okay, hop a barb wire fence at my age and in my full leather gear might be a stretch, but I would have found a way. This is an example to NOT look at me. By the time I got close enough to do so, Trooper Cameron pulled out to stop a motorist violating the law. Missing my chance to thank the trooper, I felt compelled to contact KHP through twitter.

 The vulnerability we motorcyclists feel at times can be nerve-wracking and although we ride defensively, it’s nice to know there are men and women out there helping not only our cause as bikers but by being there for all motorists as well.

Trooper Ben who has been instrumental in at least making me feel better. But he has gone above and beyond that. The vulnerability we motorcyclists feel at times can be nerve-wracking and although we ride defensively, it’s nice to know there are men and women out there helping not only our cause as bikers but being there for all motorists. Trooper Ben responded back today telling me it was Trooper Cameron sitting in the car as I passed, and I know as he pulled over the motorist, all they were thinking about was the anger they were feeling for getting pulled over. I’m sure they weren’t thinking about what could have happened by not stopping at the stop sign as they came off the Interstate ramp where I find myself passing each morning on my motorcycle.

Thank you to the Kansas Highway Patrol. Thank you to all who patrol our streets and highways, and to those first responders for being there in our time of need. At times you may feel its a thankless job but I’m here to tell you otherwise. Thank you.

Screenshot_2016-01-15-09-03-18_resized

The Actions of Wild Animals and Trained Humans

2014-09-03 12.45.52

There are so many reasons I ride a motorcycle. I don’t want to sound like a broken record but transportation and recreation are a start. The side benefits include a lower heart rate, clearer head and a prettier smile every time I climb off after a ride. Most benefits are hard to explain but I think you get the picture. I don’t ride to save gas but this too is a benefit, but I’m not bragging.

With all that’s good coming from riding motorcycles, there will always be a down side. Yes, wild animals can be a part of my daily routine. I’m not upset about it because I know living in a rural area, I’m traveling through their natural habitat. They don’t live by the same rules we humans do, so with that I give them a little latitude. The only wild thing a barbwire fence will keep off the road is a Wal-Mart bag… Deer, opossums and raccoons can be cute until they become obstacles in the road. Don’t they know I’m looking at the sunrise?

The only wild  thing a barbwire fence will keep off the road is a Wal-Mart bag…

But this morning’s commute, like so many days before, has a danger I don’t talk about much. As most of my 23 mile ride to work is rural two-lane highway my attention is always on those sweet furry friends that live in the country. About a mile from work, just on the edge of town, everything changes for the worse. At the junction of highways 77 and I-70 lies something more beastly than any four-legged animal. Traffic. In a span of less than an eighth-mile I deal with more cars pulling out in front of me than I care to talk about. Every day. Most don’t stop at all, some use the turning lane as a onramp to merge onto highway 77 exiting I-70 and none of them see me. Even though I have the right-of-way, they look right through me. Obviously, the desire to pull out in front of me is much too strong for them to stop to let me pass safely. I have given the “angry bird morning wave” to many.

This morning was a close one. Believe me, it takes a lot to even bring it up because history shows me it will happen time and time again. I can handle the drivers that don’t stop because they have already revealed their intentions. It’s the driver who stops and then rolls forward and stops again, that always has me worried. The driver this morning was unpredictable. After I had already slowed down, a sudden movement from him caused me to lock up my back brake causing a slight fishtail, followed with a few wild hand gestures and a mouth full of bad words. For a brief second I was ready to kick his ass. In fact, I’m still ready. After getting through the danger zone, heart racing and almost to work, I was inspired to write this.

So why do I ride? That’s a great question with an ever-evolving answer.

So why do I ride? That’s a great question with an ever-evolving answer. I lost my son-in-law Chanse to an inattentive driver this year. To say I’m hyper-sensitive to this very traffic situation is an understatement. Kicking this guys ass won’t solve anything but bringing awareness to it will. I can’t predict the actions of wild animals or trained humans but I can become a better rider and more importantly a better driver. To anyone who rides just remember, we are invisible. Educate yourself through the Motorcycle Safety Foundation and check into the Motorcycle Industry Council for even more information. And gear up for every ride. Always expect the unexpected, because it’s a jungle out their whether its rural or urban, so be prepared.

Love you Chanse!