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Have a question for you that have been riding for a while.

Due to the gas prices and about 100 miles to get to work and back I will be getting a used 1100. I haven't been on a bike for about 20 years but rode a lot back then. What are some of the changes that you have experienced during that time and what can I expect? Traffic, roads, attitudes toward riders?



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If you are riding into "the city", beware the canyons that have formed between lanes. Very dangerous changing lanes should you drop into one of these.

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I commute 80 miles round trip and have noticed that people don't seem to have much common sense when it comes to following motorcycles. They tailgate them as bad as they do cars if not worse.

I drive a truck to work and have been tempted ot get a bike for commuting purposes.

I agree with the canyons between lanes. The roads are in worse shape now than I've seen in many years. I think there's also more roadkill these days with the increased traffic. I'd hate to try skipping over Bambi laying in the middle of the road.

I also noticed that people don't look or signal when changing lanes anymore. On a daily basis I have people cutting me off. Actually had a woman try running me off the road for no reason. Had I been on a bike, it would have been a nasty site.

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I also noticed that people don't look or signal when changing lanes anymore. On a daily basis I have people cutting me off. Actually had a woman try running me off the road for no reason. Had I been on a bike, it would have been a nasty site.

Some of the biggest changes that I think need to be made now days lies in the hands of yourself as the rider. Defensive driving is a must when traveling on two wheels. Pretend that nobody can see you.

This day in age you will find more people preoccupied with what they are doing inside the car that they will not realize what is outside. From cell phones, to ipods, to putting on make-up, to reading novels. I have seen it all.

GIVE YOURSELF ROOM!!Always be aware of your surroundings and have an escape plan every time you approach vehicles on the road. Watching the traffic coming towards you as well as those in front and behind you. Be prepared to make your own modifications, and drive at a slow enough pace where these escape routes can feasibly be executed.

With the changing seasons, you will find road conditions change with the weather. From potholes and sand in the spring to soft, slick oil sealed blacktop in the summer.

Be careful, ride with a watchful eye, and enjoy the ride!


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Everytime I throw my leg over the seat, I put my mind in the "everyone is out to get me" mode. Kinda sad because it does take some of the joy out of riding but you can't count on anyone now days, too many distractions. Expect the unexpected!

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Just witnessed a guy on a Beemer (bike)this morning put himself into a death trap with no more than a bike infront and behind him between vehicles.

I agree with you guys. I already do this while in the truck. I already know people are out to get me. smile

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Take a motorcycle refresher course. It's amazing what you forget. Things like changing your reaction time, scanning the road ahead of you stopping and cornering are skills that get rusty. I've been riding since I was 15 (I'm 50 now) and each spring ride is an eye opener. Some moron on a cell phone cuts it just a bit too close and I'm not ready with my hand a foot in place to stop. I don't forget again for the rest of the season but next spring I'm trying to remember it again. When I got my new boat I jumped at the chance to have the dealer come out with me for a ride because there's a hundred things to remember. It's the same on a motorcycle but at 60 mph and with lots of vehicles out to get you.

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I ride 75 miles round trip daily and I dont know if you wear a helmet or not. But I Highly recommend for commuting to work. They have changed alot over the years, lighter, better comfort and vents for air flow on your scalp, just to name a few. I too like the wind blowing through my hair, but even on back roads there are alot more trucks trying to avoid tolls, etc... and that wind could easily turn into a rock grazing your skull. I have quite a few grazes in my skull cap. I think a helmet is must.

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Lifted this from another HSOforum.

Long but a good read.

Motorcycle Cruiser's mothership, Motorcyclist magazine, recently published the following advice to an overwhelmingly appreciative response. We have decided to republish the list of living-saving techniques-in its entirety-for our own readership.

Assume you're invisible

Because to a lot of drivers, you are. Never make a move based on the assumption that another driver sees you, even if you've just made eye contact.

Be considerate

The consequences of strafing the jerk-bait du jour or cutting him off start out bad and get worse. Pretend it was your grandma and think again

Dress for the crash, not the pool or the prom

Sure, Joaquin's Fish Tacos is a five-minute trip, but nobody plans to eat pavement. Modern mesh gear means 100-degree heat is no excuse for a T-shirt and board shorts

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst

Assume that car across the intersection will turn across your bow when the lightgoes green, with or without a turn signal.

Leave your ego at home

The only people who really care if you were faster on the freeway will be the officer and the judge.

Pay attention

Yes, there is a half-naked girl on the billboard. And the chrome needs a polish. Meanwhile, you could be drifting toward Big Trouble. Focus.

Mirrors only show you part of the picture

Never change direction without turning your head to make sure the coast really is clear.

Be patient

Always take another second or three before you pull out to pass, ride away from a curb or merge into freeway traffic from an on-ramp. It's what you don't see that gets you. That extra look could save your butt.

Watch your closing speed

Passing cars at twice their speed or changing lanes to shoot past a row of stopped cars is just asking for trouble.

Beware the verge and the merge

A lot of nasty surprises end up on the sides of the road: empty McDonald's bags, nails, TV antennas, ladders, you name it. Watch for potentially troublesome debris on both sides of the road.

Left-turning cars remain a leading killer of motorcyclists

Don't assume someone will wait for you to dart through the intersection. They're trying to beat the light, too.

Think before you act

Careful whipping around that Camry going 7 mph in a 25-mph zone or you could end up with your head in the driver's side door when he turns in front of you.

Beware of cars running traffic lights

The first few seconds after a signal light changes are the most perilous. Look both ways before barging into an intersection. (We get lots of these in Colorado!)

Check your mirrors

Do it every time you change lanes, slow down or stop. Be ready to move if another vehicle is about to occupy the space you'd planned to use

Mind the gap

Remember Driver's Ed.? One second's worth of distance per 10 mph is the old rule of thumb. Better still, scan the next 12 seconds ahead for potential trouble.

Beware of tuner cars

They're quick, and their drivers tend to be young and aggressive, therefore potentially hazardous

Excessive entrance speed hurts

It's the leading cause of single-bike accidents on twisty roads-some cruisers can make unheard of amounts of power. Use it on the way out of a corner, not in.

Don't trust that deer whistle

Ungulates and other feral beasts prowl at dawn and dusk, so heed those big yellow signs. If you're riding in a target-rich environment, slow down and watch the shoulders.

Learn to use both brakes

The front does most of your stopping, but for a lot of heavy cruisers a little extra rear brake can really help haul you up fast.

Keep the front brake covered-always

Save a single second of reaction time at 60 mph and you can stop 88 feet shorter. Think about that.

Look where you want to go

Use the miracle of target fixation to your advantage. The motorcycle goes where you look, so focus on the solution instead of the problem.

Keep your eyes moving

Traffic is always shifting, so keep scanning for potential trouble. Don't lock your eyes on any one thing for too long unless you're actually dealing with trouble

Come to a full stop at that next stop sign

Put a foot down. Look again. Anything less forces a snap decision with no time to spot potential trouble.

Raise your gaze

It's too late to do anything about the 20 feet immediately in front of your fender, so scan the road far enough ahead to see trouble and change trajectory.

Get your mind right in the driveway

Most accidents happen during the first 15 minutes of a ride, below 40 mph, near an intersection or driveway. Yes, that could be your driveway

Never dive into a gap in stalled traffic

Cars may have stopped for a reason, and you may not be able to see why until it's too late to do anything about it.

Don't saddle up more than you can handle

If you weigh 95 pounds, avoid that 795-pound cruiser. Get something lighter and more manageable.

Watch for car doors opening into traffic

And smacking a car that's swerving around some goofball's open door is just as painful.

Don't get in an intersection rut

Watch for a two-way stop after a string of four-way intersections. If you expect cross-traffic to stop, there could be a painful surprise when it doesn't.

Stay in your comfort zone when you're with a group

Riding over your head is a good way to end up in a ditch. Any bunch worth riding with will have a rendezvous point where you'll be able to link up again.

Give your eyes some time to adjust

A minute or two of low light heading from a well-lighted garage onto dark streets is a good thing. Otherwise, you're essentially flying blind for the first mile or so.

Master the slow U-turn

Practice. Park your butt on the outside edge of the seat and lean the bike into the turn, using your body as a counterweight as you pivot around the rear wheel.

Who put a stop sign at the top of this hill?

Don't panic. Use the rear brake to keep from rolling back down. Use Mr. Throttle and Mr. Clutch normally-and smoothly-to pull away.

If it looks slippery, assume it is

A patch of suspicious pavement could be just about anything. Butter Flavor Crisco? Gravel? Mobil 1? Or maybe it's nothing. Better to slow down for nothing than go on your head.

Bang! A blowout! Now what?

No sudden moves. The motorcycle isn't happy, so be prepared to apply a little calming muscle to maintain course. Ease back the throttle, brake gingerly with the good wheel and pull over very smoothly to the shoulder. Big sigh.

Drops on the faceshield?

It's raining. Lightly misted pavement can be slipperier than when it's been rinsed by a downpour, and you never know how much grip there is. Apply maximum-level concentration, caution and smoothness.

Everything is harder to see after dark

Adjust your headlights, carry a clear faceshield and have your game all the way on after dark, especially during commuter hours

Emotions in check?

To paraphrase Mr. Ice Cube, chickity-check yo self before you wreck yo self. Emotions are as powerful as any drug, so take inventory every time you saddle up. If you're mad, sad, exhausted or anxious, stay put.

Wear good gear

Wear stuff that fits you and the weather. If you're too hot or too cold or fighting with a jacket that binds across the shoulders, you're dangerous. It's that simple.

Leave the iPod at home>br />You won't hear that cement truck in time with Spinal Tap cranked to 11, but they might like your headphones in intensive care.

Learn to swerve

Be able to do two tight turns in quick succession. Flick left around the bag of briquettes, then right back to your original trajectory. The bike will follow your eyes, so look at the way around, not the briquettes. Now practice until it's a reflex.

Be smooth at low speeds

Take some angst out, especially of slow-speed maneuvers, with a bit of rear brake. It adds a welcome bit of stability by minimizing unwelcome weight transfer and potentially bothersome driveline lash.

Flashing is good for you

Turn signals get your attention by flashing, right? So a few easy taps on the pedal or lever before stopping makes your brake light more eye-catching to trailing traffic.

Intersections are scary, so hedge your bets

Put another vehicle between your bike and the possibility of someone running the stop sign/red light on your right and you cut your chances of getting nailed in half.

Tune your peripheral vision

Pick a point near the center of that wall over there. Now scan as far as you can by moving your attention, not your gaze. The more you can see without turning your head, the sooner you can react to trouble.

All alone at a light that won't turn green?

Put as much motorcycle as possible directly above the sensor wire-usually buried in the pavement beneath you and located by a round or square pattern behind the limit line. If the light still won't change, try putting your kickstand down, right on the wire. You should be on your way in seconds.

Don't troll next to-or right behind-Mr. Peterbilt

If one of those 18 retreads blows up-which they do with some regularity-it de-treads, and that can be ugly. Unless you like dodging huge chunks of flying rubber, keep your distance.

Take the panic out of panic stops

Develop an intimate relationship with your front brake. Seek out some safe, open pavement. Starting slowly, find that fine line between maximum braking and a locked wheel, and then do it again and again.

Make your tires right

None of this stuff matters unless your skins are right. Don't take 'em for granted. Make sure pressure is spot-on every time you ride. Check for cuts, nails and other junk they might have picked up, as well as for general wear.

Take a deep breath

Count to 10. Visualize whirled peas. Forgetting about some clown's 80-mph indiscretion beats running the risk of ruining your life, or ending it

Further your education

Just because you've been riding for a zillion years, it doesn't mean you haven't developed a few bad riding habits. Take a safety refresher course every 5 years or so.


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St. Cloud is a pretty poor place for driving in a car so I'm extra cautious when I'm out on the bike. I've noticed that people tend ride your bumper a lot closer than I remember.

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I couldn't agree more. Never let you guard down and always drive as if no one ever "sees" you. I used to commute 140 miles a day on my HD. The only time I had problems was when I became complacent with my attention.

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Thanks guys for all the input.

Back to looking for a ride. The 1100 seller changed his mind when the weather warmed last week.

I'd better get something soon or my wife will change her mind about me getting one.

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Good read Bill. Make sure your ride is road worthy and watch out for the other guy!

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Not sure how new the used bike is, but realize that newer bikes have vastly improved brakes, and way more power to weight that even a 1988 bike. 600cc sportbikes make over 100 hp at the rear wheel and 1000cc sportbikes pushing 150 hp. They weigh between 400-500 pounds.

A mid '80's Yamaha 1100 special made about 60 HP at the rear wheel, weighed 600 pounds and had brakes that were no where near as powerfull as todays bikes.

Just take your time and get used to the bike. And take a refresher course.

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