Protecting Your Most Valuable Asset


I had some interesting thoughts roaming around the great abyss between my ears while attending an outing at the BMW Performance Center in Spartanburg, South Carolina last year. It was a custom training day with the management team from Continental Tires and a couple of media colleagues, and our goal was to try out the new TKC 70 Rocks rear tire in a variety of conditions. By running through a condensed version of a regular training program, we would get to experience the new tire in gravel, mud, sand, humps, and at high speed on the tarmac; all in a controlled environment. After a full day putting the new rear tire to test (with a combination of TKC 70 and TKC 80 front tires), our feedback was very positive.

So while it might look as if my column this month is about tires, it’s actually not. The early morning slow ride with tight maneuvering and trials stops had all been a tad shaky, with enough mistakes to get some reminders from our instructors for the day, Ricardo and Aaron. By mid-morning, I felt as if I had begun to dust off the cobwebs of my adventure riding skills. Drills completed, we found ourselves following Ricardo on an enduro loop to put all the lessons into action. It felt good to relax a little and get in the ride flow. I was getting used to the new-to-me R1250GS and it all started to feel like second nature again.

Never stop learning, never stop training

As I watched Ricardo exaggerate his body position to turn his GS sharply around a large rock, it struck me how difficult it has always been to encourage people to take any form of motorcycle training once they have their license and their own motorcycle. I can’t remember how many racetrack schools, off-road, and dirt-focused classes I’ve attended throughout my career. And I can’t remember how many inexperienced newbies have shown up at race track weekends on super-expensive motorcycles with $2,500+ aftermarket exhaust systems and thousands more on accessories and such, before going out and crashing on the first lap. One poor fellow didn’t even make it through the first turn off the entrance road at one of my local track days on a very expensive liter bike. It’s been the same story on adventure rides, road rides and, while way less frequent, occasionally in the dirt. The one common denominator to these scenarios is folks showing up on expensive equipment with little to no training.

And this, dear reader, is what was perplexing me that day. I don’t think I’ll ever understand why so many of my fellow riders are willing to spend so much money on motorcycles, gear, and equipment without a thought as to what I consider to be the most valuable possession on the motorcycle and what they can do to protect it: the rider. As I see it, all the equipment, gear, and expensive motorcycles are worthless if the rider’s not there to use them. We can replace all of this aforementioned stuff except the rider if something goes wrong. So, why do we not do all we can to protect our most valuable asset? I guess it’s a question that probably won’t get answered, unless you would like to give me some feedback. I know for me though, I’ll just keep training and practicing and doing what I can to protect mine.


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