Saturday, May 9, 2009

Look In the Direction You Are Traveling...

Even If it’s Backing Up!

No, this is not an article about Target Fixation.

So far I have helped teach four of my teenagers how to drive an automobile, and only have two more to go. I do have some hair left, but it is rapidly graying. One of the first things I try to drill in their impenetrable, all knowing heads, is to always look where you are going, especially when backing up. They always seem to have a problem with watching where they are going when backing up.

The main problem is not that they don’t initially look behind them before backing, its continuing to look while they are backing. They tend to turn back around while they are still moving backwards, instead of waiting until the vehicle has come to complete stop. And, as you know, all kinds of things can pop up behind you when backing up.

What does all of this have to do with motorcycling? Well, the same principle applies with motorcycles. You need to look in the direction you are traveling at all times, even if it is while backing up. Too bad I don’t always follow my own advice…

After commuting home from work one day I found my ’98 Ford Explorer parked fairly close to the garage door. We try to keep it parked back down the driveway so I can ride around the left side on the grass to get the bike around it and into the garage. I’m sure one of my kids did it. Anyway, I decided to be lazy and get the bike inside anyway.

I pulled around the left side into the yard and this time I pulled passed the explorer and further to the left. I was going to back into the space in front of the Explorer and down into the space in front of my ’01 Windstar, which was parked further down the driveway, and then pull into the garage. I turned the front wheel to the right, glanced behind me and started backing the V-Star 1100 back and to the right. Unfortunately, I was not looking behind me as I was rolling backwards.

In my own defense there is also a small tree to the left of the driveway I had to watch out for. Well, I was slowly rolling backwards, I thought, into the driveway when I heard and felt the crunch. I think I even heard my Mistress, (my 2003 V-Star 1100), yell, “Ouch, you moron, watch where you are going!” The bike had stopped moving and I turned around to see the left rear turn signal stalk had ran into the Explorer’s bumper and had bent the stalk forwards slightly.

After dismounting and inspecting closer the turn signal had bent at an assembly joint and the Star Turn Signal Visor was dented down. I loosened the bolt and straightened the turn signal stalk. Then I just used pliers to bend the visor back into shape as best I could. I was thankful that was all my carelessness caused. Mistress said, “Be more careful and never let it happen again”. I sighed, “Yes, Ma’am!”

What is the moral of the story? Practice what you preach, and look in the direction you are traveling at all times.

Ride on,

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