3 Things You Shouldn’t Attempt on Motorcycle Roadsbutlermaps
Born a perfectionist, might be a reason I am way obsessed about motorcycle road safety. The things I tried highlighting in this post should help you have a safe motorcycle trip. Though they might seem like clichés for experienced riders, but I bet they would agree with them wholeheartedly.
There are drunk riders, there are old riders, but there are no old drunk riders. There is never enough experience when you’re riding drunk. Ever heard of the dumbest thing, well, this must be it. Riding under the influence? Never! No matter how well you think you know the road.
Even if you have all of your gear in check, your motorcycle ready and one of our maps at your disposal. You’re never going to be ready enough for the trip, if you’re drunk. Sorry about being a bit harsh about it, but the truth is that your life depends directly on the choice that you’ll make, when you had a couple of drinks and are about to start your bike. Stop right there. There are no excuses for a drunk rider.
Riding on Slippery Roads
Yes, the roads are slippery when wet. Duh. Avoid any speeding as much as possible on such roads. If you’re not controlling your acceleration, you might as well be opening a Pandora ’s Box.
I know riding without the wind rushing by sucks. But slipping off the edge, or breaking a couple bones just because you could not slow down sounds very unfortunate and avoidable. The destination might be far, but having a good experience on motorcycle roads is much more important. Always be cautious about surprise patches of water, snow or ice.
Newbies: No Solo Trips
How can the pot call the kettle black? That’s the most likely situation when newbies get into a long motorcycle road trip without an experienced rider. They might have bought the Butler road map, but they still need an extra eye. No disrespect to any newbie riders trying to plan a trip, but I still insist that you need an experienced rider coming with you. The roads on the map might look easy but wait until you are physically on the road by yourself.
Also having an experienced rider will boost your confidence around the curves and blind corners while you might learn a trick or two. Some other tips, like keeping off the front brake might be useful. Unless you intend to start flying ahead of your bike. You would be surprised to find out that many people make this mistake.
Any other riding tips we should add to this list? Let us know in the comments below.
Good article. I love that it reminds me in a very engaging way. Keep up Butlermaps.
Thank you for checking out the post. We’re happy to know that you liked it.
A great list of tips for the motorcyclists. Though the tips may sound clichéd, there is nothing worse than losing your life to a freak accident. Motorcycling is about passion and about being safe. Riding like a hooligan will do no good. It is important to wear enough protective gears before you embark on the ride. Another point that I would like to add here is, never ride when you are sleep-starved. Get enough sleep before you start your ride. Dozing off on the handlebars is the last thing that a motorcyclist can afford!
Thank you very much for your detailed and insightful comment. Yes – it’s always important to remember the basics. Great comment on sleep deprivation. I would add that you shouldn’t rely on any energy drinks, like Red Bull and/or coffee to keep you awake on the road. There is a line where your brain will just stop working, no matter how much you stimulate it. Get some sleep and stay safe.
One of the things riders need to watch out for is tar snakes (those cracks in the road filled in with tar) they can become very slippery on turns and when wet.
Thank you for the comment. Yes, indeed – those things can be quite treacherous. Another important thing to remember is that if you’re riding in an area that doesn’t get much rain and it’s raining – be sure to slow down. These areas accumulate oil and other liquids from passing cars and until the rain flushes them off the road – they can be really slippery.
Another tip lots of folks forget. DO NOT use your cruise control when the road is just wet or during rain showers. If you were to begin hydroplaning, even riding in a straight line, the cruise will spin the rear wheel before you can take action to control it.
I am a big proponent of not drinking and driving (especially riding). As a 20+ year veteran truck driver, our alcohol tolerance is 0%, even in our personal vehicles. I wish it was like that for everyone everywhere. Just imagine how many needless fatalities could be prevented if it was. But our society is “too tolerant” or politically correct for stringent controls across the board.
Thanks to Butler Maps for a great product, and caring enough to publish tips and awareness like these to the motorcycling community.
Reading a map on a motorcycle is also something one should not do.
Prob’ly more dangerous than texting!
The most oft asked question, I’m sure: How do I get your maps in .gpx format?
Good point, Butlermaps! I would say that relying on coffee or energy drinks to keep you awake is just like saying that I can be safe without a helmet. One must get good sleep before riding off.
You can be safe without a helmet. A helmet MAY protect you from injury in the event of a crash. But it won’t make you safe. It’s a protection device for after the unsafe incident.
Clear and concise information, but you might consider a #4: Re-read #3. Having a dependable riding buddy cannot be over-emphasized. Two of most anything is almost always better. Two motorcycles are easier to see… and hear. Two people to split the hotel rooms. One can go for help in a crisis; cell phones don’t work everywhere we go. Two riders can split the tools and gear. Two motorcyclists are less likely to become victims; even groups of people are not inclined to take on two bikers. You always have some one you know near… and the list goes on.
I personally love solo treks. I’ve ridden across the USA and Canada alone a number of times. Traveling alone I have met wonderful people; made my own decisions on my comfort level taking on challenges; and stopped when, where and how long I wanted; all things more difficult when riding with others. And, as an added bonus, as a woman alone, other women I’ve met while traveling have shared their aspirations to take on things they have dreamed of doing. Everyone needs to ride their own ride.
Yeah you love solo treks..but you aren’t a newbie either. The author simply states that new riders shouldn’t go out alone..with no one to fall back on. You are a seasoned solo rider. It’s different.
Stop your ride when you’re tired and set-up camp, get a motel room etc. Riding tired is an invitation to make mistakes that result in a fall or a crash with another rider or car.
What do you mean “keep off the front brake”…and…”flying ahead of your bike”…?
That sounds like spreading a wive’s tale that typically is heard from old riders that is on a par with “had to lay it down to avoid an accident”.
The majority of braking effectiveness is through application of the front brake. Current ABS technology is going to preclude either losing traction or “stoppies”.
Tell newbies to take motorcycle training classes, instead.
Yeah the ‘Keep off the front brake’ kinda made me do a double take also. The author also stated that they were a ‘perfectionist’ and also ‘obsessed with motorcycle safety’… excuse me but someone who is obsessed with motorcycle safety should know how important the front brake is to stopping a motorbike quickly and safely. Also if you are only using your bake brake to stop.. please take an MSF course…. Come on people.
Glad I’m not the only one who found the “Keep off the front brake” to be completely wrong.
Maybe on some 800 pound cruiser that already has inadequate braking, both front and rear, the rear brake MIGHT be almost as effective as the single front caliper, but in any modern, well designed bike, the rear brake is really only useful in slow speed maneuvers and in an emergency stop. (And on something like a sport bike, or super-sport, the rear isn’t even really much use in an emergency, as modern front brakes and tires have more than enough stopping power and traction to lift the rear wheel off the ground, making any braking from the rear wheel non-existent.
When I read the “keep off the front brake” I took it in the context of the prior sentence referring to rounding curves and that you don’t want to be hard on your front brakes when rounding curves. Hopefully you have finished all of your braking before you started your turn but when you later determine that you’re still too hot going into the turn or there’s a downed tree in the road then you either tap that rear brake for the former or stand that bike up straight and grab both brakes for the latter. Right?
A downside to going with an experienced rider is that the newbie might try to ride a pace that is too quick or staying on the road longer than they might feel comfortable. Meds to be sure this is understood and they ride their own ride. Thanks
This is all good information. Front brakes on any motor vehicle do most of the work when stopping. This is even more true on a motorcycle. Some of the new Harley-Davidson touring bikes even have linked, integral ABS brakes that apply front brake when the rider only hits the rear brake. I’ve investigated motorcycle accidents when the rider only hit the rear brake and slid into the vehicle in front of them. Proper use of front brake may have prevented the collision, or at least reduced the impact.
Wearing proper protective gear changes one’s mindset from “it will never happen to me”. I think it helps us to realize risks do exist and we’re more alert for any possibilities while on the road. I was a “hop on and ride” kind of rider for a long time. Jeans, tee shirt and skid lid helmet was all I needed. Then I started riding a dual sport bike and got all the gear. Now I feel naked without it. I look kind of funny wearing all this gear when I leave the Beemer home and ride the Harley, but that’s okay too.
“Keep off the front brake…”?? I can’t be sure of the specific reference because the photos didn’t load on this page. Maybe it was a pic of a dirt bike coming down a trail. Otherwise, I’m down with Ryan and Brian n’ tryin’ (rhyme scheme!) to keep my eyebrows from raising up off my head. What’s up with that, Cort?
I think the author means when you go from a bicycle (rear ‘hand brake’ on the right) to a motorcycle, the new rider only grabs the throttle side brake. They don’t use the foot brake. Ever see a rider go over the handle bars at a stop? That’s what he is referring to.
No solo trips as a “newbie”?! If I never road by myself and had to ride with someone more experience, I would have never got to go riding. My case, no riding solo, meant no riding ever! Calculated risk if you ask me.
i agree. if i didnt Always solo ride i would not ever ride. being in a small town, there is almost no one that rides dual sport and finding someone with holidays when i have doesn’t happen either. of course it is safer to ride with others. but with some luck and repair skills/tools i venture within reason.
know how to repair a flat and have the tools with you and basically know how to repair or coax travel out of parts that are in need of attention.
my riding tip would be STAY FOCUSED! the moment you are not observant and prepared that maybe when a small animal (or deer), rock, tree branch, or other debris is right in front of you and action can not be delayed. if you find yourself drifting in to la la land, give yourself a pep talk. if that talk is required again and again, Stop For a Rest. find a lake, stream or simply some shade and take a walk or lay down and replenish water levels and enjoy a snack (always have something handy to munch on).
after that break, you will notice the sounds and sights again….fully. this is why you ride. to Feel it. no feeling? no sense travelling on. stop and recover.
Riding solo works for me, time to be alone allows me to think with out interruptions , to work through troubles that might be bugging me. I get to meet new people along the way as well, friends are where ever you meet them sometimes. I always let people know a general direction I intend to go, making sure they have my phone number for emergency situations that might come up.. I like being able to change my plans or stop somewhere along the way, to stop and look at some place cool and take pictures. It is possible to take a friend and have a great time of course and having back up with you is a great idea, but riding alone is not a mortal sin.
What do experienced riders consider a “newbie”. And what does one have to endure to become “experienced”?
This is more a list of “Ideal” practices I feel. Staying off the front brakes is mainly for off road riding I’m guessing… in gravel, mud, dirt, sand; hard application of front brake and you are going down, ABS potentially excepted (and few of us have it). Wrong info for road machines, right info for off-road IMHO… Butler maps has many off road trails marked…. good general smart tips… your ride will probably be different!
I think the Butler Maps are encouraging for any rider, from novice to seasoned iron butt. The novice should take it at their own pace, and so should the seasoned rider. I myself ride a GWTrike. Enjoyed many of the routes here in the Pacific time zone.