My husband and I were riding down from Cumbres Pass (above Chama, just over the Colorado border) this weekend and had a little scare. We were weaving down the twisties when I came around a corner and faced a speeding pickup truck that had crossed the center lane into mine. He was fishtailing slightly, apparently was going faster than he realized and almost lost control. I managed to negotiate around him. If I had been going even a little faster, it would have been a fatal head on that most likely would have taken out my husband and me.

It's tempting to take the curves at speed and, as one's confidence and skill improves, the faster we tend to go. But one of the facts about twisties is that we can't see what's on the other side. It could be a cow, a patch of ice, some gravel, construction, a bicycle, a broken down vehicle or - as I experienced - another vehicle going at a higher rate of speed than they can safely handle.

It's not safe to brake at speed going around a corner. Good idea to brake ahead of time and then open the throttle through the curve. I'm going to re-think the common advice that you take the beginning of the turn from the outside and cut into the middle. If I'd done that, I'd be dead now.

Just a heads up.

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Always wise to avoid maxing out your abilities on the streets. I try to stay between 40% and 50% and no more. Gives you room to recover from surprises.

Riding motorcycles on a curvy road sure feels great but every rider has at least one of those stories to tell and many of them don't end up so well.

I can't recommend enough that if you want to have a bit of fun on a bike through some corners... please... please take it to the track. Albuquerque does have a local road course race track called SMRI and it's the closest place to have fun, test you and your bike, and I can guarantee it will greatly improve your riding skills. Once you ride on the track you will look at the street, and all the other street riders, in a totally different manner. SMRI actually has a track day that's open to everyone this Sunday on the 12th! More details can be found on their website but it's very easy to get started. You will need a helmet, some ankle cover boots, gloves, and you can even rent a leather 1 or 2 pc suit there. No major mods are necessary to your bike just tape up all of your lights, remove or fold your mirrors, and make sure you have good tires. That's it and I will actually put the offer out there that if anyone interested want's to know more, maybe needs to borrow some items, gear, or leathers, or if you may want somebody to teach you the racing basics I can do that and will meet you there Sunday! The track community has some of the best folks you will ever meet. Motorcycles are a passion of mine and after loosing a friend on the street I would love to help a new rider in any way I can. I can promise you that if you start riding on the track you will become a safer rider and yes faster than all your street friends...

Also for all of those folks that might be interested in getting better at riding or racing and want to read about it pick up a copy of "Twist of the Wrist II". It's the racers bible and is a great read. It will surely explain a lot of key aspects to not only riding better but racing. A must read for all motorcycle riders, even those that have been riding for years.

Ride safe,

Racebike 2004 GSXR 1000 #177
Thanks Matthew! I've volunteered as a corner worker at the track, which is great fun. They are always looking for corner workers and now they even pay you for it. It's the best seat in the house to be close to the action. I need to do a track day sometime, for sure, but I'm too afraid I'd lay down my bike. I know it's not likely and I will get around to it at some point.

I'll look for that book. I also highly recommend More Proficient Motorcycling and Total Control; High Performance Street Riding Techniques

So when is the next after-work ride to the Ponderosa? Anybody up for that?
I can appreciate that but it's like comparing a Cliff's roller coaster to a 6 flags one...

Also you don't have to worry about dirt, deer, and dumb A$$ES nearly as much. Also when (not if) you crash you not likely to hit a tree or go over a guard rail. At the track and there is even an ambulance waiting for you in case you need it.

Thats enough of a scare and it doesn't matter what type of bike you ride either. There are guys who do track days riding big BMW's, vintage, Buel's, and various types of sport bikes. It also doesn't matter how "fast" or "slow" you think you are because there are riders of all levels there. In this sport almost every one understands you have to start somewhere and there is always somebody faster.

So if you have ever thought about it now is a great time of year too.

Let me know via email if there are any takers for Sunday and how I can help.

Racebike 2004 GSXR 1000 #177
Wish I could, Matthew. I have plans for this Sunday already. Will there be another track day before the end of the season?
Great post, Matthew. If we didn't already have a prior commitment, I'd be hell bent to go tomorrow.

When's the next one?



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