Tuesday, February 15, 2011

3 seconds....

It was a beautiful day when me and a couple of mates decided to tackle the Coro loop. For those not familiar with the Coro loop, it is a loop of road a few hundred kms long, which takes you from Thames, Coromandel, Whitiangi and back to Thames.  This roughly is the loop.  It is motorcycling heaven with continual sweeping corners, tight bends and incredible scenery.....it also has become a grave yard for far to many riders.

I had been back into riding for a bout 10 months and was still struggling with with getting to grips with the whole biking thing.  I was riding my new 675 Daytona, it is a superb bike, it has always been one of the easiest bikes I have every ridden, especially when it comes to throwing  it around corners.

On this particular day I was riding with a mate on a 1098, another on a GSXR1000 , and another on a fire blade.  You could say that I was probably underpowered!

On the ride north from Thames to Coromandel I was leading, and I was impressed by how I was riding, the two big jap bikes were not keeping up, only the 1098 was hanging on to my tail.  I was though, in no doubt riding at the edge of my ability.  And as local blogger from here will testify, this is one road you do not want to get it wrong, if you do, you end up on the rocks, and in the firth of Thames.

Once in Coromandel and refuelled we headed over the hill towards Whitianga, here the road turns into some very fast sweeping bends as well as some short but quick pieces of straight roads.  These roads played into the bigger bikes hands and all three whipped past me at well over lost license speeds.

It was about now that I felt an enormous amount of pressure to keep up. The bigger bikes were pulling away from me and I did not want to get mocked when I finally got into Whitianga.

Entering a average to tight left hander, I was pushing hard to keep up with the other bikes, I was travelling far to quick, and before I realised it I was on the wrong side of the road, it took all my efforts of concentration and focus to ad void running off the road completely.  Finally after what seemed an eternity I gathered some form of control and got back onto my side of the road, moments later, probably no more than 3 seconds, a four x four towing a trailer passed me  coming the other way.  It was then I realised how incredible close I had come to having a  head on...one that would of no doubt claimed my life.

A few moments later I pulled over and sat on on the side of the road, the need to regather my thoughts was uppermost in my mind.  I realised then that what a complete and utter idiot I had been, trying to impress my mates had nearly claimed my life.  The unwritten law to be quick and keep up had over ridden common sense.  I had been riding on a adrenalin high, and it was almost enough to kill me..

A few months later Alex from work was killed while riding his bike to work....

I took a break from riding for a few months, but the passion always remained.  Perhaps I grew up, perhaps I  decided I would rather be a plodder than a dead biker,  perhaps I realised that I was missing some great scenery in an attempt to get some where quick,   Perhaps I became aware of my own mortality.....

Just three seconds from leaving my children fatherless, three seconds from my parents burying their son, and three seconds from leaving my partner devasted....all because I was trying to prove something.

I have no need or desire any more to prove anything to any one on a bike.  But I shall not forget those three seconds.


  1. Great thoughts, i still get the adrenalin rush.

  2. So do I Dave, after all isnt that why we ride bikes? But I am far more selective when I do fang it, and refuse to let myself get influenced by other riders. Thanks for commentting.

  3. Roger:
    That's one of the most important posts I've ever read and I'm moved by your candour because I think everyone has been there with you.

    I understand your views about the D675 round Coromandel because I can draw a similar comparison between the Striple and my Blackbird.

    Your comment about "not needing to prove anything" is a clear indicator of a bloody good rider and I'd like to add my humble good wishes.

    I've been thinking about the whole business too since the ageing and upskilling blog posts. Have decided to start working towards becoming a qualified advanced instructor. More on this in the next post.

    Well done on a superbly-written and influential post.

  4. Wow, that was a close call. It would be arrogant to say that this couldn't happen to me (being mature female and all). I don't get the adrenaline rush per say but I have been in situations where I underestimated my skills, and got my own wake-up calls. Good write-up, and good to share this. It might save a life on day.

  5. Geoff, thanks for your comments, it was ifact a very very hard post to write, one I have spent a lot of time over.

    I am delighted to gear of your pursing the instructor course, I think you have a lot to offer. ANd I look forward to hearing about it in more detail.

    Sonja: Thanks for your comments. We have all underestimated our abilities at times, in this case is was just shear stupedity.

  6. I agree with everyone's comments. It is so easy to get swept up into the thrill of the moments and the twisties. And I too have sometimes let my better judgment lapse. Thankfully it has come back in time.

    This all boils down to you understanding what is really important to you in this life. Live to ride another day. And keep the loved ones around. Not necessarily in that order.

    Thanks for sharing.


  7. If you are going to ride, then ride safe and make sure you wear all your riding gear all the time.. or as much of it as posible......these are the rules unless you are a downtown delivery boy working for a messenger company if you don't, then sorry...u r an idiot...period

  8. Roger, the time you spent on this post was time well spent! I think every motorcyclist would do well to read it once in a while.

    And...welcome to the plodder club! :)

  9. Ken: It did indeed take me a long time to write. Thanks for your comment.

  10. Great post Roger. Just sharing it shows you learned something from the experience and I am all sure we can learn something from it too.

    I think the adrenaline rush is a testosterone related event. I enjoy riding as much as the next person but do not get the rush from it much like Sonja.

    I have had rides where everyone has raced on ahead through the twisties while I putter along gaining experience. I let them be. I figure if they'd like to mock me for my speed and skill, it will give them something to do while they wait for me to catch up.

    Glad everything turned out for you that day and you are here to enjoy many more days of riding.

  11. I don't quite get the adrenaline rush. I like corners that make me go "woohoo", not "oh ****". Mostly I ride alone, so I can cruise along at whatever speed I want. That being said, I have felt pressure to keep up. Not from other riders, just from myself. It can be tough resisting that pressure.

  12. Trobaritz & Bluekat, I think we have all been in similar situations. Being focused on our own riding is what it is all about, and refusing to be influenced by those we travel with

  13. This is the kind of post you cut and paste so you can be reminded everyday... every ride... to "ride YOUR ride".

    Excellent post... it gave me goosebumps.

  14. Lady, Thanks for your comment. I think it is some thing we can all relate to.