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Copyright 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 by Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.

How Fast Do You Ride?

When I ride my motorcycle on the freeway I monitor my speed with GPS and try to stay at the limit or at the most 5 mph over. Where I live – Arizona – that’s how fast most people drive. If I lived somewhere like Southern California, where freeway traffic runs 10 to 20 over, I guess I’d go that fast too. You really need to go with the flow, especially these days when 18-wheelers and Greyhounds roll as fast as the cagers. You can’t afford to get rear-ended when you’re on a bike, no matter how big and heavy it is.

Once, on a deserted 2-lane highway between Sonoita and Tombstone, with a posted 65 mph limit, I got up to 105 trying to catch up with a pack of friends. The instant I saw a car coming over the crest of a hill toward me I throttled back to idle, but as we passed I was still rolling pretty fast, decelerating through 90. I didn’t slow down because I thought the oncoming car might be a cop, I slowed down because I was going way too fast, and now, with a car coming at me in the other lane, my situation was a little more unsafe than it was when I had the entire road to myself, as I had a moment earlier.

But it was a cop! In an unmarked car! And guess what? Instead of whipping a U-turn and running me down the patrolman just flashed his lights and blipped his siren as we passed, then kept right on going.

At that exact moment, my only thought was IT’S A COP! About a second later reflection set in. First, I was amazed I hadn’t dropped dead of a heart attack right there in the saddle. Second, I was amazed that my buddies up ahead hadn’t backed off even a notch when they passed the same patrolman – they were going 85 or so. Had I seen a brake light or two up ahead, I’d have had a clue there was a cop coming, and I wouldn’t have merely backed off the throttle, I’d have hit the brakes and gotten back down to 65 like right then.

I was a lucky guy that day! Haven’t sped . . . well, grossly sped . . . since then.

© 2004 – 2007, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.

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2 comments to How Fast Do You Ride?

  • 8 Yellow Snow 05/07/04 9:32 PM

    I’m not so much a high-end speed type of guy, but more of an acceleration kind of guy. In my muscle car days, I used to enjoy stopping at every red light and stop sign and then accelerate and get to the posted speed limit as quickly as possible and then back off.

    I am proud of the fact that I have never received a ticket from a city cop. Now, the highway patrol is a different story. This contradicts my accelerator paragraph, but on the freeways I used to go 15 to 20 miles over the speed limit and got popped a few times. None since 1995, though. But I only took my Mustang GTs and Mustang Cobra over 100 miles an hour a couple of times.

    I have always wanted to have a bumper sticker made that says, “I’m not in a hurry, I just like to get there fast.” Now that I have put that out in the ether, I am sure I will see that bumper sticker the next time I stop to take a whiz at a truck stop.

    8 Yellow Snow

  • themess 05/25/04 10:47 PM

    When driving a car, I usually follow the traffic, trying to pass as many people as pass me. On a motorcycle, I try to be the second fastest person going my direction. Car/truck drivers don’t see motorcycles, so I want to be passing them.

    In 1984, I parked my motorcycle (Suzuki GT650G) before going to Mexico for 3 years. Not knowing if I’d want to ride it again, I took a 7,000 mile trip. Between Wells, NV and Las Vegas, I rode about 105 miles in 62 minutes, on a road where there were only 3 intersections, and I saw only 2 other vehicles in that distance. I would have gone faster, but I wanted to be conservative about the tires. Other than more noies, nothing unusual happened.

    I bought my first motorcycle for safety reasons. I was driving a ’67 Goat, (400-4 barrel-4 speed -posi) and was drinking a lot. Stomping on the accelerator was irresisitable when drunk. Sooner or later I would have killed someone. So I sold it, and 4 hours later I bought a used 550. I’d never ridden a cycle, not once. It was about 4 months before I bought a car because I had to wear a suit to work. I got my motorcycle endorsement on my licensce about 3 years later.

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