BETTER BIKING: FAST ROAD RIDING TIPS
We won't lie. There's nothing finer that finding yourself on the open road in perfect conditions with the chance to really open up the throttle and give your bike some welly. All within national speed restrictions, of course.
Yes, we all live to ride fast every once in a while, but there's always the voice in the back of your head nagging you that speed kills. Of course that's true, but just as many bikers come to grief in relatively low speed accidents as they do motoring at high speed. It's just a case – like anything to do with motorcycling – of knowing your limits and sticking to them.
So, what should you be doing when you find that fabled stretch of empty main road, and the devil on your shoulder is telling you to open it up?
The number one rule is your own personal safety. Don't try anything that's going to upset the stability of your machine, because at higher speeds, any mistakes are magnified many fold.
That means making sure that your bike is fully upright during any periods of hard acceleration. Opening the throttle while you're leaning into a corner will set you up for a tumble at the worst possible moment. This is especially the case in damp conditions – stay upright when you accelerate.
Now, when you're moving at speed, awareness is vital. Experienced riders say that you should view every inch of road as if there's a hazard ahead. Every side road has the potential for a Sunday driver to pull out in front of you; every gate is hiding a tractor, and every building has somebody ready to step out without looking. Anticipating the road ahead is an important skill to learn, and the key to becoming a great road rider.
And where sensible and safe riding allows, anticipate the best and fastest lines on the road. That doesn't mean weaving around into the opposite lane, as that's a recipe for disaster. Seek out the straightest, safest line that keeps you upright and maintaining a decent speed.
Finally, the biggest rule of them all. Be courteous to other road users. Drivers hate being buzzed by show-off bikers, so treat other road users and other bikers with respect. If you have to slow down, hit the brakes. There'll be another dream straight road along soon.