For two years I had a part time job with Strip-O-Grams in New Jersey as a “Driver”. I drove “Exotic Dancers” to bachelor parties every Saturday night. I’m not a big guy, never been in the military or even know matial arts. I’m not a fighter. So how did I work part time as a “Bouncer”? The job required more intelligence than brawn!
Other drivers/bouncers were big, carried a weapon, brought a friend for back up or had a military background. For me it was all about keeping things under control, managing risk, avoiding bad situations by cutting them off before they happen. Just like Patrick Swayze in Road House, I was friendly but authoritative. I used psychology and dressed like a biker. This was how I was able to keep a bunch of rowdy drunk guys from getting out of hand or robbing me. I had two naked chicks to protect and a pocket full of cash. Just like riding a motorcycle, I was putting myself in a dangerous situation with a manageable amount of risk and enjoyed the rush. Every job was a challenge of my intelligence, not brawn.
Many motorcyclists are free spirits. They ride without helmets or wear the novelty helmets. They are living the moment, stress free, loving life! They are “in the flow”! I envy their ablity to go through life care free. These are the same motorcyclists who have a dozen or more horror stories to tell you about the close calls they have had with cagers. The amount of arguments in parking lots or at intersections. They have a dozen verbal confrontations of legend! During these conversations I don’t have much to say. These things don’t seem to happen to me. Guess I’m just lucky.
I’m not the happy go lucky type. I’m always prepared. I’m constantly thinking, calculating and contemplating. I recall last year always imagining horrible crashes with oncoming vehicles as I was cruising down the road. At that time I was uneducated about Street Strategy. This year my thoughts are different. They are constantly assessing the situation. I evaluate the road, measure up the cagers and check my rear view mirrors. I ask myself is that an agressive driver, an inattentive driver, or a professional driver? Is that the car of a responsible person or does it look like it has been in a number of accidents? Is that truck a professional or a rental? The type of vehicle, condition of the vehicle and bumper stickers on that vehicle are all tell tale signs of the type of person driving. At intersections and driveways I slow down, cover the brakes and put a little space cushion between me and the possible car, child or animal that could jet out. They say there are two types of riders: those who have crashed and those you are going to crash. When that unavoidable inevitable crash happens; will you walk away with a broken leg or become a statistic? Every second on a motorcycle is a test of ones intelligence as well as skill.
As I become a more experienced rider I trust that the amount of mental exersize in my head becomes more subconscience and that with time I will be more “in the moment”. I trust that riding will become even more relaxing and enjoyable and in the long run crash avoidance strategies will become second nature. For now, I am a student of the road. I am studying the skills and learning the “psychology of the road” that will keep me out of harms way.
OK, enough deep thoughts. How about a little video fun?