Monday, November 2, 2015

How planning ahead can keep you out of trouble (most of the time)

     On October 20th, Harley-Davidson Motor Company (NYSE: HOG) announced that they will be cut 250 jobs and puttingmore money into marketing and product development. This is due to the decrease in new bike sales during the third quarter – down 1.4% worldwide. In the meantime, last week Yamaha unveiled their motorcycle-riding humanoid robot at the Tokyo Motor
Show. “What’s going on here?” you might be asking. I call it planning ahead.
Yamaha's Motobot

     Yes – you read that correctly: there has been a robot invented just to ride motorcycles. Why can’t I get that job?? (Oh ya, that’s why!) Researchers will be able to download information that will help develop advanced rider safety and rider-support systems. The Motobot will have full control over the throttle, braking system, clutch & transmission, as well as steering of an unmodified motorcycle. Still in development, Motobot’s end goal is to take a bike down the track at 124mph.

     Much has been advanced in the name of motorcycle safety thanks to forward thinking companies like Harley-Davidson and Yamaha. Gone are the days of drum rear brakes, no front brake at all, no turn signals (unless you count the rider physically indicating which way they’re turning), turning the fuel on, opening the choke and having to kick-start the motor. Now we have ABS braking systems, electronic fuel injection, electric start and real turn signal indicators. But that didn’t just happen – engineers had a plan and brought it to fruition.

     After all, that’s what we bikers do while riding: Plan Ahead. We plan which roads we’ll take, our vacation time, when to get our bikes serviced, plan ‘pit stops’ on the road, and on and on. Of course there’s no way to plan for everything. Not to mention, you don’t want to over plan either – then the experience just feels to “regimented.” There’s a cardinal rule that was taught to me when I first started riding: while on a motorcycle road trip, never make hotel reservations. The reason being is because you don’t know how the day riding is going to pan out. So it’s best to simply ride the planned route and when you feel like stopping, then find a hotel room where you are. This past summer  I did not follow the cardinal rule, and I paid for it!! I’d planned to do about 8 hours riding – but those 8 hours didn’t include the Massachusetts traffic jams I got stuck in. I ended up with a terrible migraine and HAD to stop – so I paid for the hotel room I wasn’t in (a deal I found online that required prepayment) and the hotel room I did stay in.

     Long story short, it’s still a good idea to keep the “5 P’s” in mind. A military acronym which stands for:

Just be sure to leave yourself a little wiggle room for adjustments!!