Solo To Sarnia Return Day 3

So day three: it started out OK, got away about 9:30ish but was moving pretty slow with a killer headache.  As my head was feeling sensitive, I had to make a few stops to try and adjust my iPod volume. I finally got that sorted and started riding along.

Since I’ve been trying to remember to stop more, I made a first stop to take some lake pics.

Off to a good start, then I decided to stop for a snack at about 12:30 …

After snacking I decided to lay back for awhile, and … oops … fell asleep, so I took some pics of my nap spot …

My head felt better after the nap but now I was kind of behind. Except for gas stops, I basically just rode until I got to Superior. No more pics.

At one gas stop I heard thunder so on went the jacket liner to stay dry, but I think I just caught the edge of the storm and only got about 15 minutes of light showers and probably didn’t need liner.

So just a quick rant – when I started to think about this trip I decided to go ahead and purchase some made-to-measure gear that I had been thinking about for 4 or 5 years, and saving for, for the last 2 or 3.  Well what a big disappointment. I don’t know who they made it for but it wasn’t me. The jacket is huge and the liner is so small that I can’t get a extra layer underneath. When I wear the two together it’s tight and uncomfortable; and the jacket by itself is a whole other story.  When I get back I hope I can talk to them and maybe send it back for some adjustment.

Rant over.

The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful, but my one pet peeve is cars that can’t keep a constant speed. Come on people – I’m pretty sure you have cruise control, so use it. And another thing: stop doing the passing lane dash where you do 50mph until you see a passing lane then speed up to 65/70 mph and only 2 or 3 people can get by you and then slow back down to 50mph when the lane ends and the other 15 people behind you are left frustrated.  Oops … another rant. Oh well.

Anyway, got into Superior about 4:30, went for a swim and a soak in the hot tub and all is good.  Tomorrow off to Fargo.

Loud Pipes Save Lives? WTF?

Not a loud pipe

Not a loud pipe

Motorcycle season is finally here and it’s about time. Along with the joy of getting out on the bikes, comes the annual cry of the loud pipes crowd as they bemoan the efforts of various municipalities to crack down on the rrrraaaaapppp of their unmuffled bikes.

Straight Pipes - definitely loud

Straight Pipes - definitely loud

All motorbikes sold in Canada have to meet the legislated decibel levels at the tailpipe, including our bikes, the FJR, VStrom and the T-Max. However there are a large number of riders who insist on replacing the stock mufflers with custom mufflers, designed only to make as much noise as possible.

We’ve all heard them and to be sure, those who go with the unmuffled pipes claim that loud pipes save lives, that the more noise they make, the more likely it is that a driver of a car or whatever will sit up straight, look around for the sound and therefore – not run over the loud bike.

OK, I can maybe see how this works for cars coming up behind the loud bike. They’ll hear the maximum sound from the pipe coming at them and the driver will clearly know that there’s a motorbike ahead of them. But there’s no way the loud pipes will make a difference to a driver approaching head on to the loud bike – the physics of sound don’t work that way.

So the big claim of the loud crowd, is that cars will hear them beside the car and so the cars won’t make a lane change into the bike because the driver didn’t see the bike in their blind spot.

The trouble is that by far most accidents involving motorbikes are where the bike goes off the road and hits something (or hits something on the road, like a stopped truck), or where a car pulls out to do a (most often a left) turn and either hits the bike or the bike hits the car. Usually speed, alcohol and lack of skill are the direct cause. Loud pipes won’t help with this. Keeping the speed reasonable for the conditions, don’t drink and ride, and ride within your skill level are what mitigates this risk.

Now, back to the law for a minute. There’s talk in both Edmonton and Calgary about trying to get some sort of “multa-nova” like camera system to grab the license plate number of vehicles that exceed the mandated decibel levels. Obviously what the politicians have in mind is some automated gizmo on the side of the road that is set off when a loud bike goes by so it can take a picture of the offenders plate. But if you’re already anti-social enough to run with loud pipes, what’s stopping that person from jimmying their plate so it doesn’t show easily? Add to this the fact that I doubt very much that gravel trucks using the “jake-brake” or Civics with tuner-cans are going to get nabbed by this gizmo. Make no mistake – this automated gizmo is targeted squarely at motorcyclists. And all motorcyclists are getting lumped into the same bucket.

I wish the loud pipes crowd would just be honest and admit that their whole point behind loud pipes is not about safety, but rather it’s all about fashion. HD bikes are mostly about fashion. They’re certainly not the most practical motorbike out there, and it’s the HD bikes and those the most similar that get modified with the loud pipes.

Robert and I have come up with the perfect counter to these auditory fashionistas:

Too Cool Motorcycle School

Too Cool Motorcycle School

“If you think that loud pipes make you safer, then you really need to take a motorcycle training course, may I suggest Too Cool Motorcycle School”.

And we could of course add that if you REALLY want to be safer, wear a bright jacket that stands out, not a fashionable black leather jacket that’s distinctive only for the logo on it.