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Now that I am fully legal, and have tasted highway speeds up to 70mph...I have reached a new limit/comfort level.



Well I have to say after riding on the highway for the first time, I sort of felt like I did when I started riding on the road. My 'sphere' of what's going on around me felt very small. The mirrors seemed to be very small, and there was so much to pay attention to. It was very windy as well, so it probably wasnt the best day to go on the freeway. I think I did fine, but just felt like I was at my limit for right now in terms of my ability.



We have country roads that get up to 55/60mph, and I feel a bit more comfortable there. There just seems to be so much more to pay attention to, and the dynamics of Highway riding are certainly a challenge for a light bike, no fairing, windsheild etc. My leather jacket is HEAVY, but it is baggy and not really a 'riding' jacket per-say...maybe that is all that I need to make a difference.



One specific question I had involves lane position...normally solo in the city I guard the left side of my lane...Not sure due to wind that is the best idea on the freeway. I felt most comfortable slightly left of the center of my lane...seems common sense but experience might prove otherwise.



Any thing you all can share would be much appreciated! The bike ran great, and above 6K is a dream--she only wanted more!
 

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I prefer riding with a windshield and find it helps at speed.



IMHO on one level expressway riding is slightly easier/safer since everyone is going in the same direction and there is no cross traffic to pull out in front of you. However..... the back draft from semi-trailers extends over a hundered feet behind them and 1/2 that to their side. You need to keep a grip on the handlebars when they blow by. Also avoid riding in anyone's blind spot, as if cagers are not all blind to our existence already, either lay back or pull ahead to improve the slght chance they will know you are there before they change lanes.



I do not pick a specific spot in a lane to stay but let the road and trafiic conditions guide my choices. Be most mindful of that DANGEROUS 1/4 mile before an exit ramp and at entrance ramps. At the exit there will often be a gomer coming from your left who just woke up and will cross over several lanes of traffic without looking to get their exit. At the entrance merges I usually move over to the center lanes to let the half-alert mergers get on the slab.



Yes our rigs are light and for those of us with all the Interstate wind catchers (fairing,windshield, trunk and luggage) cross winds do have a lot of surface upon which to act. On long stretches between exits there is no shame and often considerable wisdom in riding in the right hand slower lane and letting those who always NEED to be 15 mph faster than the posted speed limit, regardless of what number that is. 500ccs are not 1800 ccs. There is a reason why the king of the open super slab tourers is the big, heavy and powerful Honda Goldwing.
 

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The more you ride on the freeway, the more you will widen that proverbial bubble in your senses. One must expand the peripheral scope of the senses, and it needs to include anticipating other vehicles' actions and road conditions. You can't find yourself directly looking at anything really, you have to kind of scan constantly.



It becomes much easier to relax as you do it more, but you can NEVER relax to the point of complacency



In traffic, I always make sure I am staggered from other vehicles, and make sure I can see the drivers face in mirrors or windows. I look for the front tires actions as I make passes to alert me to them moving my way. And all this time still halfway looking forward in my line of travel.



Staying far enough back of vehicles (2-3 second rule) is highly recommended, and paying attention to those behind to keep the same cushion is very important.



Basically, you are the one that has the control, so use it to avoid the pitfalls of close quarters. Obviously, on an open road with no one around, you can ease up some, but you still must be prepared for hidden perils. Country winding roads.....deer or other critters can be in your face in an instant.



I"m sure others will chime in.



Joel in the Couve
 

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Instructions to newcomers in a number of my hobbies, cycles and scuba diving come to mind, must focus on all the ways that hobby can kill you. That old saying about "There are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are few old,bold pilots." applies to cycle riding.



Having been T-Boned once by a blind cager (and I have the surgically implanted leg hardware to prove it) I am always on guard for the idiots, and they are all idiots. Even the biggest, baddest motorcycle is NO match for the tiniest, weakest automobile. 4 wheels and up win ALL ties with a bike and trains trump everything else that crosses a roadway..lol



That said, nothing builds confidence like time in the saddle. Get out there and enjoy the open road but always have a plan of action forumlating as situations change. It's OK to run over squirrels and small birds. Large dogs and deer? Best to swerve around them if you can.
 

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What more to add to what's already been said? Merely my own re-emphasis of the other replies that are already correct.



No lane position is THE correct lane position, it all depends on other traffic and road conditions. Avoid blind spots at all costs. If I'm in the center of three lanes and there are cars in both of the other lanes at about the same position ahead of me, I will wait for one of them to speed up or slow down - don't thread the needle, leave yourself a way out. Of course, I always ride with my brights on, so as to be more visible - another reason I like my fairing - 2 more big marker lights. If you don't have a fairing, (and maybe even if you do)I recommend wearing an orange reflective vest. Although, just because they can and should see you doesn't mean they really do.



If you are passing, spend the least amount of time possible in the blind spot. And ALWAYS USE YOUR TURN SIGNALS! Sorry, that's my pet peeve. Signals are how we communicate with other drivers. If everyone would use their signals, there would be less road rage, starting with me.



It goes without saying, but don't try to keep up with the moron on the crotch rocket zipping in and out of traffic. If they are riding like that, it's only a matter of time before they become a human crayon.



Always wear a helmet. Legal or not, I like my brains just where they are, thank you.



In general, drive defensively and ride like all the four wheelers are out to kill you.



Happy riding, rubber side down
 

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Do beware of amphibians though. Ran across a herd (or whatever you call a large group) of frogs apparently trying to get to where the girl frogs were on the other side of the highway. Slicker than ice and a mess to clean off. Pure luck - in no way skill - that I didn't lay the bike down in all that goo.
 

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A gal at work ended up in severe surgery and nearly killed her older grandchild when she was out on a gravel road at speed in her sizeable sport-ute, swerved drastically and rolled it in a ditch.....all to avoid hitting a scrawny-a$$ed pheasant.



Regardless of what I am piloting, I am rolling over the little critters without hesitation. Been a few dogs, cats and other smallish critters that made a fatal error in their choice of van to run in front of. Now deer? I lock them brakes up right now or seek a safe escape route..
 

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I do not pick a specific spot in a lane to stay but let the road and trafiic conditions guide my choices.


Me too. Generally the left part of the lane on lightly used single lane undivided highway is where I ride. Drift a bit to the centre when oncoming traffic approaches. Always be watching your mirrors for overtaking traffic. If you are in the left part of your lane, they will give you room, if you don't claim it some will think your small bike doesn't need the whole lane and will crowd you. If you are meeting strings of traffic , riding the centre or right part of your lane will help that idiot who just has to pull out and pass several vehicles see you better. Constant vigilance and adjustment.

"Human crayon"
That's pure poetry.
 

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Don't sign yourself up for failure.



Don't test your riding abilities at rush hour because it will be a fail. Get out on your bike an practice during slower traffic times. I have a rough rule here in Milwaukee that isn't just for motorcycles. If I have to go 15 miles away I prefer to do it in 15 minutes vs 45. Traffic seems to get better around 6:15 so say I have to get somewhere by 6:35 I can just wait it out instead of leaving at 5:45 and getting stuck in stop and go or go go go stop traffic.



If you don't mind later 8 oclock at night is one hell of a time to have completely open roads.





Also plan small break in trips on the slab in areas where you can get on and get off easily if things get uncomfortable.



As was stated before I ride on the side that will make me less dead. If i am passing a semi or a semi is passing me I get to the opposite side of the tires. Not just because of Mythbusters and tire blow outs but because of the mirror rule. If you cant see them they cant see you. And there's a lot less to be seen on a motorcycle.



Windshields and proper riding gear do make it easier. My brother tends to visit me on a motorcycle trip at least once a year in whatever junk designer store fake leather motorcycle jacket and when I upgrade I give him my old stuff because of it. Sometimes it helps to have a reason to upgrade.

Sure he liked my $70 Icon Merc gloves but he wasn't going to buy himself a pair. But at least he's wearing mechanic gloves over nothing.



Don't carry passengers on surfaces that you don't understand or have good practice on. Gravel is garbage just short of greasing up the tires. So make sure you're comfortable before taking someone with you. Two deaths are worse than none.



Practice, practice, practice. We all must practice.
 

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All great advice above especially Don's.Plan the ride,even if it's a commute.Leave a little earlier or leave a little later.My brother-in-law used to work in London.He finished at 5pm.If he left then it could take him an hour and a half to get home.

Even if he stopped back and did a little bit of work or reading and left after 6pm he was home in 30 mins and no stress




As for highways remember they are all,"Out to get you"<grin>.A little paranoia can help some times<j/K>




I try and keep myself away from all other vehicles and if I overtake do it fast and safe but only when there are no other vehicles and then get my,"Big Bubble" back.If some one tailgates me rather than compete I'll slow down and even pull over a bit and wave them past(If allowed) and let them get on with it knowing I'll make the time up on the,"B"roads.





"You can't rush back from a grave"
 

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Im no expert, but a fellow newbie to the slab.



Ride when you dont have anywhere to go. A destination, and a time you need to get there is one more distraction. It will take time to get comfortable, but once you are it isnt so bad.



Everything else that i can think of has been covered.
 

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Some good advice here. I'll add a few more.

Avoid all painted lines on the road, especially in the early morning - they often have dew on them, and can be as slippery as ice - treat them as if they ARE ice. This applies not only to riding at speed on the road, but also when slowing down / stopping at intersections. The front wheel can easily lock up as you cross a painted line (especially those big warnings painted on the street at RR crossings, schools, etc.) and give you a big surprise when you then hit the unpainted pavement.

I would recommend that novice riders do not spend a lot of time riding on the side of the road close to the shoulder, especially where there is a gravel shoulder and/or a drop off the pavement to the shoulder. A moment of inattention or distraction, or a corner taken a bit wide, can result in suddenly being on the shoulder, and in a world of trouble.

Read and learn about SRs (survival reactions). The instinctive survival reaction when something unexpected happens is quite often the exact WRONG thing to do on a motorcycle.

Understand that you go where you are looking - avoid visual fixation on things or obstacles in the roadway such as potholes - if you keep looking at that pothole, chances are you are going to drive right through it.

Get one of the books and/or videos on sport bike riding, no matter what kind of bike you ride. The skills and techniques that people that ride fast or race, are also applicable at almost any speed and will make you a safer driver. I am not suggesting that you should drive like or become a racer (unless you aspire to) and definitely do not ride on the street as if it is your personal race track. The technique to get through a corner fast is almost always also the safest way through it. One can learn a lot from the material that teaches racing technique. Anything by Keith Code, or Total Control by Parks are a good place to start.

Also, keep in mind that if you get caught out riding just as it starts to rain, the oil starts to come out of the road (especially bad at intersections where oil accumulates from stopped cars) and can make the road very slippery. Again, use extreme caution with the front brake when approaching an intersection in the rain.

Keep your eyes moving and head on a swivel at all times. Before long, your sphere of awareness becomes larger and is second nature.

Good riding!! Have (safe) fun! Wear your protective gear.
 

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Watch out for the spider lines on corners etc. The are the black lines of tar that they use to fill

the cracks in the roads. On corners that will let your bike skid or jerk to the side. Stay away from

paint on the road when stopping. Remember the CX & GL sit higher than the Gold Wing and other big road

bike. That is why the wind effect them so much. I have added two brake light to the back of my

GL500i. Cheap and really adds light when I put on the brakes. Make sure your tire pressure is right and

that all you light are working. I check mine while the bike is warming up.

Have a good ride.
 

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Now that I am fully legal, and have tasted highway speeds up to 70mph...I have reached a new limit/comfort level. I think I did fine, but just felt like I was at my limit for right now in terms of my ability.
Excellent, you are aware of your abilities and skill limitations right now.



Practice is fine, unless what you are practicing is wrong. First and foremost you must be alert, well rested and not



fatigued. Choosing the right setting for your practice is very important, jumping into the rush hour gong show of the



local freeway is not a good choice for highway speed learning. Try to remember this acronym....SOFT... for SCAN,OPTIONS,



FOCUS, and TIME. Always scanning for where the traffic is, the upcoming turns, traffic approaching, etc. What are your



options? If this truck beside me slides into my lane, can I avoid him by braking without getting run over, or can I



move over, or accelerate ahead? Focus, paying attention to details, disregarding distractions, not losing your concern-



tration on your task at hand. Time, what is your following distance? Closing rate? These are all multiplied at greater



speeds. Look where you want to go, the bike will follow if you are at a reasonable speed. Brake well before your turns



and glide in the turns, then accelerate when finished the turn. Driving is a very high-risk task. Realizing your



shortcomings in experience is key. Driving is not a natural act, it has to be learned, stay within your limits and enjoy



the ride.



Good luck.
 

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Here are a few one-liners:



If you can't give the ride your 100%, then it's best to postpone the ride until you can.



Beware of edge traps.



You're invisible.



Practice risk management.
 

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What's your lane position going up or down hills???? YOU DON'T KNOW?????? Hanging near the center line going uphill is not smart. You and the approaching vehicle coming in the other direction can't see one another. Guess who is usually on or over the centerline??? I know, not YOU...right?? This applies mostly to 2 lane roads.



The other issue with up/down hill problems: pass slow moving trucks uphill and at or near the top of the hill get back into the bumper lane. No matter your downhill speed one or two trucks will blast by you at whatever speed you are. Having the slightest problem/s from your bike will have them all over your butt and the air horn will let YOU know how mad they are!



Know anything about riding in rain on banked roads???? Mmmm, thought not.



Oh, one thing I learned very quickly...it's hard to see peoples eyes when they wear sunglasses in the daylight hours. Watch the tires and the rising front bumper/fender of the cars/trucks.



LT2
 

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When passing large vehicles on the highway, pull out well behind them so you can see clearly well ahead. Nothing like getting up close, then pulling out to pass only to be faced with a 4 x 4 strewn over the centre line!
 
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