Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Loud Pipes and Irony

From the Triumph America days...

I changed out the stock pipes on my bike for another set. The new set is much louder. I’ve had a post partially written about it, but it’s not finished. I want to rush this out because an incident happened today.

Where I’m living now the traffic is thicker and more intense. It’s almost unforgiving during the morning commute, and the trip home. Sudden lane changes by vehicles will move right into you, without warning or signal. It can happen quick.

I’ve often ignored some advice from rider training clinics. It’s like having someone tell you all about how to do something, while the teacher has done little of it themselves. “Loud pipes save lives!” was one of the early tenants preached.

It’s hard to say how many lives have been saved by having a louder motorcycle. The problem is tracking the successes. I don’t know how you do it, but we can track failures.

I added the new pipes to due to my present living location and the intensely thicker traffic. I mostly want the extra power. Personally, I do think the volume helps but the conditions have to be right. What I mean is, if I’m not in the right spot for them to hear my bike, or their stereo is blasting (…boom, boom boom), or they’re distracted in some other way, they shovel their car right into you. I’m talkin lane changes with no signal no warning. I try to keep my position staggered, but it’s hard when there’s little room.

You do what you must, which is to be mentally prepped when the traffic is this thick. It happened again today. Another lane change right into me with no signal or warning. About two minutes later I rolled up behind the offending vehicle at an intersection. Another rider, if you can believe it, rolls up on a quiet Harley-Davidson. He saw the whole thing. We both open our helmets and the conversation goes like this…

Laughing he says: “a-Hahaha, I saw that! Man, people just don’t look.”

Me: “Well, fortunately I was awake and ready.”

Him: “I saw, they didn’t look, didn’t even turn his head!”

Me: “I couldn’t believe that. I hit my horn and he just kept going.”

Him: <He's cracking up.>

Me: “Watch out for that one!”

The light turned green, waving we went our separate ways.

I think during rush hour traffic when people are making quick ill informed decisions, keeping up with the flow and staying out of the way has been a good strategy. Putting your trust in other things to do the job has mixed results. Now, if we want to talk about how louder pipes open your bike up for more power for escape, now we’re talkin’.