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October 2023
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Framlingham Gala and much flag waving

It’s summer and I am doing more journeys with the bike.  Despite being showery, there haven’t really been any no bike days this summer in Suffolk.  But using the bike can lead to the “I wouldn’t trust myself on a bike like yours” conversations.

My bike doesn’t have ABS but it is a joy in the wet but more importantly it’s joy when taking part in a parade.

Leading the parade

Indeed, my son and I took part in the Framlingham Gala, one of the bikes from Suffolk Advanced Motorcyclists (SAM), leading the parade on the 4th June.

This was a lovely experience although I was really pleased I had taken part in SAM’s dexterity and control days: this was definitely at walking pace and I hadn’t had any practice doing that with a pillion rider before.

The other great thing was wearing the flip-top helmet – while my son waved flags, I could smile and say hi to the crowd.

The picture doesn’t show Nigel’s red Triumph ST giving a red, white and blue front row 🙂

I remember learning to ride my motorcycle back in 2006 and all the literature on motorcycle accidents and how dangerous it was to be a rider. Then you pass your test and get your first big bike which you slowly and naturally develop your skills.  But that doesn’t really prepare you for riding long distances, coping with rush hour traffic or taking part in a parade.  You learn, but every ride is a learning experience.

The two things I always recall when riding are: I am in control of the bike and I have so many more options available to me than I would in a car.

Doing advanced riding has taught me what some of the, perhaps obvious, options are available to me on the bike.

If someone hasn’t seen me, and is pulling out to turn right in front of me, is sounding my horn the best option? Will that help or is the fact that the car behind me is 200 yards away mean I can just slow down or stop?  Should I go round their behind or the front (slowing down or speeding up)?

There’s no right or wrong answer, but the bike has options. When this recently happened to me, I did prevent the accident by sounding the horn but I had two other plans up my sleeve!

Having advanced riding techniques at my finger tips doesn’t mean I don’t make mistakes but it has equipped me with knowing how to get the most of the visibility I have on the bike and the available power (both to go and stop). That has certainly helped me get the most of my bikes.

Of course, taking part in a parade, everyone can see you and the horn and lights are a way of saying hi.

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