I read in the paper this morning that a man was killed on a motorcycle. It happened on a road I frequent. It’s one of the routes I could have taken last Saturday on my ride to Jefferson. Instead I elected to take a slower, but more scenic route.
For a biker, route selection is not merely a matter of connivence or speed over scenery. It’s also a matter of safety. I try to avoid multi lane highways and Interstate highways when I’m on the magna. Oh don’t misunderstand. With the racing engine inspired V-4, Maggie’s 750 cc engine can move me over the road at 145 mph. Speed isn’t the issue. It’s the dry weight of just over 500 lbs. that keeps me on smaller roads. There’s just not enough mass there to handle the buffeting caused by larger, fast moving vehicles.
Even so I must still take other factors into account when making the decision on which roads to ride. Last Saturday’s ride was a case in point. As we were getting ready to leave Jefferson I was weighing the relative advantages of two routes. I could either go back the way we came using the small scenic roads we’d taken on the way down, or hop on 59.
The smaller roads offered the chance to travel at lower speed without someone driving up my back. There would be less traffic, and almost no large trucks. On the minus side, as it got dark it would be harder to see and there would be a greater risk of collision with wildlife. I did see a deer grazing on the shoulder before I got back to Atlanta. That’s the one I saw. How many were there that I didn’t see?
If I took 59, I’d have to go at least 70 MPH to keep up with traffic. There would be more traffic and some of that would be large vehicles producing at lot of turbulence. On the plus side, the road would be more well lighted. The wider shoulders, multiple lanes, and increased traffic would greatly reduce the chance of hitting something.
I choose the smaller roads, hoping to be in Atlanta before dark. We didn’t quite make it before dark, but we did get home safely. Was it the right choice?
No. The right choice was to leave in time to get home before dark.
– Guy Wheatley