Sunday, November 13, 2005

I recently read an article in Road and Track magazine by the famous automotive journalist Peter Egan. Subscribers to the magazine will be familiar with his regular and extremely popular feature, Side Glances. In the latest issue, he makes some observations about the American driver after returning from a 4000-mile motorcyle trip in Canada and the United States. After driving in Canada (or England or Germany or France), he says, driving in the US feels like you have been demoted from adulthood and sent back to first grade, complete with hall monitors, lunch-lines and slow-to-mature classmates who are still struggling with coat zippers and shoelace technology. He attributes bad driving habits (cruising on the left lane of the freeway, for example) to the three deadly traffic sins: obliviousness, sloth and self-righteousness.

While I have not driven in any of the other countries mentioned above, I do agree with Egan that there are a lot of bad drivers here and riding a motorcycle makes one especially aware of them. But an interesting incident when I was out riding last Friday gave me reason to hope that there are some good drivers out there. I was riding in Kentucky, somewhere along route 18, when I came up behind a construction truck slowly making its way up the hill. I was annoyed, because I was on my favorite part of the route and now I would have to putter along behind the truck. I knew there was no passing zone for a while, so I sighed and settled for a steady 20mph behind the truck. Imagine my surprise when, a little later, the driver switched on his turn-indicator, pulled over to the right side of the road, waved me by and then got back on the road. I guess he was constantly checking his mirrors and understood the frustration of drivers stuck behind slow moving vehicles.

We were lucky to have some glorious weather on Friday and Saturday in these parts, considering that its almost mid-November. Every weekend, I convince myself to wait another week, hoping for one more warm, sunny day to head out to the countryside and carve up some corners, but I think it may finally be time to put my bike away until spring. Riding season, however, has just begun for my good friend Ashok, who lives in Dallas. Yesterday, he bought a 2002 Honda Shadow Spirit (750cc) with barely a 1000 miles on it and got a great deal on it too. I'd be lying if I said I am not a bit envious, not just because he got bigger bike with fewer miles for cheaper, with a lot of accessories thrown in, but also because he gets to ride all year round. We plan to do some iron-butt rides out west next summer.

1 Comments:

Anonymous wendy said...

How true. I always enjoy driving in Europe. Nice blog.

3:40 PM  

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