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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So since returning to motorcycling after 25 years, and buying my FJR last October, I've put about 3500 miles on it, and another 1000 on my FZ1.

Have made several rides from 150 to 350 miles in a day (the long one being a ride to Death Valley, around the park and back home).

Last weekend I took a 2-day trip, from Vegas down through Searchlight, NV, to and around the Salton Sea (used to live about an hour from there, but never bothered to go see it), across to the SoCal Coast with a night stay in Carlsbad, CA (about 550 miles the first day).

The next morning rode up the CA coast on I5 about an hour, then came inland on 74, up through the mountains and Idyllwild, then back through the desert the back way through 29 Palms to Vegas.

Total miles: just under 1k.


Got a great mix of riding, from multi-lane desert hi-way to Interstate slab, to lots of curvy 2-lane mountain roads (made it a point to avoid the interstate as much as possible).



The bike ran like a champ, the Sargent seat was actually surprisingly comfortable, didn't have any sore spots at all on my lower body. My elbows actually get a bit sore on longer rides, at the point where the tendon crosses under your elbow, hoping that trying the MV Motorrad setup to pull the bars back 40mm will help.

Was quite a bit of change in temps, from the low 40's when I left early, to the upper 90's around the Salton Sea and when coming home through the desert. Was a bit uncomfortable once the temps got above 88 or so, as I was wearing riding jeans, boots, and always kept my riding jacket and gloves on. The jacket at least had a lot of venting, but being black and red, the dark material just collected heat from the sun.

Could definitely see doing multiple 500 plus mile days on the bike - will have to see what trips the future holds.

Will post up later or tomorrow about the interstate fear part.
 

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I'm guessing what your post of the interstate will be but here's how I approach it- very fast! I generally run faster than traffic to find an open area then cruise along there for a while. When I again come up on slower folks I goose it to ride faster and generally quite aggressively to get through & past then settle in again. I like this much better than riding when surrounded by cars and trucks. Here in the east, without the "wide open" you guys have, speeds can be annoying low but interstates traffic flow on interstates will often average 80 mph.
 

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I do the same thing when I’m on the interstate. I’ve not had any issues with the law. If I do at some point I’ll make my case as too why I’m riding in such a manner. I think most PO understand, at least the ones I’ve talked to seem too.

looks like a beautiful ride, btw. Furtherest west I’ve ridden is Arkansas. 😟
 

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Hey Red, looks like. You’re riding one of those “fastest color red” bikes 😜😜,,, so doing what Russ suggested (he has one of those also fast 07’s in a sorta red) should be no problem at all.

Personally I do something similar by riding slightly faster than traffic, seems to allow me to control things better, but you have to be careful as some really get surprised when you just seem to “pop” up on them while they are eating breakfast or playing on their computer..... just be careful, lots of di*kweeds out there !
 

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If I get pulled over, I just explain that, "...since I'm on a motorcycle, every other vehicle on the road has the capacity to hurt me. If I'm running just a little faster than they are, it's easier to see them as I come up on them, than possibly not see them as they come up on me."
 

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sounds and looks like it was a great ride.

As far as interstate riding, sounds like I and a few others, at least, prefer to separate ourselves from the traffic, when at all possible. I also will go a little faster to free myself of it at every chance I get. I especially don't like having large trucks that I can't see over, through, or around directly infront of me. I want to be able to see as far down the road ahead of me as I can.
 

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I've pointed this out to my wife several times as we travel up and down the east coast in the truck. It really has nothing to do with speed, I just want to have space around me away from others. It's amazing how I find myself slowing down as the population decreases.
 

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I'm guessing what your post of the interstate will be but here's how I approach it- very fast! I generally run faster than traffic to find an open area then cruise along there for a while. When I again come up on slower folks I goose it to ride faster and generally quite aggressively to get through & past then settle in again. I like this much better than riding when surrounded by cars and trucks. Here in the east, without the "wide open" you guys have, speeds can be annoying low but interstates traffic flow on interstates will often average 80 mph.
Great splenation!!!
That is what I do with a few additions.
Living near the Columbia Gorge we tend to get some pretty good winds.
I will ride next to a large van or truck to use it as a wind block if the wind is strong and coming at 90* to my travel.
Also. If I find myseIf on a freeway with no breaks in traffic to move to I will ride in the right side of the fast lane directly next to the drivers door of the car in the next lane. I will move the bike around until I am sure the drivers sees me then ride next to them. I can see the expression on their face. They get tense and rigidly maintain their position in that lane.
They will take a direct hit from a cruise missile rather than wander 2 feet in their lane. I usually will do this to a smaller to mid size car. In that position I have a great view over their hood of all the other lanes, merges and exits which is where the danger is going to come from.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Hey guys, great posts in here!

Thought I should get back and finish what I started talking about.

Fear of the Interstate.


MANY of the 4500 miles I've ridden in the last several months have been on highways, but I try to do a lot of my riding off peak traffic, and don't actually hit the Interstates very often.

Two points on my big ride, about 50 miles up I5 on the CA coast, and the last 75 miles or so home on I15, on a Friday early evening when the CA gamblers/visitors traffic was in full swing.

When riding in the 1980's and 90's on the interstate, traffic certainly seemed a lot slower, lol.

On both of the highways I noted above, the average speed of over 75% of the traffic was 80mph plus. On I-5 there were a couple of scary points, but the highway was 4-5 lanes wide and I was able to find a calm spot for myself. Coming into NV on the I15 though was downright FRIGHTENING. Heavy traffic, with almost all car traffic going over 80, many over 90. I like to be in the left passing lane on multi-lane roads so I only have one adjacent lane to watch for danger. Tried that but the average speed was 90mph, with many people coming up behind me even faster, and I didn't really care for maintaining a speed of 90-92mph in bumper to bumper traffic. Went over to the far right (of 3) lane, with was mostly semi trucks. set myself behind one going 75mph, but there was nobody behind us and the cars behind kept catching up and then changing lanes, some of them at the very last second. One guy in particular really pissed me off - saw him in my mirrors and his closing speed was easily 15mph or more faster than the 75 I was doing. Didn't slow down, and for a brief second I thought he was gonna rear-end me until he changed lanes only 15 yards behind me, still at a high closing speed.

Don't recall ever feeling fear when I rode close to 100k miles over a decade as a young man, all over the country, but I tasted it last week.

Maybe it's part of being older and wiser (not much, but a bit), and having a better understanding of how badly one can be hurt in a high speed motorcycle accident.

Gonna make even more effort when traveling to try to avoid interstates where smaller highways are available, and especially during peak traffic hours.

Was wondering how many other (new) motorcyclists may have experienced something similiar, and that is why when looking at CycleTrader, etc, there are always a LOT of very lightly used motorcycles for sale, many under one or two thousand on the odometer.....
 

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Things have definitely changed with respect to driving (which may be just a symptom of adherence to authority/law). I've travelled rather frequently over the years up and down the east coast including always into NYC and Long Island and have experienced it first-hand. Anywhere around the congested areas, which are growing all over, becomes a white knuckle ride even in a cage. Vehicles are packed tighter and speeds are higher. Add to that a noticeable increase in the selfish fast & furious cars who've probably graduated from the ATV/dirtbike Urban Institute of Road Use. Shoulders, exit ramps and any vehicle spacing more than half a car length are legitimate passing zones. Put yourself on a motorcycle in those conditions and yes, it is scary. I've found DC and anything within 90 minutes of NYC the worst with Baltimore rushing to join the ranks. Oh, and Boston, don't want to show disrespect by leaving that area out. Unfortunately, and without getting political here, it comes down to traffic law enforcement which is dealing with its own issues. I can't help but foresee an increase of speed and violation cameras as the easy, and financially beneficial, answer.
 

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I need to come back and read all of the good interstate tips here...but I tend to agree with many I see at a glance...if you can’t avoid interstates, which practically is the case at some point when on a long tour, then it’s generally safer to be travelling very slightly (as in a couple miles an hour) faster than the average traffic speed...and always with a mind towards keeping as large of an open cushion around you. My touring buddy and I call it the bubble theory. Interstates are the worst for fatigue, just because of the alert level required, in addition to the drone...and consequently (IMO) the most dangerous of any roads, to be avoided if at all practical. Especially today with all of the distractions that drivers have, and worse still, autonomous vehicles (musk can GTH🤬).
 

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My biggest problem is wind, especially after clearing semis. Best tip I ever received was to swing your knee out on the side of the semi as you're clearing it. It'll act like a parachute to create some drag and help counter getting blown over in your lane.
 

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Hey guys, great posts in here!

Thought I should get back and finish what I started talking about.

Fear of the Interstate.


MANY of the 4500 miles I've ridden in the last several months have been on highways, but I try to do a lot of my riding off peak traffic, and don't actually hit the Interstates very often.

Two points on my big ride, about 50 miles up I5 on the CA coast, and the last 75 miles or so home on I15, on a Friday early evening when the CA gamblers/visitors traffic was in full swing.

When riding in the 1980's and 90's on the interstate, traffic certainly seemed a lot slower, lol.

On both of the highways I noted above, the average speed of over 75% of the traffic was 80mph plus. On I-5 there were a couple of scary points, but the highway was 4-5 lanes wide and I was able to find a calm spot for myself. Coming into NV on the I15 though was downright FRIGHTENING. Heavy traffic, with almost all car traffic going over 80, many over 90. I like to be in the left passing lane on multi-lane roads so I only have one adjacent lane to watch for danger. Tried that but the average speed was 90mph, with many people coming up behind me even faster, and I didn't really care for maintaining a speed of 90-92mph in bumper to bumper traffic. Went over to the far right (of 3) lane, with was mostly semi trucks. set myself behind one going 75mph, but there was nobody behind us and the cars behind kept catching up and then changing lanes, some of them at the very last second. One guy in particular really pissed me off - saw him in my mirrors and his closing speed was easily 15mph or more faster than the 75 I was doing. Didn't slow down, and for a brief second I thought he was gonna rear-end me until he changed lanes only 15 yards behind me, still at a high closing speed.

Don't recall ever feeling fear when I rode close to 100k miles over a decade as a young man, all over the country, but I tasted it last week.

Maybe it's part of being older and wiser (not much, but a bit), and having a better understanding of how badly one can be hurt in a high speed motorcycle accident.

Gonna make even more effort when traveling to try to avoid interstates where smaller highways are available, and especially during peak traffic hours.

Was wondering how many other (new) motorcyclists may have experienced something similiar, and that is why when looking at CycleTrader, etc, there are always a LOT of very lightly used motorcycles for sale, many under one or two thousand on the odometer.....
Come to TX. The posted limits are between 75-85 depending on where the Interstate is (county pop density). GA, OTOH, has the Hotlanta International Speedway (AKA: The 285 loop). On the S. side, it's bumper-to-bumper and (in the wall lane) 95+ mph. No one is eating cereal or playing pong. They're paying attention to job #1 (driving). Posted 55mph, the traffic flow is unofficially, 55-65 far left lane, 65-75 next lane right, 75-85 the next lane right, 85+ in the "wall" lane (far left against the wall). I had a carpooler who explained that a co-worker on business travel to Atlanta learned this the hard way when doing 65 in the wall lane. Someone came up from behind and started pushing his car with theirs. I was doing 90 with a car 6" off the back tire of my Wing. But it might have changed since then.

Back in the 80s, cars went slower because they had to. Performance and handling have greatly improved in 40 years. The more important thing is that there are more in-car distractions than back then. Infotainment systems, GPS, improved sound deadening, loud music, smart phones, and more. So now they are going faster while paying even less attention. Add to that, the public DL testing spends 90% of the test indoctrinating people about drinking and driving that it leaves little room for actually testing someone on their knowlege of the rules of the road.

I used to tell people starting out to ride like they're invisible. Now I tell them to ride like everyone sees them and WANTS to kill them.

Just this week, I was on the express lanes (choked down to 1 lane in this section) and slowed to 65 in a 75 because 2 cars ahead of me was a semi that wanted the lower traffic of the express lanes but didn't want to do the speed limit that WE ALL WERE PAYING FOR. I set back and stewed only to see a huge modern mega-pickup pass us all on the shoulder to go around him... and later another vehicle did the same thing.

You either deal with it or stop riding.
 

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I don't get it. Maybe because I ride a lot. But interstates, while boring, don't phase me in the least. And 500 miles is just a ride to breakfast!

Me thinks you are thinking about it too much and making it worse.
 

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Hey guys, great posts in here! Thought I should get back and finish what I started talking about. Fear of the Interstate.

Was wondering how many other (new) motorcyclists may have experienced something similiar, and that is why when looking at CycleTrader, etc, there are always a LOT of very lightly used motorcycles for sale, many under one or two thousand on the odometer.....
RedRockFJRider,

One thing I learned in the work of highway design; Cars typically run in clumps, with a lot of open road between the clumps. It is my practice (and suggestion) to catch up to any one clump, and follow them at a safe distance. "Safe" here means to expect a multi-car pile-up at any time in front, and be able to get off the road and stop before anybody catches you from behind. If the clump I am following is being overtaken by a faster clump behind me, I will either camp in front of a slow semi, or maybe duck into a rest stop or off-and-on exit, where possible. Once the fast clump passes me, I trail them, just as I was doing before.

Sometimes, you simply gotta get off the road for five whole minutes, to let all the crazies get safely ahead of you, where they are a danger only to themselves. Where none of this is a working strategy, I get off the highway and take alternate routes. I think that's why they invented GPS, just for me. ;)
 

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I don't get it. Maybe because I ride a lot. But interstates, while boring, don't phase me in the least. And 500 miles is just a ride to breakfast!

Me thinks you are thinking about it too much and making it worse.
I get what you're saying and would include that, riding defensively and not jelously protecting "your space" instead of keeping your distance, can actually be "safeR" than secondary or tertiary roads simply because you're all going in the same direction and with fewer points of entry (side roads, driveways, etc.).
 

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I get what you're saying and would include that, riding defensively and not jelously protecting "your space" instead of keeping your distance, can actually be "safeR" than secondary or tertiary roads simply because you're all going in the same direction and with fewer points of entry (side roads, driveways, etc.).
I agree, the "limited access" design of good highways can be a great safety factor.

Also, wanted to add, when riding in the large open spaces between "traffic clumps" on freeways, you will be traveling at good speed, with a whole flock of police-ticket bait at a safe distance ahead of you. At a time and place when most of the drivers would say "the traffic was bad today," you will be spending much of your time riding on a mostly-empty highway.
Just a thought . . .
 
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