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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-25-2017, 09:20 AM Thread Starter
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New solo rider - what roads/traffic situations should I avoid?

My Suzuki S40 will take me any speed I need to go, but I have real doubts about getting out on a US interstate hwy for any distance. Is that a rational concern? I don't see many single bikers on the interstates around here; must be a reason. It's a bummer, too, because that makes some cool destinations difficult to get to from my home (Tidewater Virginia). I'm okay with a secondary 4-lane, but don't have much fun on a busy 2-lane hwy. Hopefully my confidence will build over time and I'll feel like I can go where I want to.
Any other riding situations a newbie shsould just plain avoid? -thx
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-25-2017, 01:51 PM
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With practice comes experience and confidence. While you never want to get over confident a bit is good for you. There are a lot of interesting roads around the Tidewater area. And...........

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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-25-2017, 08:40 PM
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I've been riding over 50 years and I don't ride the interstate if I can avoid it. In fact I consider it a challenge to find a non-interstate route to where ever I want to go. Also avoid heavy city traffic if possible.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-26-2017, 11:09 PM
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I do mostly commuting, so completely avoiding the interstate is not really a good solution, because it makes the travel time twice as long in stop and go traffic. That being said, it took me until my second full riding season to work up the nerve to ride the highway and I DID take the slow roads for that first season.

Don't rush it if you're not ready, eventually you'll work up to a point where you are comfortable with your bike and you feel that you are ready to tackle the highway. It just takes time and experience.

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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-27-2017, 02:04 AM
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This is the safest approach when it comes to interstate freeways in my opinion. I've riden on some but don't like it at all. How's the traffic on the freeways you're considering riding on? What is the average speed? OP, I've never been on a Suzuki S40 but it seems a bit small to me to ride on a freeway at 75 MPH. If you're just using the freeway to get to a nice area to ride, consider a trailer to haul the bike to the riding area.

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I've been riding over 50 years and I don't ride the interstate if I can avoid it. In fact I consider it a challenge to find a non-interstate route to where ever I want to go. Also avoid heavy city traffic if possible.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-27-2017, 04:32 AM
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I have real doubts about getting out on a US interstate hwy for any distance. Is that a rational concern?
When I took my bike to work on Friday via the interstate, there was a bike a couple blocks ahead of me. We were going the same speed, about 75MPH, cause I never did catch up to it, but we got off the freeway at the same exit, so I was right behind it and it was a S40. I'm guessing your mileage will go down, but the S40 is perfectly capable of those speeds. Even my TU250x, which has half the HP, was happy to hum along at 70MPH.

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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-27-2017, 06:30 AM
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There are certain interstate highway areas that I am uncomfortable driving on, but if you're traveling any great distance and you're not sure what's ahead of you, you kind of have to accept it and deal with it and learn from it.

You don't improve your skill sets and experiential learning, by avoidance.

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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-27-2017, 09:36 PM
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I hate the interstate in large cities with people constantly jumping between lanes but out on the open road there is not a safer road to be on. Almost no traffic will arrive from the side, everyone is moving in one direction, no cross traffic. What could be easier?
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-27-2017, 11:04 PM
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Well said. There are freeways between large towns that have a significant amount of traffic. Interstate 10 between Houston and Beaumont at peak traffic times can be brutal, even in a car.

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I hate the interstate in large cities with people constantly jumping between lanes but out on the open road there is not a safer road to be on. Almost no traffic will arrive from the side, everyone is moving in one direction, no cross traffic. What could be easier?
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-27-2017, 11:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by austinrick View Post
... I have real doubts about getting out on a US interstate hwy for any distance. Is that a rational concern? ...
Nope, not rational.

Every rider should be itching to get out on the highway. Didn't you hear Steppenwolf sing it?

Get your motor runnin'
Head out on the highway
Lookin' for adventure
And whatever comes our way


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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-28-2017, 04:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldman47 View Post
I hate the interstate in large cities with people constantly jumping between lanes but out on the open road there is not a safer road to be on. Almost no traffic will arrive from the side, everyone is moving in one direction, no cross traffic. What could be easier?
^^^ What he said.

I've started riding on I-85 near my house and GA 316 which might as well be Interstate in places. Without too much traffic it's the safest place, in spite of the speed.

I looked up the S40 and it's a 650cc bike. My V-Star 650 has no problem at all cruising at 75, more if I want. The S40 is a single cylinder and mine's a V-twin and I didn't look up HP and torque comparisons, but I'm sure the bike is up to it.

Mainly it just takes some getting used to.
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-28-2017, 05:39 AM
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It's really a sad state of affairs but here I can use side streets in Fort Worth and get thru that town and back on the interstate highway faster than staying on the interstate all the way. Interstates around here are parking lots at rush hour. And that too is nearly all day now with lunch runs added in. There are short 3 hour windows that are like the interstate should be all the time. Notice they don't even use the term, expressway, at all anymore in towns. There is just no such thing.

Too many people trying to use a type of road that hasn't kept up with the times. So now to try fixing them they are bringing them up to where they should have been 10 years ago. So when finished they are already out dated. But at least a little better. More people should be using motorcycles or mass transit. And they could make it attractive to do so but people would scream blood murder if they did it.

Make one lane that ONLY motorcycle and scooters could use. And change the law so they have the right of way, PERIOD. That so they can make lane changes to get off the roads. It would boost the sales of bikes and safety classes. Might have to add fully occupied cars could too.

Might also have to add, and this is where bloody hell would break out, a commuter tax. Tax them to get them out of their dang car. Now this would only work in a limited window for northern states but a plan like this could be done.

This would then employee more cops to catch those that could have used a two wheeler but didn't, so see, everyone would gripe about government over-reach. But darn it, something has to be done in this country. Many roads simply have no more room to expand. So I say start now to get this country using two wheels or mass transit.

Working from home could, has, and is being used but too many cheat. That's been proven. So we need to do the only logical next best. Other countries do it and somehow manage but in most I've seen they didn't address the two wheeler having the right-of-way area. That would have to be a given. So if you wreck and you are using a car, you are guilty unless proven different.

Yes, I know it's not a perfect solution. But what we have now sure the heck isn't either. Somewhere along the line people are going to have to accept a tax. Or better yet, get back the money congress has put in their own wallets. There is where the money answer is. But now we are into pure politics. So I'll stop. But that's my idea for a real and present problem.

Yes, I know, way off topic. Sorry. As you were.
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-28-2017, 04:46 PM
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Motorcycle for expressways

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Originally Posted by austinrick View Post
My Suzuki S40 will take me any speed I need to go, but I have real doubts about getting out on a US interstate hwy for any distance. Is that a rational concern?
Yes, I believe it is.

There are two factors to consider: the rider and the bike. You are the best judge of your own skill level, so I will only address the bike.

The following is based on years of commuting, among other on urban expressways. To do it safely, one needs a motorcycle with a certain level of acceleration and maneuverability that S40 simply lacks. With the rider and some gear on it, it has only about 5 HP per 100 pounds of total travel weight (bike+rider+gear). Also, if I am not mistaken, that bike has a rake angle of close to 30°. I would consider about 6 HP / 100 pounds as a very minimum power/weight ratio, and a rake angle of about 26° as a maximum. YMMW, an others here - I note - offered different opinions.
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-29-2017, 08:29 AM
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.............any other riding situations a newbie shsould just plain avoid? -thx
Things I avoid:

- dogs cats or any other creature alive or dead
- letting the wife grab me at 70 miles an hour
- rocks sand or any other road debris
- grabbing the wife at 80 miles an hour
- wearing too much gear
- group rides that are too frequent
- smoking a cigarette while riding
- farting when you have a passenger
- taking a passenger at all, if you are a rookie
- riding too long without adequate breaks
- taking a passenger on a bike with no bags
- sitting around at rallies, rather than riding
- waving at moped riders
- riding a bike without a windshield
- holding the throttle instead of using cruise
- rainstorms I knew about
- riding on excessively cold or hot days
- letting my tires run low on air
- daredevil riders who give us a bad name
- women who wanna talk, because they like bikers
- MEN who wanna talk, because they like bikers
- running low on motor oil
- "cash only" gas stations
- extreme right-angle turns at ANY speed
- "browsing" at Dealerships
- blowing thru intersections
- lane splitting
- staying in the wash of a big trucks
- Rest Areas with "no facilities"
- anything less than 93 octane gas
- getting off my bike on the Right side

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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-29-2017, 06:26 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks​ to everyone, lots of input, views to consider. The stretch of interstate I'm concerned with is I-64 from the Norfolk or Newport News area to Richmond. Motorists use it like an autobahn and there's noth stopping them. I don't like to be out there in a cage. There are 2 and 4 lane alternatives to NN and RVA if that's where I'm going, but the destinations I referred to above are out beyond those cities and the minor country roads that go around are the kind where folks are definitely not watching for bikes.

The other stretch I would use if I didn't​ know better is I-95 north or south from Richmond. The options, then, are to use secondary roads and be damn careful to or simply restrict my travel on two wheels. Or see how I feel a year from now. I've been licensed for one month, for cryin out loud!

MotoMax, I appreciate the analysis. Lastly, when I bought the bike I was determined to burn 93 octane in it. After reading some forums and studying the subject a little more, I've switched to a known brand (Shell, etc) of 87 like the manufacturer recommends. But that's just me.

Thanks again to all.
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post #16 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-29-2017, 08:50 PM
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Secondary roads. There are fewer cars and it's good to assume that NO ONE is looking for bikes.

As a friend told me, "assume that 90% of the drivers on the road don't see you and the other 10% don't like you."
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post #17 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-29-2017, 09:10 PM
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I know the area of I-64 you speak of. The Ex had family in Newport News, and she would want to go see them, stay the night, then hit a theme park. It was a rough patch of road, I think I might would avoid it too.

I-95 is one of the original Interstates. It was built when the speed limit was generally 55. One of the major problems we have around here is the extremely short on/off ramps and people that forget that the gas is the pedal on the right. Someone will get to the bottom of the ramp at 40 mph, pull into traffic and cause a backup. Look on google maps at the exit ramps around Smithfield NC. Exit 95, 98, and 107 are ridiculous.
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post #18 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-29-2017, 10:01 PM Thread Starter
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I def encountered one of those 10%ers today; pulled out of a gas station with no one coming; got 50 yds and there's a car on my bumper (so to speak), started honking, weaving; they probably would have run me down if I hadn't turned off when I did. And I s'pose they'll have another chance at me tomorrow, cuz I'll be out there again, running those roads.


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Secondary roads. There are fewer cars and it's good to assume that NO ONE is looking for bikes.

As a friend told me, "assume that 90% of the drivers on the road don't see you and the other 10% don't like you."
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post #19 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-30-2017, 03:52 AM
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develop your operating skills away from traffic

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... Or see how I feel a year from now. I've been licensed for one month, for cryin out loud!
So though I said above I won't comment on the rider side of your question...

As I mentioned in recent thread on new rider training, most entrants to the motorcycling enter the traffic - often intimidatingly heavy traffic - before they master the operation of the machine to a level required to deal with such traffic. What's much worse, when they struggle with traffic, they do not progress much with skills. This is similar to any sport I know: you don't train for competition by competing, you train by putting in enough time on the field, with the equipment, but away from the competition, in a setting there you can fully concentrate on developing your technique, without worrying about the competition.

Find an open area away from the traffic (a large industrial plant parking lot on weekends works well where I live) start a log-book and make sure you put in the hours - 50 or so would be a minimum. A month or two of this will get you way, way ahead of where you would be by riding on the public roads after a year but without such practice.

I didn't do this when I started - nobody told me to do so. But this is how I thought my kids, and it works!
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post #20 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-30-2017, 06:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by austinrick View Post
Thanks​ to everyone, lots of input, views to consider. The stretch of interstate I'm concerned with is I-64 from the Norfolk or Newport News area to Richmond. Motorists use it like an autobahn and there's noth stopping them. I don't like to be out there in a cage. There are 2 and 4 lane alternatives to NN and RVA if that's where I'm going, but the destinations I referred to above are out beyond those cities and the minor country roads that go around are the kind where folks are definitely not watching for bikes.

The other stretch I would use if I didn't​ know better is I-95 north or south from Richmond. The options, then, are to use secondary roads and be damn careful to or simply restrict my travel on two wheels. Or see how I feel a year from now. I've been licensed for one month, for cryin out loud!

MotoMax, I appreciate the analysis. Lastly, when I bought the bike I was determined to burn 93 octane in it. After reading some forums and studying the subject a little more, I've switched to a known brand (Shell, etc) of 87 like the manufacturer recommends. But that's just me.

Thanks again to all.
On a high traffic and congested interstate, I would avoid it on a bike. If driving it in a cage makes you nervous, find another route for a bike.
As far as octane, start with the owner's manual recommendation. My owner's manual says 91 minimum but my experience tells me I can get by with 89 octane and have zero pinging. So far that is the lowest I am willing to go. Other people with the same make bike have said they can run 87 octane bit I am not yet ready to go there. The lowest octane you can run with no troubles is the best choice but be very careful about pinging.


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post #21 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-02-2017, 12:37 AM
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Quote:
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So though I said above I won't comment on the rider side of your question...

As I mentioned in recent thread on new rider training, most entrants to the motorcycling enter the traffic - often intimidatingly heavy traffic - before they master the operation of the machine to a level required to deal with such traffic. What's much worse, when they struggle with traffic, they do not progress much with skills. This is similar to any sport I know: you don't train for competition by competing, you train by putting in enough time on the field, with the equipment, but away from the competition, in a setting there you can fully concentrate on developing your technique, without worrying about the competition.

Find an open area away from the traffic (a large industrial plant parking lot on weekends works well where I live) start a log-book and make sure you put in the hours - 50 or so would be a minimum. A month or two of this will get you way, way ahead of where you would be by riding on the public roads after a year but without such practice.

I didn't do this when I started - nobody told me to do so. But this is how I thought my kids, and it works!
Very good suggestions I agree with and largely followed.

I rode my new-to-me bike over 300, nearly 350, miles around my neighborhood streets before I ventured on a road with signals and other than in/out residential traffic. I happen to live in a good neighborhood for that as the dealer who delivered the bike (consignment sale, and he trailered it to the house) commented. Then just a couple of rides around local roads and I did a couple of limited interstate rides.

Not everyone lives where they can do that, and not everyone has the, um, tolerance for repetition that I do and can stand to ride 350 miles of various loops around their neighborhood never getting above 3rd gear. But for those who can, it seemed to work well. Another factor was that I completed the class in December then didn't take delivery of my bike until February so I had re-learning to do, AND my 650 V-Star is not exactly the class Tu250z.

I do have an industrial park but getting there requires a (not much, but some) ride on the road though it's only about 1.5 miles of that. By the time I did the neighborhood until the neighbors all thought I was lost, insane, or both, and went out to the road, I didn't really need that, though I did do a couple of evenings of loops around it.

Last edited by RideAndFly; 05-02-2017 at 12:44 AM.
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