Tips for Riding the Dragon on your Motorcycle – #1 Attitude

1) Come with the Right Attitude

The biggest challenge to riding the Dragon at Deals Gap  on your motorcycle is in your head. It’s the expectations and beliefs that this road is the place to prove yourself, test your skills, and take it to the limit. After all, that’s what all the hype and publicity is about. No arguments it’s a challenging stretch of road with some very tight and tricky curves. Odds are, you’re going to see something that surprises you, something you think is just plain reckless or crazy, and perhaps, something (like another vehicle straying into your lane) that scares the poo out of you. Go in expecting it, ride as if it is going to happen, and always keep a healthy margin of safety in your favor.

Motorcycles on the Dragon

Ride your own ride at your own pace and maintain a healthy margin fo the unexpected.

Check that ego and don’t get caught up in the hype that you’ve got to attack it with all you’ve got. Ride your own ride, at your own pace, and stay within your own limits. Accept there will always be someone faster, crazier, or more aggressive than you and just let them pass on by. If somebody is on your tail, put on your turn signal, give them room, and pull off at the next opportunity. There are plenty of paved spots to pull off or do a roll-through so the maniacs can safely pass. Much better to let them safely pass than get caught up in the carnage if they try to bolt around you on a blind corner and it goes badly. Don’t fall into the trap of following someone quicker – they may know the road better, be more experienced, or riding beyond their limits.

Motorcycle on the Dragon

Riding on the very edge leaves nothing in reserve for the unexpected. You’ll get away with it 9 times out of 10, but then….

Always be ready to just let it go. It’s just a motorcycle ride, there’s no trophy waiting at the end. If you find yourself riding somebodies tail, back off, find a pull off, and take a break until the traffic lets up. The road isn’t going anywhere. Wait for things to clear out and calm down, then ride your own ride. Getting a clear, unhindered run through the road at your own pace is rare. Don’t feel disappointed when it doesn’t happen, odds are it wont.

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Wayne Busch

– Wayne Busch lives in Waynesville, NC, where he produces the most detailed and comprehensive and up-to-date motorcycle pocket maps of the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains to help you get the most of your vacation experience. See them here –

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Wayne is an advanced motorcycle instructor for Total Rider Tech teaching Lee Parks Total Control Advanced Rider Courses. Isn’t it time you looked into advanced rider training to ride more confidently and safely? It can transform your mountain riding experience.  Total Rider Tech



7 thoughts on “Tips for Riding the Dragon on your Motorcycle – #1 Attitude

  1. One of the things that I noticed when I was there was that a lot of people try to ham it up for a perfect picture for the photographers. While doing so, many forget about the bike and lose control. I guess that is why that so many wrecks are caught on camera as they happen.

  2. I did the dragon’s tail, several times, but on my renegade trike, but, no problems, because, I used my head and did not try to go beyond my limits. Besides, my trike costs more than most bikes and, I enjoy being out on the road and enjoying life. Also, I was playing a CD with the song “Whip It”,,,, appropiate, for the road.

  3. hmmm…. how about this attitude….

    I want to survive it! I want to make sure I come out alive and unharmed!

    How I approach every ride! Ride your own ride!

  4. I’m gonna try listening to that song,Ed! How many times does one have to play it to reach the end of the tail?

  5. I beg to differ with the comment that no one there knows how to ride. I have ridden the dragon with people that definitely know how to ride. Most of the people that I ride with are experienced at riding mountain roads. Each rider should ride their own ride, never try to ride past their own abilities and do not try to push their limits.

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