The Most Challenging Motorcycle Ride Found? A day with the map guy.

I am either;

  1. Getting too old and out of shape
  2. Coming down with the flu
  3. Rode harder than I have in a long time

It’s probably a combination of the first point and the last. I awoke last night sore from the chest down due to throwing my bike around all day in my never ending quest to discover the best motorcycle rides in the Smoky Mountains. It was not planned to be such a day but it turned out to be quite an adventure.

I set out around 8AM for Shady Valley, Tennessee, home of “the Snake” motorcycle ride to make a delivery of motorcycle maps to the Shady Valley Country Store. Plan was to ride up, enjoy the Snake, make the delivery, then check out half a dozen roads nearby in hopes to add some to my motorcycle pocket maps. I knew one would just be a connector route. I didn’t have high hopes for many of the others, though a couple held promise.

It was beautiful and cool up on the Blue Ridge Parkway in the morning. Skies were clear and bright. Even the half hour on Interstate 40 to Asheville was pleasant. There’s little traffic before 10AM once you leave the highway and I pretty much had the road to myself. I watched hopefully for bears north of the city, then enjoyed the run up the wonderful new sections of pavement to pass Mt. Mitchell. Looks like they’ve pretty much wrapped that job up. Saw one grouse, a few hawks, but no bruins.

Photo - on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Clear, cool, breezy morning on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Altapass.

I stopped to tweet my first photo at an overlook where I could count on cell phone reception. Though hurricane Earl was approaching the coast, here in the mountains no impact was expected. Even so it was noticeably breezy.

I hit one brief delay for tree work, and another for guardrail replacement. I surprised a flock of turkeys as I came near Little Switzerland. Passing Linville, I left the Blue Ridge Parkway at Roseborugh Road, one of those handy unmarked crossroads that descends through a series of tight turns to NC 105 at Grandfather Mountain. NC 105 took me north through the congestion of Banner Elk. Broadstone Road led me west of Boone to Valle Crucis. NC 194 led to US 421 which I followed through Mountain City and into Tennessee to reach Shady Valley.

A brief pit stop turned into a decent delay as I took time to chat with several riders, mostly locals, and return phone calls when the intermittent cell reception cooperated. I figured it would take a couple hours to see the roads I wanted, then I’d zip back home as I came.

Photo - Shady Valley Country Store

The sun was still shining at the Shady Valley Country Store though the winds were getting gusty. Things would change as the afternoon wore on.

The first few roads proved less than expected. They were a decent ride for a cruiser maybe, though it was not type of rural scenery that makes a road interesting. I explored another after a couple bikes passed in the opposite direction to find it intersected the fourth road at an unknown point. Still nothing special. I turned to backtrack on the fourth road so I would be sure to ride it end to end and was thrilled to find the short leg wonderful. Nice sweeping turns through pretty countryside. Hopeful, I spun about at the intersection with 197 and headed back. The remainder disappointed. Too much straight and only mildly interesting. It was worth adding to the map but not recommending highly. The natural flow dictated I bypass the next on the list meaning another backtrack to explore the better alternative.

The last of the most promising roads was accessed from US 321 near Watauga Lake. It was tight, it was twisty, but it didn’t appeal. It was then that serendipity  struck. Rather than continue on my planned path, instinct told me to detour onto another road. I followed it through turn after turn after turn and it went on and on and on. All the while I expected it would peter out  into a goat trail but it just kept going without letting up. Mile after mile on narrow, sometimes poor, blacktop it climbed through the mountains finally dumping me out at Banner Elk Highway. I pulled into an abandoned gas station to take my notes and decide how to describe it.

I kept asking myself, “But was it fun?” There was no doubt it was challenging, very challenging. It kept you on the edge the whole time. It never let up. I ride the Dragon routinely and this road is much more difficult and sustained. I’d come up on some traffic and had to simply ride behind it, no room to pass, so I didn’t feel I could give it an accurate evaluation. Nor was I sure what lay at the other end. Only choice was to ride it back and see where it came out.

As I turned about my heart sank. A school bus turned onto the road ahead of me. While it looked empty, this would still be an exercise in pain as it could only crawl through the narrow serpentine climb ahead. What a relief when it pulled off within a few hundred feet. It wasn’t long before I had my answer. This road WAS fun.

Unimpeded I rode it enthusiastically back as I’d come. A few miles in I remember thinking, “If you get out of second gear on this road, look down – you’re riding a moped”. I reached the point where I’d first turned on to it and continued past. The road name changed, but its character did not. I continued mile after mile carving through the exquisitely tight turns, dodging gravel patches, potholes, and debris now falling on the road from the increasing wind. I was so happy when US 321 appeared at the margin of the screen on the GPS. I’d found a new way to link a couple major roads. Awesome.

That ride was worth the trip. I stopped and entered the notes in my Blackberry. From there I turned onto US 321 to head on to check out the last couple roads. The weather was deteriorating. Skies dark, winds gusting, it didn’t bother me a bit. Shortly, I came up on another biker who suddenly veered off on another road back in the area where I’d just been riding. I circled back out of curiosity to see what business this cruiser guy had in such a rugged area. The road he chose was a superb cruiser road and I caught up to him just as he pulled into his yard at the junction with the first great road. Bonus! Instinct paid off again.

I returned to US 321 via the cruiser road to make time. It was getting late and the weather would soon add more to the challenge of these tight roads. After a short ride on US 321, I started down the last of them which turned out to be a disappointment. A few miles in I spied a road connecting to it I felt needed exploring and eventually found a better approach though I did waste a good bit of time on dead ends and gravel lanes. Plan was to take this road a few miles, then turn onto another to make my way back towards Mountain City. As I approached the turn, instinct took over again and I purposefully rode past it.

The GPS showed the road I was on getting tighter and twistier and it was climbing higher into the mountains. Thats usually a pretty good indication it’s going to deteriorate to nothing once it nears the top and the road grew narrower and more challenging as it went on. I considered just giving up on it, but something made me go on. The smell of fresh rain on a dry road filled the air and I started hitting dark patches of pavement. I was really questioning myself when I emerged  atop a pass with a rugged valley stretched below and signs warning of a steep descent and switchbacks appeared. It would have been beautiful in nicer weather, but the dark and angry clouds only hastened my urgency to continue on, dreading the thought of having to retrace my steps.

I’ve ridden a lot of miles in the mountains yet never seen switchbacks as tight as these. I plunged down through the valley wondering where I’d end up, hoping I’d find some landmark to steer me back to something familiar. When the road ended, I looked at the sign ahead to see I was on the road I’d meant to explore next. Another great ride found, and I was ready to wrap things up after this last road.

It was longer then I thought and I reached US 421 south of Mountain City. It was now 5 PM. Rain was coming down in sheets. I turned south towards Boone. The Friday evening traffic before the holiday weekend crawled and stalled in the rain. I dreaded the idea of going into Boone and  veered off on 194 to bypass it. More traffic. I stopped near Banner Elk to top off the tank and called home to let my wife know I wouldn’t be there for dinner. We discussed the weather, the traffic, and decided I’d prefer the exposure to the elements on the Blue Ridge Parkway over the hazards of this crazy traffic. It was the right choice. The rain let up once I got up high.

I coursed through the mountains in the twilight relatively unimpeded. It got cold but I made good time. Reaching Asheville, I merged into the traffic jam that clogged Interstate 40 all the way home. Arriving in my driveway as darkness fell, I’d had a successful day. I’d discovered some great roads. I had reason to go back with hopes of more. I had money in my pocket. Sometimes, a cartographers life is to be envied. I wish I had more photos, but I got swept up in the riding. Maybe next time.

America Rides Maps – from north Georgia to north Virginia, the best motorcycle rides


Wayne Busch

Wayne Busch - Cartographer


– 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 –



New US 129 Harley-Davidson Store at the Dragon – Photos

Photo - US 129 HD at the Dragon

New US 129 Harley-Davidson at the Dragon

I paid a visit to the Punkin Center Motorcycle Resort at the Tennessee end of the Dragon yesterday (trying to get the last few miles out of my tire before the new one goes on) and made a stop at the new Harley-Davidson Dragon Store to see what they have to offer. It’s a satellite store for Smoky Mountain Harely-Davidson in Maryville, Tennessee.

Photo - long view of US 129 HD

Located right on the lake on US 129, a.k.a. "The Dragon", the location couldn't be better to serve all the Harley riders who stream by.

I’ve passed by many times wondering what was inside. It’s not a full dealership with bikes nor service facilities. It’s primarily a merchandise store with Harley brand clothing and accessories.

Photo - Dragon sign at US 129 HD

The unique sign emphasizes you're about to "enter the Dragon"

There’s a nice porch to kick back and take a break, or this time of year, a good place to cool off in the A.C. or get out of the afternoon rain showers.

Photo - interior of US 129 HD

The fresh new store is as nice inside as it appears from the road.

In addition to clothing and accessories, there is also a selection of oils, lubes, and thankfully, batteries to help keep you on your travels.

Photo - US 129 HD supplies

In addition to accessories, they stock lubes, oils, and batteries

For you non-Harely riders there’s another good reason to stop – gas. It’s strictly pay at the pump, and the prices were some of the best I saw in the area. I paid 20 cents more per gallon on the ride out.

Photo - gas pumps at US 129 HD

Some of the best prices on gas are another good reason to stop.

Looks like there’s another thing to add to my maps of the area and one more place to see and visit on your motorcycle vacation.

Harley-Davidson Dragon Store

Smoky Mountain Harely-Davidson

Punkin Center Motorcycle Resort

America Rides Maps


Wayne Busch

Wayne Busch - Cartographer


– 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 –



A Good Tip Leads to More Great Motorcycle Rides Near the Dragon

Droning west on the Great Smoky Mountains Expressway this morning, my mind tends to wander. The greatest challenge of the highway is simply maintaining the legal limit leaving plenty of brain cells free to engage in other things. My wife rides alongside on her Beemer so I have something to look at every once and a while and count my blessings of how fortunate I am to have someone like her to come along with me today. The thought that comes to the forefront is “Just how many motorcycles are there on the road?”

It was far easier to snap a photo on the rare straight stretches - overall the roads were wonderfully curvy.

As the main artery between the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Dragon at Deals Gap, it’s no wonder there are a lot of motorcycle riders on this stretch of highway 23 / 74. Both the Parkway and the Dragon draw millions of two wheeled vacationers to the area every year. Still, we’re a good bit east of Cherokee, the southern endpoint of the Blue Ridge Parkway, and within minutes we’ve passed scores of bikes headed in the opposite direction.


The roads we explored followed winding streams and creeks through rolling farm lands in a broad mountain valley. Plenty of great long range views.

We’re only going as far as NC 28 south today, about 45 minutes ride time to reach Lauada, and early on I wonder if we’ll pass 100 riders. I start to keep a loose count, but within 20 minutes or so it’s obvious the number will easily exceed that, and question answered, my mind drifts to other things. Turning off the highway onto two lane NC 28 we plunge south into the twisties and the bikes keep sweeping past us in the other direction.

Photo - Jackie rounds a curve

The pavement is generally excellent for back roads, and you can enjoy the ride with gusto. Just be wary for a little gravel now and then.

I’m following up on a tip from Brad at the Deals Gap Motorcycle Resort. I spent some time with him Friday and he suggested I revisit an area I’d previously sketched over. I knew there were a couple of nice rides hidden away around Franklin, but he hinted they could be linked together to make a nice route. I’d done some scouting on the way home that day, and I saw promise. Today was the day we’d put it all together and see if it added up to getting a place on my America Rides Maps.

Photo - Jackie leads

The only traffic we found was when we approached the main road. If you stick to the perimeter route you'll see very little if any and it's more curvy and fun.

It took about four hours for a thorough assessment. We checked out every one of the roads in the area, confirmed the unpaved areas remained so (I only focus on paved roads), the dead ends were still dead, and the links that joined the roads together followed a more or less natural flow or the turn points were easy enough to locate. When we completed our task, I had assembled an outstanding ride that will certainly be the next addition to America Rides Maps. I’ll add it tomorrow morning.

Photo - a day meant for riding a motorcycle

I highly recommend NC 28. These roads make it even better. Great to know when there's traffic. You can jump off and enjoy the ride again.

I make a claim to know almost every great motorcycle ride from North Georgia to North Virginia. While I can’t claim I know them all, I’ve just learned another, and we saw only one other bike the whole time we were exploring the area. Now that’s what I’m looking for.

America Rides Maps


Another Great Motorcycle Ride to be Added to the List – My Secret

It’s not all that frequently I miss a great motorcycle ride in my explorations. I really try to be thorough as well as intuitive, so few slip by. Still, I can’t claim to know ALL the great roads in the southern Appalachians, just the vast majority of them. I continue to find more, and quite embarrassingly, they are too often close to home. Everyone believes they know ALL the great roads right in their back yard. Time and again I am proven wrong, and that’s not such a bad thing.

Stop reading now if you think I am giving this one away. No photos, no road names, nada. I just gave away 30 routes at the Asheville Bikefest for free and people gobbled them up. Nor is this a post about the Asheville Bikefest, I think you may be getting sick of hearing about that, but be cautioned, there will be more to come. The event was far more successful than expected and stuff is flooding in. The only reason I mention the event is because I found this great road because of it.

As Route Master for the Asheville Bikefest (there I go again, last time) I spoke with countless people helping them find the best rides in the area and getting them to see the most in the time they had. When you’re passionate about something, even work becomes fun. I went almost non-stop for four days and I had a great time. That’s why I founded America Rides Maps.

So anyway, this guy wants me to direct him to one of the two dozen local roadside waterfalls, which I do, so he can get of picture of his bike behind it. Yeah, you can actually drive behind this waterfall right off the road. He didn’t find it. Why, I don’t know, it’s one of the most obvious roadside waterfalls there is but that doesn’t matter. What matters is this guy doesn’t give up. He gets directions which lead him off into the forest. He rides and rides everything in sight, exploring places I know better than to go. He never finds it.

The next day he comes back to me and tells me he couldn’t find the waterfall. I’m a bit incredulous, it’s so easy. I redirect him. He relates his adventures and tells me he found this awesome motorcycle ride. I’m dubious. If he couldn’t find the easy waterfall do I believe him now? I made a mental note of it nonetheless. About an hour later I’m talking to a couple of women. They’re buying maps of the areas closest to them (we all think we know our own back yard), right down the street from the “event which will not be named again in this post. Out of curiosity, I ask if they know of this road the guy mentioned. “I live on that road, it’s great!”

So I can’t resist. Today I have to check it out. It rocks. Who cares how or why I missed it.   I’ll add it to the “The Best Roads South of Great Smoky Mountains State Park – EAST” map tomorrow. The other routes in the area I’d previously identified were detours around a congested town and a four lane section of road which formed one leg of a 100 mile+ triangle of superb riding. Now I think I’m looking forward to the detour more than the great rides that lead to it.

I have some more leads to follow up. I know some will be disappointing. I think I’ve done at least one and rejected it, my standards are high, but you never know. I’d be very pleased to find another jewel.


Some Photos of the Diamondback Motorcycle Ride

Sorry there are no great shots of bikes tearing it up on this great motorcycle ride, but it was early in the morning and I was alone. I missed the couple bikes that did pass and fortunately the early morning turkeys strolling up the road.


While you've already hit some curvy sections on NC 226, once you get on the Diamondback NC 226A, the traffic disappears. The sign hints at what's ahead.

The photo (above) gives you an idea of where you start from relative to where you are going – up on those smoky mountains in the background. There’s a good trout stream along this section if you’re packing the fly rod, and some nice places to stop and cool your feet in the frigid waters.


Once you start climbing, the road begins a series of turns and switchbacks that grow tighter as you gain height.

This ride will appeal to both the cruiser and the sports bike rider. You can take a leisurely approach and simply enjoy it, or you can attack it with vigor and challenge yourself. There are a few short and relatively straight sections between the curves, but they are not long enough to get you into too much trouble if you keep a lid on your enthusiasm.


As you get higher and higher, the road looks more and more like this. One curve after another, the occasional hairpin switchback to keep you on your toes.

Once you reach the highest sections, you’ll want to be wary. No guardrails, the terrain drops off precipitously and going off the road is going to guarantee you some air time followed by a very nasty landing from which only the luckiest will walk away.


The great ride ends at the intersection with the Blue Ridge Parkway at Little Switzerland. While Nc 226 is more direct, and still very curvy, as it's the shorter route it gets all the traffic.

As you approach the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Diamondback runs parallel to it for a stretch. You’ll pass through Little Switzerland, though it’s hardly noticeable. The Switzerland Inn lies sandwiched between the two roads.

Photo - Switzerland Inn sign

The Switzerland Inn is sandwiched between the Diamondback and the Blue Ridge Parkway near the top of the ride.

It’s unusual to find such a nice resort that actually invites and enjoys motorcycle travelers. You can live it up and get some fancy accommodations or get an affordable room in the Diamondback Lodge bunkhouse. Don’t be fooled by the lower prices, it’s still really nice and you can access the bars and restaurants to enjoy the full experience of the Switzerland Inn. The views are free to all and they are priceless.

I’ll be shooting a video of the Diamondback, the Switzerland Inn, and some of the surrounding rides ASAP similar to the NC 209 video. Once the Asheville Bikefest is done it’s next on the list.


Still More Great Motorcycle Rides Near The Tail of the Dragon – Georgia Beckons

A quick look at a map will reveal Georgia is much closer than you thought, and the mountains which make for the great motorcycle rides in North Carolina and Tennessee do not know anything about state borders. While they play out once they reach Atlanta, they do not give up without a strong effort. The region has been a popular motorcycle paradise for as long as I can remember.

The most well known motorcycle rides such as Wolfpen Gap, Suches, Blood Mountain, Blue Ridge, are a favorite destination for motorcycle riders from points south. As they are the first that motorcycle adventure tourers reach, and are so easily accessed from the major metropolitan areas, and are such great motorcycle rides, they tend to get all the attention. Like the Tail of the Dragon, they attract thousands of riders who come for the challenging roads and beautiful mountain scenery.

Photo - View from the Nottely Dam

Riding across the Nottely Dam in North Georgia

Because these notable motorcycle rides get all the attention, it’s just like the situation at the Tail of the Dragon – some of the best rides get overlooked. There are plenty more and you don’t have to spend hours to reach them.

Photo - Dales pit stop in Suches, Georgia

Dales, a popular pit stop at Wolfpen Gap is strategically located at the intersection of some of the most popular motorcycle roads.

In my comprehensive explorations of the North Georgia area, I discovered a surprising number of wonderful two lane mountain back roads which either straddle the border with North Carolina or lie just beyond it. Once you get off the main arteries and away from the traffic, there are hundreds of miles of wonderful twisty and scenic two lane roads to discover and enjoy. I had quite the adventures on my many trips into the area.

Photo - Bikes lined up at Dales

The parking lot at Dales is a constant parade of motorcycles here to enjoy the fabulous rides.

Don’t let the videos fool you. It’s not all screaming sport bikes like the Tail of the Dragon, though if that’s what you’re looking for it’s here to be found. There are some really great rides just over the hill you can have all to yourself and make your motorcycle vacation a memorable experience.

So far I’ve suggested:

Guess what? There’s still more to come. There are more great motorcycle rides in the Smoky Mountains than anywhere else in the nation. Plenty more to turn you on to.

Visit America Rides Maps to get an idea of the thousands of miles of great riding just waiting for you to discover.


Looking For Motorcycle Adventure? See The Wild Smoky Mountains With GSM Moto Rent

Remember all that fun you had as a kid learning to ride on that dirt bike? Maybe you’ve dreamed of challenging the wilds like Charlie and Ewan, taking the Long Way Round ? Already riding a dual sport bike and looking for motorcycle adventure? Whether you prefer just tooling along on the pavement, groomed fire roads, or gnarly single track trails, you can find them near Townsend, Tennessee.

GSMmotoRent offers dual sport motorcycle rentals, guided & self guided tours and cabin rental on the Little River: All within a half mile of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

We invite you to ride some of the greatest paved and gravel roads around! Everyone knows about our great roads in East TN and Western NC, such as the Tail of the Dragon, Blue Ridge Parkway, and Cherohala Skyway, all within an hour or less from our base in Townsend, TN.

But if you want to really avoid the crowds and get in some great motorcycle riding off the beaten path– let GSMmotoRent help. Our fleet includes Kawasaki KLR 650’s, Suzuki DR 650 and 200’s. We can provide the equipment, and with our knowledge of the area provide you with the best routes that fit your needs. On-site river front cabin rental is available as well as transportation to and from the Knoxville, TN regional airport. We also offer secure storage for your bike: short or long term.

The bikes were in great shape and well maintained. We had an unbelievable day riding 180 miles of excellent paved and unpaved roads in and around Smoky Mountain National Park. We arrived back at GSM in the late afternoon very happily tired. We all agreed it was one of the most enjoyable motorcycling days we’ve ever had. This was our first experience with GSM MotoRent and it could not have been better. Dan and Debbie are wonderful people and run a top-notch outfit. Thanks,
Joe Nardy

CALL US AT 865-448-6090


Smoky Mountain Motorcycle Vacation Touring – Rider’s Roost

Rider’s Roost Motorcycle Resort & Campground is located not far from Boone, NC, near the midpoint of the Blue Ridge Parkway. It offers the motorcycle touring rider an affordable and comfortable place to bed down for the night, whether it’s in a tent or rental cabin. It’s an exclusively motorcycle resort so you won’t be dealing with blaring RV generators or throngs of kids running through your camp, and it could make a great place to spend part of your motorcycle vacation.

It’s more than just another motorcycle campground, for some it’s a must stop touring destination. Comedy nights, pig roasts, live entertainment, a central pavilion with a game room offer lots of ways to shake the kinks out after a day on the great roads in the surrounding area. Take a dip in the river or just settle down to watch the sunset, get into touch with home via wifi.

It just off NC221, and while I haven’t stayed there yet, it’s been highly recommended. I’m planning to visit next time I’m staying up that way on my motorcycle tours. Texas Ron has a nice testimonial in one of his blog posts –

“Riders Roost was a great Bike Campground, No cages, no kids, no hassles. Uncle Roy and Mary really know how to take care of “motorcycle pilots”. “The Road goes on forever and the party never ends.” I think that’s the Roosts motto or it should be. There’s a perfect little river that runs through the camp ground and in the rocks is a place that is like natures recliners, complete with moss to scratch the back. The water temperature is cool but after riding all day in the sun and heat….man what a refreshing way to relax and wash the road off ya. Most gather at the party headquarters located under the pavilion/game room. There is a pool table and darts to keep one entertained. This is also where the midnight auction is held too. What a way to start an adventure.”

Get more info at the Riders Roost web site at

For the most detailed motorcycle ride maps of the area see


It Doesn’t Get More Motorcycle Friendly Than This!

A lot of motels and lodgers CLAIM they are motorcycle friendly, even hang out a cute little sign. Few will show you hospitality like this and at a price that will have you inviting your buddies along! A Holiday Motel in Maggie Valley, North Carolina, only 5 miles from the best section of the Blue Ridge Parkway, stands out. Check out this video from last summer;

They are located in the heart of town, walking distance to restaurants and bars, have a restaurant on site for breakfast, offer covered parking for your bike right in front of your room and rocking chairs to sit and enjoy the view of the sunset reflecting off your chrome.

Add to that a bike wash area, grills and picnic tables, a fire pit, a pool, a horse shoe pit, clean rooms at surprisingly low prices, and personal attention and hospitality that goes beyond what you expect, nestled in the friendly mountains which line every horizon.

Don’t come alone! They’ll set up a tent for groups and cater your party, even bring out the big projection screen to watch your favorite movies.

Here’s what one visitor had to say –

I know Gabi and Rob personally and you’ve got my promise they’ll show you a great time and help you have one of the best motorcycle vacations ever. I wouldn’t be recommending them otherwise.

Rob & Gabi Edwards
A Holiday Motel – Your Preferred Lodging


Can You Pass This Motorcycle Traffic Test?

Photo - riding the crowds at the Leesburg, FL rally

Urban Warfare - Riding the Crowds at the Leesburg Rally in Florida

I grabbed this out of a post on the Motorcycle Enthusiasts Group on LinkedIn as it caught my eye. It’s an excerpt from the book “Sport Riding Techniques” by Nick Ienatsch which you can find on Amazon here . I own a coy of this book, it’s one of my favorite resources and one that will benefit any rider.

Traffic is rarely a problem on the great motorcycle roads in the Smoky Mountains, at least  the roads I favor. It’s hardly urban warfare, in fact it’s rare to see more than a handful of other vehicles. Still, the test is a pretty good judge of whether you will survive very long on a motorcycle.

How do you score on the test?

Title: Sport Riding Techniques
Author: Nick Ienatsch
Chapter 9: Urban Survival
Page: 105

Section: Should everyone ride a bike? No!


Frankly, some car drivers should never ride a motorcycle in traffic. I’m frequently asked by concerned parents/spouses if their loved one would be safe riding a bike in traffic, and judging a driver’s habits in a car helps to gauge his or her risk on a bike. Apply this test to any driver who wants to become a rider:

1. Are you always being encroached upon by other drivers? If so, you’re driving in too many blind spots and are unaware of how to drive in someone’s mirrors.

2. Do you honk your horn daily just to survive? Your horn should be your last line of evense. If you constantly rely on it to get through traffic safely, you aren’t reading traffic patterns well, and you’re in the wrong place – – probably in someone else’s blind spot.

3. Is every other driver on the road out to get you? It’s okay to think they’re out to get you, but drivers who really believe it drive in a timid manner. They don’t maintain their place in the flow of traffic, and are constantly taken advantage of by more aggressive drivers.

4. Does stopped traffic frequently surprise you, forcing you to brake hard every time you drive? If so, your eyes are too low and you aren’t looking far enough ahead of your car.

5. Do you have trouble accelerating onto a freeway to merge smoothly with traffic? You won’t survive on a motorcycle without a good deal of aggression and an ability to fit into traffic smoothly.

6. Are you honked at often? Drivers who get honked at usually aren’t paying attention, are daydreaming at traffic lights, or are changing lanes without looking or signaling. If you can’t stay totally focused on your driving, don’t try riding.

7. Are you constantly the recipient of road rage? Drivers get angry when their safety is threatened, and recipients of road rage are often doing something that distorts the normal flow of traffic badly enough to endanger lives.

8. Do you drive below the posted speed limit for safety? Those who do have no idea of how traffic really flows and are confusing speed with safety, a mistake that will have tough consequences on a motorcycle.

9. Do you neglect your turn signal switch? Communicating with other drivers reduces surprises, and your turn signal is a primary source of communication. If you don’t use it in your car, you aren’t truly working with traffic around you.

10. Do you believe everyone on the road is crazy and that it’s only a matter of time before one of these crazy drivers hits you? If you feel accidents are inevitable and your turn is coming, stay in that Volvo station wagon.

If you answered yes to one or two questions, you might be trainable. If you answered yes to more than a few, you may not enjoy or survive a motorcycle in traffic. It’s okay to be paranoid and believe that everyone on the road is poorly trained, but if that outlook distracts you from what you’re doing at the handlebar, then you must realign your priorities to quit worrying about aspects you can’t control and totally master those you can.


Posted by Chris Hultberg
Re -Posted by Tony (C. Anthony) Ladt

Thanks for posting this guys. I’m going to pull out the book this weekend and enjoy it again.