“I couldn’t keep up”
“You might want to slow down a bit”
“This is going to only end one way for you”
When I started riding seven or so years ago I had no motorcycle experience what so ever. Right away I heard veteran riders speaking about “the pace” at rides, rally’s and gatherings. This mystical speed was unattainable to me for some time, “The perfect pace for the street, minimal brakes, perfect flow”
Do I take risks on the street? Sure. Recently a friend and I overstepped our safety margin and it ended in an unfavorable outcome for all involved. Was it a freak occurrence with multiple negating factors that lead to the incident? Yes, undoubtedly so. But instead of blaming the variables, we have tweaked a few things concerning our riding, and outlook on street riding in general. It’s not always about jumping side by side at 80mph over potholes.
Recently I had a moment of awakening, “The Pace” is different for every rider. There is no correct (or incorrect) speed as far as I am concerned. Sure, there are dangerous maneuvers, sketchy passes and down right stupid things we have all done on the street. But what might be sketchy to you could be unfathomable to another. Or butt-puckering to you is normal for an Isle of Man veteran racer.
The major factor here is experience. I am not talking about number of miles you have ridden, or how long you have been riding. Experience to me is far more complex than that, it’s an ongoing and ever evolving characteristic of being a motorcyclist. To enhance your skill set, it is key to become as proficient as possible in as many different riding styles in as many differing conditions as time/money allows. Whether it be dirt, flat track, road racing, mini bikes, supermoto, sport touring, you name it, they each teach you skills that will improve your riding as a whole.
Chastising someone for their speed has always been a touchy subject for me. I try to keep my judgments to myself, and very very rarely express riding input and then only to very close friends. If you see someone riding at a quick clip, maybe above your comfortable threshold of speed, it is important to not be so quick to offer input on their riding. As they likely do not care what you think, nor will they take it to heart. As a matter of fact I have seen riding friendships dissolve because of situations like this. For the most part, remember if someone is riding at a good pace (and they look confident and comfortable) say nothing. Forasmuch as your genuine concern for their safety may be, it will never be taken as interest in their well being.
Speed is relative and useless if you cannot control it.