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Braking Badly, or Some Important Lessons of one MotoTrip

Braking Badly, or Some Important Lessons of one MotoTrip

Last week my wife and I returned back from our first long motorcycle trip. We left Toronto, went to Kingston, crossed the border of US, then went through New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Main to Portland, then took ferry to Nova Scotia, and from Yarmouth went back to Toronto, visiting Cabot Trail and Prince Edward Island on our way back.

Our route (from our inReach satellite communicator)
Our route (from our inReach satellite communicator)

That was an awesome  ride! But during the trip I had to learn a few lessons and in this post I would like to share those lessons with you.

Mount Washington Lesson

At all of the motorcycle courses they teach you that you should use brakes rather than engine braking (and they are right: you will better indicate that you are braking to the drivers behind you). Mount Washington Auto Road added a niggle to that. There were 3 motorcycles when we climbed the Mount Washington: our Yamaha VSTAR 950 and  2 Harleys. All of us used engine braking, or to be more correct, we all went down at the first gear. And on top of that we all had to use brakes.

I was the first to get a surprise: in on of the turns when I squeezed my front brake, it almost didn’t make any change to my speed. Thanks God, I was able to stop with the rear one. After that me and my wife (who was a passenger) decided to take any stop possible to cool down the brakes and we stopped almost each mile on the remainder of the road.

So, 2 out of 3 riders experienced the same problem – boiling brakes. The lesson was:

Regardless of using low gear when you are riding down steep and long slopes, when you have to use brakes, be very cautious and make frequent stops to cool down the brakes (or at least, to make sure that the brakes are not too hot). It is possible that you will notice your brakes fading too late, when it is almost or completely gone.

To sum up:

  1. Preferably, no passengers
  2. stop as frequently as possible. Plan this route accordingly (allow time for cooling the brakes down).
  3. watch the traffic behind
  4. don’t use both brakes – in case one fails, you will have another one

Ferry Lesson

Alakai - the boat took us to Yarmouth
Alakai – the boat which took us to Yarmouth

I have a quite good balance – I have no problem to put my feet on the pegs right when the bike started moving. I don’t “walk the bike”. Sounds good? Yes, but not at a slippery deck of the ferry. When disembarking, I had to stop right in front of the ferry’s gate, I put my feet on the deck, but the bike just slips and I had to lift it. Thanks God, due to engine guards and big footrests, it didn’t lay flat on the ground. So, it was much easier for me to lift it. The lesson is:

When embarking to or disembarking from the ferry

  • Avoid having a passenger. Ask him or her to walk.
  • Better walk the bike. Don’t put your feet on the footrests until you can guarantee that the surface is not too slippery.

Well, if you know the ferry pretty well, say, you live at PEI and use this ferry quite often, just disregard this.

Big Cities Lesson

If you ride through any urban area surrounding a big city, like GTA, Montreal etc. – plan your trip accordingly. Do not expect high mileage during that day. Constructions and massive traffic will make it significantly slower.

I hope these lessons will help to make your moto-trips more comfortable and safe. Live free, ride safe!


The main source of laziness

The main source of laziness

The main Source of Laziness

Last week in twitter of a friend-of-my-friends’-friends I found a very good food for thought. The tweet read approximately: Laziness pops up when you want to achieve something but do not understand what for.

We all experienced that – ourselves, our friends or colleagues, business partners etc. are great examples of this truth. In this article I’m going to talk about the mechanism how this happens.

External Moral

Human beings are social creatures, we cannot live outside of society. But this also means that every day we have to face the moral of the society around us. This moral is imposed on us by many means: mass media, social media, ads, networking, work, hobbies etc. This is what I would name an external moral.

Society and External Moral
Society and External Moral

An example: a society around me is crazy about achieving social success, say, in business. So, becoming a successful businessman is an external moral for me.
If this external moral resonates with you, you are okay. Even more, you can harness the environment around you to achieve what you want. But what if not? This case will beget significant problems, including laziness, and it will be the topic for further discussion.

External Moral Which Is Not Truly Mine

Let’s take a virtual Mr. X. And let’s assume that society around him strives success in business or career. But Mr. X himself would prefer to become an artist. This desire, at least partially, contradicts to the external moral. And now Mr. X has 3 main choices:

  1. To go and achieve the success in business or career. Unfortunately, in the end he will find out that it was not his way to success. And many people subconsciously know that. Plus it is very hard, in many cases almost impossible to succeed in such circumstances.
  2. To reject this external moral. A very smart move, probably the best one, but you need to be bold to do that!
  3. To make a compromise.

Since the first two ways are very hard, the majority of people opts for the 3rd one.

Compromise With External Moral

So, our Mr. X proclaims that he strives a success in business or career. But he proclaims that just for the trade-off with the society around him, i.e. without real motivation to achieve what he proclaimed. This is the real source of laziness.

But now Mr. X has a problem: he needs an alibi in order not to feel guilty for not doing enough to achieve the goal which he really doesn’t want to achieve.


A term “alibi” with regards to behavior like this I have heard from a great business coach Vladimir Tarassov. This word in my opinion is the best one to describe the nature of such actions, so, I’m going to use this term further.

From my experience, people typically do one of two: either faking actions or getting rid of any practical possibility to do anything.

Two kinds of alibis
Two kinds of alibis

Coming back to Mr. X’s situation. For Mr. X faking activities mean attending different events, seminars, trainings, social networking etc. – everything what imitates business. The delusion of actions will allow him to not feel any guilt for non-taking real actions to make business.

Another “great” approach for Mr. X is to put himself into the circumstances where he physically cannot do anything. For example, he can immigrate to another country. Now he has to pay rent and to bring food onto his table, so, now he cannot build businesses.

And, of course, you may see any combination of these two approaches.

Price Of Alibi

On a plus side of making such alibis you find a great excuse for not doing anything. And a great deal of psychological comfort (either forever or temporary – it will depend on the level of your awareness).

Unfortunately, the list of minuses is longer:

  • wasted time;
  • lost or diminished energy;
  • a crisis sooner or later (often we can call it a midlife crisis);
  • a reputation of procrastinator or a lazybones;
  • absence of achievements.

Instead of Conclusion

I hope I was able to shed a light on why we can be lazy, why we or some other people sometimes promise or proclaim something and never do real actions on that.

How to avoid such traps? My own recipe is very simple. I just constantly ask questions like:

  • Am I dreaming my own or someone else’s dream right now?
  • Am I pretending or really doing?
  • Am I trying to make an alibi for myself?