People don’t often ask the question are motorbikes dangerous. Or if they do ask the question they just talk about motorcycles and don’t talk about other forms of transport or activities. The reason I mention this is because I often get ‘The Lecture’ and I’m a bit tired of it.
The one thing I don’t like about motorcycles (apart from the cold in winter and riding pillion) is The Lecture. The Lecture happens when someone you know finds out you ride bikes and decides to spend at least the next thirty minutes talking at you (it’s not a conversation) about how dangerous bikes are.
It’s not as if they are going to change your mind, and they don’t even pause to ask anything about your riding style, what you ride or even if you’ve had any additional training to do with riding. They just talk about injuries or people their neighbour once met on a train. I’ve not worked out how you reply to this conversation. Although a few days ago I had a bit of an epiphany, yes while being lectured. The next time someone starts up on this conversation bring up Skiing.
When I get on a bike I put on a helmet that has to conform to an exacting standard – if not a range of standards – and if it gets hit even once I have to throw it away and get a new one. The clothes I wear are armoured, again to a high government-set standard and my gloves and boots are re-enforced as well as armoured.
Before I even get on a bike I have to pass three tests, which are currently some of the most demanding in the world. These test require me to be able to perform a range of maneuvers including an emergency stop and also cover what happens in an accident and even some rudimentary first aid. And finally if I want to ride a motorcycle on the road I am legally required to have insurance.
Let’s look at skiing. There isn’t a test before you get on the slope, so if you wanted to you could just turn up and go down a black run. Most people’s idea of safety gear starts and ends with goggles to stop snow blindness and even though thousands of people injure themselves skiing all the time there is no requirement to have additional insurance. In fact most travel insurance companies won’t cover you if you are skiing.
So the next time the Lecture starts up mention skiing. Of course this only works if the person you are talking to goes skiing or knows people who do, but it’s a start.
Oh and ski cycling looks excellent, I’d love a crack at that although I think I’d rather wear a helmet than a leather cap.