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Reality Check

When we’re young, if we think about life at all, it’s usually in terms of all the things we want to do. We dream of what we want to be when we grow up and that may often be modified several times as our interests tend to vary. Once we enter the adult world we may change our goals and our careers many times, but it’s still all part of our vision of what we want to become in life.

As we celebrate more birthdays, we might join the millions of people with an AARP card in their wallet. We could possibly find ourselves scanning the obituaries every morning to make sure we’re not listed. We may well be noticing the ages of those listed and perhaps finding ourselves attending more funerals of people we know.

These activities can serve as a reality check and remind us that we have a limited, but unknown, number of days on this earth. Yes, we can maybe extend our longevity with healthy habits, but we can’t avoid the day when we no longer find ourselves on the “right side of the grass.”

We can also experience another kind of reality check; one that can help us add to the time we spend upright and taking in air. This one is the number of close calls we have while riding. The more frequent these near misses occur, the stronger that reality check should be in our mind. If we heed the truth of this assessment and use it as a learning tool, we can perhaps avoid an early end of our riding days.

Whenever we encounter a situation that makes us feel uncomfortable, we should review what happened and think about what led up to it. Asking ourselves questions like, “What signs did I miss that might have allowed me to see this coming sooner?” “If I had an earlier warning, what action could I have taken that would have avoided the situation all together?” “How could I have positioned myself so the other driver’s actions wouldn’t affect me?

By using our close calls as a reality check to evaluate what we can do differently in a similar situation, we can become smarter riders and reduce the number and frequency of having to take evasive maneuvers. This is not to say that we made a mistake, but there is often something we might have done differently that would have made our life easier and our ride more enjoyable.

Whether riding in traffic or all alone on a back country road, we should take the time to learn from those moments when we don’t feel like things went as well we thought they should. The more we can learn from these encounters, the safer our rides will be and more fun we can have on our bikes. Using these reality checks as a learning experience provides the opportunity to enjoy a long and pleasurable riding lifetime.

Ride Smart! Ride Safe!