You Should Have Planned Ahead
There’s a scene in the original Rocky movie where Rocky has to collect a late loan payment from a dock worker. Rocky was told by his loan shark boss that if the guy doesn’t pay up, he’s to break his thumbs. It turns out, the dock worker only has half the money he owes. Instead of breaking the guy’s thumbs, Rocky chastises him and screams out, “you should a planned ahead”.
Rocky is exactly right. If you think about it, just about everything in life works out better if you plan ahead, even the little things. As an example,you’re about to take a 200 mile ride, you watch the weather which shows only a 30% chance of rain. According to another famous philosopher, Murphy, as in Murphy’s Law, a 30% chance of rain means it’s only going to rain on the exact route you plan to take. So, of course, the first thing you do is pack your rain suit. Good plan, except you put the rain suit on the bottom of your saddlebag and all the other stuff on top of the rain suit.
As you’re riding down the road you can see a bad thunder storm up ahead. You then remember your rain suit is at the bottom of the saddlebag, so you decide to wait until you get to that overpass up ahead before you go digging for the rain suit. Of course, about a half mile before you reach the overpass the sky opens up and you get soaked. While you may have planned ahead, your plan was, as the French say,was a little half assed.
The moral is, Murphy’s Law (if anything bad can happen, it will) will always beat a half assed plan. Always pack the rain suit where you can get to it easily.
Here’s another example. You’re cruising down the road, traffic is light, the sun is shining and everything is going great. Up ahead you see a car waiting to turn left in front of you onto a side road. You can see the driver is far enough ahead that he can easily make the turn long before you get to this intersection. But, for some reason, the car is just sitting there. Now is the time to come up with a good plan should that car violate your right of way. You should be asking yourself a few questions. Is there oncoming traffic or do you have a clear path to go around the car to the left into the oncoming lane? If the answer is there’s too much traffic in the oncoming lane for that maneuver, then plan B should be slow down to a speed that will allow you to stop should that car pull out in front of you. You should also consider another scenario; the car pulls out in front of you then stops when at the last second the driver sees you, can you slow down and swerve around to the right?
I set up this scenario at my Ride Like a Pro classes. The riders have to slow from 20 mph in 2nd gear, within 30 feet, downshift into 1st gear then make a quick swerve around a line of cones. The cones representing the stopped car. The riders have to slow down enough to make a quick left to right or right to left maneuver through a 6 foot path to the right and another 6 foot path to the left. I walk the riders through the exercise then have my assistant ride through it while I explain what she’s doing to avoid hitting any cones. I tell the students to plan ahead which path they are going to take. I remind them to release the brakes and then swerve.
Invariably, the first two or three tries result in cones flying all over the place. I then explain to the riders that in practice, hitting a few cones won’t hurt anything. But, out on the street, just nicking the bumper of a car or going over a curb will result in serious damage and injury; out on the street, they only have one shot at the maneuver.
The moral is to have a plan, then slow down more than you think necessary prior to making the needed swerve and of course, practice the maneuver under controlled conditions.
Don’t let Murphy’s Law or a bad plan get the better of you.
Copyright 2014 Jerry “Motorman” Palladino