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Thread: The Rats of Mediocrity

  1. #1
    Super Moderator Old Fox's Avatar
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    Default The Rats of Mediocrity

    It has been a while since I have posted here. The vagaries of life at times demand more than their fair share as contribution towards some specific avenue and that takes away time and attention from another. Even though I haven't really used the keyboard for the forums but I have been assiduously hammering it for the magazine. Here's another Hard Torque that is about us motorcyclists and the dire need for everyone to improve not as mere riders but to do so on the touchstone of safe riding. Motorcycling is our passion, an inseparable part of our lives and it is our prime duty to keep it clean. To not let it be 'bloodied' by lack of skill, carelessness, rashness, irresponsible riding and a huge gamut of negativity that follows it their wake. These will eventually kill motorcycling and so kill a part of us. We are the true custodians of riding. And so we also must rise to be its true protectors.

    The Rats of Mediocrity

    Mediocrity may make things dull, boring or even low value but it is not a crime. Except when you’re a motorcyclist. A mediocre rider is not only an unsafe rider but is also someone who diminishes the image of motorcycling itself and of everything associated with it. See the majority of riders around you. Don’t worry, for now you can leave out the poor compulsion-bound commuters and just include those ‘passion-driven’ enthusiasts. The one’s who always talk knowledgeably about bikes and biking, who deliver ‘gyan’ on good riding practices at the drop of a hat, who give the call for joining up for weekend rides with a 'cause' and the ones who spread their 4-day ride into the mountains to over 8 weeks of shrill photo-filled social media rhetoric. These are the pure-bloods of motorcycling. Among this exalted lot, check out how common this trait of ‘mediocrity’ as motorcyclists exists. See their bikes. Those glowing club stickers proclaiming their association with the elite don’t really gel well with a dirty, rusty and loose drive chain. The clutch lever has enough free play to put a kindergarten playground to shame. The tyre tread is almost worn through in the middle while the discussion is focused on tyre compounds and tread styles. The front disc brake judders at work while the rear brake pedal takes a dive into oblivion before the braking even begins. There’s concern for the lack of respect shown by the newbies for the veterans while that sawn-off free-flow exhaust arrogantly shrieks awake the whole neighborhood. The mediocrity actually lies in their inability of not seeing any of this making them a mediocre rider.

    For this amazing lot, acquiring riding skills is more about being able to throw tips and show tricks in the peer group rather than it coming from solid knowledge, sustained practice and substantial experience. The bike is serviced just the day before leaving on a long ride and the careless mechanic with the IQ of a chimp along with the greedy profit-hungry corporate are scathingly blamed when our hero sits stranded by the highway. There’s more. Mediocrity lies in not being situationally aware while riding and getting zapped by man, animal or vehicle whose presence should have been obvious if the mind was actually on riding. It lies in those ear-phones stuck into one of the five major sensory organs, belting out useless music that plays no part in telling them what’s happening around them. It lies in the erratic and unpredictable riding pattern in which direction and speed decisions are more of a personal or ‘mood’ choice than being a traffic and situation dictated action. The list can go on.

    The rider first needs to rise above this mediocrity before motorcycling gets considered as an equal and dignified means of fun and transport. The concept of decency in riding applies as much to the rider as it does to living as a member of society. This decency takes him above mediocrity. Each rider becomes the ambassador and custodian of motorcycling whenever he chooses to swing a leg over the saddle and gets rolling on two wheels with an engine in between. He must project motorcycling as a thoroughly safe, useful and fun thing. He must learn the value of situational awareness, of the difference between paying attention and being aware. That the former comes after the latter. Twisted way of saying that you first need to be aware of the danger to actually go about paying attention to it. He rides his own ride, which definitely is not about blindly copying someone else’s riding. It is about riding at one’s own skill level and not anybody else’s, however ordinary your own riding might seem to be.


    The rider today must learn to invest into motorcycling. To invest time, money, emotions, attitude, commitment and the urge to learn into their ride and riding. Social or peer approval and admiration can just be an illusion. A lesser fool amongst absolute ones can seem pretty intelligent. But sooner or later the ride will take the fools. Good riddance except that motorcycling gets bloodied and gets nudged closer to Satan. Mere seat time on a bike is no certificate of skills and knowledge. Someone with 15 years of riding could have just 1 year of experience – repeated 15 times over. Let your skill decide your pace rather than your pace showing up the limits of your skill. Stay humble and you’ll find yourself learning.


    The issue is not about being ordinary. It is about being mediocre. With enough opportunity, reason and resource there for the taking as a rider these days, what with the internet, the widespread well-connected riding community, the fabulous machines and steadily improving roads, there is no reason except for the presence of these rats of mediocrity for motorcycling to still be presented as a risky nuisance that needs way tighter controls than driving does. The need is to rise above mediocrity. And even if one remains an ordinary rider while at it, motorcycling will definitely be seen as extraordinary.
    I don't let my motorcycles interfere with my motorcycling...

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  2. #2
    Rusted chakresh's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Rats of Mediocrity

    Aah..The wise words come out , nailed it old fox sir.
    Keep ur friends close.....but keep ur enemies closer.

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    Red face Re: The Rats of Mediocrity

    Unfortunately, people who need to understand this, doesn't even understand the level of English used here.... Jokes apart, this is really serious. A lot of us actually get in to the habit of having the same riding experience repeated. The learning takes a back seat over the years. Thank you for reminding us about it again. Lovely piece of writing.
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    Smile Re: The Rats of Mediocrity

    Many a times I realize what writing can do to you and then these are words are above to that level. Thanks for reminding us the core of biking old fox sir

    Please keep writing!!
    KTM RC390 - Current
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    Super Moderator Old Fox's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Rats of Mediocrity

    Quote Originally Posted by chakresh View Post
    Aah..The wise words come out , nailed it old fox sir.
    Thanks Sandeep.

    Quote Originally Posted by ajaydhansu View Post
    Unfortunately, people who need to understand this, doesn't even understand the level of English used here.... Jokes apart, this is really serious. A lot of us actually get in to the habit of having the same riding experience repeated. The learning takes a back seat over the years. Thank you for reminding us about it again. Lovely piece of writing.
    Thanks Ajay. I doubt if the language used here is really a barrier if one really wants to know whats written. And yes it is vital to remember that riding is a never ending learning process. Being open to learning takes humility, which itself is the gateway to true self assessment.

    Quote Originally Posted by itsmevini123 View Post
    Many a times I realize what writing can do to you and then these are words are above to that level. Thanks for reminding us the core of biking old fox sir

    Please keep writing!!
    I'll keep writing Vinay! And keep riding too .
    itsmevini123 likes this.
    I don't let my motorcycles interfere with my motorcycling...

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    Moderator Divya Sharan's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Rats of Mediocrity

    I came to know @Old Fox sir has hard torqued recently after a brief pause a couple of days back through one of the myriad groups I'm a part of.
    Found time today to sit with a cup of coffee and properly read though the article and what can I add which hasn't already been said?

    Like you've mentioned, let's just consider the #hyper tourers, #wanderers and teams lost in the jungles enjoying #nirvana in #the lap of nature; I see not mediocre riders, because I'm nobody to judge one's mediocrity; but I see wrong riders. More than the technique, which gets polished over time, their approach is flawed.

    They totally look the part with:
    1. Sena intercoms paired with BT
    2. An action cam
    3. A flashy helmet
    4. Riding apparel
    5. Shiny stickered bikes

    They, however lose the plot with:
    1. Zero common sense
    2. Unruly riding behavior
    3. Way too much speed for our roads. People say its subjective, but I beg to differ. You maybe in utmost control and great at riding, but the other person sharing the road with you may not be!
    4. Some fanatics listen to music to enjoy the ride/stay awake. I am sorry, this is wrong, one should concentrate on doing *one* thing at a time, with 100% dedication.

    Nowadays, getting good at riding (which isn't just limited to motorcycling skills) is a near impossible task, staying ordinary appears to be a rather difficult task for most #savage, social media adulation hungry riders.
    Last edited by Divya Sharan; 12-21-2017 at 04:44 PM.
    Sasank likes this.

  7. #7
    Rusted Legend Racer's Avatar
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    Icon14 Re: The Rats of Mediocrity

    Quote Originally Posted by Old Fox View Post
    It has been a while since I have posted here. The vagaries of life at times demand more than their fair share as contribution towards some specific avenue and that takes away time and attention from another. The clutch lever has enough free play to put a kindergarten playground to shame.
    nice usage sir, keep rocking, salute... As you said, due to life's demand for other avenues I had to leave riding 1 year back. But I do know, once I get back on saddle it doesn't matter if I have done 3 lakh or 20 years of riding, I need to start from scratch to build up the momentum and practise again. Very true, it is the skill which should determine the pace, and being aware of ones skill is predominant.
    I'm a responsible rider.It doesn't matter what you ride,but what matters is how you ride.

  8. #8
    Eagle-1 Fox-3 I_Live2Ride's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Rats of Mediocrity

    "Let your skill decide your pace rather than your pace showing up the limits of your skill. Stay humble and you’ll find yourself learning."

    Very nice words @oldfox. This is what the current generation seems to be missing.
    A cold hamburger can be reheated quite nicely by strapping it to an exhaust pipe and riding forty miles.......... Live 2 Ride /m\\

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