Surprising squid on the Dragon - worth watching - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-06-2016, 12:06 PM Thread Starter
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Surprising squid on the Dragon - worth watching

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEC-AanEl5Q

I've seen this kind of riding from the usual squids (GSXR, shorts, sneakers, attitude), but this guy is something special. He has a good bike, a real jacket, real gloves, real helmet, and decided to record himself. That suggests he thinks he knows what he is doing. But the way he rides!!! All I can come up with is that he has never ridden curves and mountains, but rides somewhere he gets relatively comfy going fairly quickly and upshifting. Could this be a city biker visiting the countryside for the first time? I have this hypothesis having seen a goodly number of videos showing city riders racing up to lights, dodging around cars, and generally acting recklessly while avoiding giving any impression of skill or common sense. That apparently works in cities without immediate serious issues, but not up here. The combination of varying radius curves, vertical gain and loss, and odd camber trips up riders regularly. There also seems a bravado / asshole aspect that isn't present in the long distance or touring riders.

Anyway, thought readers would find it entertaining. Any idea how these people think?

The fellow's main issue is in having no idea how to corner. He sets up on the inside, slows into the corner, hits his "apex" almost at the beginning, and seems surprised to run out of road, even at then end. He could have prevented his accident by simply leaning and rolling on a little throttle!

Now the spot he went off, if cars hadn't previously handled the trees he might have had a lethal impact. If the muscadine vines hadn't caught him, he might have picked up speed tumbling down and broken up on the trees further down, and if out of sight of the road, might still be there, bones with a helmet.
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post #2 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-06-2016, 12:50 PM
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The Dragon is also a lot narrower than it looks on Video. I'm amazed they can call it a US Highway!

The first time I ever rode it, I had to keep telling myself to look through the curve. I kept noticing all the skid marks going off the road and my brain wanted to focus on them!

When riding normally, I use skid marks to alert me that something happened there and I need to be on alert. Blind drive around the bend or over the hill, etc.

Wasn't even a sharp curve where he went wide. Must have been taking in the view and wanted to get a better look.

For those that don't want to waste 13 minutes of your day. Watch the first minute to see how great a rider he is and then skip to the 9 minute mark.

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Last edited by twowheeladdict; 06-06-2016 at 01:00 PM.
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post #3 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-06-2016, 01:00 PM
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Besides being a "squid", he's also a VERY lucky one!

Being in the oncoming lane INTO a corner (or ANYWHERE you can't see ahead).... STUPID.

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post #4 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-06-2016, 01:28 PM
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At first I was like "eh, he's just inexperienced." And then around the 2 minute clock I was like..."omg...what an idiot."
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post #5 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-06-2016, 01:57 PM Thread Starter
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The Dragon is also a lot narrower than it looks on Video. I'm amazed they can call it a US Highway!
The east side is Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Which counts as a wilderness area. Which means that - literally!!! - it would take an act of the US Congress to change the road.

US Highways are merely designated through a process. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United...bered_Highways No Federal standards apply.

What is interesting about the "Dragon" is that the state or county (not sure which) decided to post it at 30 mph and enforce that marking. I found the process for setting limits once and could not find evidence that it had been followed. An interesting notion - that a county or state can without following regular process simply lower a speed limit to interfere with a road's use as a play ground.

A key component of the equation missing from the video is that emergency services are iffy and slow up in the mountains. The last wreck I worked over on 28 in NC, there was no signal for phones (as is the case on the Dragon) so a runner had to go up the road to get an ambulance dispatched. That fellow had been abandoned by his companions, although eventually they noticed he was missing and came back.

So this fellow was gambling where he might just disappear without notice, and where the EMS system is slow and iffy. Not much forethought!! He also risked annoying a real rider who might have spoken to him strongly. That does happen.
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post #6 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-06-2016, 02:40 PM
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I don't know that I'd label him a 'squid' since he was wearing gear. I thought the squid moniker was a reference to the ink they leave behind when their bodies hit the pavement with nothing to protect their skin save their t-shirts, shorts, and flip-flops. Add to that the way their post-crash bodies resemble a squids - all busted up and rubbery like a squid's save for the helmet. I've also heard it's a contraction of 'squirrelly kid' and is a lot more inclusive like you imply.

Even I, as a crappy newbie rider, recognized the scary way he was taking those curves. Thankfully nobody was coming in the opposite direction as he drifted through the opposite lane on blind curves.
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post #7 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-06-2016, 04:10 PM
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I've ridden a lot of mountain roads all over the globe. Deal's Gap is still the most entertaining, technical road I've found. Used to go a few times a year, lately I'm down to a single Mecca. He and the lane crossing Harleys he was passing are why I get in there about 7:30 am and out by 9 am. Once the posers show up, it's time to move on if you value your hide.
Watching that actually made me feel a little drunk.
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post #8 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-06-2016, 04:23 PM
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Somebody was riding far above his skill level. Holy crap he's lucky to be alive.
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post #9 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-06-2016, 04:31 PM
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OK the rider is a total w*nker, but that supposedly "must do ride" doesn't seem better than anything l can get around here!!!
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post #10 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-06-2016, 04:58 PM Thread Starter
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In part, I posted the video link exactly because he wasn't the usual squid. Haven't really figured him out. Gloves and a jacket, decent helmet, on a moderately famous road (he didn't get to the really interesting parts), without a clue!! I have to wonder how he got there in the first place. We do have folks fail to negotiate the approach!! But squid he appears to be, even though his garb and age are incorrect.

Really shows the importance of setting up a turn and keeping a pace within one's limits. I've followed plenty of riders briefly who clearly weren't working at all, just sitting there gently talking to their bikes, and disappearing ahead! That's the kind of rider to be.

As mentioned above, for real paved civilized roads, the Dragon is much more technical than most, while still having a reasonable road surface. It is less scary than bicycling the Alps, or driving them in a big sedan, for that matter. Both I am familiar with. But it has its own charm and hazards. The upper section gets into some difficult to time areas, and gravity cavity surprises some. I believe a couple of fatalities there. Mr. Squid got nowhere near those parts of the Dragon, and didn't really get very deep into it. But really, it's just a named road. There are many others more beautiful, and a couple right near that prove much more challenging. A fatality on one of those just last week, I believe, one that I simply won't take a bike on any more!!!

Long ago, the resort used to be the Crossroads of Time - a run down micro-grocery with mounted fish. There were few motorcyclists, and on winter nights with a full moon one could crank through nicely, looking for headlights, the bears and the boars all hunkered down. I looked into buying the place when it came up for sale, and missed out on a real opportunity for simple lack of vision!!!!

Now midweek mornings are good, even in the summer, and early on the weekends is fine. Otherwise, weekends in the season tend towards zoo, with pirates and power rangers battling it out, the puzzled adventure folks, quietly breathtaking fellows on motards (the right bikes for such roads), and a few of us just trying to get home from North Carolina without having some squid toast us.

One thing the road offers, other than the chance for flatlanders to learn about hills and curves, is the opportunity to experience brain fade from turning overload. Those without an easy rhythm and near-instinctive setup tend to work very hard, and about 200 curves in they get a bit loose. Can see it happen if one is following. Sloppy entries, wobbles on exit. I back way off. I'm willing to pick up the pieces and direct traffic, but I don't actually like seeing people crash.

One of the many disturbing and funny things I saw a couple of years ago was a fellow on some cruiser dump his bike at the motorcycle resort trying to leave. It's up hill steeply leaving the parking lot, and he had yet to master clutch, brake, balance, and chewing gum. Got helped up in a huff, rocketed across the road and into the ditch by the entrance to the Tail of the Dragon. Again got helped up all tight and upset. Took off towards the Tennessee line at a furious pace. Well, not too furious given his bike, but fast for him. I didn't see him in the papers, so I guess he calmed down and made it.

Hope people stop naming the good roads!

And if you want a fun time, the six gaps or whatever they are in N. Georgia are likely a good time. Stay in Helen and drink beer. Or visit one of the several nude resorts. Saves on packing those pesky clothes!!

For more fun videos, look up mul . . . well, I'll just send anyone interested. Good way to see a lot of ways to not ride!!! This fellow's videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRXOf-9YJU0

I may just have to run over for breakfast tomorrow. Maybe put Becky on the Guzzi and have a short tour.
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post #11 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-06-2016, 05:06 PM
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where's yellow wolf?
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post #12 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-06-2016, 05:49 PM Thread Starter
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post #13 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-06-2016, 06:13 PM
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The tail of the dragon was 55 mph like many of the tight twisty mountain roads in the mountains. Tourism helped the economy, but made the road a traffic jam.

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post #14 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-06-2016, 06:59 PM Thread Starter
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It's only on the summer weekends, and most of the time traffic moves along about as fast as reasonable drivers did before. Just more nonsense happening. Still easily feasible to travel by car over the Hill on a weekend, just a few trips into pull outs should keep everyone happy.

I have the odd perspective of living 50 miles away from DGMR and having regularly run across since the late 1980s, well before the clouds of infesting squids arrived!!!
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post #15 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-06-2016, 08:17 PM
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OK the rider is a total w*nker, but that supposedly "must do ride" doesn't seem better than anything l can get around here!!!
I've heard that from quite a few fellow riders who live around my parts and have done the dragon. I think we're lucky to live around the Ozarks as far as riding goes. We have AR 123 here, which is the AR Dragon. I enjoyed it very much and have heard its almost as good, but more importantly NO traffic.

That being said, the wife and I are planing to try and get out to Deals Gap and do the TOG just to scratch a list.

That guy in the video is a very special snowflake. I'm glad I learned to ride here, we have twisty mountainy hills everywhere, so I'm comfortable and confident riding that.
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post #16 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-07-2016, 10:27 AM
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. I'm glad I learned to ride here, we have twisty mountainy hills everywhere, so I'm comfortable and confident riding that.
That's funny you should say that because it's always made me laugh when drivers & even some motorcyclists who like to drive "up my arse" as we Brits call it (too close behind) only to find that they suddenly drop off every time you get to any curvy bits on the road because they're only used to riding/driving on straight roads!!!!
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post #17 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-07-2016, 11:18 AM
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Watching that was like watching someone play a car racing game the first time. Braking at the wrong times/wrong amounts, couldn't setup or make many of the corners without going wide and having to slow down post-apex to try and keep it on the road. I'm a new rider, probably couldn't do better but I wouldn't try it at this level of experience.
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post #18 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-07-2016, 12:39 PM
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And if you want a fun time, the six gaps or whatever they are in N. Georgia are likely a good time. Stay in Helen and drink beer.
I was thinking the same thing. That road that goes down to Helen from the North is a pretty good one. Don't recall it having all the variety of on/off camber, up/down hills, and 180 switchbacks as 129, but it was curvy as hell and had good pavement last time I rode it.
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post #19 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-07-2016, 12:49 PM
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where's yellow wolf?
Year before I buried my Vic into a deer, he and I were playing there at the same time. We both got free glory shots that day.

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I noticed he was running a car tire on the Wing. Odd that someone so talented would buy into that.
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post #20 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-07-2016, 01:27 PM Thread Starter
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That's funny you should say that because it's always made me laugh when drivers & even some motorcyclists who like to drive "up my arse" as we Brits call it (too close behind) only to find that they suddenly drop off every time you get to any curvy bits on the road because they're only used to riding/driving on straight roads!!!!
I believe that's much of the trouble we have. People who are on vacation from grid road flat land, with their buddies and trying to prove themselves, and who don't understand that anyone can ride a motorcycle very very fast in a straight line. A further complication being that many folks visiting don't seem to understand the implications of a "blind" turn.

Of more a psychological effect, why come to ride curves and then straighten them by crossing the yellow lines constantly? Some people don't realize they're doing that, and become combative when requested not to do so. While it's sad, it's none of my business if someone disembowels himself through failure to obey physics, but if he takes someone else with him, that is very poor form!!!
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