Alcohol & Roads DO NOT MIX

This was posted by a fellow Bike Nomad … felt it is a serious concern, hence posting it here.

I feel compelled to post this after reading 4 trip reports on 3 different forums where alcohol consumption has become the high point of the report!

Many of us on a forum like this love to head out on the open roads, head out into the hills and beyond. Putting the windshield down, flooring the throttles and feeling the wind on our face gives us a high! I am no tee-totaller but do we really need to add alcohol and drugs to this mix?

So alright, we have a few drinks and maybe some other barely legal intoxicants! After a hard days ride, alcohol may help relax the mind a little bit and help us get some sleep so we are ready in the morning for another day. But can we at least promote a culture of safe riding/driving and responsible drinking?

Many bike clubs, especially those with *ahem* “bigger bikes” in particular, seem to promote a culture of this kind of unsafe behavior. Maybe not openly but more subtly by making consumption of alcohol and drugs seem like the cool macho thing to do. Despite publicly professing a responsible position, forum signatures like “A real rider should have no blood in his alcohol stream” (or something to that effect) and organizing night-rides/drives where the consumption of alcohol and drugs seems to be the raison-de-etre of the ride make the claims of being responsible rather hollow sounding. The typical “night-ride” goes something like this: ride out towards Tamhini Ghat after 9 pm, sit at a chosen location with some fantastic views and then… pull out the booze and polish off a large quantity of alcohol before riding back the 65 odd kms in the wee hours of the morning. I have been on some
rides like these and have been deeply uncomfortable about the situation. A night-ride to Tamhini is a lot of fun, especially on a full moon night. But do we need to add alcohol and hash to the mix to make it enjoyable? Is this responsible? The first gift i received on my birthday from the club was a hip-flask! And atleast one such bike club actually has a separate thread running on its yahoo-group on arranging for alcohol before the “Independence Day ride” which happens to be a dry day! Without going into naming and shaming, there was this bunch of RX riders, some of them members of this forum, going out for a round of rubber burning near Bandra-Kurla complex after a drinks session. I can never forget being cornered on a TV show (NDTV) while trying to unsuccessfully defend the biker community after this shameful incident. I mean where are we getting to people? What is this culture we are promoting?

But its not just bikers on “big bikes” being irresponsible. It applies to many 4-wheeler drivers as well. I have earlier posted about an experience where a Silver colored Scorpio with TBHP stickers swerving to the extreme left on the expressway and throwing out an empty beer bottle! The dudes inside were clearly drinking but by throwing an empty beer bottle they put others at risk as well. It could have hit the vehicle coming from behind!

Then again, I have been on so many OTR’s where after a hard days work on Saturday evening, we head out for an OTR session. The idea behind leaving on Sat is to maximise the amount of time available for the OTR on Sunday. Instead we find people drinking through the night getting little or no sleep whatsoever, and then heading out for a punishing OTR session in the morning! Consider the situation: Heading out for a physically and mentally challenging OTR session having had little or no rest in the past 24 hours and having consumed alcohol barely 3 hours before! I have seen some people, while heading back from one such OTR swerving wildly from side to side on the expressway trying to fight off fatigue and alcohol induced sleep! Is
this safe?

Like everything else in life, alcohol is best enjoyed in moderation. There is nothing “macho” about drinking and driving/riding or punishing our bodies by sleep denial. On this Independence Day, let us resolve as a forum to desist from promoting such irresponsible behavior and instead promote a culture of safe driving/riding. Let us resolve to keep needless references to alcohol out of our trip logs. While on OTR’s/Rides, let us actively promote safe riding/driving practices.

Regards
Roy Skaria
Cougar Rides
Live to Ride – Ride to Live

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