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Thread: Rimutaka Hill, possible technique with slow cagers?

  1. #1
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    Rimutaka Hill, possible technique with slow cagers?

    I followed another rider over the Rimutaka Hill today and observed quite a bit of rider frustration going on... slow cars held him up.

    His method was to ride right up their bums - following distance of two bike lengths or so, give or take - and I saw him point to the left once as well. Lots of visibly angry body language. Nope, no dice, nobody pulled over to let him through. It was kind of horrifying to watch, frankly. We weren't going that fast, obviously, and yet if the car had put its brakes on for any reason he'd have been straight into the rear bumper and then off, or knocked sideways off the right quarter and into the oncoming traffic, head-on and out of control. He was following right on their six or their four, ready for immediate passing, which he did on the yellows at least twice.

    Yeah. High risk. None of the aggro worked. I did get left behind by him at the base of the hill after the crossing, but otherwise kept up quite happily with decent following distance and legal-only overtakes in passing lanes. There wasn't an advantage to what he was doing, in short.

    Confession time: I used to do the aggro riding thing a bit as well, lots of anger and swearing inside the visor. After about six months of increasing frustration I finally just let it go. Things have changed. The Rimutaka Hill is busy these days, especially on summer weekends when we want to go riding. It isn't a turn up and go for it Sunday morning GP any more.

    The other thing is that drivers have slowed down and got a whole lot less competitive. I'm completely OK with that, by the way. I don't want cars slipping out on corners and coming at me head-on, or aggressively tailgating me. The issue I have is the amount of pull-over-never going on... who knows why but there are people who just don't seem to do it yet.

    So: the technique. Brace yourselves... I've noticed over the last few months that if I come up behind cars at my happy pace, but then respectfully follow at a decent distance instead of tailgating, then they seem to have much less of an issue pulling over for me.

    It's not guaranteed by any means, I'd say the success rate is about 80% during the week and around 40% during weekends, but it does happen. People indicate left and enter slow lanes, people even use the stopping bays. I haven't had the chance to canvass the drivers concerned, but I think there might be two things going on:

    1) I haven't pissed them off by crowding them, and

    2) It's possible for them to slow down without me running into them, so they can actually get into a stopping bay safely. They don't have to race into the bay at full road speed.

    I always try to positively reinforce it if a driver lets me past, even if it's been a while following and I've gotten frustrated. I always wave a thankyou. Hopefully they'll remember that and repeat the courtesy for the next rider.

    As I said, it doesn't always work, but these days I seem to be a lot happier taking a chilled-out attitude.

    Anyway... thoughts?

  2. #2
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    i always pull over at the first opportunity if i see a bike behind sometime just pulling ovar as far as poosible to the left means they can pass without crossing the double yellow

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by OddDuck View Post
    I followed another rider over the Rimutaka Hill today and observed quite a bit of rider frustration going on... slow cars held him up.

    His method was to ride right up their bums - following distance of two bike lengths or so, give or take - and I saw him point to the left once as well. Lots of visibly angry body language. Nope, no dice, nobody pulled over to let him through. It was kind of horrifying to watch, frankly. We weren't going that fast, obviously, and yet if the car had put its brakes on for any reason he'd have been straight into the rear bumper and then off, or knocked sideways off the right quarter and into the oncoming traffic, head-on and out of control. He was following right on their six or their four, ready for immediate passing, which he did on the yellows at least twice.

    Yeah. High risk. None of the aggro worked. I did get left behind by him at the base of the hill after the crossing, but otherwise kept up quite happily with decent following distance and legal-only overtakes in passing lanes. There wasn't an advantage to what he was doing, in short.

    Confession time: I used to do the aggro riding thing a bit as well, lots of anger and swearing inside the visor. After about six months of increasing frustration I finally just let it go. Things have changed. The Rimutaka Hill is busy these days, especially on summer weekends when we want to go riding. It isn't a turn up and go for it Sunday morning GP any more.

    The other thing is that drivers have slowed down and got a whole lot less competitive. I'm completely OK with that, by the way. I don't want cars slipping out on corners and coming at me head-on, or aggressively tailgating me. The issue I have is the amount of pull-over-never going on... who knows why but there are people who just don't seem to do it yet.

    So: the technique. Brace yourselves... I've noticed over the last few months that if I come up behind cars at my happy pace, but then respectfully follow at a decent distance instead of tailgating, then they seem to have much less of an issue pulling over for me.

    It's not guaranteed by any means, I'd say the success rate is about 80% during the week and around 40% during weekends, but it does happen. People indicate left and enter slow lanes, people even use the stopping bays. I haven't had the chance to canvass the drivers concerned, but I think there might be two things going on:

    1) I haven't pissed them off by crowding them, and

    2) It's possible for them to slow down without me running into them, so they can actually get into a stopping bay safely. They don't have to race into the bay at full road speed.

    I always try to positively reinforce it if a driver lets me past, even if it's been a while following and I've gotten frustrated. I always wave a thankyou. Hopefully they'll remember that and repeat the courtesy for the next rider.

    As I said, it doesn't always work, but these days I seem to be a lot happier taking a chilled-out attitude.

    Anyway... thoughts?
    The (legal) onus is on the overtaking (following) driver/rider to do it safely (and legally).

    Regardless of the ability of the leading vehicles driver/rider ... the (legal) onus is still on the driver/rider that wishes to overtake ... and to do it safely.

    After having lived in many parts of NZ ... I've learned that time lost following slower vehicles will not loose that much time out of your busy day. At this time of year you can expect slower traffic on your "Favorite" hooning roads. Usually they are best avoided.

    I lived in Woburn (if you can call that living) for a year or so in the early eighties, a Benelli 650 twin was my ride. Sunday at the summit cafe was virtually a motorcycle only affair. It was a popular place (even if the coffee and food was shit) and the car traffic was busy (well seemed like it at the time). A few died and some probably still will.

    Getting aggro won't help you get past another vehicle any faster. Will probably make it harder.

    At best ... over taking a vehicle at the top rather than at the bottom might save you a few minutes getting to the cafe in Featherston. Trust me (lol) ... the coffee isn't that great in Featherston either. Getting there faster won't improve it any ... It will still be warm.

    My personal policy riding or driving ... is to let faster vehicles past if it is safe (without endangering myself) or possible to do. I seldom let a biker past without getting a wave of thanks.
    Sweat wipes off. Road-rash doesn't.

  4. #4
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    Tail gaiting on a bike and trying to pressure the driver to move over isn't particularly bright. They'll tend to brake to get you to move back. I certainly would if I was driving in that situation. Have similar issues on the saddle road up our way. Just pays to keep calm and go with the flow. Usually you get a chance to get past at some point.
    "Every time you set your ass on a bike, you're playing a game of Russian Roulette between yourself and your own stupidity."

  5. #5
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    Too right the friendly approach gets better results. I always give a wave and toot to any cars that pull left for me. Many do so on right hand bends as the road tends to widen around the curve, allowing you to slip passed without crossing the centreline.
    More passing bays would be nice. Once in a while you get an ignorant prick who knows he's holding up traffic and refuses to use the slow lanes or pull over but as you say, it's not worth the grief getting stressed and risking life and limb over a few seconds. Plus the risk now is dashcam!
    Happiness is a means of travel, not a destination

  6. #6
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    My take on it is NZ drivers in general are shit. The mentality of ‘I’m driving at the safest speed no matter what the the limit is and so can the line of cars behind me’ is extremely common. I have lived, worked and driven in several western countries and driving in NZ is by far the scariest.
    .................................

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jasonu View Post
    My take on it is NZ drivers in general are shit. The mentality of ‘I’m driving at the safest speed no matter what the the limit is and so can the line of cars behind me’ is extremely common. I have lived, worked and driven in several western countries and driving in NZ is by far the scariest.
    go to china, mind you the chinese tourists are just as bad here

  8. #8
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    Yep - Down here in Marlborough the tourists are out in force at the moment. Queen Charlotte Drive is a classic for people doing daft things behind the wheel. Add in a greater-than-normal number of cyclists and things can be very frustrating.

    One thing I do is ride a slower bike - No seriously. My DR650 or H-D 48 are both happier riding at slower speeds and they don't encourage you to ride faster/more aggressively. Plus as you say it doesn't really make much difference to your overall trip time either.
    Navy Boy

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by OddDuck View Post
    I followed another rider over the Rimutaka Hill today and observed quite a bit of rider frustration going on... slow cars held him up.

    His method was to ride right up their bums - following distance of two bike lengths or so, give or take - and I saw him point to the left once as well. Lots of visibly angry body language. Nope, no dice, nobody pulled over to let him through. It was kind of horrifying to watch, frankly. We weren't going that fast, obviously, and yet if the car had put its brakes on for any reason he'd have been straight into the rear bumper and then off, or knocked sideways off the right quarter and into the oncoming traffic, head-on and out of control. He was following right on their six or their four, ready for immediate passing, which he did on the yellows at least twice.

    Yeah. High risk. None of the aggro worked. I did get left behind by him at the base of the hill after the crossing, but otherwise kept up quite happily with decent following distance and legal-only overtakes in passing lanes. There wasn't an advantage to what he was doing, in short.

    Confession time: I used to do the aggro riding thing a bit as well, lots of anger and swearing inside the visor. After about six months of increasing frustration I finally just let it go. Things have changed. The Rimutaka Hill is busy these days, especially on summer weekends when we want to go riding. It isn't a turn up and go for it Sunday morning GP any more.

    The other thing is that drivers have slowed down and got a whole lot less competitive. I'm completely OK with that, by the way. I don't want cars slipping out on corners and coming at me head-on, or aggressively tailgating me. The issue I have is the amount of pull-over-never going on... who knows why but there are people who just don't seem to do it yet.

    So: the technique. Brace yourselves... I've noticed over the last few months that if I come up behind cars at my happy pace, but then respectfully follow at a decent distance instead of tailgating, then they seem to have much less of an issue pulling over for me.

    It's not guaranteed by any means, I'd say the success rate is about 80% during the week and around 40% during weekends, but it does happen. People indicate left and enter slow lanes, people even use the stopping bays. I haven't had the chance to canvass the drivers concerned, but I think there might be two things going on:

    1) I haven't pissed them off by crowding them, and

    2) It's possible for them to slow down without me running into them, so they can actually get into a stopping bay safely. They don't have to race into the bay at full road speed.

    I always try to positively reinforce it if a driver lets me past, even if it's been a while following and I've gotten frustrated. I always wave a thank you. Hopefully they'll remember that and repeat the courtesy for the next rider.

    As I said, it doesn't always work, but these days I seem to be a lot happier taking a chilled-out attitude.

    Anyway... thoughts?
    Absolutely on the money. That'll be two of us.

  10. #10
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    Great post
    When you think about it, how many of us as riders are comfortable when other people on the road are up our datehole? Why then would it be acceptable or smart to do it to others? I dislike the hesitant driving we all regularly see as much as the next person, getting worked up doesn't actually change it though.
    Your thinking is spot on, avoid the red mist and the ride is more enjoyable and you vastly increase the chances you get to keep riding for a long time to come!
    Life is not measured by how many breaths you take, but how many times you have your breath taken away

  11. #11
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    Yup, I'm very chilled nowadays, too.

    Totally agree that leaving plenty of space and staying visible to vehicles in front usually ends up with being invited to pass. I especially notice it with truckies, they really seem to appreciate us staying back and staying in their mirrors.

    A slower ride in traffic is always a good opportunity to observe all the different "characters" drivers and riders have. I almost enjoy watching tail gaters wearing their brakes out as much as I enjoy a nice bit of swervery.
    Manopausal.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ulsterkiwi View Post
    Great post
    When you think about it, how many of us as riders are comfortable when other people on the road are up our datehole? Why then would it be acceptable or smart to do it to others? I dislike the hesitant driving we all regularly see as much as the next person, getting worked up doesn't actually change it though.
    Your thinking is spot on, avoid the red mist and the ride is more enjoyable and you vastly increase the chances you get to keep riding for a long time to come!
    Looking forward to riding the Rimutakas northbound in February when we come down for the IAM Conference. First time on the bike but lots of times by car. Back roads from Masterton to Napier then round East Cape and home. Haven't done a proper road trip for some time and really looking forward to it.

  13. #13
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    I am sure tailgaters have discovered a new law of physics, one which the rest of us have never heard of but it's the one that states in the first part "tailgating will transfer speed to vehicle in front and cause the vehicle in front to speed up" and in the second part continues "the speeding up caused by the tailgater will transfer further along the queue of traffic causing an increase in speed of all traffic ahead of the tailgater."

    However, the tailgaters, to quote John Cadogan, must have been away from school the day the next part of that law of physics was discussed which states "attempting to increase the speed of traffic ahead of you by tailgating is countered by the size of the vehicle ahead setting the speed for the traffic following."

  14. #14
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    Been up and down the Remutaka's twice in the last 3 days, love it, the road has been modified and re cambered to hell and back since way back when, the roads OK, the drivers and riders who push others are the main problem these days, but, the answer lies in the comments above, simply hold your line and give both the front guys and the back ones enough room and things stop turning to custard.
    Simple really.
    Heading north tomorrow up the National Park and through Ohakune, probably Taumaranui etc, back ways, all the way, avoiding main highways as much as possible, roads around these places are bloody terrific for the most part.
    Every day above ground is a good day!:

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by caseye View Post
    Been up and down the Remutaka's twice in the last 3 days, love it, the road has been modified and re cambered to hell and back since way back when, the roads OK, the drivers and riders who push others are the main problem these days, but, the answer lies in the comments above, simply hold your line and give both the front guys and the back ones enough room and things stop turning to custard.
    Simple really.
    Heading north tomorrow up the National Park and through Ohakune, probably Taumaranui etc, back ways, all the way, avoiding main highways as much as possible, roads around these places are bloody terrific for the most part.
    Navy Boy: Queen Charlotte sound was a dream ride a few days ago. Must have been too early for them. The DOC camp site had great toilet facilities, better than most

    Time for you to do a ride in the south island.
    Total difference.

    TBH the rimutakas aren't my favorite ride.
    To many tail gaters.
    I have been in a car which the instructions for driving where screamed from the back seat. Not a pleasurable experience if your the guest in the front passenger seat.

    Go the back way home through Masterton. Awesome got some of the north islands best rides that way.

    READ AND UDESTAND

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