You see, when you get behind the wheel of a car, you are placed in a cocoon of safety and comfort. From the reinforced body to the abundance of airbags laying in waiting, ready to save you should you be involved in a collision.
Furthermore, if you run off the road in a car, it doesn’t automatically translate into personal injury. A bike, on the other hand, does!
I’ve grown up on two wheels and could probably ride before I could crawl, but these days I’m rather reluctant to get on a bike and ride on our roads, purely because motorists lack common courtesy. People pull out in front of you and try and run you off the road because you’re overtaking them. All these unnecessary evils have made me cut down on my two-wheel time. Regrettably.
Ask anyone who has ever been riding with their friends and they will tell you, there is nothing more freeing than experiencing the open road on a motorcycle. But that’s where it’s best to leave it - as a Sunday ride.
I refuse to commute on a bike because of the dangers involved and the time you save skipping traffic isn’t worth playing Russian Roulette with your life.
A couple of my friends who do ride motorcycles have converted to being track riders only. So on the odd weekend, when there is a track day organised by SA Biking, they head on out to enjoy this lifestyle they love, in a safe environment.
The thrills that come from racing around a track are thick and fast. What I personally love about track days is - while it might seem daunting sharing a track with ex-racers and some rather quick and experienced riders - that the controlled environment allows you to ride with individuals at your skill level and with knowledgeable marshals on hand to provide insightful tips, meaning that you quickly improve.
SA Biking Academy runs approximately 35 track days a year at various venues. Above this there are monthly road schools and for the seriously quick riders who want to gain an edge, there’s a one-on-one instruction that’s more intensive and allows you to fine-tune your riding style.
Clinton Pienaar has been running the SA Biking Academy for over 15 years and is a numerous regional-title holder and still actively participates in various campaigns.
He recently allowed me to try the two-seater experience, which is fast becoming a craze for those who attend the track days.
It’s simple. Suit up in full leathers and ride shotgun on the back of a pro for only R300. The feeling is exhilarating, flying around a track at mind-numbing speeds at the mercy of a skilled professional who finds the perfect lines through the corners, despite having a pillion on the back.
The feeling cannot be explained! The rush is unreal. You do two hot laps around the track with a time almost on par with the top professionals. Your adrenalin is pumping and while it’s not only an experience of a lifetime, as a rider it does help to highlight where the best braking markers are and just how quickly you can get around the circuit.
It’s a real eye-opener, partially for those individuals who don’t know how to ride well or who never have at all, but have an urge to do so. Speaking to a few people who went on the back of the machine, many of them couldn’t contain their excitement while the others were still shaking in shock of what just happened. But they all have the same feedback with a massive grin stapled to their faces: “It’s an awesome experience!”
And I have to agree. If you have never been around a track and you’ve got the itch, I would say ditch the road for a bit and head down to the next track day and have fun and challenge yourself. At the end you won’t only walk away smiling, but you’ll also leave a better rider. Check out the video to see just how fun it really is.