Mar 5, 2007

Space-Time for Motorcycles

Everytime someone posts something anywhere about anything to do with bigger bikes, there is always one (nit?)wit who has to up and post about how there are no roads. Or something smart alecky to the same effect. This one's for you.

I have a space-time theory of my own. Not that I'm Einstein on anything, but that the Theory of Relativity... okay I'll stop with this rapidly souring chain of thought and get to the point. In essence, what I'm saying is that space (on the road, for instance) and how you can use it varies with time (as in, if a car is parked in the space you intend to cross the road through, you can't. But if there were no cars coming at all, you could even have breakfast in the middle of the road in perfect safety if you chose to).

You see, I think every road is a potential fast road. But there's a specific time and space to do that. Let me give you an example. My commute in Delhi used to be through a fairly large portion of the Outer Ring Road, between the IIT campus and Nehru Place. After about three months of commuting, I planned it so that I could hit the road exactly between 0817 and 0822 in the morning. This four minute window (a time window) was the door to speed nirvana. The four minute window, on an RD350 would allow you to hold a wildly illegal 130 kph for most of the commute. In perfect safety. The one chap who's about to write about the practice what you preach, hold your tongue. Or I will write another 1500 word piece justifying it. That was a four minute run from IIT to Nehru Place. However, on days when I missed that window, the ride was very different. A minute after, there would be traffic, people, pedestrians. I have never been able to fathom why those four minutes were so empty, but over a year and a half of hard commuting, I was never proven wrong. In Mumbai, you know I commute from Juhu to town. Again, leaving my house between 0919 and 0927 is the window...

Sometime ago I rode a friend's GSX-R1000 on a stretch of highway just outside Mumbai. When I first got on the road, I believed that the maximum speed for that time-space window was about 140 kph. Which, if nothing else, is a waste of the Gixxer. However, after two moderate rides, I found a time-space hole that would allow me to go much faster. There were only two places where people could cross that divided carriageway. I needed to slow to 80 kph for those two places and everywhere else... Et voila. 260+ kph. In perfect safety.

What I'm saying is not speed at all cost. I do not endorse speeding for the sake of speed, at the cost of everything else. However, I do believe that if you are a rational rider, and are willing to invest time and thought looking for it, you will find a safe place to go as fast as you want to.

As is usual with all things motorcycling, when you make bad decisions, they will bite back. So you have to be absolutely confident that the decision you just made was exactly right. This is especially true when you are looking for a hole in the time-space.

Okay, hit me with the barrage of outrage...

1 comment:

The BATFAN said...

This my friend is the truth ... The absolute truth. Nothing more Nothing less. I must say you are taking a lot of thoughts away for me to write in my blog. Which makes me wonder whether you are an Aquarian. The time space windows as you have explained are very simple phenomenon if observed. I have rationalized these on the ECR for my office trip to outside Chennai. Figure out the working times of the offices of the area you are going to or leaving from. And take into consideration the environmental and societal attitudes of people in the neighborhood. Bingo. ECR crowd is mostly Office buses or Chennai-Pondicherry buses in the day. And most of the locals prefer not to go buying grocery in the middle of the day. The best time I have found for this strip is either post ten in the night to seven thirty on all days. Or anytime post twelve in the day to four in the evening (unfortunately that is office time for me) only on weekdays because there is more pondicherry traffic on weekends.
Also more peds on weekends and lots of peds in the evening and day time . Though the stretch is not safe in the sense peds can hop in anytime from anywhere, the probability for the mentioned time frame is negligible and manageable for a continuous speed run of 85KM/Hr on my Gladiator provided I keep my eyes wide open and my conscience turned on as you have mentioned in the earlier article. Not quite thrilling but well have to live with it until I can afford higher displacement.

And to say it the Star Wars way.

Agree with you I do for your justification of controlled speed. A balance their exists for everything, and it is on this balance of speed and safety that motorcycling nirvana hinges.