25 Apr 2013

The Moscow Rules - How to ride at 60mph everywhere

Years ago I read something in a car magazine by one of those advanced driving gurus, who said the ultimate goal should be to average 60 mph everywhere without attracting attention. This is a philosophy I can live with. This is also a hell of a lot harder than you think, even on a motorcycle. A few criteria need to be observed. 

You’ll see all sorts of “riding advice” all over forums, websites and the corporate motorcycle media (in which, often-as-not, it actually comes across as a form of arse-covering enjoyment-suppression and H&S-derived responsibility-denial), but you won’t have seen anything like this:

These are the Moscow Rules - the possibly apocryphal, informal code of conduct for Western spies operating behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War, which is as equally-applicable to riding bikes as anything I’ve read (with a couple of minor adjustments):

  • Assume nothing [or assume everything] 
  • Murphy is right. 
  • Never go against your gut; it is your operational antenna. 
  • Don't look back; you are never completely alone [should say always look back: lifesavers] 
  • Everyone is potentially under opposition control. 
  • Go with the flow, blend in [don’t let the scameras see you] 
  • Vary your pattern and stay within your cover. 
  • Any operation can be aborted. If it feels wrong, it is wrong [2nd-gear mingers past a police station, like Cal Crutchlow in the Thundersprint the other year] 
  • Maintain a natural pace [making progress!] 
  • Lull them into a sense of complacency [yes officer] 
  • Build in opportunity, but use it sparingly. 
  • Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee [??] 
  • Don't harass the opposition [cagers] 
  • There is no limit to a human being's ability to rationalize the truth [yes officer] 
  • Technology will always let you down [esp. if it’s Italian] 
  • Pick the time and place for action. 
  • Keep your options open. 
  • Once is an accident. Twice is coincidence. Three times is an enemy action [yes officer] 
© Stuart Jewkes 2013