Thursday, 29 May 2008

The Importance of the Passenger

Some riders and drivers live for speed - they have the power of many horses at the fingertips (or toes), so why not use it?

I must confess, however, that while driving or riding I have a different aim. Instead of persuing ultimate performance (or, in training parlance, 'making safe progress'), I endevour to provide my passengers (whether real or imagined) with a smooth journey.

To achieve this requires full use of good long-distance forward observation and planning, allied with machine control where transitions are done as smoothly as possible, gear changes are achieved without any abruptness, brakes or throttle are applied or released as far as possible in a way that passengers will not have noticed.

The aim is not to impress the passenger with application of power, but more to provide them with as smooth a journey as possible.

So it was with some pleasure that, during a recent motorway journey, I saw a driver who had simlar concerns for their passenger's comfort.

I gradually caught up with the car, which was travelling at about 65mph, and had to move from the left lane out to the third lane to pass it. I can only assume that the centre lane's surface was smoother, so offered a better ride for the passenger.

Indeed, the passenger was asleep.

Luckily for me, my passenger was awake, and able to map read and give me directions should I need them.

The other driver, however, did not have that luxury, so was reading her road atlas as she drove, open across her steering wheel . . .

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