I am SCUBA Diver. I am also an avid motorcyclist. Both of these activities involve embracing a certain level of risk. I suppose if you are inclined to one risky activity, you are inclined to another. I also enjoy a number of other “adventure” oriented activities. I will try just about anything twice.
For years I have been meeting up with my “adventure” riding buddies for long rides to destinations out west or in Canada. We jump on our Triumph Tigers and take off for a long weekend or more, to a predetermined (most of the time…) destination. Its a great escape from the routine.
The trips usually start off with a bang. Fueled by the excitement of the first day on the road, we ride hard for our destination. We arrive, make camp, eat, have a few beers, maybe make some new friends and then sleep late into the next day. Having a late start on day two, we ride hard for our next destination and the cycle repeats itself.
Over the years we developed the basic rule. Unfortunately It’s become more of an aspiration. It gets broken every time, “Never ride tired, hungry, heartbroken or hungover”. The rule basically focuses us on our mental and physical condition. It provides a mental pre-ride checklist. It’s always good to ask, “How am I really feeling” before firing up the motor.
Hours on the road can wear you down. When you are tired mistakes happen, people can get hurt. I have seen more than a few motorcyclist step off their bikes without putting their side stand down. I may have done it myself. This is a sure sign of an extremely tired rider. When we are fatigued, things we take for granted get overlooked.
Your mental state is just as important as your physical. If you are distracted by “mental noise” you lose your situational awareness. You are not tuned in on what is going on around you. On a motorcycle, you need to be hyper aware. People in their cars lose focus all the time. They get distracted by their thoughts, phone, radio, kids or any number of things. A buddy deeply affected by a breakup or loss may want hold off on riding until they can get their emotional/mental self together. Riding angry is also a bad idea.
“The Rule” is equally applicable to diving. Never dive tired, hungry, heartbroken or hungover. I cannot imagine diving angry. The risk of an accident occurring increases as our mental and physical state degrades. When that happens, we overlook things and mistakes get made. We know that most diving accidents are preventable and could have been avoided through simple prevention and adherence to pre-dive checklists.
It’s always good to take a minute and ask, “Am I O.K. to dive”. Better yet, ask your dive buddy.