DRIVING THE DRAGON

The following text was written by Ron Johnson from www.tailofthedragon.com

Ride the Dragon at your skill level - don't try to push it or keep up with faster riders. 


STAY IN YOUR LANE, There are videos  available for sale that show riders cutting the corners and taking  chances that might appear "fun" while sitting in your easy chair. BEWARE!.  this style of riding on the Dragon can cost you dearly. The challenge  of the Dragon is to take the many curves in the best line possible and  both lanes IS NOT "the line". Ride Florida if you like to straighten out the curves. 


DO NOT sight see. The Dragon is to  ride, not to watch the sights. On many runs I don't even see what is on  the side of the road. I'm watching the roadway ahead. 


Look far ahead at the road, curves, bushes, other  vehicles, etc. If you haven't seen the hazards right in front of you,  you are going to hit them anyway, so you might as well pay attention to  what you can avoid. We have seen deer, bear, turkeys, and wild boar on the roadway. Be ready to brake and slow. 


Maintain a "SAFE ZONE". Keep a safe distance between  you and the vehicle ahead of you. Watch your rear view mirrors for  faster vehicles. If you see a faster rider/driver coming up behind you,  slow down, use one of the numerous pull off's and wave them around. It  is much safer to give a faster rider half of your lane than to try to  outrun him. NEVER stay left trying to keep him from passing. Only use the paved pull-off's, NEVER pull off the road onto a gravel/low shoulder. There will always be faster riders than you. Don't try to be the King of the Dragon. Ride the Dragon many times before trying to challenge it. Then you still need to respect it. 


DO NOT LAY ON THE BRAKES if you see  danger ahead. You are much better off to trust your tires and lay into  the corner than to hit your brakes hard. Some 90% of the accidents on  the Dragon are due to speed and then over-braking. Stay between the double yellow and the white line. Do not dive over the double yellow or cut inside the white line in corners. 


DO NOT be spooked by other riders. 


DO NOT make sudden avoidance moves.


You might have to adjust your line to avoid a car, truck, or bike, but DO NOT lay on the brakes or turn off the roadway unless that is the only out you have. 


Trucks are very slow and have a hard time taking the  Dragons tight turns. Watch for signals from drivers comings at you. Many  times they will escort a big truck over the Dragon and wave a warning  to you to pull over. DO NOT ignore these warnings. 


Avoid riding hard on the Dragon in heavy traffic times.  Weekends from 11am to 5pm are the busiest. These are the times to lay  back and enjoy watching the "show". The early mornings (before 11am) and the late afternoons (after 5pm) have the least traffic. 


ALWAYS stay 100% alert. You do not have the advantage of relaxing on the Dragon. 


Make sure your car is mechanically sound and that your tires are good. Plan to make several runs, the first is always a nervous one .... then you can have fun on the second and third. Remember that it takes a while to heat your tires up. We have seen too many bikers go down right after they start. 


DO NOT over-use your brakes. Use your gears and DOWNSHIFT. A good Dragon rider WILL NOT use a lot of brakes. Focus - do not daydream. Watch the road, your mirrors, and pay attention to other bikes/cars/trucks. 99% of the accidents on the Dragon come from the following:  


  • Too much speed
  • Too much brakes
  • Inattentiveness
  • Driving above you abilities