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  • Writer's pictureTripp On Two Wheels

August 12, 2020 - Drip Trail Tale?

Road position.

For those of you who understand this term, good on ya. For those who don't, it simply refers to which third of the road lane you are riding in. Typically, a lane is divided into three smaller lanes (or positions): 1) The first or left position (the left third of the lane), 2) The second or middle position (the middle third of the lane), and 3) The third or right position (the right third of the lane).

Over the years I've heard many opinions on road position, and recently I heard one rather resoundly. I posted a link to one of my videos on a forum (a non-motorcycling forum at that), and a "gentleman" who noticed I was continually riding in the second position (middle) went nuts, complaining that I was obviously an ignorant, novice rider because of my position choice. He went on to point out that the middle of the lane is the most dangerous due to the "drip trail" present in the middle of any road, and I must be a moron to be riding in it. Again, for those of you who aren't familiar, the drip trail is an actual "trail" of oil and other friction-killing fluids that drip from automobiles onto the roadway as they drive over it.

One thing I know for sure - this "gentleman" certainly wasn't from Texas. In that video, I happened to be riding on an asphalt road, and Texas does a VERY good job of maintaining it's back roads - particularly it's secondary highways. Just ask anyone who has crossed into Texas from Louisiana, Oklahoma or New Mexico on one and they'll be the first to agree the roads magically get better once their front wheel(s) touch the Lone Star State.

Road crews routinely top asphalt roads with fresh gravel and in short order and most is compressed flush into the surface by the weight of passing vehicles. However, the gravel in position two (due to significantly less wheel contact) is often never fully compressed, leaving a much rougher, higher friction surface.

Now I'm one to agree, on major highways, interstates, or other cement/smoother surfaced roadways, the "gentleman" was 100% right, and motorcyclists should avoid position two when possible. Riding atop oil, water and other dripped fluids is never a good practice, and often a dangerous one. However, on well-maintained asphalt roads, whose outer thirds are worn smooth, and the middle third is rough with protruding surface gravel, the opposite is true. Give me this 20 grit roadway sandpaper over the smoother outer thirds any day.

What's your opinion on this topic? Am I right as rain or dumb as a sack of rocks here? I'd love to have you register to comment on the blog and leave your thoughts.

It's never too late for this dog to learn a new trick... Or two.

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