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BMWm3

Below a little video of the afternoon several local bloggers and twitterati got to enjoy, courtesy of Kamran Popkin and the BMW Performance Driving School. Look for cameos by @JimSharp, @Nullvariable and @brainsonfire (Matt Reese).

Incidentally, Matt is insanely fast in a car, so never EVER let him race you for money.

I really can’t thank Kamran enough for hooking me up AND the BMW PDS’s staff for taking such good care of us while we were there. Everyone – from the catering folks and event coordinators to the driving instructors – is absolutely top notch, as is the facility.

Something I learned today: Any new BMW owner in North America can take delivery of their new car right here at the factory, then drive it to the school for an afternoon of classroom and practical driving instruction. You pay to get here, but once you’re in Greenville, BMW takes care of the rest: Hotel, food and the driving instruction. How cool is that!

BMW classroom

A few other things I learned today:

@Jimsharp likes to live (and drive) on the edge (of the road).

Also, he doesn’t stop. For anything. Not even puppies. (Okay, maybe for puppies.)

BMW2car

Good luck flipping an X5 out on the range. These things cling to walls like spiderman.

Pedal to the metal feels GOOD.

Not hitting any cones is more important than a little extra speed.

Real drivers don’t use traction control.

BMWx5

Some BMWs drive themselves.

It’s all fun and games until someone loses control of their bodily functions.

BMWs aren’t just cars. They really ARE ultimate driving machines.

Driving fast makes me sweat a little bit.

I like the smell of burning rubber in the afternoon.

What you’ll see in the video:

The first driving exercise was a slalom course designed to teach us how to take tight corners at high speed in varying surface conditions (wet/dry).

The second driving exercise was a timed run in the M3 designed to teach us to a) negotiate sudden sharp turns at high speed. (The turn is sharper than it looks.) Also, b) precision stopping from max acceleration.

The third driving exercise was the X5’s 4×4 course. (No racing there.)

The fourth exercise was just a fun ride with one of the school’s professional drivers.

Oh, and if you’re wondering what tunes you heard in that video:

“Shooting Star” by David Rush

“Throw Water On Them” by Asher Roth

Thanks to Jim for shooting most of the in-car stuff. If the video doesn’t play for you, go watch it here.

Also, check out Jim’s video (most of the in-car footage was shot by yours truly). Great editing and music by Jim. Good stuff:

If Jim’s video doesn’t load for you, watch it here.

BMWlineup

PS: No cones were harmed during the shooting of this video. (At least not by us.)

PPS: Want to play like we just did? BMW has a ton of programs for drivers of all levels (even for teenage drivers). Check out the performance driving school’s web page for more info.

PPPS: I don’t work for BMW, didn’t get paid by BMW and have no ties to BMW whatsoever. Everything mentioned on this blog about BMW comes from the heart. (Disclosure.)

Have a great weekend, everyone! I look forward to seeing some of  you at Social Fresh Monday (Charlotte, NC).

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You were driving a white Chevy sedan. I’m not sure what model, but I know it was a Chevy because the logo came pretty damn close to leaving a permanent imprint in my left calf muscle when you almost mowed me down in downtown Greenville this afternoon (see scenario #1 above) at Pendleton & Washington.

Here are a few driving tips for you:

1. Get your eyes checked. If you are required to wear prescription glasses while driving, WEAR them!
2. When making a left turn at an intersection with no “left turn” arrow, YIELD to oncoming traffic! That means cars, motorcycles, moped, and yes, bicycles. It’s Saturday afternoon, you’re old, and you have no reason to be in a hurry. OBEY THE LAW and wait until oncoming traffic has passed before making a left turn. Why do I have to tell you this?
3. Just because the car in front of you decided to try and turn before I was completely through the intersection doesn’t mean you should follow its stupid ass. I can avoid getting hit by one dumbass motorist, but usually not two in a row.
4. I average 25mph when riding downtown. Trust me, you don’t have time to turn when I am already engaged through an intersection. Don’t I look fast with my racing getup? Come on. You know I do.
5. The part about yielding to oncoming traffic: LEARN IT.
6. When you see that I am two feet in front of you and you are about to hit me with your car, apply the breaks. Slow down or stop. Shit. Whatever. Do SOMETHING to try and avoid killing me. Please.
7. Making horrified faces at me as you’re about to hit me doesn’t help unless you put your fucking foot on the brake pedal and push down.
8. The accelerator pedal is not the brake pedal. Please consult your car’s user manual for details.
9. Just because I have a) mad skills, b) nine lives, c) cycling superpowers, and d) half a dozen guardian angels looking over me at all times doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at least TRY to not kill me with your car. Believe it or not, I am not looking for an extra survival challenge when I clip-in on the weekends.
10. After coming microns from hitting and killing me, don’t just drive off as if nothing happened. You almost just caused a major traffic accident that could have resulted in vehicular homicide. At least stop to apologize or see if I’m okay. Hell, you scared the living bejeesus out of a bunch of people in the car behind you who witnessed the whole scene and thought I was toast. (They really were in total freaking horrified shock. Hands over their faces, eyes like saucers and mouths open so wide you could fit a grapefruit in there.) I swear they were seconds from throwing up all over their dashboard. You should at least have stopped to apologize to them.

This woman, I swear to god, didn’t just almost T-bone me at an intersection where I had the right of way, but even upon seeing me in front of her grill didn’t attempt to slow down, swerve or stop. Hell, she continued to accelerate through her turn even as she had eyes on me. I can’t believe I got through without getting hit. I really can’t. A Hollywood stuntman couldn’t ave come closer to that fender without being taken out. The worst part about it is that if she had hit me, I doubt that she would have stopped. So if the impact didn’t injure me too terribly bad, getting dragged under her car for a few miles probably would have mangled me into a steaming pile of red brandbuilder goo.

I’ll say it again: She never slowed down. She never stopped.

I should have chased her down and smashed her driver-side window in a fit of rage, but… she didn’t do it on purpose, so no. I wasn’t all that angry, really. I got through, yelled at her as she drove away, shook my head at her senile ass – politely nodded and smiled at the people in the car behind her (I should have stopped to give them a hug or something). I lived to ride another day, and she’ll eventually just go on to drive her car into a house or something.

Here is a pretty scary (but eye-opening) article on elderly drivers and their chronic inability to handle left-hand turns at intersections.

Also: Great website from the city of Toronto about how to avoid hitting cyclists. (It isn’t rocket science, but hey, not everyone behind the wheel is driving with a full set of brain cells, evidently.)

This has nothing to do with branding (again) but whatever. It’s the weekend. Nobody reads this blog on the weekend. ;D

Update: 8 June 2008. Almost the exact same thing happened to me again today on Augusta Rd. at the Faris Rd intersection. This old lady driving a navy sedan tried to make a left hand turn at the intersection while I was riding through it. She saw me and slammed on her brakes, which is better than yesterday’s episode. But going through this Still though. I wear loud cycling clothes. I ride in broad daylight. What’s the problem here? Twice in two days? What the hell?! Old people need to stop trying to make left-hand turns at intersections that don’t have left-turn traffic signals to help them get through.

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