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Scared to ride and dared to ride

Posted 06-04-2012 at 10:49 AM by terryk
Updated 06-04-2012 at 10:51 AM by terryk

OK, we have all seen all or one of the following.

- The person who bicycles his motorcycle in a parking lot instead of putting his feet on the pegs and riding at slow speeds.

- The person who rides smack in the middle of the lane with the car and transmission oil right under the tire.

- The person who is doing the turtle while riding. Head straight and neck withdrawn and clenched, holding onto the bars for all he is worth, never moving his upper or lower body and barely in control of the bike.

- The crash waiting to happen rider. Poor use of brakes, rear braking as the primary, way too slow for safety in corners, a person who at any second could be presented with a challenge they will fail and crash with terrible consequences.

So we see them. How do we help them survive and uplift their skills?

You could do as we do. Start a motorcycle club and surround them with experienced riders and basically feed them now info and tips and skill building exercises until they uplift their skills.

So , here is the tale of one rider we helped. We will call him Neptune, to hide his actual identity.

Neptune was scared to ride and dared to ride. A pretty interesting combination.

Seems Neptune had started out the usual way in California. He took a MSF course to avoid having to take a riding skills exam at the DMV. This practice consistently allows new riders to enter the road without adequate skills.

Somehow the MSF guys have got it into their heads that you should allow everyone to ride, if they can keep a bike upright for 30 feet, ride in a parking lot without crashing and bursting into flames and somehow use the brakes, badly, and remember to use turn signals but maybe not remember to turn them off.

This MSF kind and friendly practice for licensing riders is allowing people to enter the road without skills they need to survive.

So Neptune started his riding and crashed a bike. Totalled a bike actually. He was an AGATT rider and completely destroyed a good helmet and walked away.

He thought about this experience. Then got himslef a bigger and faster bike. Gotta love ambition.

He was completely unsound on the bike. Very scared of turning. Hunkered down on the bike like a turtle blocking traffic with slow speed on the turns in particular.

So, we took him out with outher newbs for a ride.

I emphasized the HUBS tecnhique.

Head - lead with your helmet, look through the turns, learn to throw your head to your desired path if you experience target fixation.

Use your Body - Point your inside knee out and into the turn. This shifts body weight on the bike even if you do not want to do so. Move your upper body into the turn and your shoulder towards or over near the mirror in the inside turn. Move your weight to the inside peg and step down, shift your body to make subtle weight transfers and correct course.

Brakes - Brake with your front brake and add rear as required. Front brake to scrub speed as fast as practical. Only newbs avoid the front brakes. So use your front brake. Set speed for the corner but learn to use your brakes in a turn as well.

Steer - counter steer to initiate turns.

OK, once they understand the HUBS technique follow them on a ride. Make them do this, if they do not, pull them over and discuss. Lead and point to your head, chest and knees to remind them before a turn to do Hubs. Then follow them again to watch, repeat as required.

If he falls into bad habits you can always pass and point to the body area to emphasize where they need to correct the technique. Lastly, all newbs have a strong and weak side. They will do well at first on the strong side, make them work even harder on the weak side.

Bottom line - Neptune corrected most of his issues in three hours of riding, all in one trip. He is far safer, enjoying riding for the first time ever and can be safe within a riding group. Mission accomplished rider Neptune. And, maybe even mission accomplished in helping another rider uplift skills to be a part of the sport.
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  1. Old Comment
    californiacruiser's Avatar
    Terry, can you see this?
    Posted 07-24-2012 at 10:15 AM by californiacruiser californiacruiser is offline

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