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Balancing Act
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otb
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Balancing Act - February 8, 2012, 07:19 AM

Once I had gotten the basics of braking, shifting, turn initiation and acceleration down to a point where I didn't have to think about it so much; the challenge for me was to learn to become a smooth, fluid rider. I had ridden with some folks who made it look easy. While I was hammering into turns making constant corrections, occasionally scaring myself silly, these guys rode like they had been born to it; smooth turns, brake lights never came on after the initial run up to the turn, no mid-turn corrections....just smooth flow.... I wanted to ride like that.

The years following have been a pursuit of that ideal. For me, an ongoing and changing standard as my understanding of this sport changes.

Everybody learns differently. Me, I gotta understand the "why" before I can implement the "how", so I've spent a lot of time reading and rereading a lot of literature on motorcycle dynamics. For me, understanding leads to predictability, predictability leads to comfort, comfort leads to safety. It also allows me to experiment outside my comfort zone without undue risk.

Learning riding was once described to me as holding two glasses; a full one of "luck" and an empty one of "experience". The object was to fill the empty one up before the "luck" glass ran dry..........

When you are brand new, learning to ride is an almost overwhelming experience. That's why the long term retention of riders is so low (like 10% after 5 years). People try this sport and either get overwhelmed or come to the realization that to do this thing well and safely requires a commitment in time and effort they cannot or are not willing to make.

After talking with other riders for years, I think watching a buddy recover from a bad MC accident or attending a funeral of a rider friend has stopped more riders from saddling back up than about any other reason I've heard. Riders come to the conclusion that risk isn't worth the reward, so they give it up.

My objectives in this sport have been to up the rewards and lower the risks for myself and those I choose to ride with. ( Reading this afterwards makes me sound like a real old fuddy-duddy, doesn't it?).

The simple fact of my choice of bikes I like should lead you to the obvious conclusion that I have, on occasion, ridden at extra-legal speeds on public roads. That alone ups my odds of becoming somebodies hood ornament.

Urban commuting, long-distance touring, track days and racing all have their own specific hazards and challenges, and while my racing days are over, I do all of the others in a greater or lesser proportion, although my overwhelming exposure is riding quickly on twisty public roads. So, my focus is overwhelmingly on how to manage (to the best of my abilities) those risks.

And to do that, I need to be the best rider I can be. This year I'm signed up for the ERC and I've vowed to do Cornerspin.

What are you doing to be a better rider?


Riding fast bikes slowly since 1969....
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ELBOWZ
 
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February 8, 2012, 07:46 AM

I'm racing this year to get better


CCS #720 Expert
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otb
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February 8, 2012, 07:49 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jshep View Post
I'm racing this year to get better
Ah, to be young and fast-healing again.......


Riding fast bikes slowly since 1969....
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February 8, 2012, 08:10 AM

I am doing track days to improve my riding now, but I have read many of the technical riding books.
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Suddenly Superstitious!!!
 
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February 8, 2012, 08:36 AM

I try to take a class about every year. Roadracing, flat tracking, woods riding. All have information and skills you can use on a bike to make your riding safer.


I want my baby back, baby back, baby back....Chileeeeee's bay back...
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SRWJTS SGT-At-Arms
 
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February 8, 2012, 08:42 AM

Get outside of the comfort zone. Ride places, types of bikes, etc, that you aren't used to.

I highly recommend trying to become a Ridercoach. It is opening my eyes to different aspects of motorcycling, teaching new riders.


-Fitz

2016 Harley Softail Slim S
2012 Harley Ultra Limited in Ultra Annoying Orange Sold!
2012 V-Strom 1000 Sold!
2009 Buell 1125R Sold!
2005 Superhawk Sold!
2001 Superhawk Abandoned!
1981 CB650C Destroyed!

Brace Yourselves... the cries of "It's too cold to ride" are coming...
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February 8, 2012, 08:59 AM

OTB - Are you published anywhere? Or have you thought about taking up writing?


I'm not a leg humper... but I'm super attracted to how fucking stupid she is! - wildjester

Castle: rob, potbelly, stat. i brought the bike, wanna ride 2 up??
ClemsonJeeper: omg i'm in now!
Castle: fvck, did i just put that in the sb?
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February 8, 2012, 09:03 AM

I prefer riding with groups that are faster than me and doing all I can to keep up, thats helped a lot
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otb
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February 8, 2012, 09:12 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JTG40cal View Post
OTB - Are you published anywhere? Or have you thought about taking up writing?
Im published right here......

Surely you jest, although I'm sure the demand for ramblings from a decrepit olde farte are high indeed...

But thanks for the nice thought, anyway.


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February 8, 2012, 09:46 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by otb View Post
Im published right here......

Surely you jest, although I'm sure the demand for ramblings from a decrepit olde farte are high indeed...

But thanks for the nice thought, anyway.
No, I'm serious man! I know I speak for others on here when I say your postings are not only enjoyable, but knowledgeable and informative as well. You right with a great perspective. One that we can all relate to. I may be speaking out of turn here (and I probably am), but seeing you in something like Iron Horse Magazine each month would be pretty damn cool. You could have your own little segment like "On the Road with OTB" or something corny like that!


I'm not a leg humper... but I'm super attracted to how fucking stupid she is! - wildjester

Castle: rob, potbelly, stat. i brought the bike, wanna ride 2 up??
ClemsonJeeper: omg i'm in now!
Castle: fvck, did i just put that in the sb?
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February 8, 2012, 09:51 AM

Yep. OTB, you should consider blogging at a minimum, or submit some of your work to Ironhorse. I love reading it


-Fitz

2016 Harley Softail Slim S
2012 Harley Ultra Limited in Ultra Annoying Orange Sold!
2012 V-Strom 1000 Sold!
2009 Buell 1125R Sold!
2005 Superhawk Sold!
2001 Superhawk Abandoned!
1981 CB650C Destroyed!

Brace Yourselves... the cries of "It's too cold to ride" are coming...
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otb
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February 8, 2012, 10:05 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JTG40cal View Post
You could have your own little segment like "On the Road with OTB" or something corny like that!
Now corny, I can DO corny!


Riding fast bikes slowly since 1969....
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otb
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February 8, 2012, 10:09 AM

Im blushin'. I only write about what strikes me as apropos for the moment,I doubt I can write for sombody else. But thanks


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February 8, 2012, 10:10 AM

Quote:
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Im blushin'. I only write about what strikes me as apropos for the moment,I doubt I can write for sombody else. But thanks
There ya go. When you get the hankerin, publish it


Most mags take submissions. Dutch has taken my garbage writing, I'm sure he'd rather publish something good

BTW, you still have that 1125 I was trying to buy from you?


-Fitz

2016 Harley Softail Slim S
2012 Harley Ultra Limited in Ultra Annoying Orange Sold!
2012 V-Strom 1000 Sold!
2009 Buell 1125R Sold!
2005 Superhawk Sold!
2001 Superhawk Abandoned!
1981 CB650C Destroyed!

Brace Yourselves... the cries of "It's too cold to ride" are coming...
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otb
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February 8, 2012, 10:19 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by thefitzvh View Post
There ya go. When you get the hankerin, publish it


Most mags take submissions. Dutch has taken my garbage writing, I'm sure he'd rather publish something good

BTW, you still have that 1125 I was trying to buy from you?
Who is Dutch?
And yes, still have the 1125...


Riding fast bikes slowly since 1969....
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