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Head Games
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Join Date: December 22, 2010
Location: Pasadena, Md
Head Games - January 23, 2011, 02:53 PM

One of the things I've learned over the years is that staying upright and in one piece is all in my head. The last two years during the summer I "specialized" in helping newer riders with fear issues get over the hump and deal with that which was holding them back.

Now, understand that I'm neither a shrink nor a "certified" instructor...I don't even try to teach MSF stuff....but what I do know is fear and the damage it can do. Mostly I helped people who had taken the MSF BRC and then had multiple drops or crashes and wanted to continue to ride, but couldn't seem to overcome the fear to restart or were so tense and afraid that there wasn't any enjoyment.

I'm of the "You don't think yourself into better living; you live yourself into better thinking" philosophy. Failure and the fear of it breeds more failure; success breeds more success. Not exactly revolutionary, but easier said than done.

WITHOUT EXCEPTION, the folks I worked with went from the small BRC bikes (Buell Blast, Honda 250 rebel) to much bigger bikes (Harleys, BMW's, ect) and had both "touchdown" issues (tiptoe stops) and bikes that were heavy and or topheavy. Most were women, but guys had the same problems, too.

A couple of easy demonstrations and exercises and about four hours of seat time and most were well on their way to recapturing the joy of riding.

I had ridden over a year on the street without incident and was feeling pretty good about my "skills" when one night a drunk took me out. I could have avoided the crash if I'd had better training, but I was one of those 70% that did the wrong thing when a crisis came along. I had gone down hard, my bike was well smashed up and I wasn't all that sure that I was going to ride it again when I got it back from the shop.

I mulled on that crash for a couple of weeks so that by the time I got my bike back I wasn't sure I could ride again. A buddy had dropped me off at the dealership that day so I had to ride it home.

When I left the dealership, I got about two blocks and the front started shuddering so bad I could barely hang on to the bars. I nearly crashed again in traffic. When I got it back to the dealership, they diagnosed that they had replaced the steering head bearings with the wrong parts; the steering stem had loosened up and was ready to come apart.

For weeks after that I couldn't shake the unease I felt every time I rode; I was paranoid and tense and my riding was choppy and tense. I was lucky, I rode with a guy that had ridden for a long time; he stuck me in a parking lot and had me redo the basics and taught me a few new tricks that gave me new confidence. More importantly , he made me dissect the circumstances of my crash; walked me through the proper responses and helped me look at what happened dispassionately and let me find my own conclusions.

I was the same person, I just had had some success and learned from past mistakes.

If you are having problems, ask someone more experienced for help. If you are a seasoned rider, nothing makes you better than teaching someone else what you know.


Riding fast bikes slowly since 1969....
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Posts: 17,473
Join Date: October 1, 2002
Location: King George, VA
January 23, 2011, 03:06 PM

I had a real bad fear problem, that kept me from buying another bike, after a couple of close calls in California, which followed a nasty wreck in DC.

I slowly came to realize that the close calls were handled about as well as they could have been. Either of them could have been fatal had I either failed to react, over-braked, or made other such mistakes.

In fact, both were solved by the MSF "quick swerve" maneuver.

When I got back on a bike, fear dominated me for a few weeks. It didn't help that it was the same bike I wrecked on. I took it out on a weekend for several hours of "me" time and leisurely back roads cruising. It slowly worked itself out.

Fear makes you nervous and causes you to second guess itself. Fear is crippling, unlike caution which is entirely different. I feel like now I'm a cautious rider, and I think that helps me avoid the consequences of being paralyzed by fear.

Your posts are great. This is unacceptable. Post more bullshit and useless threads, please HAHAH


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January 24, 2011, 08:37 PM

Originally Posted by thefitzvh View Post

This is unacceptable. Post more bullshit and useless threads, please HAHAH
Sorry, you get to a certain age and realize that the clock says you may only have X more time.........

Perhaps my greatest fear is that I'll wake up one day....and I won't be able to ride anymore..........

Riding fast bikes slowly since 1969....
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Join Date: June 3, 2003
Location: Alexandria
January 24, 2011, 09:03 PM

spot on good stuff!

confidence without over confidence is the place to be

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