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Hate being a noob
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  (#1)
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Hate being a noob - September 17, 2007, 08:39 PM

I've had my M-learner's now for about 3 months but today was actually my first ride. I have to admit I was very nervous as I was riding my friend's '99 Yamaha R6 and the last thing I wanted to do was drop it. Fortunately I didn't.

Now, I know my way around a car pretty well, but what I don't know about bikes would fill volumes. Heck I've been driving 20 years, doing high performance driving schools since 1995 and have been racing competitively for the past 10 years. I've been to all 3 tracks at Summit Point, Watkins Glen, Waterford Hills, Pocono International Raceway, Rockingham Motorspeedway, Lowes Motorspeedway, Roebling Road, Road Atlanta, Carolina Motorsports Park, VIR, Moroso, Sebring International Raceway, New Hampsire International Raceway, Indianpolis Raceway Park, and driven on Ford's test track in Dearborn Michigan.

So it has been a looong time since I have been on this end of the learning curve. As a matter of fact the last time I was at this point was when I was about 10-years old and started driving my Mom's pickup on our farm in NC.

I must say, I hate it. I hate not knowing what I need to know. I hate not being coordinated. In a car I can heel-toe downshift while talking on the radio to my crew and passing two cars on the inside. On a bike I'm virtually helpless.

I know that only experience will cure my current malady and I hope that I will adapt quickly, but it is very frustrating to go from a world where you're very comfortable to being a fish out of water.

Now, that being said I really did enjoy the few miles I got to ride today. I tried puttering around in the neighborhood so I could get used to all the controls, but the R6 was definitely not happy with me at 25 MPH. The slightest movement of my uncoordinated right hand made for less than smooth acceleration. Getting my feet to do things they weren't used to was also a chore, for it seemed there were a billion stop signs in the neighborhood. Which was good because it helped me learn how to start and stop.

The sun was out, the weather was great and the traffic was relatively light. We stopped at Chez Ronald (McDonald's) in South Riding for a bite to eat and then headed back out again. With each successive break I got a little more competent.

I hadn't planned on actually going out onto real roads today, but I got comfortable enough on Loudoun County Parkway that I actually hooked a right on Route 50 and off we went. We headed to Chantilly to Fast Lane cycles, which I totally forgot was closed on Mondays. It was getting close to rush hour and I wasn't particularly keen on fighting down Route 50 in full on traffic. The thoughts of angry commuters behind me as I am bucking the R6 from a stand still over and over again did not appeal to me.

We made it back to my friend's house without incident. I can't wait to go out again!


Lt. Colonel Grossman - writes in his introduction to The Bulletproof Mind:

One Vietnam veteran, an old retired colonel, once said this to me: "Most of the people in our society are sheep. They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one another by accident."....

"Then there are the wolves," the old war veteran said, "and the wolves feed on the sheep without mercy." Do you believe there are wolves out there who will feed on the flock without mercy? You better believe it. There are evil men in this world and they are capable of evil deeds. The moment you forget that or pretend it is not so, you become a sheep. There is no safety in denial.

"Then there are sheepdogs," he went on, "and I'm a sheepdog. I live to protect the flock and confront the wolf."
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Brainwash Your Face!
 
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September 17, 2007, 08:55 PM

Do not get frustrated! Take your time as you have been. It seems you know your way around a car very well...no worries bike riding will become second nature to you as well in due time.

Nice write up and glad you had a good/safe ride


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.RJ
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September 17, 2007, 10:09 PM

I was in the same boat - lots of track time on 4 wheels, instructing, racing wheel to wheel... and then the bike was a totally new challenge. You'll get it quickly though, ALOT of the same things transfer over - especially vision. Get on track as soon as you get comfortable on the road, it will help a lot as well.
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September 17, 2007, 10:14 PM

Outstanding post


BECAUSE I GET OFF ON IT!
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September 17, 2007, 10:19 PM

outstanding post. Glad it was a good ride... No worries, it will all come soon. Hang in there and you will be glad you didn't rush it..
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September 17, 2007, 10:23 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by .RJ
I was in the same boat - lots of track time on 4 wheels, instructing, racing wheel to wheel... and then the bike was a totally new challenge. You'll get it quickly though, ALOT of the same things transfer over - especially vision. Get on track as soon as you get comfortable on the road, it will help a lot as well.
Yeah, I was looking WAAAY down the road today. I did find that I need to turn my head and look beofre moving in a parking lot. The helmet really seemed to block my peripheral vision more than I'm used to. At the track it's no big deal because it seems racecars have the right of way in the pits and everyone lets you out when you start moving. In the real world people don't give a shit about you and will be more than happy to run your ass over if you're not looking out for them.


Lt. Colonel Grossman - writes in his introduction to The Bulletproof Mind:

One Vietnam veteran, an old retired colonel, once said this to me: "Most of the people in our society are sheep. They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one another by accident."....

"Then there are the wolves," the old war veteran said, "and the wolves feed on the sheep without mercy." Do you believe there are wolves out there who will feed on the flock without mercy? You better believe it. There are evil men in this world and they are capable of evil deeds. The moment you forget that or pretend it is not so, you become a sheep. There is no safety in denial.

"Then there are sheepdogs," he went on, "and I'm a sheepdog. I live to protect the flock and confront the wolf."
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September 18, 2007, 08:05 AM

you should have tried at least one stoppie...!!





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.RJ
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September 18, 2007, 08:28 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheepdog
Yeah, I was looking WAAAY down the road today. I did find that I need to turn my head and look beofre moving in a parking lot.
I suck at parking lots - and I cant do a damn u-turn. Getting your head WAY around and weighting the outside peg (just like they teach you in the MSF) helps a ton. It will be easier when you get your own bike and dropping it in a parking lot isnt a big deal Not that I ever did that with my first bike... twice.
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  (#9)
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September 18, 2007, 08:32 AM

great post, I think your car experience will eventually help you on the bike as well.

I don't know, I enjoyed the first days riding and making the mistakes and being unsure about things...there's something that is fun when it comes to a completely new world of riding and learning.

I think I'm still new to the game as well but I look back at the first days and the first rides where I could barely manage to hold the speed limit and out of everything including some of the track days and races...those were the most fun.

Good luck...and practice your panic braking! If you haven't done so read proficient motorcycling as well...tons of good info in that book


Chris
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September 18, 2007, 08:34 AM

Sheepdog - I was kinda in the same boat as you last year when I started riding. I haven't done wheel to wheel in cars, but I've been autocrossing for years and certainly feel very comfortable at the limit in my car.

Hopping on my bike is another story. But, even though I feel like I dont know what the hell I'm doing (after like 5000 miles), it gives me an odd sense of satisfaction everytime I do something right/better than the previous time. Its a rewarding learning experience.


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singin sweet home alabama
 
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September 18, 2007, 09:14 AM

Excellent post my friend! We've all been there.


"No race has ever been won in the first corner, but plenty have been lost there."
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Que se jodan!!
 
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September 18, 2007, 09:19 AM

It will come with time - before you know it, you'll be on the track with the rest of us idiots, hanging off the bike like a monkey. Don't rush it - it will come to you fast enough.


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B
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September 18, 2007, 09:47 AM

You're going to be really surprised how quickly your learning curve brings you up to speed.

great post.


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I'm so tired
 
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September 18, 2007, 11:33 AM

Good job on the write up. It comes naturally when you ride more and more.

Welcome to the board by the way.


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It is what it is!
 
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September 18, 2007, 01:03 PM

Welcome to the board!

I think you just need more seat time and some time getting comfortable with the bike.

One thing that helped me was, going to a high school parking lot on the weekend and spending the whole day just getting to know my bike and practicing slow speed turns, ect ect.

I did that every Sat & Sun for like my first month....and I'm talking 7 hrs a day...only stopped for food, drink...and the occasional piss.

You'll get...give it time.


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