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for noobs - slowing things down

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' at netrider.net.au started by raven, Jun 25, 2007.

  1. SO it's your first week or two on the bike, and you find things are coming at you pretty fast...perhaps too fast for your comfort, even though you are only sitting on the speed limits.

    This could simply be a matter of getting your mind and eyes used to the experience of riding, or you are riding too fast for your level...but quite often it is because you are'nt looking far enough ahead.
    If you focus your attention on what's going on right in front of your front wheel, you don't get enough time to take everything in....Lift your gaze and scan further ahead. This will give you more time to take everything in...effectively making things 'slow down', and give you more time to react to what's happening ahead.

    Of course, If you are riding too fast - free to slow down!.
  2. Very sound advice there John, when I got my L's 17 months ago (my how time flies when you are having fun) the instructor kept telling me "look up, raise you gaze" It took a while to do it without even thinking, but I reckon after my first afternoon of putting about my local area I had it mastered, and when you think about it, whilst driving a car you dont look down at the road infront of the edge of your bonnet, you look ahead, it's the same on a bike, just that it took a little while for the nerves to subside and the confidence to rise, all along combining the different skills I had just been taught into a smooth natural flow.
    However.... the look through the corner thing took a little while longer.
    I knew I was meant to look through the corner, or as they say, look where you want to go. Look up and ahead, as well as look through the corner are all pretty much intertwined together. But it didn't really sink in until I raced the scooter. That was when I got to perfect my technique and combine all the skills together.
    I was looking where I wanted to go more or less, but once I got to the twisties on the spur I knew there was plenty of room for improvement.

    Spending all those hours repeating the same corners over and over was extremely educational, I noticed my lines improving gradually as the race progressed and to this day I still have the memory of the track etched in my brain, I can picture every turn, every line, every brake point.
    I can practice in my head anytime I want, so this year if I get another crack at it I'll be even faster :LOL:

    lets see if I can get it right.....
    Take off from the pits, out into turn 3 a right hander, a quick squeeze of the brake, stay in the middle of the track, tip in to turn 4 a sharp left hander stay left of the track, tip in hard, a hairpin sharp right hander at turn 5, flat out down the back straight, move your butt to the back of the seat, get down as low as you can, move over to the left of the track, brake tip in to the right and round turn 6 we go, a slight inlcine no brakes stay to the right of the track follow the right bend round turn7, and up the hill, full throttle, stay right and tip into the left and through turn 8 past the start point, the incline increases, move left and tip into turn 1 the right hander with a down hill scary section that continues to slope downhill,stay on the left of the track along the front straight past the pits, brake tip in and turn right through turn 2 still going downhill stick to the middle of the track tip right and through turn 3 again.
    See, I told you I knew it off by heart :p :rofl:
  3. That's it...don't look down at the bike too much (speedo, tach, indicator lights etc), nor the road right in front of you. I found practising braking from speed helpful too, once you know you can do it smoothly and safely, you start focusing better on scanning automagically :grin:
  4. Easy for one to say don't look at the speedo when ya don't live in Victoria
  5. Good post, John. One of my biggest frustrations with road users is their short distance observations (or lack thereof). Obviously, it is an important skill for riders as knowing what's going on in front, to the sides and behind.

    Looking though corners and as far as you can safely see down the road without being distracted by distance events. I guess that really the distance you should be looking forward to should be no less than the distance it would take you to stop in an emergency situation. Many people do not look beyond the back of the vehicle in front.

    If I cannot see as far as I want to in front because the vehicle in front is blocking my vision, I will aim to overtake or switch lanes as soon as possible so I can see.

    If any of you learners are or were horseriders...just think how you would look where you were going to help you have the horse move where you want to go. Riding and riding are very similar :wink:

    The more you look down at the road in front of you, the more likely you are to end up there. Try to focus on keeping your chin horizontal to the road....say it to yourself while you're riding if you have to (noone else can hear what you're saying inside your helmet :p ).
  6. In my very first ride I did find things comes up very fast. I had to do heaps off u-turns though(more practice) since I keep on passing the turn I need to make :grin: .
  7. Quite right Lil...looking further down the road, has the same effect as slowing your bike speed down...The "perceived" speed through your eyes drops - simply because you have more time for your brain to process the information.
  8. Hahaha, too true. There's speed cameras everywhere here.

  9. only problem with us horse riders is we tend to forget that bikes don't always listen to the squeeze of the calves to hurry up... . :roll: :LOL:
  10. Excellent post, John :grin: . It's something that's really showing itself through experience for me.

    Over the last few months, especially in the twisties, the techniues I've been learning have resulted in my bike going faster (eg better line = limited less by the corner angle; shifting my body and leaning the bike more = cutting into the corner too sharply, unless I also allow my speed to increase proportionately). I found myself going faster without really noticing. I was simply matching the throttle to how the bike was responding. The bike was doing great!

    However, sometimes I found my head struggling to stay ahead enough to pick the line/speed/brake point for the next corner... Like I was chasing it. I didn't get behind with my attention - as in, I could stills pick the line etc, but if there were any surprises I mightn't have had enough time, from the point of me noticing, to deviate from my plan. It felt like I was having trouble concentrating, when it was that I hadn't adjusted my looking ahead distance to match.

    When I looked further ahead it slowed down the speed required to process and respond to what was coming. So if there was any change of plan required, I'd actually have a reasonable chance. When I feel like it's all working for me (in da zone), it always involves me being focused a nice distance ahead and using my peripheral vision to check on the rest. When I can't seem to get the focus far enough ahead, I have to slow down or it relies on too much.

    Whether you're new to riding and have to think more about the basic skills; if you're more experienced and going faster; or simply unfamiliar with the road - you need to look further ahead so you're responding, rather than reacting. There's no point looking at a distance where it's too late to do anything anyway.