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Help With Intersections

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by Snowie, Apr 1, 2011.

  1. Hi everyone,

    I would love some advice on right hand turns in intersections from a standing start. I am cool with lefties because the kerb bends around and I can position the bike so that by the time I stop to give way, I'm already half way around but righties are another matter.

    I feel fairly confident making a right if I don't have to stop. What I want to do on rights is go straight until I can get the bike moving and then make the turn (this isn't always possible when coming into a T intersection ... gotta be able to see around the corner), but I've only been practicing in the back streets of a new estate and the roads are fairly narrow. I just don't feel confident with leaning the bike over as soon as I take off (remember that I'm taking these corners at very slow speeds, so can't lean much).

    Has anyone got some advice for me on some techniques I can try to get around them more confidently and less wobbly? My husband, with over 40 yrs bike riding experience mentors me on all these rides and he tells me to take the corner a little quicker to make the bike more stable. I do see the wisdom of his advice, but I just don't have the confidence to take them any faster than I am at present. I'm really worried that I'm going to mount the kerb if I go too quick (never have, but it doesn't stop me being paranoid). Also, please take into account that I haven't quite got the clutch and throttle going on smoothly on take off yet, so I tend to be concentrating hard on getting that right when I'm executing the turn. I tend to find the friction point, give it just enough stick to keep the bike moving and not stalling and then I don't rap it on anymore ... worried it's gonna make me go faster than I can cope with.
  2. Sounds like you might need to "counter-lean", basically it involves leaning away from the corner, so staying more upright, not leaning with the bike, I find this helps heaps with corners where I have to take off from a standstill & turn immediately.

    I am not sure if anyone has written up a good description of how to safely do this on the forums yet, anyone remember another thread on this subject???
  3. Great question Snow.

    The over simplistic answer is practice, and if you're in Melbourne then i suggest getting down to Saturday practice. Husbands and partners are only so good at teaching objectively and then the relationship kicks in.

    The thing I'd be getting you to focus on is take off speed. Newbies are taught to take off slow at licensing and don't automatically progress from there when they go and practice on their own.

    I'd teach you in these steps.

    Find an open carpark or industrial estate with plenty of room
    Practice emergency stops from 60k/ph
    Then practice quick take offs up to 60k/ph
    Then introduce take offs and turning in an open area until your confidence grows
    Then practice at an intersection that's not being used (i.e. not back streets)
    Practice quick take offs both left and right with the focus on rights

    ...and lastly, when coming to a T-intersection, angle your bike slightly towards the direction you want to go, and you wont need to lean as much when you turn, allowing for more acceleration. This is the difference between your lefts and rights which is why the lefts are easier. Cars come to T-intersections at an acute angle, but you're no longer in a car ;)
    You would be better to have a mentor show you this so you don't over compensate and leave yourself vulnerable.

    But a word of warning, if you rely on that technique without learning 'quick take offs and turning', then you will have a skill deficit when you really need it. Leaving you in the same position as you are now.

    Hope this helps.
  4. I'd try getting clutch/throttle control down pat first and practice these these stationary stop right turns in a carpark/industrial estate or somewhere similar until you really gain some confidence in starting from a stop position and get moving quickly. Try it in a straight line first until you get the hang of where the friction point is on your clutch lever. Just keep doing it until it feel comfortable and can do it without stalling and are able to pull away with no dramas.
    In relation to turning, just look where you want to go around the corner and not at the kerb that you will think you will hit as you will inevitably end up hitting it.
    You can practice as Pilgrim described above in a car park also.
  5. disclaimer: this might not help... :D

    Chef has a point. Hubbies are only so good, then they remember they want to get some at night and they possibly don't go as far as they should.

    But I think your hubby might be right. When he says "faster" i'm sure he doesn't mean knee down, peg dragging pace. I'm thinking he is implying 1st/2nd gear (15-30ish k/hr). Going too slow will mean the bike is more unstable. This translates into hellishly unstable when you are a new rider and haven't got all the fine muscle controls down.

    So, the process:

    Takeoff (gentle on the clutch, gentle on the throttle)
    Look where you want to go (check the traffic, then sight up the road)
    Turn the bars
    Continue to gently roll on the throttle. (this will help stabilize the bike and get the weight in the right spot)

    Not sure what the broader opinion is on shifting mid-corner... I try and stay in first for the corner then change to 2nd after the corner.

    Practice, stay upright and let us know how you get on.
  6. Hi Snowie,
    how do your distributed weight during the turn? It's very common mistake for any novice to shift weight on hands and handlebars. In this case it's extremely difficult if possible at all to get any turn at all.

    Give attention to this factor and try to relax your hands as much as possible. In fact, you can turn your bike without any input on the handlebars, just leaning the bike with your legs. Just try it, don't hold handlebars tight!
  7. I think you need to get your stop and starts correct first and really learn to relax and allow the bike to do what's it's meant to.

    Smooth, clean, acceleration from the word go - just practice it in a straight line until you are comfortable and confident with taking off both slow and fast (emphasis on fast - we aren't talking 0-100 in a couple of seconds, just get the bike moving enough to be stable).

    Once you've got this tied up, it's time to really relax and as above, let the bike do what it's meant to - you need to trust yourself and more importantly the bike. It will turn but you've got to allow it to do so. Holding on tight or stiffening you arms will prevent it from doing this efficiently.

    Relax, accelerate, lean, and let the bike do its thing. If need be (usually on tight corners) you may have to assist by turning the bars ever so slightly but in most cases this probably wont be necessary - the lean will be enough.

    Did I mention RELAX??! :)

    My $0.02 (y)
  8. Hi Snowie,

    Here's something to help:

    I think Jerry Pallidino's tips etc are very useful for new riders. Here's a link to his free vid page: http://www.ridelikeapro.com/online-videos

    Scroll down & check out his Safety Tips of the day too. :grin:
  9. Thank you all (Pilgrim, Chef, Quo Vadas, Modern Ninja, SkyDance, Nucleotide & Night Owl) for your input, I really do appreciate it.

    Firstly, I read your reply Chef before I went out for a little spin this arvo and I read your post to my hubby (whom, by the way, is the most inpatient man I have ever bloody met, but when it comes to teaching me to ride he seems to have the patience of a saint!!!=D>). We went out and practiced the fast take offs on a straight bit of road. He made me take off quick and get to 3rd (I would tell you how long the road is, but I'm useless at estimating measurements [maybe between 50-100m long???) Still not great, but certainly better than before I had a go. Thank you, thank you, thank you, your input was absolutely invaluable. Am certainly going to try and make it to a Sat am learning session - next week if it's not raining. Can't tomorrow because our kids have a football clinic they have to attend in the morning. :( In that sense and because I didn't see your message before I left, thank you also to Quo Vadas & Nucleotide.

    Modern Ninja, I know that I should be looking where I want the bike to ... sometimes this is easier said than done and it is also something that I made sure I practiced today. My corners were a hell of a lot smoother than they have been, although in this sense I'm only talking about turns that I can make without having to stop. Did one right hand turn from stop today (forced on the way home to give way to traffic) and got a little paranoid about rapping it on too quick and had a very wonky ride around the corner, however, it was a much smoother line that I have been taking so far. But, I made it without dropping the bike or coming close to stalling, so I guess that's progress ey? :|

    SkyDance, I've been trying to stay upright on the turns and leaning with the bike ... I'm not too sure if I've been relaxed enough ... concentrating so hard on making it that I haven't had time to notice. However, I think today was more relaxed because the turns I was making without stopping were much smoother and a much better line that I have been in the past.

    NightOwl, funnily enough, I had already found that video and watched it a couple of times yesterday to see if there was something I was missing. I agree that Jerry is a good teacher, but it sort of failed to answer the questions I was asking.

    So again, thank you so much to everyone for not only answering, but how timely your answers were. They really did help today and I am very grateful that you all took the time out to listen and give some advice. You guys are awesome! :beer:
  10. :roll: I wonder whether you even ride a bike Skydance. Have you ever hip steered/"weight" steered a 90degree corner on a motorbike?? Effectively? You are becoming a fracking menace. Stop giving advice with an air of knowing what you're talking about.

    Snowie, ignore entirely what SD has said.

    Ok, bunker down with a cuppa - let's go through this thing step by step.

    Your issue - a standing start right hand turn, gives many learners the willies because of the apparent steep lean angle the bike seems to take which is made to feel steeper by the sensation of acceleration. This combination drives a sense of instability, that the bike might slip out from under you and that leaves you doubting the bike, doubting yourself and ultimately becoming stiff and tense which are both well known features of riding called, "survival reactions". In this headspace, you most likely will target fixate your vision on what you're trying to avoid, rather than where you want to be. <-That's probably you're biggest clue.

    So let's deal with these survival reactions.

    First, you need some speed, not a lot, but at least more than 15km/h so that the bike will steer with counter steering. Counter steering is a stable and readily responsive way of steering. This is good. Some speed is good.

    Second, you need some speed for the bike to be stable - stability is safety. Some speed gives stability, so some speed is good.

    Thirdly unless the road is slick with oil, the bike will NOT slip out from under you. So turning will not cause a crash. So turn the bike!

    you need to look where you want/need to go. <--Can't emphasis this enough. That's the safe part of the road, not the horrible nasty curb or edge. Look where you want to go.

    Fifthly - and possibly the point SD was making so clumsily, you need to relax your arms to be able to give an effective steering input. If you're too tense, your steering will be ineffective and you will run wide. This is likely to make you look at what you might hit, amping up survival reactions, rolling off the throttle, causing the bike to jerk - making you more tense, causing the bike to run wider etc etc etc Sound familiar?

    So that's some of the background... now let's get you through the turn.

    The big picture answer is a mix of Chef's and Ninja's posts. Getting a good smooth take off, looking where you want to go and steering the bike to that point are the solutions to your problems. Rinse, reapply, lather, rinse and repeat till that sinks in. In time, you will be able to do this in one seamless move. You mention turning late to increase your vision through the turn, but you shouldn't need to do that at a Tee intersection, especially if you're stopped and scanning traffic. Help me understand why you think you need that box shaped line through the corner.

    Anyway, if you read nothing else, read this, the recipe to turn right from a standing start:

    • It might help at first to stop with the bike slightly cocked in the direction you want to go, which I think Cheffie highlighted - but it's not critical.

    • At the Tee, be in the ready position (left foot down, right foot on rear brake, hands on bars).
    • Do some chicken wing arm flap moves to check for tense arms and remind you to relax them (wrist, elbows and shoulders - maintain a comfortable grip on the bars!)
    • Scan the road and intersection for debris and oncoming cars. All clear?
    • PHYSICALLY LOOK where you want to go by turning your head in that direction - turn your head and point your chin/nose in that direction.
    • Give the bike some healthy revs.
    • When it's all clear, start slipping the clutch.
    • Give yourself a good smooth take off by letting the clutch out gradually and maybe even rolling on more throttle as you go (your choice about more throttle).
    • Keep looking where you want to go and steer the bike in the direction you're looking.
    • KEEP YOUR EYES UP AND LOOKING DOWN THE NEW ROAD. DO NOT get fixated on a spot on the new road - I stress, keep your eyes and vision up and well down the road once you've commenced the turn.
      • Note: steering will involve knowingly or unknowingly applying pressure to the right handle bar/throttle grip - this is counter steering to the right.
      • Note: The point about "keep looking" is that you'll be looking at the safe part of the road and your eyes will be up which both helps you keep relaxed and makes it easier to feel balanced. Did I mention keep looking where you want to go?
    • Start straightening up in the new direction, at which time you can gently and smoothly change gears if the bike needs it.

    Embrace the lean and acceleration - it's normal and it's fun. :)

    You might find you cut the corner - YAY FOR YOU!! This is good. This means your steering input was too strong for the speed. Excellent! next time go faster or steer a little less strongly. :)

    Now go out and practice. :)
  11. Edit - aw crap... typing too slow.

    Keep up the good work Snowie. :)
  12. Hi Snowie,

    I'm a newbie taking lessons in Perth so I am not going to give you any advice. But - I totally understand your problem because that's how I was feeling. Once I actually did mount the kerb (a sloping kerb I add) but just rode it anyway and didn't fall off or anything. Also, the advice others have given about looking where you want to go is totally true. I found I was staring down at the front wheel or the ground & then the bike felt all over the shop. As soon as I looked up the road it just felt more grounded and stable.

    Good Luck with your learning experience

    Pommie Cat
  13. Someone needs to watch twist of the wrist II :D

    For the record, weight distribution means sweet FA. Without input into the bars, you won't turn any kind of decent corner. SkyDance, don't take it the wrong way, your participation is wanted (even if Rob and some of the older, grumpier Netriders are quiet harsh in their responses), but try to remember, when you give advice, if it isn't right you are potentially putting someone's life at risk.

    The only way the above "steering" with your legs works is as you weight one side of the bike, you subconsciously shift weight onto that arm as well!

    EDIT: Disclaimer: your weight does need to shift over to corner effectively. But it is only with that and input into the bars.

    @Rob: damn dude...

    @Snowie & Pommie Cat: guys, this will take practice. Be patient with yourself. And PRACTICE EXACTLY what it is you want to perfect. Biggest thing my soccer coach ever taught me was train the way you wanna play.

    Same thing applies here. Practice exactly the situation you struggle with until you become bored. When I was learning to drive a manual car (i taught my self :) ) I really, really, really, really struggled with taking off from a stationary stop. Anyway, I jumped in the cars and started and stopped for like an hour. After it, I was bored stiff AND I could reliably takeoff 100% of the time.

    If you struggle with right turns from a stationary stop, get somewhere quiet and practice them! Do it over, and over, and over again. Critque yourself. Imagine what you are doing and what you need to be doing. If they don't match, keep going. If things start to get close, go home, well done!
  14. I took Heather down to the roundabout at about 11-00 PM.
    She was pillion,
    We went round and round the roundabout about 10 or 15 times,
    I went slow and fast for her, so that she could see the difference, what the different speeds meant to the bike,
    We went slow, the bike wobbled.
    We went fast, and the bike lent too much,
    It was a way of teaching her the way a bike will run by itself if the speed is right,

    This is between say 15 and 25 kays, it all depends on you and your bike and what your confident with,
    Look about four or five bike lengths in front of you,
    Find your self a round about in a pub or carpark and just go round and round it, Till you get the feel of it, Its just practice, You will get there,

    Just change the speed up or down to suit your self, and keep the speed constant right round,
  15. Assuming that you are not having to travel too far to get to the point where you want to start turning e.g. we're talking about small intersections... Turn the bars so that the wheel is facing the direction you want to go. Take off with the wheel turned and the rest just follows.

    At least that's what I found helped me make turns from stationary. Maybe it'll help you too :)
  16. Oh yes Rob, absolutely, (against better judgement!) they all sound remarkably familiar and I'm guessing you don't need me to tell you that I wasn't doing all of the above!!!

    Going to venture out again tomorrow afternoon (weather pending) and take a trip outside of Whittlesea and the quiet estate that I've so far been practicing in! Heading down Plenty Rd, RIGHT at the Donnybrook Rd roundabout and straight through to the on ramp with the Hume Hwy, which has another large roundabout, right all the way around, back down Donnybrook Rd to a long, quiet, straight, flat country road called Selkirk Rd, where I will again practice my quick starts.

    Pommie Cat, maybe, even though we are miles apart we can become online newbie buddies??? LOL

    Deadman, I've done quite a few right hand turns at roundabouts (which is almost the whole way round) and I hear what you are saying. The slower I took them and the more I looked at the kerb the closer I got to the kerb and the wobblier I was. The faster I tried to go through them and the more I swung my head over my shoulder when I started into them, the better they went. I think I'm slowly 'getting it' now! :)

    Djay, that sounds like a great idea, but I'm worried that starting with turned handlebars will result in the same as stopping with the front brake with the handlebars turned (please reassure me this won't happen). Already dropped the bike once, don't wanna do that again, but once I gain a little confidence in rapping it on on takeoff, I'm certainly gonna give that a try.

    I know I must sound like such a wussy scaredy cat, but I'm old now and I guess with age comes less bravado and more caution. I did take my learners test way back when I was in my early 20s and had way more guts than I do now. Should've got a bike and got my licence way back then, but I didn't have the money to get a bike and then I got married and had kids and ... of course, you can't put babies on a motorbike ... so I just dropped it until now. BUT, I WILL do this and when I do DO it, I wanna make sure that I'm bloody good at it ... don't want to leave pieces of myself all over the road (and maybe someone elses car!!!)

    Shit, I'm rambling now .. too many celebratory champagnes after doing 'okay' on Chef's quick starts. Even the old boy gave me a literal pat on the back tonight for my efforts!
  17. Did I mention that Heather is 61,
    I sent her on a ride, about 20 kays, It has 5 roundabouts, 6 sets of traffic lights, Montrose to lilydale 6 kays,then Wandin, Mt Evelyn and back to lilydale Just keep going round and round the same circuit,
    Did wonders for her, when she came home she asked questions, which I answered,
    Its just practice, I cant give riding experience, you must learn that your self,
    It just takes time, But your getting there, The more you ride the easier it is, eventually it will fall into place,
  18. MN for the sake of keeping this a noob level thread, I'm not going to correct what you've said because it's not dangerous. It's not quite right, but not dangerous.

    My attitude to Skydance has nothing to do with grumpiness and everything to do with correcting blatantly poor information.
  19. Good to read you're thinking about this stuff and getting some good results Snowie :)
  20. #20 djay, Apr 2, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2015
    No, it's different than braking with the handlebars turned. Take a look at this clip:


    I used to have endless trouble getting going and comfortable in time to make a turn until I saw that clip and tried it. Gawd I sound like an infomercial haha. Give it a go.