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It's a bird; it's a plane...

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' at netrider.net.au started by thermal, Nov 28, 2010.

  1. No, it's a motorcyclist who target fixated.

    So, given the weather near me was holding out with only light drizzle here and there I decided to go out for my first ride (if we don't count the partial escort home from the dealer).

    I decided to go buy petrol (much nicer to see a fill up cost $6.50...) and then practice the run to work. I don't plan on riding in peak hour traffic for at least a few weeks, but I thought it would be good to practice on a day when it should be relatively quiet.

    Anyway... I work in the office complex along Yarra Boulevard/Swan St. I tackled a couple of roundabouts without too much problem and headed down the boulevard. Made it round a left hand corner that is not quite hairpin, but is much tighter than 90deg. Up through the work carpark, back out to the boulevard, a few backstreets and back down the boulevard to where I started.

    At a guess, I'd probably been riding for about an hour by this point. I wasn't feeling tired, but I decided to take a 10 minute break in one of the little parking areas there anyway. Gave my first nod to a fellow riding past (let me know if it was you! I was standing by a black VTR250) and then planned my next move. I decided to run back through the boulevard, work carpark, then back home.

    I made it round the little bends in the boulevard, but something happened at that tight LH turn. Everything was normal - 2nd gear, going pretty slow (15k maybe?), started the turn and then something went wrong. I ended up straightening up, running wide and into the gutter - sending me over the bars and requiring a little gymnastics to tuck and roll. Damage to me: none. Damage to bike: scratches and a fairly bent rear brake lever.

    So, I have been thinking about it and all I can come up with is target fixation. I entered the corner quite slowly, but I ended up gaining pace and losing my way. What is the best way to try and avoid this in the future - is it as simple as looking through the corner better? My confidence is still 100% and I'll be back out as soon as I get that lever fixed, but I just wonder if there's anything else I should be doing if I find myself in that situation again.
  2. It sounds like you know the answer, look where you want to go. The second point about entering slowly and gaining pace you need to assess more fully. Did you get on the power or did the corner just decrease in radius more that you expected. In the second case your entry line or speed may have been wrong. Glad you are Ok, if you can ride away its a learning exercise. :)

    Have a read of Robsalv and Raven's excellent Cornering Basic threads in New Riders and Riding Tips some good stuff in there.
  3. I had all the room in the world to make it round the corner. I had done the exact same corner no more than 20 minutes earlier and I don't think I did anything consciously differently. The picking up pace thing was what I don't really understand - instead of jumping on the brakes, or even chopping the throttle - I essentially froze.

    I have read through those threads and also watched/read TOTW 2 - guess it's time to read them again. Then again a few more times!
  4. Just when you were going so well hey! That's the thing hey, it's 100% concentration and focus 100% of the time.
    I had a similar thing happen to me with running wide on a corner. To this day, I can't explain how it happened, and how I ended up on someones nature strip! It scared the life out of me.

    As I've only been riding for about 8 weeks myself, when I'm approaching a bend or corner etc, I talk to myself to make sure I am fully aware of where I need to focus. Sounds silly, but it works for me. I talk myself through the steps to get around the bend or corner.
  5. Take the experience and learn from it.

    It sometimes feels dumb, but you have to look as far through the corner as far as you can. If you start picking out points (like the outside gutter), thats where you'll head. Sounds like you hit what you were aiming at :D Take some confidence in that fact ;) :D

    Keep practising and stay upright!
  6. Definitely practice looking through the corner and training your peripheral vision to pick out hazards/oddities. I still have to refocus myself a lot, but the more you do it the more natural it becomes.

    Also... I'm curious. What does everyone else think about the 2nd gear at 15km/h? I'd normally be in 1st and using the clutch to smooth things at that speed. Just wondering if the higher gear could have contributed to standing the bike up too much.
  7. Haha, I talk to myself a lot - I guess I was ignoring me on that corner. And good point ninja - I proved to myself that I can go where I look. Now I just need to look where I *want* to go. :p

    As for the gearing comment, I only ever use 1st when I'm stopped dead (or slow enough that I've just about stuck my leg out). The rest of the time I'm usually in 2nd (or accelerating from 1st, or want more power). At a guess, this probably comes from how I gear in a car.
  8. Go and read the thread concerning SR'S. Two of these classic sr's struck you down.

    Firstly, I'm guess your vision lost it's way reasons only you can explain. ( minimal experience, distraction, lack of focus etc)
    Then you froze. That stopped you from turning because you tensed up with arm Lock. You did not change the throttle due to your death grip, I expect, so you did'nt actually add power, but just went faster because you stopped turning. I would suggest that would be the same reason you did'nt brake.

    It's a serious lesson. Imagine if a car had been right there. You could have been seriously injured. And what if it happens again at regular speeds on a busy road? Another obituary in the papers. Melodramatic? Nup! Reality.

    Get off to do a hart motorcycle course where they can help set down the correct path to overcoming SR'S.

    In the meantime stay alert, highly focussed, and be prepared for it to happen again, because it is highly likely to.

    Anyway... That's just my summation of possible events as they unfolded.
    Always, always... Be VERY self analytical.

    Take it carefully, and you'll be right. :)
  9. Sorry to hear about your ordeal. Before you do any reading get yourself across to the Saturday morning learner practice session to build a foundation of basic skills and then do the sunday and Tuesday night learner rides.
  10. Raven, I was actually laughing as I was picking myself up. Partly because I just got to see the SRs in action and partly because I knew if the situation had been different, it could have been worse. Though, I do wonder how I would have reacted if there was a car there - it may have actually caused me to focus properly on where I wanted to go because a car would trigger more of a danger in my mind than a patch of grass. Either way, I'm glad it happened when and where it did, so that I could learn from it without any major consequences.

    And Resmen, I had planned to go down on Saturday morning, but it was cancelled due to weather. I will definitely be there every week it runs though, luckily I live quite close.
  11. I was also in the same position as you when I begun riding a year ago. The first thing I did to become a better rider is attended a handful of the saturday practice sessions and then started regularly attending the other rides on offer thru this site.

    Unfortunately we've had a bad lot of wet weather lately otherwise the sessions are never cancelled and always run on a weekly basis.
  12. Runnig wide is common, happens to allot of L platers (even non L platers) and can happen any time. Its very hard to concentrate at 100%. Going wide happened to me twice yesterday, the first was on the windy bit along Old Northern Rd going up from Wisemans Ferry. This was on purpose though, I had two lanes to play around on and decided to change my lines.

    The second was going from Hamilton-Garfield-McCulloch. Basically followed the GPS voice a little bit too closely and turned left at very late notice (after the turn). That would have been the slowest head on in netrider history with me going slower than walking speed v a parked car.
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  14. Where you in the left or right of the lane going into the turn?
    My guess you were just to tight!
  15. I think I was around the centre of the lane when I started turning. But that's a good point, had I started out wider, it would have made the angle a bit better.
  16. Thermal, you probably deserve a good pub ribbing for losing it after entering a corner at 15km/h... you'd barely have any lean angle at that speed!

    Get thee to the 101 cornering threads and get the good stuff into your riding.