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Learning your strengths & weaknesses

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by Cris, Nov 6, 2014.

  1. One of the things I have enjoyed about my first few months' riding is that it provides constant learning challenges. I expected riding to be fun, and it is, but its taken me a while to realise just what a complex and rounded set of skills is involved.

    As well as riding around for utilitarian transport and for fun, I've put in many kms of deliberate practise, just trying to make myself as safe and fluent a rider as I can. I've noticed various things I'm good and not so good at, but two patterns stand out:

    Timidity (bad) : I know his doesn't fit the image of a male rider, but I often have a bit of a battle with being too timid. I've no desire to be that quick or aggressive, but there are situations where this trait is a detriment to safety. One is cornering-- mine is too slow (I have *never* gone too hot into a corner). Why this matters to me is that one of the unique advantages a bike offers a skilled rider is the ability to choose where to be in relation to other road users. That may well involve speeding well away from danger, and I can't really do that on tight, twisty roads right now. I often let people pass.

    Calmness (good): I've done enough kms now to have had a few potentially dodgy things happen, from sliding on gravel patches (happened today, albeit slowly) to finding roadkill right in my path on a corner. I haven't panicked, or even come close to it. Not being particularly skilled yet, I don't always know what the best thing to do is, but I haven't been tempted to snatch at the front brake or do anything obviously stupid, and I can maintain enough presence of mind to do whatever is within my skill limits.

    Seeing the patterns can be useful in spotting what to do about particular weaknesses. I've got a pretty good idea of what to do about my cornering slowness because I know it's mainly a confidence issue.

    Do any of you other novices think about this kind of thing? What are your strengths and weaknesses?
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  2. Good post.

    Remember Skill = Speed, it is NEVER the other way round.
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  3. Cris like your post (y).Not very confident putting to much of my personal advice up here being so new to riding myself.
    But i believe one of my strengths is to know who to listen to for advice with regaurds to riding and dont get to confused listening to everybody.
    Best bit of advice i got off a Netrider is you can excelerate out of a corner but not out of a tree.Try and find yourself good people to ride with so you dont get lured into doing silly stuff.If you go out in a group ride,or by yourself and keep running wide and having moments ,your doing something thats going to hurt eventually.As for my weaknesses not enough riding time as i would like,plus plenty moore,like my spelling and punctuation.:)
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  4. With practice you will become a better judge of the speed you can take a corner at and get it right. Until then erring on the side of caution is a good thing. Always better to go into a corner slow and and tell yourself you could have taken that faster than go into too fast and wish you were going slower.
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  5. Ha! EVERY time I go riding and I get to tight corners I hear this voice in my head saying "you can accelerate out of a corner, but never out of a tree" :)
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  6. I hear "move your f**king head".

    That voice belongs to someone we all know and respect...

    But good post there. NR rides and mentors have really helped my riding style and confidence...
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  7. Yeah, that one too. :woot:
    It's all about where your head's at when it comes to riding, in more ways than one.
  8. One of my weaknesses (among others) is that my skills are a bit ahead of my experience.

    Often riders underestimate the importance of the "time in the seat", getting everything into the unconsciousness.

    Having skills is not enough. You need to repeat what you've learned a lot of times so that the skills and knowledge become a habit. And in the process of that, not getting any bad habits onboard.

    Often the consolidation phase of rider development is often omitted or not given enough attention. Then rider moves on to another set of skills without consolidating.

    That is also a bit dangerous territory, when a rider feels good about the riding. But he is a bit overconfident and haven't consolidated everything yet.

    So my weakness is that I always want to move on faster, too soon. I have to restrain myself from doing that.

    From here we can dive into the rider mental state which is closely related to the above.

    The mental state, training the brain to work for you, with you, is something that is rarely mentioned (because how can you see that unless you know the rider really well?).
    But I find it to be just as important (if not more) as rider techniques.

    I hope this makes sense for you guys :)
  9. Great maxim! A bit long for a tat, but tempting .. though I'd revise the spelling a tad ;)
  10. 6000km under my belt and I still suck at cornering, mainly the tight ones! I try and get out somewhere every weekend and practise cornering....
  11. Yeah, well, I don't need too much encouragement to go in slow!

    The thing about spotting your own patterns is that it gives you useful clues about your own way to improve. As I know that I'm a bit tentative about corners, and also that my natural route to confidence is via competence, so the best way for me to improve is to do corners at my own pace, but each time trying to execute them more perfectly. So that's what I concentrate on, relying on info gleaned from here (notably robsalvv's great Noob cornering posts) and a HART intermediate course I did. It's working, as my corners are far smoother than even a few weeks ago (no more polygonal wobbling). I'm in no rush though, as I'm surely into motorcycling for the long haul.
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  12. Well, here's the thing caz, do you know why it sucks? As in (1) exactly what you do wrong, and (2) whether there's a general tendency (personality, habits etc) this derives from? That might give you some clues re just how to practise when you're out at the weekend
  13. Dunno if this will come as good or bad news to you Cris, but, after 50 years of riding, I'm still learning stuff.

    Embarrassingly enough, it's not all new stuff..... some times it's stuff that I knew but had forgotten, but I reckon that when you stop learning it's probably because you are dead.
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  14. Oh, good, learning is the best. But I 'ain't got 50 years left, so I'll never reach your stage of 'still learning'.
  15. yep, too tentative, although I am starting to lean more ( well at least I think I am lol)!....
    and I'm with you "I ain't got 50 years left" either!!!!
  16. Just a stab in the dark , Caz , but are you maybe not approaching wide enough and/or turning too soon forcing you to hold a shallow line through the corner ?
    If so this will severely restrict your vision of and through the corner.
  17. my problem is I overthink when it comes to cornering....am I in the right spot etc. Some days its a breeze, others, well ugh. I have been told I am getting better at it ( should hope so), but I tend to back off a bit when approaching which I am aware of and consciously try not to now. I know it all comes with time but I just get so frustrated with myself.
  18. Yeah that's normal , sounds like you are similar to @Ness_@Ness_ . Good that you're getting some feedback on your riding !
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  19. Hi Cris , another novice, now 4000km and like you, faster but safe cornering is the key challenge
    I use the old road north of Sydney to practice.
    1. Most corners have a recommended speed sign so over the months I have been incrementally improving my speed to now approx 20% over. Frustrating but this morning another P plater went past like I was 'standing still', grrrrr
    2. Some corners are 35-45km/ hr , are completely blind ( rock wall) so I elect to stay just over the limit-timid? No ,I could not react quickly enough if a hazard on the corner so elect to not go any faster.

    As an ex golfer I have seen so many people with 30 years experience but still poor golfers, this could also be the case for many motorcyclists?? I intend to have further training at a track to improve my skills. This way I can determine how fast I wish ( or capable) to go in a more controlled environment

    My strength .....and weakness is that I enjoy life too much to take too many risks with cornering so I focus on improving my gear changes , feeling the acceleration ( yes even on a LAMs bike) then practicing emergency stops.
  20. To all the newbies I strongly suggest you make friends with some experienced and talented riders and go for a ride with them. Pick their brains. Don't get upset if they criticise you, listen, take it in.
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