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Practice often & with a purpose {Moved from General}

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by PeterPorker80, May 8, 2013.

  1. #1 PeterPorker80, May 8, 2013
    Last edited: May 8, 2013
    It's often said at training courses I've attended or articles I've read that the best way to improve as a rider is to practice often and with a specific purpose in mind. So each time I ride, I make it a point to practice something specific, even if I've been doing it for years. (Hopefully not practicing it incorrectly and reinforcing a bad habit!)

    For me, some things I work on during my commutes would be things like:
    - riding position
    - clutchless upshifting
    - blipping when downshifting
    - emergency breaking
    Obviously, I do the above when safe, preferably when there are no cares in my immediate vicinity.

    On a ride, my focus is improving my cornering technique:
    - selecting the right speed (and downshifting in time) before committing to a corner
    - picking my line
    - selecting the point of exit
    - keeping throttle smooth and consistent
    (These are just examples of what I practice, not exactly how I corner. Let's not make this a cornering discussion.)

    I'm constantly trying to improve my riding and would be interested in what others do.

    I'm curious... What does everyone here practice while commuting? And while on a ride?
  2. RE the emergency braking...

    Many people agree that the EM braking that we all practice isn't exactly emergency.
    It is quick stop.

    What I do to really make it EM is approach something (like traffic lights) without rolling off the throttle and when I start to panic and get adrenalin - that's when I start braking. This is so much closer to EM braking.

    Of course it is assumed that you understand the risk and possible consequences. And of course there is time and place for that. But generally can be done quite often during the commuting.

    It is a bit of an extreme, but also much closer to the real-life EM braking.

    Also I have to state that I often don't have the courage to hold the throttle till the last second so instead of braking from 80km/h I brake from 70km/h :)
  3. That's a good point. I guess I only really practice quick stops rather than EM braking.

    Unfortunately, my commute seldom allows for a safe opportunity to do that but I'll try it next time I'm riding home late and there's no traffic.
  4. The lines.

    One of the exercises I do is holding the outside line, as close as possible to the white line.
    But most importantly - constant distance between the bike and the white line thought the long turns.
    One can be surprised how many things it can affect (your vision can get distracted, concentration is removed from the road, bike control changes etc).
  5. Yes there are some risks here apart from you possibly failing to stop in time. As dnagir said "time and place" in traffic I find controlling the speed of approach of any following traffic is important to your safety. Brake early and leave escape routes, even if you are using engine braking flash the brake lights so you are signalling your intention. My 2c ;)
  6. Roadcraft-ish.
    Can close my eyes for ~0.5s and still have time to react when something changes?
    Just doing it in itself is a scary thing. Will force you to read and feel the road and environment around.

    Not really recommending it as a practice, but could be mentioned too.

    How many cars' moves you can predict?

    I can predict about ~80% of the cars that about to change the lane affecting me implicitly or explicitly.

    Next time you ride, make a note of ow many cars affect you by their actions and how many of those you actually anticipated.
  7. #7 dima, May 8, 2013
    Last edited: May 8, 2013
    I lock the rear wheel whenever I can (but again time and place) to know how the bike behaves.
    Wet - just riding out of garage lock it a few times. Ride a bit more, lock it on warmer tyres. Lock it in a very slight lean, see how the bike behaves.

    But I generally totally ignore rear brake and only use it in slow-speed situations to settle the bike a little.
  8. No, I wouldn't, you are putting yourself at a disadvantage dnagir. Recent studies show the brain powers down the visual cortex at intervals as a power saving technique. This takes a while to get going again. Normally this syncs with your blink reflex, by subverting this process you will probably lead to longer intervals in pattern recognition and decreased situational awareness.

    You are better to cultivate the technique taught to pilots of scanning in a organised manner, instruments, across and up and down the field of view, mirrors that way your brain will recognise movment and possible danger much earlier. My opinion anyway :)
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Thanks. Good to know that. So that's why 0.5s feels more like a second?
  10. There's a part of Liverpool Rd in Strathfield where I do this (ie constant distance) going one direction. It gets tricky when cars are around though as I have to pay attention to them potentially coming into my lane. Going the other direction, there are too many cracks in the pavement bending a different direction to do this right.

    This is something I do all the time but not explicitly as practice. I always make it a point to try to visualise the cars around me while I'm riding... like a radar - turning it a bit like a video game (well, a top view one).
  11. I like that one.
  12. Closing your eyes while riding? Deliberately waiting for you to panick and get an adrenalin rush at a red light and only then start braking? Locking the rear wheel whenever you can?

    Geez, are you talking about riding on the road? You know there's other traffic on the road?! Not a place where I would want to practice either of those things :nailbiting:
    • Agree Agree x 2
  13. Focus is a good one.
    There's different levels of focus for different levels of riding skIill.
    On the road my targets will be about the size of a ciggy packet. When I am on it at the track it amazes me afterwards how little they can be. You wouldn't think you would even see what I use at the speeds were going.

    I don't think I would want to be that focused on the road. I don't think my peripheral vision is that good, or my death wish that large.
    Maybe I should say that focused on one thing. But it is good to focus and start really using your peripheral vision. As in being able to hit your turn in, be able to grab something with your eyes from a distance to use as a target. And for that you should have already assessed the corner..... Focus...it's a good thing
  14. Did you notice I specifically mentioned about right time and place?
    I also mentioned that those things are a bit more extreme, but it is worth doing it in a controlled manner and know your and the bike's reactions. Or do you prefer to never know about it and hope you won't panic should such a situation occur?
  15. I sure did. And I also asked whether you really meant that you do all those things on the road, as I don't deem the road a suitable place for those 'exercises'.
    Everybody has different standards though, just stating my own opinion!
  16. Also regarding closing the eyes for 0.5s.
    I probably should explain a bit.

    I sometimes wear contacts and it happens that I need to blink a few times when eyes get sore.

    The time to blink is approx 0.3-0.4s:

    Doing it for a tiny bit longer allows me to "simulate" it with a little bit of safety margin.
    I wasn't talking about closing the eyes and riding blind for 5 minutes :)
  17. Why?

    At risk of starting a bun-fight, what do you think it achieves?
  18. Up to you, mate.

    OTOH, I recommend, FWIW, the very opposite.

    A rider should try, as is appropriate, to not stop for a red light.

    By this I mean, see red light up ahead.

    Button off, slow down.....

    The "trick" is not to actually have to put your foot down to stop, but rather to ride slower and slower until the light changes to green, and you can get back on the throttle.
  19. Re: blipping on the downshift; it raises the revs of the engine and smoothly engage the lower gear. So instead of just going into a lower gear and the revs climbing up (as the gear speed won't be as fast as the road speed of the back wheel), the blip attempts to match the revs so that it goes that smoothly.

    I never used to blip on the downshift til it was recommended at a HART course I did. Not a passing recommendation but an actual exercise we had to do.

    The wobble of my back wheel when I downshift quickly (to slow down for a turn, not to stop using engine brake) has noticeably disappeared since I started doing it.
  20. ^^^^ I thought the answer was 'because i don't have a slipper clutch on my road bike'?