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Thunder in the hills - Chairman's big day out

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' at netrider.net.au started by Chairman, Mar 19, 2006.

  1. Regular Netreaders may have noticed that I don't post much on the topic of riding technique. That's because I know SFA about it. When I learned to ride, counter-steering was something you were told about as an emergency technique to dodge an unexpected obstacle - like a brick - lying on the road. Believe it or not, it was only when I got involved with Netrider that I found out that you could countersteer to get around a corner faster.

    So the past 18 months has been a crash (metaphorically) course in undoing 20 years of bad habits. There's still a long way to go - I think a cornering course is the next step - but here's a report on today's ride.

    Today I went to Reefton. I love Reefton. Some folks hate it but I reckon its great. Mile after mile of corners. So I made a plan to get up there today and everything fell into place. Sun was shining, I'd had a good sleep, housework was done...off we go.

    Sometimes the bike just seems smooth. I've pulled apart enough bikes to know that they are inanimate. So how is it that, if I change the oil, lube the chain and wipe it over with a wet rag, the bike runs 100% better? Could it be that the bike knows that you're treating it right, and decides to give you something extra - something a little special - something it knows you really want? Like what you sometimes get when you give flowers to you girlfr...

    Where were we. Yes - Reefton. Ok. When I go on a ride like this (pretty rare), I try to pick one area of riding and really work on it. Today, I decided to try to get through Reefton without braking in a corner. I did some new-agey creative visualisation - imagining myself setting up my speed, watching the exit point, tipping in, holding throttle, countersteering, gradually opening the throttle as if I felt comfortable with the lean, exiting with power coming on.

    It worked. Phark, it worked. For the first time, I sailed through Reefton with a level of confidence I've never had before. I wasn't fiddling with the throttle, I want tapping the brake, I wasn't constantly adjusting my line, I wasn't watching the speedo. Now, I've had the bike further over before, but I've never had it over so consistently

    Panic reactions - yup. I was going round the corners faster than I ever before and a few times the panic reaction set in. I could feel myself going for the brake. I'd already decided on a plan - every time I set up for a tight corner, I was saying, out loud, "Crank, crank". This made a huge difference because I that lizardy bit of my brain (that looks after staying alive) was hearing the monkey bit (that looks after having fun) saying "it's OK - we have a plan". Lizard relaxed, monkey giggled. I intend to do a lot more talking to myself in future.

    Did I get through without braking in a corner? No. There's loose gravel on one section and I ran through it and "Oh My God thats gravel and gravel kills and I've forgotten how to corner and on goes the brakes and ..." and I forgot to talk to myself about anything other than panic. Then I slowed down and changed my mental focus from going fast to going easy and it all smoothed out. "End Roadworks"...back to cranking.

    So what were the highlights? Well, the whole ride was great. The bike felt smooth and strong, the weather was great and my riding was 50% better than its ever been. Chasing a V-Strom from Cumberland Junction to Reefton was great. I couldn't pass him 'coz he had the legs on me at every straight but I was closing up at every corner. When a Strom is holding up the SR on corners, either I'm doing something right or he's doing it very wrong.

    The low point? Just after the "donut van" corner, I met a clown cutting the white line on right hander. Unfortunately, he had handlebars that were a full lane wide (guess the marque?) and that didn't leave much on my side of the road. All good, but the ol' sphincter got a workout.

    So there you go. No lessons in this for anyone else - this little rave is simply to record that I had a bloody grouse day and, after my dreary commute to the office, I remembered why I love riding so much.

    There you go. I'm due for a new front tyre but short of cash so next week's goal - Reefton on the back wheel.
  2. Bloody well done!..:)
    It's a hard thing, to stay off the brakes...but it sure makes you plan for the corners alot better...get's things smoother, and in the end, a little faster.

    I was up on the reefton as well...and is was a great day for it. :)
  3. Great day for you Chairman, and a great post. Thank you.
  4. way to go chairman :) i had a not dissimilar experience when i read a chapter of two of 'twist of the wrist', decided to work on my throttle control and overcoming my 'survival reaction' by staying smooth on the throttle control through the corner. also did some visualisation before heading up reefton that day and had a 'personal best' day on the spur. still way slow compared to the rest of the world no doubt, but fast enough for me and a sh*tload of fun :grin:
  5. LMAO

    Excellent post. Ta

    My monkey appreciates the recognition - lizard sulks in corner. :)
  6. Indeed EXCELLENT post Mark, just like being there. I was toying with naming my Reefton ride report when I was down there "How I learned to love the gears and stop using the brakes" for exactly the reasons you describe here.... That ride on that ride with Dave taught me more than I thought it possible to learn.

    Hounding a lightweight single up Reefton should be bottled and sold as undiluted fun. :grin:
  7. Hey I didn't teach you much. You did that all by yourself Hornet [-X :LOL: :LOL:

    Great report Chairman. :biker:

    I was home most of the day listening to the bikes open up as they left Warby heading for the spur, wishing I were joining them. But there’s work to be done because there’s a ticket with my name on it, for a slow boat to Tassie and it leaves in less than a week.

    Then I heard the helicopter go over, low and in a hurry. It always makes my blood run cold. Hope everybody made it home last night.

    I saw it come back again and not from the Refton, thankfully.
  8. Thanks for the excellent post Mark. :grin:

    Sounds like you had a fantastic day. :woot:

    :grin: :grin:
  9. Great post Mark.

    I always enjoy reading posts of personal experience and especially when you achieve goals from it.

    Way to go!

  10. Thats a fantastic ride report Mark, and it sounds like you had a top day.

    This is what l would prefer to read then the usual garbarge thats on here..lol.

    Reading that made me feel like l was riding the Reefton...l was wondering why the others in the office were looking at me strange when l was leaning off my seat to one side :LOL: :p

    Great write up!!
  11. Thx ..... a fun read.
  12. Good one, Mark.

    Now do it with the chair on.....
  13. I have been informed by a good friend that
    The chopper was on its way to a motorcycle accident in Cockatoo
    where by the bike rider was ran over by a truck that went too wide on a corner coming from opposite direction , the rider is in seriouse condition and has 2 broken legs
    broken arm shoulder, elbow and wrist.
    last reports this morning were He is stable, and talking,rider was fully geared up in leather pants damaged in accident ,cordura jacket and gloves were still in perfect condition until cut off him .helmet is trashed
    take care on the roads guys n gals