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When your heart stops beating as you go around a corner...

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' at netrider.net.au started by gpxkermit250, Jun 23, 2008.

  1. The riding tips posted on this forum are gold. Has helped heaps. Just have to remember them and practice them, so perhaps I have answered my own question, but I would love to hear some thoughts on the below...

    As I start to increase the lean and speed into corners a bit more as confidence and skills grow I still seem to panic/stiffen at the entry point of corners when I look to the exit point and start doubting the universe and my chances of staying part of it. I try to say to myself "ok Greg, just look, yep, now lean....good, now stay light and stay on the throttle etc" which sometimes works, but I still feel like either before or during that point my eyes wonder to the place just in front of me, my arms stiffen, my chest tightens/heart hits the tank and rather than rejoicing the corner, I celebrate just getting out of damn thing and then get annoyed that I couldnt relax as much as I wanted to. It tends to be only when I know that Im going faster than ever before on a familiar bend or when I take new rides. Im not hooning at all, Im talking about taking some tighter corners at the speed limit rather than drifting around them 5 or 10km below as I mostly do. Is this normal? Am I expecting too much too soon? (4 months into Road Riding from a Dirt Bike background as a kid).

    Should I stick with my own exisiting cornering mantra, are there some other 'statements to self' that I can checklist off as I get ready to challenge various corners or should I just keep my mind silent and relaxed.

    Thanks in advance...
  2. Re: When your heart stops beating as you go around a corner.

    Both! If I think I'm feeling a bit tense, I might say to myself: "relax,relax, relax". TBH I reckon the mantra is less important than practising good technique to a point where it becomes effortless.
  3. Coming to grips with the new surface and the grip it has is a confidence thing, especially coming from dirt like you did. I took the approach where I scared myself over and over until it wasn't scary any more (thereby overcoming the oh-shit feelings), then upped the ante again, but I did that on a closed track and incidentally fell off a few times along the way. The slower method would be to stick to your comfort zone, concentrate on doing the little things right, and work your way into it by occasionally tagging onto someone riding at a slightly more spirited pace than you, dropping off if you resort back to stiffening up (doing the little things wrong). Whether you talk to yourself or not is neither here nor there. I'm not much of a talker myself, but then I hear some really good riders yelling at themselves as fly past me around a corner. Go figure. People are weird. Perhaps try thinking it through when you're not riding, I find that helps with all sports including motorcycle riding.

    I'm not a Keith Code fan, but he does talk about "survival reactions" in his books, which you might do well to read about, simply to gain a bit more insight into what you shouldnt be doing.

    Hope that helps.
  4. No need to rush it. It all comes naturally if you give it time. I think pushing your limits before your mentally prepared is asking for trouble.
  5. Re: When your heart stops beating as you go around a corner.

    I think having a conscious checklist is a good idea and you seem to have one that sounds OK.

    "Look where you want to go"
    "Posture on the bike"
    "Keep on the Throttle"
    "Slow in Fast out"

    There's no set speed that you are meant to take a corner. It's going to be different according to how the bike feels. If you pick the right line, you'll be going really fast and it won't seem tight and you may not even feel like it's fast. You're not meant to be fixated on the speedo.
  6. All the above....plus....

    Really, really, really important to be looking as far up the corner (exit) as you can. This has helped me heaps! And relax those arms.
  7. I'm still a relatively new rider, and I don't worry about the speed signs, unless they are 25, 30, 40 or 50 , as they tend to indicate a nasty corner.

    Its far more fun to enter the corner at a slower safe speed, and then hoon out of the corner :grin:
  8. Get your head and chest inside the line of the bike i.e the line runnung from the tyres contact patch throught the center of the tank/seat. This is good body position and helps keep you looking through the corner.
  9. This is not really a 'thinking' brain function. It's more a 'brain controls body without conscious thought' kinda thing.

    It will all start to fall into place when your brain and body TOGETHER learn the safest and best way through a corner. The best way to learn that is with a really good teacher who will take you through the steps. But for now, the best thing for you to be thinking about in a corner is "what does the road do beyond that point..." and put all other conscious thought aside.
    Oh... and 'slow in' is good, too :wink:
  10. Just beware that some of the 15-25kph advisory signs can be "erratic" in describing the tightness of the turn.

    You'll often hear people talking about "double the advisory" being their rule of thumb, and while it often holds true, some corners really are 15-30kph.

    My understanding is that the advisory speeds are more based around line-of-sight through the turn and safe stopping distances than actual corner tightness.
  11. wew!...you're suffering from a few major "survival reactions", and you need to overcome that, sooner than later. It sounds like you are on the right track overall, but still, you must learn to have a calm mind. THAT is a little difficult when you are first starting out, as you don't have the practice and experience to draw from, so instead just take things a little more slowly :)

    You need to allow yourself some time to build up your experience, and confidence, before you start pushing yourself too much...but you still have to push yourself a little in order to improve and get used to things.

    All of what you describe is what everyone goes through in the beginning...what is important is how you handle it. Take some decisive action...analyse your instinctive reactions, as you appear to be doing, talk about it, as you have done, then get out there, and train yourself to overcome your survival reactions with good techniques and roadcraft.

    So... slow down a bit, perhaps...it's easy to over-reach...then slowly begin to learn and practice your craft...stay within your limits, pushing them every now and then, to see if you have improved - if so, adopt those new limits, and move on again from there.

    Of the events that you describe, you are falling into a "classic" newbie self induced bad set of circumstances.
    Just be aware of that...and take control of your situation. YOU are the one in charge of what you and your bike are doing. :)

    Your in Melbourne, so there are a number of Mentors that would be willing to assist you if needs be, either through riding or just talking etc.
    I'm one of them, so feel free to PM me if you wish, or check the Mentors thread, to get some other names. :)

  12. You can experience SR's riding around your backyard streets... anywhere in fact. As soon as you spot one, start to analyse and unwind the programming.

    Survival Reactions:

    The enemy is tough but limited in number:
    1. Roll-off the gas.
    2. Tighten on bars.
    3. Narrowed and frantically hunting* field of view.
    4. Fixed attention (on something).
    5. Steering in the direction of the fixed attention.
    6. No steering (frozen) or ineffective (not quick enough or too early) steering.
    7. Braking errors (both over- and under-braking).
  13. wow, I have been reading all your replies over and over today with much appreciation.

    Thanks heaps for taking so much time to empart the many pearls of wisdom and advice. Im realising that taking a step back, staying calm, trusting myself and having an optomistic forward slash responsible approach to my progress will take care of any over ambition or fear of tarmac jitters.

    I said to my riding buddy today "On Saturday we rode for 4 hours and took so many bends and windy roads to Yarra Glenn really well, but Im struggling to stop thinking that every time I take that next slightly wonky corner it will be a heart stopper, not like the 99.9% of the ones thatwe rode through with good composure and enjoyment"

    Understand the "SR's" and learning from them, but not harping on is a good start I think.

    Cheers, Greg
  14. I'll chime in with this. Greg, practice controlling your breathing, even when you're just going for a squirt around to the shops.
    At the times when you are riding within your 'comfort zone' and can spare some of your concentration, focus on breathing through your nose and keeping it even and consistent.
    The reason is, if you hold your breath, or take in short-sharp breaths your heart rate goes up, and adrenaline goes up with it, making the SR's more likely to be triggered.
    If you regularly practice your breathing techniques, they'll become second nature when you need them.
  15. Motorcycle riding; simultaneously one of the simplest and yet most difficult things to perfect you will do.
  16. Thats exactly what I did this morning on the way into work. (Jeez the Melbourne Sun was glarey, but still worth it!

    Just really took it easy and practiced letting my arms stay light as I turned corners and evaluated everything I did almost in readyness for the next corner (with positive self talk after each event) and then on the straight bits was check listing myself through posture etc. Went around a few roundabouts and really concentrated on keeping my chin up as I twisted my head all the way around to look at the exit point, and kept it there. Just the little things that often on my commute because Im running late or more worried about the Tacho and sound of my exhaust tend to neglect at the risk of starting bad habits.

    Was a really chilled and enjoyable experience I must say. Even eased of the Revs heaps. Must make a point of doing this much more often.

    Im so relaxed now, when normally I get in and cant settle down for a while coz Im so wired/buzzed from it all.
  17. ...and if you ever think you are going into a corner too hot to brake at the last minute, trust your tyres and lean, lean, lean. Youre going to be better off lowsiding than braking hard causing a standup, and running straight into a gutter, bank, or worse.
  18. There you go, mate. :)
    Anytime you feel the heebie-geebies coming on, it can usually be put down to going to fast...something that is very very easy to do. To maintain your riding composure you must arm yourself with all the right habits, that we've all previously mentioned through steady and conscious practice and continual self analysis...after a while, it all starts to happen automatically, and THAT is when you really start to reap the rewards.
    Remember...just slow down a little, steady yourself, breathe, relax, and recall the basics, if it all starts to build up on you again.

    BTW...why slow down?...so that the events unfolding in front of you slow down (are'nt so compressed into a small amount of time), allowing your brain to properly keep pace with all the information it is trying to process.
  19. I too have a problem cornering correctly ... have read what everyone has written here and have gleaned some very good advice.

    My other 'arf says I go in fast then slow down in the middle (obviously having a panic attack!!!) before accelerating out. I do however hold my head/chin up and look TO where I'm going, not down where I'm going. So will have to work on going in slower and accelerating once I've acquired the apex.

    But great advice that I can use too - thanks one and all.

  20. if your heart stops for a prolonged period of time, consult your local GP.