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Why we ride between the lines

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by Chef, Mar 27, 2012.

  1. This came up in a discussion the other day and I was wrongly under the impression everybody took it as gospel that we ride between the lines because we just do........oh, and it makes good sense.

    This is obviously a twisty specific discussion and no I'm not talking about nor am I interested in what people think about racetracks. Twisties and racetracks are very different disciplines and I'm only interested in talking about the discipline that comes with road riding. There are some comparisons but they're so marginal they're insignificant and therefore irrelevant.

    Everybody should be or should take the time to familiarise themselves with the article titled 'the pace'. It contains a lot of the foundation principles of fun safe riding in the hills. However it doesn't drill down into the reasons why so I'll have a crack at it.

    Firstly I only really live by one rule and I call it the cardinal rule. Under no circumstances is it acceptable to take out another rider.

    Whenever I hear of it my blood boils and I want to give the rider a good fucking kicking for doing it. Here's one* i prepared earlier...


    *note. Killboy 'fail' will keep you entertained for hours.

    All riders agree they hate cagers on their side of the road in the turns, yet some riders believe because they're on a bike it's ok for them to do it. That doesn't add up.

    We ride up to the hills every weekend for the corners. We test ourselves on the corners. So ride the bloody corners. Don't make up new ones or try to change the ones your riding, that's just cheating on your test. And here's the thing about cheating, eventually it will get you FAILED.

    Each and every corner is a brand new challenge and every one of them is different. They are the road god's gift to riding. To not ride a corner on it's merits is to piss away the perfect gift, it is disrespectful to the road. And the road has a way of extracting a price from those who disrespect it.

    Anybody can cut a corner there is no skill in it, and that's what we're all about aren't we? Upping our skills and testing our skills. The road is a narrow ribbon of motorcycling lust, to fall off it is to end up fucked without the afterglow or the cigarette.

    The tighter the corner the higher the lean angle, the higher the lean angle the greater the sensation of speed without the side effect of speeding. So if you like to go fast then it pays to learn how to ride the narrow ribbon. Sure there's some more road to be had over there but it's not for you. That's there for the rider coming the way, and that rider could be me or one of my friends. You had better be out of their way when they're coming through, because they'll be leaving vapour trails when they do. If you want to be a vapour trail or a smudge on the landscape then by all means, cut the corners. I have turned and chased down the odd rider who played on my side of the road, and I'll do it again.

    The nuisance of having someone borrow our side of the road is it completely fucks a perfectly good line and therefore a number of corners until we get it back again. It is the difference between elite and a hack if you want to go there, for an elite rider the line is everything. And just like a surfer is always chasing the perfect wave, the top riders are always chasing the perfect line. Perfect line = perfect corner. Motorcycling perfection is found in the perfect corner. Once you've tasted it you will chase it for the rest of your life.

    Yes it's harder to ride half a road, that's the point isn't it? We never bought into motorcycling because it's easier. It takes a lot of skill, lots of practice, and it's never mastered. It's not easy to stay between the lines, every weekend riders are carted out of hills because they couldn't manage it. Think about that everytime you read a news report that says a rider left the road, what is going to stop that being you?

    It starts with the discipline of riding between the lines. If you only ride between the lines then you will know everytime you cross them you have made a mistake. A potentially life threatening mistake. It is an excellent way of objectively gauging your abilities. If you don't mean to cross the lines then you can't kid yourself if and when you do, and it's been my experience that when a hack rider makes a mistake they try to blow it off as they meant it. They cannot discipline themselves when it counts. It doesn't matter how many times you've gotten away with it, because all it takes is the perfect timing on the perfect corner to meet someone coming the other way doing the same thing. Then you've got the perfect accident.

    A rider who cannot discipline themselves will soon find they're riding on their own, or they'll find their riding buddies have an unusually high crash rate. Look around at your riding crew and see if they're compromising themselves. See if they're dragging you up or dragging you down, because you'll be as good as they are.
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  2. How big is that picture? I think I'll remedy that.
  3. It should go without saying that this involves more than just keeping the wheels inside the lines.

    You need to keep your body on your side as well
  4. QFT.

    I've crossed the lines on a few occasions. Every time I do, I kick myself, ease off and have a hard think about things.
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  5. Agree completely.
    God gave us the corners.
    Man painted lines on them so that simple men could have a simple rule to follow.

    • Like Like x 1
  6. I'll track from line to line so that's means my upper body hangs over when the time is right. But I don't hang off the bike so far that I can't get my upper body out of the way when I need to.
  7. I'll bite. It's about not taking the easy option. Ride between the lines because it's a challenge. Yes, you can go faster by using the whole road. That's because you're making the corners easier. :wink:
  8. When I ride...I imagine an invisible concrete wall on the dividing line...never stepped over it of fear of hitting the aforementioned invisible concrete wall.
  9. I put up with tyros from out of the area riding Macquarie Pass using the whole of the road all the time, especially on weekends

    In my opinion it's more of a technical challenge to ride a road quickly JUST on your side of the road than it is to treat it like a racetrack and use all the road....
  10. Ummm - you are allowed to, you know, open your eyes...

    Why do you think that because someone will cut a corner where it's safe, that they will also do so when it's not?

    I get the whole idea of setting yourself an arbitary challenge - why not take it a step further and do the whole ride in the LH wheel track?

    I am curious as to what you do on a road with no lines painted?

  11. Dependant on the environment. I can think of a few places around where I live, where it occurred to me that staying in the lines was silly because of how bad the road surface was. It was on flat ground. Following rules arbitrarily isnt worth anything.

    Twisties usually implies roads built into uneven terrain, uneven terrain usually makes blind corners, or at least obscured vision. Therefore its of benefit to conceptualise a set of rules onto the environment you perceive. Interesting statement "Twisties and racetracks are very different disciplines". Im not sure what you think the difference is, but I think the difference is about defining the "safe" boundaries of where your "road" is. Just because there is pavement, doesnt mean you should ride on it.
  12. I covered that. As a generalisation I've found through my experience that the same riders who are cutting corners when they mean to are the same riders who are cutting corners when they don't mean to. They also bullshit themselves about which one is which. At the end of day though what has been achieved? Cutting corners on the road is the same as cutting corners in your riding.

    I set myself all kinds of challenges depending on circumstances. If I'm riding with someone slower I find other means to entertain myself.

    There is such a road out in the east. It separates the can do's from the wannabes very quickly. The riders who are dependent on lines and advisory signs find themselves falling away or falling off. The lines are meant as an invisible barrier like Phongus is talking about, but the real skill is reading the road and finding the line between them.

    Yes, yes you can. But some riders will come through the hills so quickly you'll never see them coming. So while you may have a clear vision of a clear road up ahead that can all change very quickly. Your closing distance to a corner may be predictable, the potential for a cage to be coming may be predictable, but it's the vapour trail coming the other way that isn't predictable.

    Think of it this way, if you stick to your side of the road and make a mistake then you have a little bit of road left up your sleeve to get yourself out of trouble. But if you're on the wrong side of the road and make a mistake you're left with nothing.

    So if you do spot that vapour trail approaching and you're out of position then you have nano seconds to get the fuck out of that way. You could just as easily tip yourself out of the corner completely trying to avoid a collision. Why go there in the first place? What's to be gained?

    Here's another scenario, you're on the wrong side of the road and you have a hack coming at you. You're confident you can get out of the way but the hack isn't, so you tip out and they shit themselves and tip out. Both of you go for the same exit route.
  13. There is a chasm of difference Gixx, but yeah for the purposes of this discussion the point you make is suffice.
  14. Aaaaaand I'm nicking that for the sig if ya don't mind. Only because it'd be a pain to nick the whole thing, and it neatly sums up how I feel about the road in general, whether I'm in a cage, a truck or on the bike.

    I already "thanked", but just so it's said, thanks.

  15. well written chef!

    most of this year my time on the bike has been a once a week 50km commute, otherwise its been track and dirt.

    i went on a good road ride the other day, it rekindled my love for it. good company, good speeds, and me coming to terms with the fact you can always go a a bit more than you think you can.

    but it made me realise, the road is a dangerous place. i saw one rider on the other side, i saw the obstacles everywhere, and after so much time off a spirited road ride, the lack of places to go if something goes wrong.
  16. Ahh - an unsubstantiated generalisation. Just like the government's unsubstantiated generalisation that people who speed cause more accidents.

    I could waffle on about my experience, but it'd just turn into a dick measuring contest and still wouldn't mean anything. Perhaps we should just agree that the people I drive / ride with are competant to cut corners, and the people you do likewise with are not. Hence our differing opinions.

    The last line I quoted above is condescending bullshit however unless you can back it up with evidence. (And please remember that the plural of anecdote is NOT evidence)

    "meant"? by who? Was there an eleventh commandment I'm not aware of? Or are you hiding behind that bastion of the lowest common denominator, the road laws?

    Ah - so bikes don't need to obey the laws of physics now? Bikes are not that much different than cars through tight stuff, and will actually carry less corner speed than a well handling car.
    Either way, what will it take to explain to you that cutting corners safely means doing it such that you make sure you don't ride or drive beyond what you can see?

    That's like asking a dog why it sticks it's head out of the window of a car. Or a bike rider why they chose to spend their free time riding in the hills.
    It's faster, and going faster is fun.

    So what you are really asking is what happens if a rider is riding beyond their ability and crosses over to my side of the road and takes us both out?

    What happens? A really bad day at the office happens unless you can do something about it.

    Or are you suggesting that most riders are not capable of dealing with an unexpected incident while they are riding? That seeing someone on the wrong side of the road ahead, even though they get out of your way in plenty of time, is enough to make the average rider crash?
    In that case I'd suggest they have no business being there.

  17. Cutting corners? Where's the fun in that? Isn't that why we like the twisties - to go around corners, not straighten them out FFS? Sorry I'm very confused.

    A bigger problem is running wide isn't it?
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  18. Just a newbie to riding, with only 3 months, and 3,500k's under the belt, but I've always aimed at riding "between the Lines" because it is not only Hypocritical doing so, then expecting cageres to do any different: but it is also about Owning your own Lane!

    I haven't had to deal with no Line markings yet: i would assume i would always aim to stay over to the left side of the road, imaginary Line, type thing.

    I have to admit: in my small amount of time riding: the only time I have come CLOSE to being worried about another vehicle on the road was another Bike, crossing into my Lane, going (what seemed to me) a hell of a lot quicker then the Speed limit. I ended up running into him a few days later, and this subject came up: he was all "I was in control", but I felt the point was that he was intruding into my space/line/lane, and it put me off slightly for the next few minutes, to the point I actually pulled over for a smoke to relax a bit. Just seems relavent: I stand by my point of view, and me and that guy will probably not end up riding together a whole lot, but we are not throwing fists at each other, either.

    To each their own, I guess: I just would prefer to be left alone, in my own lane!
  19. Yes...if you are punting along, it is normal to want to use every inch of your side of the road. That will usually mean that the upper body will often be over the centreline. One has to be ready and able to pull yourself back in.

    Good post Chef! :)
  20. Why would you be over there? Setting up for next corner? Sorry, still confused, but I'm pretty new at this.