LEARNING TO RIDE
When I was young, I hurt myself and nearly killed myself numerous times, unneccesarily. So here are my suggestions for learning to ride:
You should never have a close call because incidents lead to accidents. Always ride in your safety zone because fatalities are mainly sudden stops over 70km / hour. This could be your 20km/hour and the opposing cars 50km/hour,
When you learn, there are a number of new thngs you need to do simulataneously... so break it down to baby steps,
1) sit on the bike wi the engine running, try to hold the revs at a constant 2000rpm, then 3000 exactly, then back to 2000, then 3000, sounds simple but it take a learner a while to adjust the revs instinctively up or down to maintain precise revs, do it for 10 minutes until it's easy,
2) I push the bike, with engine running in neutral, learner holds the revs at even 2500, when I say stop, they drop the revs, pull in the clutch, and tap the brake, then clutch out, and back to 2500 rpm, do until tired of pushing bike,
3) then I find a slight incline, driveway or something, engine on, clutch in, engage first, let the clutch out to engagement point, then let it slowly pull the bike a few inches up the incline, then clutch in and let it rock back, do until comfortable with clutch,
learners are told to let the clutch out slowly, so they let it slowly thru the engagement point, and it lurches or stalls, I tell them to let it out until they feel it pulling on the bike, and the revs drop, then tighten grip on clutch, and hold it at the point where it's slipping a bit, and gripping a bit, if learner if unco, I turn the revs up, so they don't have to work the throttle at the same time, until they are used to the clutch,
4) I get on the back of bike in a car park, they lean forwards so I can start the bike off, then I pass them the controls, and they cut laps until I need another beer. adding gear changing, etc.
For learners, always start and stop in a straight line, bike gets heavy when it's leaned over at slow speeds, paddle it around with your feet, rather than the engine, until it's pointed straight for start. Coast around U turn with clutch in, paddle the rest of the way.
If it starts to lean while stationary, push it upright aggressively.
If you haven't been on a bike for a while, give yourself a bit of time playing with controls to remember what to do.
Don't mix with traffic, or rain until you've been riding for a while,
Practise heavy braking, with both brakes, get used to the feeling of the front wheel locking up momentarily, and quickly releasing it and rebraking, this familiarity will prevent you from dropping bike in an emergency, when you lock the front wheel, there\'nothing holding the bike up, you have to learn to let it go quickly, then reapply.
There's some bullshit going around about applying the front brake slowly to control weight transfer, but learn to jam it on fast and hard, and let go again if you overbraked, this will save your life, you drop 20km/hour in a moment, and then have more time to stop, / evade obstacles, if you do hit something, every bit of speed you can lose makes a big difference. (be careful a car doesn't run into the back of you when you're practising)
Trailbike riding is good to get you used to the front wheel losing traction, when you're riding on dirt, agressive adjustment of the front wheel uses the wheels gyroscopic mass to keep it upright when there isn't much traction.
Counter steering, forget any myths you've heard, it's not complicated, you steer the wheels out from under the mass of a bike to make it lean.
In practise, to turn left, push the LHS handlebar down (and away from you) to lean less, or to bring it upright, push the RHS down and away from you,
always start a corner wide, and finish it close, that way the cars can see you early on in the corner, and you finish well on your side at the end, learners tend to turn late, and run wide into traffic, force the bike into the turn, it can turn better than you, if you can't hold a line, then go much slower,
Own your lane, don't let cars try to share with you, they can wait.
Be careful around cars that have been wankerized, the owners place a lot of their identity in looking cool, and spend a lot of time looking at themselves in the mirror, drive erratically, and feel slighted if you overtake them, so give them some space,
Don't plan to improve by riding beyond your safe limits, you improve by steering more precisely, draw an imaginary line around the corner, and try to make the bike stick exactly to the line, it's a time spent practising thing,
visualizing riding is good when you've got basic skills.
There's a tendency not to slow down enuf for a dangerous corner, only go fast if you can see around the corner, lot's of good riders, including 2 bike shop owners in western subs of melbourne have killed themselves speeding around unsighted corners, go fast on the next one, but slow for any situation you haven't got lots of visible clear space on.
Don't ride with your mates, this keeps me in the crash repair biz, but I've got other things to do.
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