A lesson learned is only ‘learned’ when you apply it. That means practice. All too often a rider comes out of a training/coaching program thinking ” OK, I got it” and then takes off down the road.
Good, enjoyable, fun riding comes with having good skills and mastering those skills on a regular basis. Practice.
You can practice riding skills almost anytime anywhere, you just have to take advantage of the opportunity. As an example, in class we learned all about the ‘Friction Zone’ right? So how do I actually practice it on the street? Easy, when you’re stuck at a traffic light do the heel toe exercise. It’s just rocking back and forth. A little throttle, a little clutch just move your self back and forth. This little exercise is so easy and it really helps develop the feel and the balance of where does the bike actually start to move forward. Clutches wear out, throttle cables stretch so the Friction Zone is always changing, you have to change with it.
Another fun way to practice the Friction Zone is practicing the ‘Slow Race’ on the street. Again it’s easy to do, kind of. When you get around 50 feet or so of a stop light or stop sign (and there is nobody behind you) put yourself into slow race mode. Go as slow as you can using the ‘Golden Triangle’. Throttle, clutch and rear brake. Keep your head up, eyes out and go slow.
Practice your Braking Skills. When you don’t feel like doing laundry, mowing the lawn…pick a chore you don’t like to do ( I have a little over a hundred), and tell your significant other or Yourself you need to go practice. Find a parking lot, mark off a few (usually around 10-12) parking spaces and practice using your rear brake only. Measure off the distance (eyeball it), do this a few times. Then do it Front Brake only..again use the same measurement..was it shorter? Yes. Now, do both front and rear together. Come to the point where you need to put on the brakes, together. The key to this exercise is start with the front brake (keeping your head up and your eyes out…look where you are going nor at your front wheel), add the rear brake , lightly reduce the front brake and when you come to a stop using the rear only, stop with your left foot down, holding the rear brake down.
It is a smooth stop. The big thing here is to develop feel and to develop the Muscle Memory to keep your head up and your eyes out…always look where you are GOING…Going to stop!
This is a good skill to work on. Practice it regularly. You can do it in just a few minutes but it will save you when you need it most.
Ride Safe, Ride Far and I’ll see You on the Road