With the new year just starting, have you made the commitment to being a better motorcycle rider? “Yes, of course,” I hear you say but did you really? Becoming better isn’t automatic and it requires more than heading out with your buddies for a weekend ride or making that daily commute to work, those things keep your current skills fresh and sharp but stepping up to a higher skill level requires a real decision to improve and it takes effort and practice. Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been riding for years, everyone can improve.
More miles might mean you repeat the same mistakes until they become habit. Becoming better requires learning new habits and consciously and intentionally practicing until they’re second nature.
Have you ever traveled for several miles and suddenly realized you don’t really remember much about it, your mind wandered a bit and there you were miles away? What did you miss? Did you see everything that might have caused a problem? Was your riding improving just because you put in those miles? Probably not.
Try something different. Take a ride by yourself or maybe with a friend for the express purpose of practicing a particular skill. For example, perhaps you want to be smoother through the turns especially in those little decreasing radius surprises. Practice looking further ahead, it’s amazing how a little thing like that can dramatically improve your riding but many riders keep their eyes focused too close on the road immediately in front. Study photos of Rossi or Stoner in the middle of a turn, their gaze is way out in front of where they are, is that what you do? Try it, you’ll see a difference immediately, you’ll find yourself taking a better line and adjusting your speed and lean angle precisely but unless you make an effort to practice, your skills will stagnate and you’ll be running wide or making abrupt mid corner corrections over and over again.
Not sure what you need to learn to get better? There are some really good books
available, pick up one or two, it’s an investment in skill development with a guaranteed great return. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation offers both basic and advanced training courses, too, well worth your time.
Your motorcycle requires more from you than your car and your exposed position demands a much higher degree of attention if you plan to stay alive and injury free. Decide now to make this year the year you take your riding skills to the next level and we’ll be able to discuss the finer points of motorcycle design and technology for many years to come.