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Keith Code

Choices And Decision

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Dear riders,

 

Here is another fun and enlightening way of looking at your riding.

 

Keith

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Choices And Decision

 

Some parts of riding are simple. Where the choices of action are limited or easy to grasp riders feel in control. When choices are more complex or not understood, errors occur. If riding sometimes feels like a coin toss, heads I brake, tails I gas it, realize you have some work to do.

 

A rider’s skills are improving when their choices yield consistent results and when the rider knows and can identify and understands that the bike is performing “as good as it gets”. Realizing our choices really do produce good results, we begin to trust ourselves and our own judgement. In a word, this is CONFIDENCE.

 

Choices come in all shapes and sizes. Common ones like choosing which part of the lane to ride in--stay out of the greasy stuff in the middle--are both simple and powerful.

 

Understanding the situation, the middle is greasy, combined with a small shift in road position demonstrates a depth of understanding and predictable (confident) results. In this case, your position in the lane determines whether you do something, like reposition the bike or do nothing, stay where you are.

 

Complex situations, like aggressively flicking the bike through a set of esses, have many more available choices. In this case, due to the limited time to correct any error, each wrong action has an ever worsening, ever widening ripple effect.

 

The Choice

 

Almost every moment in the saddle, riders are confronted with the choice to do something or do nothing. Provided you have some riding savvy and at least a mediocre command of the controls, good judgement amounts to little more than knowing when to do something and when to do nothing.

 

How many cycles of do-something/do-nothing happen when you let out the clutch? If you count the stops and changes in clutch lever pressure and throttle, that would be the number. Every change, no matter how minute, is a point of choice, do something/do nothing. This is the micro side of riding and some may say it is looking too closely but our mini decisions rule our riding in more ways than one.

 

Less skilled riders seem bent on doing something all the time and they appear busy because of it. You can almost see the logic: if I’m always busy, perhaps I’ll hit the right control combination?by luck. That or they freeze up and do nothing?deer in the headlights syndrome.

 

Seasoned riders have more understanding of when to do something or nothing. Less experienced riders look busy and stiff. Skilled and seasoned ones look almost lazy and relaxed even when performing complex tasks. It's like that in every sport and activity.

 

Advice And Understanding

 

Sometimes action is required and sometimes it is not. This is why telling someone to relax is poor coaching. They must know when to act/not act in order to relax in confidence. In this respect, "relax" is wrong advice--unless it is backed up by when and where to do something so you can later do nothing.

 

In the final analysis, it is more a question of what you DO than what you don't do which results in looking and feeling “relaxed” on the bike. If the rider had made the right decision and done something rather than just sit there, they wouldn’t be busy later on making up for it.

 

Your Goal

 

Practically everyone has the goal to "be smooth" and it falls into this same category. It too is a result of the choice to do something/do nothing, action/inaction, control/no control. And it really is the micro look at riding: each twitch of the throttle hand, each stab at the brakes, each false steering input, each jerky eye movement.

 

This concept has something to do with every control action you ever have or ever will make. there is a time to do and a time to not do. Experience is a great resource but, if you do not ride for a living, understanding is the foundation and the shortcut to the level of skill you envision for yourself and your riding. I hope we get the opportunity to help you.

 

Learn the Skills, Discover the Art.

 

Keith Code

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Recently, I suffer a fall with my bike a GSXR1100W,breaking my shouder in the process.

The cause for that:a cyclist guy pass in the red signal in front me, when I was in the mid of the corner with the bike already leaned.

It was so fast and unexpected , I executed a panic stop to not hit the damn biker, losing the front wheel and falling with the bike.

In retrospect I don´t see another possible course of action in that situation who prevents the fall.

Can you,please, Mr.Code ,make a suggestion of the best way to not fall on that especific situation?

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I saw a motorcycle accident pretty much the same that you described. Car made sudden manoeuvre to left line right before the traffic lights, motorcycle, which was approx 4 car lengths behind, braked heavily with first wheel, lost traction and lowsided the bike which continued to drag for some time but STOPPED BEFORE impact with the "damn" car.

 

Would have been better to just steer away, not even using the brakes? Maybe, under heavy braking its harder to steer anyway. Which one has better stopping power: footpeg+armside+plastic fairing or rubber tire? I have not attended yet to Superbike School but I know they have a special bike there to practice hard braking - it has balance wheels which keeps the bike upright even if you manage to lock front wheel for a long time, not letting your SR (survival reactions) ease off and let go the brake lever.

 

It takes both practice AND understanding of the situation and your SRs related to those situatsions. Keep your head cool, rubberside down and next time look where you want to go instead of looking objects you dont want to hit! :)

 

All best.

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Heiti I know I couldn't of said it better. I know things pop up infront of you in the streets. I've been down before but when I got up I didn't say there was no way out or anything negative. I replayed the incident on the way the bike felt to figure out where brake limits were in that particular moment, then thought of where I could have escaped with giving gas instead of trying to stop completely. The next time I was doing 55 cruising home from work a driver decided in the median he wasn't going to turn left he was going to turn right and turned right with me in the right lane(2 lane with center median) about five car lenghts in back of him. I knew if I squeazed the ###### out of both brakes I would lose control. I figured if he kept going while I was slowing down rapidly definitely not stopping I would try to get around left with a swoop. But he didn't he saw me and turned the truck straight right centered on the dotted lines and I was able to get by on the right. I've shared alot of stories with alot of riders and to me the end result when anyone gets away with something crazy they all share the same part the trying to do something about whats going to happen to them no matter how grim the situation. Sanfret has a good point you had the green I'm not saying keep going but I bet you would left with a good bike just brace for the impact.

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Let me play devil's advocate if I may:

 

Where you looking into the turn? Had you been, could you have possibly seen this guy coming? Where you searching your surroundings before entering the turn?

 

How fast where you taking this turn? Where you that leaned over that you couldn't stand it up and break hard enough to pick up your rear tire?

 

Do you take that or other turns slower now because of this accident?

 

---

 

It is possible that in the situation you were in there may not have been a better course of action, but was there perhaps a way to have avoided that situation entirely. This may be an even more valuable skill.

 

-Javier

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Let me play devil's advocate if I may:

 

Where you looking into the turn? Had you been, could you have possibly seen this guy coming? Where you searching your surroundings before entering the turn?

 

How fast where you taking this turn? Where you that leaned over that you couldn't stand it up and break hard enough to pick up your rear tire?

 

Do you take that or other turns slower now because of this accident?

 

---

 

It is possible that in the situation you were in there may not have been a better course of action, but was there perhaps a way to have avoided that situation entirely. This may be an even more valuable skill.

 

-Javier

 

Aim for his back wheel and use it to slow you down progressively, and make sure that the cyclist fool also walked away with scars. :angry:

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Part of riding confidently through this turn would have included taking in your surroundings. "I didn't see him" is no excuse (think of what you would think if a cage said that about you.) Bikes and cars and people don't come from no-where, but they do come from hidden places. Clearly, you entered that turn beyond your ability to react safely to a mid-turn surprise. I'd start there.

 

Then, you could also increase your handling skills. Have you practiced panic braking? Panic braking in a turn? As someone pointed out, a decent "rule of thumb" is "could you stand it up and brake hard enough to lift the rear." Personally, I try to gauge if I could come to a complete stop before colliding with something beyond (or hidden from) my visual horizon. When I am "pushing it" I figure I can get to mostly stopped (~20 MPH) before colliding.

 

Another point. Do track time. As car drivers, it is easier to choose when a maneuver would be so aggressive that it is unsafe = just hit the squirrel/biker/tree rather than careen out of control. On a motorcycle that gray area is much larger and much darker. Can I miss this by turning and/or braking, or will I drop it? For me personally, spending time on the track gets me accustomed to the smooth and aggressive maneuvering abilities of my bike. I am better at choosing an escape option because I have a better sense of what is realistically an option.

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K,

Okay, Now I get at least this much. Sometimes doing nothing is best. I like it. I'm really good at that.

Chuckles,

Nic

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