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Cobie Fair

Poll for street riders

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On 7/15/2019 at 7:53 PM, Cobie Fair said:

If you have a good lock on the bike with the lower body (arms are not being used to support the body), the front will feel like it's a bowling ball, stiff and slippery, not "hooked up" at all.  As it warms, you will feel more resistance, it's "biting" more and will track a tighter line once turned in.

That's the best explanation I've ever heard about how the front should feel riding near the limit.  I think I've spent a lot of my track time assuming traction rather than discovering it and I can see how that's holding me back from getting nearer to the limit.  

Thanks Cobie!

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On 6/28/2019 at 7:22 PM, Cobie Fair said:

OK, to move on to the next point, and that is one's attention, and where does it get put/get used/consumed.

Keith has covered this well in Twist 1, with his $10 bill analogy.

One thing that surprises me is how few riders new to the track use ear plugs, and for the simple reason of reducing distraction.

What types of things do you guys do/use to have more free attention for riding?

Let's hear 'em.

(Should we do a new thread for this?)

CF

 

 

Interesting on ear plug,  while on track I get it for noise; but on the street; I think using ear plugs "could" be a way to hide info you need (a racing car engine, sound of tires sliding etc) that could be a tip of something happening around you.  Just my thought.

As for distractions, riding for me is a way to get away from life's distractions (as you really need to focus just on your riding).  That said, I use the same approach to riding my bike as I used to use when flying.  Bike may be ready but am I.  There have been a number of rides I did not take because I either didn't feel physically or mentally up to it.

 

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On 7/1/2019 at 8:14 PM, Cobie Fair said:

OK pollsters, here is another look at this area, and question for you (and any others that have not chimed in) this could be considered the same question (or similar), but going to ask anyway:

What single skill would you most like to improve in your own riding? 

CF 

1.  Braking on the limit, both straight up and turning.  As much for defense as going fast.

2. For me getting more comfortable with traction/lean at the limit

Both not easy to master (safely) on street.

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19 minutes ago, DLHamblin said:

Interesting on ear plug,  while on track I get it for noise; but on the street; I think using ear plugs "could" be a way to hide info you need (a racing car engine, sound of tires sliding etc) that could be a tip of something happening around you.  Just my thought.

As for distractions, riding for me is a way to get away from life's distractions (as you really need to focus just on your riding).  That said, I use the same approach to riding my bike as I used to use when flying.  Bike may be ready but am I.  There have been a number of rides I did not take because I either didn't feel physically or mentally up to it.

 

I too had similar concern when street riding but I discovered that I could hear the important bits quite well with plugs. What you’ll find (if you’re go looking for a scholarly view) is that plugs don’t attenuate evenly across the frequency spectrum. Plainly stated, they dampen by several dB the wind noise that can cause tinnitus or hearing loss, with only minimal loss of high, mid and low pitch-tone information (screeching tires, sirens, engine noise, etc).

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4 hours ago, Jaybird180 said:

I too had similar concern when street riding but I discovered that I could hear the important bits quite well with plugs. What you’ll find (if you’re go looking for a scholarly view) is that plugs don’t attenuate evenly across the frequency spectrum. Plainly stated, they dampen by several dB the wind noise that can cause tinnitus or hearing loss, with only minimal loss of high, mid and low pitch-tone information (screeching tires, sirens, engine noise, etc).

Good points, I will try some next ride (I have tons of foam ones....)

 

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Front end tucks, corner entry, cold/damp conditions--possibly just overriding the conditions, or and/or tire temp.  Recently one of my newer coaches asked an old hand (super-fast coach) why he was sliding around (unpredictably to him).  When pressed, it was discovered he was not fully warming the tire...in those conditions it took 3 hard laps to get the tire up to temp.

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On ‎6‎/‎20‎/‎2019 at 1:14 AM, Cobie Fair said:

If you ride a street bike, interested in what you think:  Of the following skills/abilities (or another not listed) what do you rank as the highest priority as a rider?

  1. Ability to steer quickly
  2. Brave
  3. Visual skill, lack of target fixation
  4. Quick reflexes
  5. Physical condition, strength

Interested in all skill levels response to this short survey, so if you ride a motorcycle, you can answer.

Best,

Cobie

 

 

Hi all, 

Just saw this so thought I'd jump onboard.

Definitely No. 3, visual skills and lack of target fixations.  I have, although I hate to admit it, crashed on road and off road due to target fixation.  Quick reflexes would stem from reacting to what you can see, and then the ability to steer quickly is the brain telling the body to react to what is seen - at least that is my take on it. 

I have noticed that lower body/leg strength is more important than upper body 'muscling' the bike around a bend, and I like to take the "heavy feet - light hands" approach.  

Bravery? Is this where the 'if in doubt - flat out' approach applies? 😉

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On ‎6‎/‎29‎/‎2019 at 12:22 AM, Cobie Fair said:

OK, to move on to the next point, and that is one's attention, and where does it get put/get used/consumed.

Keith has covered this well in Twist 1, with his $10 bill analogy.

One thing that surprises me is how few riders new to the track use ear plugs, and for the simple reason of reducing distraction.

What types of things do you guys do/use to have more free attention for riding?

Let's hear 'em.

(Should we do a new thread for this?)

CF

 

 

Not using earplugs?!  Personally I never ride without them, on the track or street.  I find the wind noise far too distracting and I can still hear the engine and the bike perfectly, all they do is dampen the noise and reduce it to a more, ear-friendly level.  One of the other things I do to reduce the wind noise is to use a Buff on my neck and stuff it up the sides of my lid a bit to help reduce the wind noise, as well as wind-chill on cooler, UK days! 

I also carry a visor wipe (called a VSponge) to clear bug splatter off my visor on longer rides.  Yes, I know I can look through them and try not get distracted, but it's nice as well to have a clean lens after a lunch stop.

Oh, I also repeat Throttle Rule #1 on every bend...!

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On the street my absolute number one priority is safety. On the street I’m constantly trying to remain conscious of the variables outside of my control: most notably these include road conditions (loose gravel or a boulder in the middle of a blind turn), wildlife, oncoming traffic crossing over the double yellow, and the unimaginable/unexpected (like a Porsche making a 3-point U-turn in the middle of a blind corner on Mulholland, yes it happens). 

The most valuable tool I’ve learned from CSS for increased safety on the street is Wide Vision - without practicing wide vision it’s impossible to look through a corner and reserve attention/awareness  for the unexpected. Wide vision and riding at 70-80% of my ability on the street has served me well. That way, hopefully, I become aware of the unexpected ASAP and I’ve got an extra $2-3 in savings to spend on it. 

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Really have to agree with you wholeheartedly on this.  Back in '92 when Keith was doing some of his first research on this, he let us see pre-release chapters of Twist 2.  At the time I commuted a lot in LA, and it was the difference in being stressed out splitting lanes...and not!  Day and night difference in street riding safety, wish we could get this trained in on the car drivers...

 

 

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Thanks Cobie, I’d say after practicing Wide Vision, the next key tool I’ve gained from CSS is overcoming and dealing with SR’s appropriately. Once Wide Vision has enabled me to identify a dangerous condition it’s easy to target fixate, get stiff and grab a handful of break - typically all of which are exactly the wrong thing to do. 

Instead of falling into these traps I do my best to go back to Wide Vision and stay loose - it’s taken a lot of practice. When the situation/circumstance warrants, I find myself practicing the hook turn and/or adding more lean angle through counter steering (both of which are nearly impossible if I stiffen up and grab a handful of break). At first I was kind of amazed, and now I completely trust, how easy it is to tighten my turn mid corner when necessary. 

In terms of limiting distractions and maximizing free attention, I do like wearing earplugs, but without them I haven’t found myself any more or any less distracted. For me, the biggest benefit of earplugs are reducing fatigue and increasing stamina. Thus, I’d say fatigue can be my biggest barrier to free attention and correct technique. This is where physical fitness, and especially staying hydrated, come into play. 

Unless I’m just going to the store, lunch/dinner, I’ve always got a bottle of Skratch with me on a spirited ride.

Edited by El Colibri
Shoutout for Skratch

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Makes total sense.  This year my riding has taken step up, and interestingly enough it was mostly due to getting strong, in particular the legs...made it easier to hold onto the bike.

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New to this thread, but no. 3 vision is by far the most important skill on public roads. And the skill I would most want to improve is wide vision. Actually, I can do it, but not for long and never under stress. Could I learn to do it all the time? Perhaps. But I am not sure at all. I'm 55 and I still bump into all kind of stuff, lack the ability to understand my place in space/my surroundings, and am really poorly coordinated in general. Even stuff I practice every time I ride or drive, like clutch/gear/throttle coordination does not become better. It is in my genes, literally. 

I would like to add one more thing, and that is that those who never challenge their own limits or their bike's, but stay well inside of what they can control, have the fewest accidents. Even those who only use the rear brake for stopping. Leave enough margin to stop in time, and only the crazy unexpected can bite. But where is the fun in that :D

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On 8/29/2019 at 4:14 PM, Cobie Fair said:

Makes total sense.  This year my riding has taken step up, and interestingly enough it was mostly due to getting strong, in particular the legs...made it easier to hold onto the bike.

How did you measure or perceive an improvement in your riding? What told you it had taken a step up? 

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4 hours ago, Hotfoot said:

How did you measure or perceive an improvement in your riding? What told you it had taken a step up? 

That’s the question I’ve been trying to answer for myself also.

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On 9/1/2019 at 4:36 PM, Hotfoot said:

How did you measure or perceive an improvement in your riding? What told you it had taken a step up?

Hotfoot's question wasn't directed to me but I'd like to share how I've been able to perceive improvement in my track riding over the last year.

First, I believe there are both "hard" and "soft" measures of improvement, and both are important to my development. Hard measures are truly quantifiable. The best and easiest examples are variations of lower lap times (e.g., lower best lap times, lower session average lap times, and lower spreads or standard deviation to my lap times within a session). But there are other quantifiable measures that provide insight into my level of riding "precision" such as how many corner apexes I hit in a single lap or over an entire session. Am I hitting my apexes 25%, 50%, 75% or 100% of the time?

From a "hard" measurement perspective my best and average lap times have been coming down, the spread of my lap times in a given session have been getting tighter, and I am hitting a higher percentage of corner apexes. So in short, lap times and precision getting better as I look over the last year.

But while I am a data guy and love hard measures, it has actually been "soft" measures that have provided more insight about my progress. I think about "soft" measures (a better word may be "indicators") as things I feel and know in my brain while riding. Things like being more relaxed and having greater comfort on the bike at higher speeds and overall pace through better wide-vision; having smoother throttle roll-on and more nuanced throttle control to manage my line or control the rear wheel; smoother exit drives and getting the throttle pinned in sections of a track I couldn't before; smoother braking control and having a nice repeatable trail brake action in a particular corner lap after lap; and having one smooth steering action into and through a corner (so minimal correction). These are just a few.  And you can add having fewer SR moments to the list!

I also happen to be the type of person who takes notes after each track session throughout the day. Notes touch on things like what drills were worked on, what went well, what didn't, new issues that seem to be surfacing, questions I have that I need to find answers to, and areas I want to focus on in the future. Looking back over these notes I see progress through my comments on the "soft" indicators.

As the saying goes "don't compare yourself to others, compare yourself to the person from yesterday". For me, having notes on "hard" and "soft" indicators of progress allows me to do this self comparison. More importantly, it helps me figure out where I need to focus in the coming days!  It is not perfect but the approach seems to works for me.

Cheers,

Dave

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