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The Barriers To Improvement

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The Barriers to Improvement

 

While riding, the more we resist things happening to us the more likely we are to make an error with that exact thing. The areas we fear, the ones we do not understand the basics or the limits of, the ones that stick our attention, will bite us in the end.

 

Squirmy Barriers

 

It's really simple, if you put too much attention on how the tires are gripping, each little squirm of the tire can make you nervous. Later braking, better drives, higher entry speeds and everything else there is to riding, especially quick riding, follows suit. They all have scary parts that can stick our attention.

 

Look over most of the riding forums and see what the majority of questions are about. The questions all relate to the barriers these riders experience.

 

Good Starts

 

Take starts for example. You try to get a good launch and the right hand is too nervous on the throttle; your attention is fixed on it and the start is bogged. Putting all of ones attention onto the throttle and resisting the impact it "might" have leaves no attention free to look after the clutch.

 

Done properly, we bring the clutch out to just before engagement and pin the throttle, leaving all of our attention free to use the clutch and correctly meter the power to get the launch; no bog, no wheelie.

 

Attention Barriers

 

Attention nailed in place, on what is being resisted, becomes the real barrier. The moment attention goes to what we don't want to happen (the scary bits) we miss the positive aspects that would allow us to improve.

 

Chopped up riding is the expected, but unwanted, result of our attention being spent on and becoming fixated on that which we resist. It creates "no-flow" and hesitant riding is the result.

 

If you wanted to get some immediate improvement in your riding you'd write out what it would be like if the commonplace things you resist were overcome. In fact, take a look at any time you've had a riding uncertainty and you'll come up with an item that was being resisted.

 

The control inputs that govern your traction, line, lean angle, surface situations and speed are the most likely suspects to investigate for that list.

 

Bridging the Gap

 

In order to maintain contact with what IS happening the important must be separated from the unimportant.

 

Easy to say but how do you bridge the gap between the fear of things and achieving the desired flow? Here we are back to the basic idea of "A Twist of the Wrist, Volume I", how our limited amount of available attention is being spent.

 

What's Important?

 

In the tire squirm example: tire squirm is important to you but your control over the throttle is far more important. In the end it will be mastery of it that allows you to move through the tire squirming barrier and get to the point where proper tire spinning is comfy.

 

As you bring the bike up out of the turn and apply more and more throttle the rear end tends to stiffen, as a result, the squirmy little mini-slides are more easily achieved.

 

Because of that, the drive area off corners would be the important place to begin to experiment with squirm and spin. Why? It's safer. Tire slip is tire slip and the rules say that slip at big lean angles is going to get worse a whole lot quicker than if the bike were more upright. This is important for you to know. It gives a precise area (turn exit) and action (bringing up the bike) to coordinate with your idea of tire spinning and throttle application.

 

Squirm Barriers

 

If the rider freezes as he feels the squirm two things can happen that make things worse: 1) she stops bringing the bike up and 2) the throttle roll on stops.

 

That is exactly the point at which it would begin to work if she had kept going with both. In this case, the timing of the two actions is what is important just as the clutch engagement timing is the key that unlocks a great launch.

 

The Time to Improve

 

Riding and life work like this: put your attention on fears and we produce fear and errors; put it on our hopes, we see hope. The only hope you have of mastery in these areas of riding is to sort out the underlying technical points, procedures and priorities which, when mastered, will pave the way to success.

 

It doesn't mean that there aren't riders who are quick, smooth and consistent naturally, I've known many; but the questions you have to ask yourself are, "Am I quick, smooth and consistent?" "Can I make it in the time I have allotted for this sport"? "Will 10 more track days pull it all together for me?"

 

Un-resist

 

On a purely physical level a great example of overcoming fear and resistance is the technique for going down a steep, slippery dirt hill on foot. If you resist, for fear of your feet slipping out from underneath you, they tend to slip. The moment you lean forward and begin to run or walk quickly enough, there is no possibility of falling from slipping. Skiing is very similar. Resist and you lose control.

 

There is simple physics that accompany this technique but the point is-it's foolproof, you can't fall from loosing your traction if you run or walk quickly enough down the slippery stuff. The flow you impose on it overcomes the barrier. The potential for a bad result evaporates completely and you are in knowing control of it.

 

Un-resisted Riding

 

Actually, riding off-road is the same principal, the more you resist going down the hill by over-using the brakes, especially the rear, the less control you have; pushing through that barrier and allowing the rear wheel to turn ain't easy for some people but it is a whole other world of control on the other side. That world opens up when you correctly place your attention onto what gains you control rather than resisting it.

 

Similarly, your chances of wheelying or bogging goes way down when the throttle is pinned for starts; it just doesn't seem that way until you do it. Every barrier you blow through results in a satisfying and in-control flow of actions.

 

If you think what I am saying is: you have to push through the fear barriers to get to clean riding, you are right; but the push comes after the understanding of where your attention should or should not be focused.

 

Simple Route

 

There are basic principals to riding. What you ride doesn't change them. Where you ride doesn't change them. How fast you ride doesn't change them. They are what they are: they are not based on my opinions about them, they are based on well defined and easily understood basic principals you will understand.

 

You may discover these principals all on your own, you may also win the lottery. Considering the limited amount of time most riders have to devote to riding your chances are about the same.

 

It has been our great good fortune to research, discover and assemble these technical points of cornering.

 

It has taken 30 years of devoted time and attention to separate the important from the unimportant and to figure out ways we can trick ourselves into giving up the resist-error-resist-terror way of doing things in favor of the focus-flow-focus-go mode. We now know how to achieve this with ANY rider. Indeed, the huge amount of improvement riders can achieve in just one day of training still boggles me, even after 30 years of doing it.

 

The Superbike School's program is not based on tricks and I can't say it is easy to overcome the barriers. I will say that our route is simple to understand, direct, to the point and it works. You will improve; past that I can't promise anything.

 

Learn the skills, discover the art of cornering.

 

Best,

 

Keith Code\School Director

 

ⓒ Keith Code, 2006, all rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced in any form without express written permission from the author.

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Guest Chris Thompson, Phoenix

Excellent! I can see how these prinicpals govern controlling anything a person is trying to get control of. Can't wait for your return to Phoenix. Come in the winter! The riding's great that time of year.

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Guest John McLeod

Another outstanding article. Can not wait for my first school in Ohio.

 

Thanks for the Great input, the Twist of the wrist I and II have already helped by just reading then trying.

 

 

See you in Aug.

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Guest Sxspdlgnd

I congradulate you on having the patience to teach and relay your knowledge in the very informative fashion you portray in your articles. Unfortunately, it seems as if many people feel that sharing their knowledge and experienec is a hindrance to their skill. But , the exact opposite is true as is apparent with your articles. Just wanted to sa thank you and please continue to share your experiences and knowledge. I have been riding for quite a few years now and always rode with a certain amount of fear, it arose for multiple reasons , between the stories of disaster and my own personal near fatal accident. Fear is unfortunatly something that surfaces and can hamper your rideing style. In reading your article I realize that you are 100% accurate, once you bring to the forefront the items you can control and must such as the throttle and your alertness of the environment then everything else is basically elementary in my opinion. I ride w/much greater confidence now that I have learned to trust my bike allot more and let it do what it needs to. A very good friend of mine said the rider is the weak link and he is ablsoutely correct, when we interact and try to change the natural movements of the bike is when disaster usually strikes. I have learned to conquer my fear and it has made me a much better more confident rider. I plan to take your course on proper leaning this summer to further improve my skills.

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Guest Guest

Dear Keith,

I have just skimmed your new article on barriers to improvement, but it makes a lot of sense. I ride a 2004 Harley Ultra Classic and find myself at odds with some cornering on the highway. I'm going to try real hard to relax more and quit fighting the road to improvement. I took your course last year in Phoenix 1&2 and would love to take 3&4 at the same track but it is just to hot that time of year.

Thanks again for your continuing help thru your articles. It's very beneficial to me as I continue to learn to ride this very big motorcycle.

Yours Truly,

Jim Ruhlman.

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Guest Ramon Milano

Great article.

 

I just printed out your article for myself and my friend to re-read before our two track days at Thunder Hill this weekend.

 

I took your courses 1-4 in a four month (12/04-4/05) period last year at Sears and Laguna. I am amazed at how everything that was covered and in your articles is so prevalent in my riding. The words never change but there meanings have become so much clearer to me. I can now read it and remember what I am doing during these moments. The faster I have gotten it seems I have more time to concentrate on what I am doing and what I could do better. There are so many more seconds to shave off for me in every corner.

 

After I took your classes I ended up attending over 25 track days last year. I just went nuts on wanting to be a better and faster rider. In October of last year I joined the AFM and went from my R1 to 600 and immediately went faster everywhere on the track. The funny part about this is even on the straights I went faster. I am now where near very fast yet but I have surprised myself and plenty of others of how fast I have become in such a short period of time. I bought my first bike 8 months before I took you class. I am a mid packer in the 600 classes even in my first race and only 5-8 seconds off the leaders pace. I took third in there new clubman middle weight race and I am on track to be a top 10 novice this year in the AFM too.

 

There are a few things I still remind myself even during a race that I learned from your level one class. I definitely have you and CSS to thank for my progress

 

Old fat guy

Ramon Milano

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Great stuff! As usual.

 

Funny how I can replace the word "riding" with the word "living" and it all still makes sense to me.

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Great stuff! As usual.

 

Funny how I can replace the word "riding" with the word "living" and it all still makes sense to me.

 

This is a great relationship--I have as much fun writting the articles as you guys have reading them.

 

Keith

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Guest Russ Johnson

Keith,

 

Looking forward to Level 2 in October to learn more about what's in this article. My riding has reached a whole new level since my stint in the "green" group in June. Still can't believe what a difference a day can make.

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Guest Jeremy Pougnet

The Barriers to Improvement

 

While riding, the more we resist things happening to us the more likely we are to make an error with that exact thing. The areas we fear, the ones we do not understand the basics or the limits of, the ones that stick our attention, will bite us in the end.

 

Squirmy Barriers

 

It's really simple, if you put too much attention on how the tires are gripping, each little squirm of the tire can make you nervous. Later braking, better drives, higher entry speeds and everything else there is to riding, especially quick riding, follows suit. They all have scary parts that can stick our attention.

 

Look over most of the riding forums and see what the majority of questions are about. The questions all relate to the barriers these riders experience.

 

Good Starts

 

Take starts for example. You try to get a good launch and the right hand is too nervous on the throttle; your attention is fixed on it and the start is bogged. Putting all of ones attention onto the throttle and resisting the impact it ?might? have leaves no attention free to look after the clutch.

 

Done properly, we bring the clutch out to just before engagement and pin the throttle, leaving all of our attention free to use the clutch and correctly meter the power to get the launch; no bog, no wheelie.

 

Attention Barriers

 

Attention nailed in place, on what is being resisted, becomes the real barrier. The moment attention goes to what we don't want to happen (the scary bits) we miss the positive aspects that would allow us to improve.

 

Chopped up riding is the expected, but unwanted, result of our attention being spent on and becoming fixated on that which we resist. It creates ?no-flow? and hesitant riding is the result.

 

If you wanted to get some immediate improvement in your riding you'd write out what it would be like if the commonplace things you resist were overcome. In fact, take a look at any time you've had a riding uncertainty and you'll come up with an item that was being resisted.

 

The control inputs that govern your traction, line, lean angle, surface situations and speed are the most likely suspects to investigate for that list.

 

Bridging the Gap

 

In order to maintain contact with what IS happening the important must be separated from the unimportant.

 

Easy to say but how do you bridge the gap between the fear of things and achieving the desired flow? Here we are back to the basic idea of ?A Twist of the Wrist, Volume I?, how our limited amount of available attention is being spent.

 

What's Important?

 

In the tire squirm example: tire squirm is important to you but your control over the throttle is far more important. In the end it will be mastery of it that allows you to move through the tire squirming barrier and get to the point where proper tire spinning is comfy.

 

As you bring the bike up out of the turn and apply more and more throttle the rear end tends to stiffen, as a result, the squirmy little mini-slides are more easily achieved.

 

Because of that, the drive area off corners would be the important place to begin to experiment with squirm and spin. Why? It's safer. Tire slip is tire slip and the rules say that slip at big lean angles is going to get worse a whole lot quicker than if the bike were more upright. This is important for you to know. It gives a precise area (turn exit) and action (bringing up the bike) to coordinate with your idea of tire spinning and throttle application.

 

Squirm Barriers

 

If the rider freezes as he feels the squirm two things can happen that make things worse: 1) she stops bringing the bike up and 2) the throttle roll on stops.

 

That is exactly the point at which it would begin to work if she had kept going with both. In this case, the timing of the two actions is what is important just as the clutch engagement timing is the key that unlocks a great launch.

 

The Time to Improve

 

Riding and life work like this: put your attention on fears and we produce fear and errors; put it on our hopes, we see hope. The only hope you have of mastery in these areas of riding is to sort out the underlying technical points, procedures and priorities which, when mastered, will pave the way to success.

 

It doesn't mean that there aren't riders who are quick, smooth and consistent naturally, I've known many; but the questions you have to ask yourself are, ?Am I quick, smooth and consistent?? Can I make it in the time I have allotted for this sport?? ?Will 10 more track days pull it all together for me??

 

Un-resist

 

On a purely physical level a great example of overcoming fear and resistance is the technique for going down a steep, slippery dirt hill on foot. If you resist, for fear of your feet slipping out from underneath you, they tend to slip. The moment you lean forward and begin to run or walk quickly enough, there is no possibility of falling from slipping. Skiing is very similar. Resist and you lose control.

 

There is simple physics that accompany this technique but the point is-it's foolproof, you can't fall from loosing your traction if you run or walk quickly enough down the slippery stuff. The flow you impose on it overcomes the barrier. The potential for a bad result evaporates completely and you are in knowing control of it.

 

Un-resisted Riding

 

Actually, riding off-road is the same principal, the more you resist going down the hill by over-using the brakes, especially the rear, the less control you have; pushing through that barrier and allowing the rear wheel to turn ain't easy for some people but it is a whole other world of control on the other side. That world opens up when you correctly place your attention onto what gains you control rather than resisting it.

 

Similarly, your chances of wheelying or bogging goes way down when the throttle is pinned for starts; it just doesn't seem that way until you do it. Every barrier you blow through results in a satisfying and in-control flow of actions.

 

If you think what I am saying is: you have to push through the fear barriers to get to clean riding, you are right; but the push comes after the understanding of where your attention should or should not be focused.

 

Simple Route

 

There are basic principals to riding. What you ride doesn't change them. Where you ride doesn't change them. How fast you ride doesn't change them. They are what they are: they are not based on my opinions about them, they are based on well defined and easily understood basic principals you will understand.

 

You may discover these principals all on your own, you may also win the lottery. Considering the limited amount of time most riders have to devote to riding your chances are about the same.

 

It has been our great good fortune to research, discover and assemble these technical points of cornering.

 

It has taken 30 years of devoted time and attention to separate the important from the unimportant and to figure out ways we can trick ourselves into giving up the resist-error-resist-terror way of doing things in favor of the focus-flow-focus-go mode. We now know how to achieve this with ANY rider. Indeed, the huge amount of improvement riders can achieve in just one day of training still boggles me, even after 30 years of doing it.

 

The Superbike School's program is not based on tricks and I can't say it is easy to overcome the barriers. I will say that our route is simple to understand, direct, to the point and it works. You will improve; past that I can't promise anything.

 

Learn the skills, discover the art of cornering.

 

Best,

 

Keith Code\School Director

 

? Keith Code, 2006, all rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced in any form without express written permission from the author.

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Guest Jeremy Pougnet

Keith,

 

I have done levels 1 - 4 at Phakisa (South Africa) with Andy Ibbott & Co. I have recommended this to all of my riding mates who haven't done it yet.

 

You talk about launching the bike from the start line. My problem is not with throttle & clutch, it is that I feel like I am going to black out during the launch. It is seriously debilitating and scary. Apparently many racers experience this lightheadedness, but nobody has been able to tell me what to do to cure it. I hope that with your many years of experience you have come across this before and you know what I could or should do to overcome the problem. Your input will be much appreciated.

 

Jeremy Pougnet

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Keith,

I do enjoy and learn from all of your article and books, and it seems to be true in many things in life. Your classes have taught me so much more and having read a lot of the material prior to them makes so much more sense. I am a hands on type person and definitely learn more when I can apply what you have actually written about and taught in person. Its not that it doesnt make senes on paper or screen, but its like a lightbulb being turned on when I apply, feel and see the differences of letting go and using the techniques taught. Its confidence building when I can acctually succeed with the drills discussed and taught. I learned much more than i expected in levels 1 and 2 at VIR recently, and will be coming back for level 3 and 4 very soon (probably at SOW very soon). I am both anxious and iterested to see how much more I can discover about my own fears and abilities. My hope is that the fog is completely lifted and the mystery is revealed for me when I return... I have many more questions to be answered and skills to perfect, but I do believe I made a huge accomplishment the last/first time I was there. I am hoping for the same level of breakthrough next time. I know I will truely benefit from it in all aspects of life.

I am still grinning from ear to ear about my own personal achievements and cant wait to share that excitement and knowledge with everyone I meet and work with. I am quite sure they are tired of me talking about it but its ok I have not been this excited about riding and life in a while and it shows. It seems as though life has taken an exciting turn for the best and I am going to enjoy it as long as I can, and share my excitement with everyone. It seems to be an infectious quality, and I love it. Thanks for the confidence building tools, and thanks to all of the CSS staff.

 

Heath Fluent

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Keith,

I do enjoy and learn from all of your article and books, and it seems to be true in many things in life. Your classes have taught me so much more and having read a lot of the material prior to them makes so much more sense. I am a hands on type person and definitely learn more when I can apply what you have actually written about and taught in person. Its not that it doesnt make senes on paper or screen, but its like a lightbulb being turned on when I apply, feel and see the differences of letting go and using the techniques taught. Its confidence building when I can acctually succeed with the drills discussed and taught. I learned much more than i expected in levels 1 and 2 at VIR recently, and will be coming back for level 3 and 4 very soon (probably at SOW very soon). I am both anxious and iterested to see how much more I can discover about my own fears and abilities. My hope is that the fog is completely lifted and the mystery is revealed for me when I return... I have many more questions to be answered and skills to perfect, but I do believe I made a huge accomplishment the last/first time I was there. I am hoping for the same level of breakthrough next time. I know I will truely benefit from it in all aspects of life.

I am still grinning from ear to ear about my own personal achievements and cant wait to share that excitement and knowledge with everyone I meet and work with. I am quite sure they are tired of me talking about it but its ok I have not been this excited about riding and life in a while and it shows. It seems as though life has taken an exciting turn for the best and I am going to enjoy it as long as I can, and share my excitement with everyone. It seems to be an infectious quality, and I love it. Thanks for the confidence building tools, and thanks to all of the CSS staff.

 

Heath Fluent

 

Heath,

 

WOW, what a brilliant success story, I'm grinning ear to ear from it.

 

Thanks a million

 

Keith

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"While riding, the more we resist things happening to us the more likely we are to make an error with that exact thing. The areas we fear, the ones we do not understand the basics or the limits of, the ones that stick our attention, will bite us in the end."

 

 

This is really true in any aspects of life...All should learn to live with this phrase.

 

A well-done article.

 

Thanks for sharing. :rolleyes:

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"While riding, the more we resist things happening to us the more likely we are to make an error with that exact thing. The areas we fear, the ones we do not understand the basics or the limits of, the ones that stick our attention, will bite us in the end."

 

 

This is really true in any aspects of life...All should learn to live with this phrase.

 

A well-done article.

 

Thanks for sharing. :rolleyes:

 

Hi Jane,

 

Glad you posted, if you want, go ahead and introduce yourself in the newbie section.

 

Best,

cobie

 

ps--you are quite correct, applies to more than just riding, doesn't it?

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I like to thanks Keith techniques from me avoiding a low side on the weekend. It was a very windy day and I was going around a blind corner, a small tree branch lay across the entire road. It was a thin (no more than 2 inchs thick) long branch. There was no way to avoid the branch, rather than applying front brake (most likely crash), I mange to eye the thinest part of the branch, ease off the throttle (which stands the bike) and apply the throttle again and countersteering. As I was relax and not gripping the bars with a death drip my front tyre still slid about 30-40cm over the branch, I just let my bike did what it naturally did and not try to fight it. 

 

I stopped up the road and moved the branch off the road and had a dirty great smile on my face knowing that the outcome could have been different if I didn't read Keith book.

 

Thanks mate.

 

 

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The original article was one of the most interesting I have read here - probably because it touch on an issue I'm really familiar with; fear. I have fear of sliding tyres. And this despite lots of experience with sliding tyres that's mostly gone very well. I've ridden plenty in snow and ice and felt fine. Even with sliding tyres. But I didn't like it. I've slid both the front and rear tyres on wet and dry asphalt roads, from just a hint to full lock slides. And they went well. But I didn't like it. As long as my tyres stick, I am good. I't heading into the unknown that is scary and uncomfortable. Will the tyres grip again? Will I d the right things? Will I fall?

 

I've just bought an old XT600 Tenere that I will use on gravel roads to (hopefully) become more comfortable with sliding the tyres, especially the rear tyre. Knowing now that I should focus on what I'm doing (keep the throttle rolling open smoothly) and what I shouldn't be doing (chop the throttle), I will hopefully slowly recuce my fear of sliding wheels and begin to embrace it.

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Keith,

I'm glad you used launching in your example because I'm pretty good at that and it makes me feel good to remember and be aware of all the improvements I've made since the words Twist of the Wrist were first spoken to me about six months ago. Its surprising how much improvement can be made with the written and DVD materials you've produced without taking an actual School day. I know because my friends are amazed at how I've improved by applying all you've taught me that way.

Peace out,

Nic

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