Keith Code Posted June 17, 2011 Report Share Posted June 17, 2011 I’ve been asked this question a hundred times: “What could you possibly be coaching on a rider like ________ , who is already a podium guy at world championship level?” I’m pretty sure my face betrays me because I’ve never had what I’d call an intelligent answer. But people always expect something really wise, some new or miraculous aspect of riding they’d never thought of before. Of course it never is. It’s always something that is, in my mind at least, very simple, very basic, very mundane to the ear but very important to the rider who is struggling with it. See if these look familiar to you. How can I: Be more confident, Go faster, Find good lines, Brake harder, Lean over farther, Trust the grip of my tires, Not panic so often, Quit running wide in turns, Handle ‘S’ curves better, Not stiffen up on the bike, Feel more relaxed in corners, Have better entry speed, Stop target fixating, Keep balance and be confident at very low speeds, Be able to downshift smoothly, Get my knee down, Stop the bike wiggling in quick transitions, Make fewer steering corrections in corners, Handle a slide, Get better drives off the turns, Make smooth starts, Make the bike feel planted in all corners, Have good body position, Handle emergencies better, Brake in turns, Avoid obstacles and Improve my lap times? 25 items that are now, or have been in the past, on every rider’s punch list for improvement. Which ones are still on yours? There are answers for each of them; not just tricks you can do in a parking lot that will make a rider feel good―that I also know how to do―but the thing that actually allows them to tick it off of that list. I’ll give you an example. Over a 5 year period I’ve run one thousand street riders through a very controlled program that, amongst other riding skills, has improved their average stopping distance at 60 mph by 60 ft. That’s the width of the six lanes of Sunset Blvd at Sunset and Vine and a bike length more than the longest eighteen-wheel trailer. How long does that training take? About an hour. It consists of assessing and measuring the rider’s base line braking; then coaching him through the feel and fear of using the brakes; and finally, applying what they learned at full speed and re-measuring the stopping distances. Who was tested and trained in my research and development of this program? Riders on everything from choppers to dual sport to sport bikes to touring bikes participated. What was their experience? It ranged from as little as “I rode my friends bike twice,” well under a hundred miles, to several hundred thousand miles; mostly males, about 3% females. For the sticklers for details out there, the range of error for the distance testing was plus or minus 6 feet. Range of error for measured speed was plus or minus 2 mph. Would training that actually reduced your stopping distance by 25% to 50% be valuable to you? How would it make you feel if you could stop your motorcycle in roughly the same distance as the professional rider who tested your bike model for that magazine? How many lives would be saved if everyone had truly effective rider training? What’s the point of me telling you this? The technology exists to coach an average rider through well designed programs that don’t just bring them up to the skill level of passing a cone weave course in the DMV test area at 12 mph to get their bike license but could, in the very real world of riding, save their life. OK, this is cool. That is an example of a solution for one of the twenty-five punch list items, harder braking, and yes, there are solutions for the other twenty-four. For my part, I can’t decide if I derive more satisfaction from seeing a rider get onto the podium in world competition, or, coach someone who is completely inept and really should never ride a motorcycle, through to this level of breakthrough in their stopping distance or in some other area of their riding. I’ve asked myself that question a hundred times. © 2011, Keith Code, reserving my rights as usual. 1 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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