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Reluctant Learner


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Most of us like to think we know best. Even when it is obvious we do not hold all the answers, it's hard to admit to one self. But today I had an epiphany without even planning for it!

 

I noticed I rode calmer and more relaxed than usual, but I've felt relaxed before and didn't think much of it. Yet the bike continued to feel different in a good way, bend after bend. I weren't going for speed as I'm always cautious around town and interesections as it's often slippery. But after some time of this I tried to find out what was going on.

 

And this is it: I were sitting with my torso slightly forward, arms bent in the elbow joints and hands totally relaxed to the point of fingers not even being curled around the grips. And not just when riding, but mid-corner! I don't think I've done many corners over my 32 seasons of riding with relaxed hands. The weird thing is that I weren't trying to do this, it just happened. I also retained the position when just cruising and darn if I weren't comfy. The fun thing is that I didn't focus; previously, I've been tensing up and hanging more and more from the handlebars with time only to will myself to relax again. Now, it was automatic.

 

Apart from feeling safer and the bike feeling calmer, the suspension also seemed to work better with me riding this relaxed. I tried to hold the tank with my knees as well, but couldn't notice any benefits. Still, it is something to practice when braking hard and see if I then can retain the relaxed grip also when stopping quickly.

 

After about 50 minutes of riding I entered a roundabout and decided to carry a bit more lean when the front slid a bit. My fists immediately gripped hard and I presume I steered into the corner to get the wheel to grip again; lean first increased then decreased and the tyre regained composure. Not sure if it's the correct way, but it has worked for decades for me. Still, I prefer no slides.

 

Not sure what cause the slide, but most likely the pretty chilly weather (11 C) and no sun keeping the asphalt equally cold. That I were gently accelerating may also have "helped" by unloading the front. I've had more front end slips from this bike than any other I've had, and usually at rather moderate lean compared to how far I've leaned the bike over without any issues at other times.

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Just in case anybody believed I discovered something entirely new, the point of the message was that I eventually came to understand what Jasonzilla etc. etc. have been saying all along by chance. Hence the title. (Felt like clarifying in case somebody thought I sounded like a kokk by trying to serve old wizdom as a new discoverey :unsure: )

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Isn't it amazing when something "clicks"? I had a similar epiphany around weighting the outside peg. It was after reading TOTWII but before I had done level three. I just didn’t understand how I could carry my weight on the outside peg while leaned in. One afternoon I had a ride much like you describe and I realized about halfway through how I was weighting the ouside peg to get a solid pivot point. I had been doing it for over an hour before the light bulb went off.

 

 

 

Am I a reluctant learner or just dense? Either way I think it proves you can teach an old dog new tricks, but you might just have to let him think he learned it on his own! :P

 

Great post Eirik, thanks for sharing.

 

 

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Hi Eirik

 

Good note! One thing I didn't quite understand is when you noted you steered into the corner (when it slid), and the bike leaned more?? Did you countersteer it upright? I don't get how it would have leaned more if in a right hand turn you pushed forward on the left bar, or did you do something else?

 

Best,

CF

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Sorry that I didn't explain myself better. When the front washed out a bit, the bike fell inwards. How much is hard to say exactly, but it quickly went from being a bit removed from touching down to scraping my boot quite nicely. I then, by instinct or what you want to call it, turned into the corner to countersteer it back up. This may be counter-productive in that I'm asking the tyre for grip that shouldn't be there, but it has always worked well for me for whatever reason. I also, in addition to countersteer, lift the bike up and my lower my torso down to the inside of the corner a bit, to further help the bike come upright. I'm not going to claim that I think all this through, I simply do it and praise myself lucky afterwards :D I also, although I can sense my body tensing up, manage to stay quite smooth with rather gentle movements, which I think helps in regaining control. It would likel have been even better if I managed to stay relaxed, but I've survived fine though lots of riding on snow and ice this way, so I must at least to some thing right ;)

 

 

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Sorry that I didn't explain myself better. When the front washed out a bit, the bike fell inwards. How much is hard to say exactly, but it quickly went from being a bit removed from touching down to scraping my boot quite nicely. I then, by instinct or what you want to call it, turned into the corner to countersteer it back up. This may be counter-productive in that I'm asking the tyre for grip that shouldn't be there, but it has always worked well for me for whatever reason. I also, in addition to countersteer, lift the bike up and my lower my torso down to the inside of the corner a bit, to further help the bike come upright. I'm not going to claim that I think all this through, I simply do it and praise myself lucky afterwards :D I also, although I can sense my body tensing up, manage to stay quite smooth with rather gentle movements, which I think helps in regaining control. It would likel have been even better if I managed to stay relaxed, but I've survived fine though lots of riding on snow and ice this way, so I must at least to some thing right ;)

 

For sure doing some stuff right!

 

CF

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