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Fear Of Falling


Crash106
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I've been paying a lot of attention to my fear lately, trying to hear what it has to tell me.

 

My strongest fear reactions come JUST as I'm about to lean or leanING (in the process of "falling" in).

 

As soon as the bike is leanED, all that fear goes away.

 

You?

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Try replacing that fear with losing a chain at 180 mph....

 

While you are coming up on Ramsey Hairpin :o .

 

I think it's the fear of not knowing the limits vs pushing them. That's one area where some track time really opens your eyes. That and some good coaching; you should do VIR this year Crash. I just signed up for CSS on 5/14 and they still had openings. You could bring the couch-rocket and Cobie would have you dragging hard parts in no time.

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I think it's the fear of not knowing the limits vs pushing them.

 

Completely agree. Proper technique inspires confidence. Practice, repetition, and familiarity with a certain corner, track, etc breeds experience. Technique / confidence + experience = no fear (for me, anyway).

 

My fear will start to kick in when one of those components is missing, or lacking. Being at a new track, learning a new technique or working on a skill I am not comfortable with. As warregl pointed out, finding limits is a big unknown for me. How much faster can I go? How much quicker can I turn the bike? How much more throttle can I roll on? How much more brake can I apply? All fear inspiring until I try it. For me, NOTHING is more confidence inspiring than when my coach says "you're doing it really well". B)

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I have fear only when I think I may crash :lol:

 

Seriously, turning in is not what I fear, it's hitting major bumps or slick patches while fully commited to the turn that I consider dangerous. Or finding the road blocked with no back-up plan. Basically going too fast in order to be able to have control over the situation. If the road is clean and clear, all is well. And when not, all tend to end well all the same through luck and a little skill.

 

It's also a confidence thing. On some bikes, I feel like nothing can go wrong. I can then commit fully to a corner, even bumpy and unfamiliar ones, and still lean the bike over to the very edge of its tyres at 100 mph. Everything flows and fear rarely enter my mind. On other bikes, I never feel secure and I never dare commit to any corner. I find that once you start to think and feel insecure,you tend to tense up and your riding skills drop.

 

If you fear turning in, perhaps you should try to understand why? Are you tense? Are you slowing, maintaining speed or accelerating while turning in? Have you tried to alter what you do to see if it makes you more confident to turn in one way or the other? What are you afraid of? What kind of sensations do you get through the handlebars? Perhaps the bike is so soft that you do not feel the tyre and hence fail to believe it will stick?

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Totally agree with you on having different feelings on different bikes. When I did my one and only trackday @ BIR on the GSX-R600, I REALLY felt...ehh, "in tune" with the bike. Totally felt at ends at an ARC @ DCTC (small road course: 1 mi long w/ 17 turns) on the 848 when it was near-stock had me wondering if I'd made a wrong choice for selling the Suzuki for the Duc (I'd felt MUCH more confident on the GSX-R on the same DCTC road course). Never got the chance to put those fears to rest with a proper trackday on it last season (due to leaking radiator the day before the last trackday of the year).

 

I AM comfident I will come away from CSS (registered for Lv1 & 2 @ Infineon in a couple of weeks) with a higher knowledge and better skillset, but my fear is that I will still have trouble carrying it over from a type of bike with engine & throttle characteristics I'm more comfortable with (Inline 4) ....even though its a literbike more capable than any other bike I've ever ridden...over to my bike that has totally different engine braking/ throttle characteristics.

 

Guess I get to find out soon, as my first date @ BIR on my 848 is on May 11, then Road America on 5/28.

 

-Christian

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If you fear turning in, perhaps you should try to understand why? Are you tense? Are you slowing, maintaining speed or accelerating while turning in? Have you tried to alter what you do to see if it makes you more confident to turn in one way or the other? What are you afraid of? What kind of sensations do you get through the handlebars? Perhaps the bike is so soft that you do not feel the tyre and hence fail to believe it will stick?

 

Oh, excellent questions, Eirik. As soon as you asked it so clearing, I got a flash of understanding. Most of my experience "at the limit" comes from sliding my cars around in the snow. It is something I just really enjoy (at least in a car), easing up to the limit, then going over, or blasting over just for fun. I'm afraid I will feal that sliding sensation on the front when I enter a corner. Probably because I don't KNOW where the limit is on this bike, or any bike, I don't have that confident fealing I would like, the same confidence I have in a car. As my wife says, I drive the car a LOT faster than the bike because I know I'm nowhere near the limit, and I know how to handle the car at and beyond those limits.

 

I also think you are right about the springs being too soft, but not just on the Gold Wing. I've never had ANY sense of traction from ANY of my bikes. Too soft? Too slow? Probably too tight on the bars. I only BEGAN to get a sense traction on my 650 when I rode much faster than usual AND practically let go of the bars in the corners. Yes, it seams a day at CSS is in order.

 

Thank you all very much for your comments. I guess it has taken me a couple of years to finally get to the heart of what has been bothering me about my riding. I appreciate your input.

 

.

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My strongest fear reactions come JUST as I'm about to lean or leanING (in the process of "falling" in).

That fear is logical, since the process of counter-steering and leaning is unbalancing in nature.

 

However, you need to understand that the bike and yourself are not falling in, rather both are relocating to an angle of new and perfect balance (both are coming back from a "fall" into a more stable position).

 

The reason is that the circular movement into which we commit, makes the "gravity forces" point non-vertically down, but towards one side and down (making the bike and yourself "heavier").

 

Think of the source of gravity under you shifting towards outside the curve while you travel into that curve.

 

All we are doing is relocating the combined center of gravity "over" the line joining both tires' patches, so those "gravity forces" go through that line.

 

For a constant turn radius, whenever we input steering movements during a curve, we are basically counter-steering and forcing the bike out of the "leaned" balance described above (disturbing the balance).

 

Actually, that is the only way to come back to a vertical position (new balance state) once the circular trajectory ends and becomes linear.

 

Think of the source of gravity pulling you shifting towards directly under the bike while you travel into that straight line (or shifting towards the opposite side in the middle of a chicane).

 

Hope this helps :)

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I've been paying a lot of attention to my fear lately, trying to hear what it has to tell me.

 

My strongest fear reactions come JUST as I'm about to lean or leanING (in the process of "falling" in).

 

As soon as the bike is leanED, all that fear goes away.

 

You?

 

 

if your worried about leaning you could buy a trike

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  • 2 weeks later...

My strongest fear reactions come JUST as I'm about to lean or leanING (in the process of "falling" in).

That fear is logical, since the process of counter-steering and leaning is unbalancing in nature.

 

Hmmm... I would say the opposite. The fear while leaning in (falling in) to the turn is illogical. Unless we're talking about a person who has never turned a motorcycle before... But for the rest of us we have all turned a bike - we know that we will lean into the turn, we will go through the turn, and we will exit the turn completely fine. Or we hope so - at least if anything bad does happen, we know it has nothing to do with the sole act of leaning the bike. Therefore - what we're talking about is something that we know will not harm us, yet still being afraid of it. That's something that seems very illogical to me.

 

Another interesting thing to note is that the concept of leaning to turn is actually natural to us. Just that the comparatively extreme lean angles available on a motorcycle are what we're not used to. Think about a person running around a corner, someone riding a horse around a corner etc. They all lean to a certain degree. On a natural surface the maximum amount of this lean is about 20 degrees before traction is lost. Growing up running around, riding bicycles on grass, dirt etc. this 20 degree limit is what we become used to. Which is why new riders will easily use up to 20 degrees of lean angle, but that very quickly becomes the 'sticking point' for new riders.

 

We could go on and on talking about the different reasons why people are afraid to increase their lean angle, but I think one part of overcoming it (at least for me) just comes from making a decision not to allow a place for fear in my mind, instead choosing to focus on more important things like traction, lines, looking for hazards etc.

 

I think the point about fear that is mentioned in the Twist books is a very important one. Particularly the fear of crashing - we don't have to like crashing, we certainly don't want to crash - but we absolutely must not be afraid of crashing. If we're always thinking about it, it can easily become like a 'target fixation'. We all know that if you keep staring at the big tree mid-corner, that's likely where you'll end up. If we keep thinking about crashing...

 

So that's why I choose not to spend any of my time while riding being afraid, there's alot more important things to focus on. If I do get really afraid of something, it's a sure sign that I'm doing something wrong and need to re-group and get myself together ASAP.

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