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Left Curves And Crowned Roads


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I've been reading the forum for several months, though this is my first post.

 

I'm a 65 y.o rider trying to improve my cornering skills. I ride a Harley Road Glide---which

I know is not a popular bike here-- but it suits me well. Obviously, I ride only on the road.

 

I have read and studied TOTWII, and have watched the CDs several times. I have read a lot on this

forum.

 

I've learned a lot from all these sources, and know I'm a much better rider for it.

 

The specific issue I am working on right now is left curves, where the road is not banked, though it is crowned. This generally means that the right edge of the road is not is my field of view, but for a few feet ahead. In fact, it often means that the right lane looks like it's about 4 ft. wide!

 

As do many(most?) road riders, I have a tendency to hug the yellow center line all the way around the curve----and I want to fix that.

 

Using the two-step, I can find and hit an appropriate turn-in point near the right edge of the road,

and locate a workable, tentative apex.

 

But I often find that after the turn-in I get sucked up to the yellow line far in advance of the apex.

 

And I'm doing this (I believe) because I can't clearly see the right edge of the road ahead of me.

It's hidden by the crown in the road.

 

But if I'm in a left curve which is banked, I'm not so greedy about wanting to gobble up the center line.

 

How can I overcome this?

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Hi Jake,

 

Thanks for posting this up. Not as well known, but we did Harley-only schools for a while, and the techniques all stayed the same.

 

I'd like to say this is a short/quick fix. But honestly I don't know how to completely do that without getting you up to Level 2. That's where we spend the whole day on the visual skills. They are a whole series of them, staring with the 2-step and moving on from there. Any chance we might get you to a school?

 

Best,

Cobie

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I know what you mean, are you in Minnesota by any chance? lol Those types of turns are a regular occurance around here and it's very annoying. Makes it hard to hold a good line when the turn strays out and then decreases radius with no bank and using the 2 step drill is impossible because every turn has such a long curve on it.

 

I have played around with this a little bit around here (I am on a 600CC sportbike mind you) using the 2 step I pretty much wait until I come as close as possible to the yellow line on the turn entry and then using quick flick getting the bike leaned over just in time BUT the trick is to not over steer the turn. This is where I realized I was making a critical mistake.

 

I did everything else right, I used the throttle control rule, visual skills, body positioning, 2 step and quick steering but my steering input was too much! I came from riding in CA mountains where you have to quick flick and use somewhat aggressive steering inputs based on your riding pace because the turns are tighter, sometimes blind corners and whatever else goes along with it. Up here in the north its pretty much just put one finger on the bars and give it a push lol

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Jake, welcome to the forum. What you ride really doesn't matter, you ride. All the skills for proper cornering should be the same.

So your problem is hugging the yellow line in left hand turns. Now think for just a minute or two, what is a left hand flat turn on a crowned road?

 

 

 

Off Camber! Is what it is.

 

 

Long story short, you have an SR kicking in. Which one is it?

 

If this is a road that you travel a lot then you know the road and know what is on the other side. Why do you end up hugging the Yellow line? Because you can't see what's ahead of you and it is human instinct to take the safe proceived route.

 

You have mentioned reading Twist II several times but have you ever read TOTW? If not, that may be a good starting point. It starts with Chapter 1 The Road you Ride. Pg 4 is off camber. Chapter 6 is Decisions. Some of the decisions learned need to be un-learned to proceed in a correct manner. Read pg 48, it deals with past decisions. TOTW II continues on from TOTW and covers different material and as far as I am concered TOTW should be the starting point, not TOTW II. Twist II builds upon things learned in Twist, just like taking CSS classes.

 

To me it sounds like you need to untrain your brain/eyes from looking at the yellow line and train your brain/eyes to look at a point that is 2-4 feet to the right of the yellow line, or train your eyes to follow the vanishing point. That my friend will be a hard task to do. Practice, pracitce, practice every day on your bike or in your car.

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My greatest fear around left-handers i getting my head chopped off by an oncoming car, so I stay well clear of the centre line.

 

Here is a simple test you can do:

- Find a corner with the conditions you describe that has very little traffic

- Stand on the yellow line and look as far as you can around the corner

- Now, walk towards the line at the right edge of the road and see how far you can see. Quite a bit further, right?

 

I always place my bike so that I can see as far around a corner as possible without entering the oncoming lane. In this position I have the most time to react to whatever hazard the road ahead might hold since I will spot things that much sooner.

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...........And I'm doing this (I believe) because I can't clearly see the right edge of the road ahead of me.

It's hidden by the crown in the road.

 

How can I overcome this?

 

Welcome, Jack !

 

I don't believe that you should try overcoming that reaction completely, maybe finding a medium ground would be more appropriate.

 

You shouldn't over-ride your sight: if you cannot see that right edge far ahead enough, you must either reduce your speed or relocate your line toward the yellow line (without getting dangerously close), so your eyes can reach a longer distance.

 

Now, if yours is not a visual problem, but rather a survival reaction for riding and leaning over a negative camber, then you need to reconsider it.

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Cobie,

Thanks for the response and for the suggestion about the school. I admit it's not something I'd thought about---but I will think about it. There is some research I'd need to do first--to decide whether I'd want to use my bike, or ride yours---and I've never ridden a sport bike. I'll ponder it.

 

I know it's a vision issue---'too much space is never a problem. Not enough space always is a problem', to quote Keith.

I think it's also a turn-in point problem........been thinking about this today.

 

With right turns, it's easy to run right up to the center line, and pivot. But you can't really ride up to the absolute edge of the road and pivot. You can get close, maybe. But it's different.

 

But what I think I can do is run further into the curve before starting the turn. This stuff is still pretty new to me, and sometimes I treat the literal beginning of a curve as the place where the turn point has to go.........but that's not the case, is it?

On a long, gradual right curve, it's possible to hold a straight line well into the curve before being forced by the edge of the road to make the turn.

 

Doing that shortens the turn, forces me to use the actual edge of the road (or near it) as a turn point, and in many cases will let me see the exit from the turn-in point. And most importantly for my issue, will give me a better feel for where the right edge of the road is.

 

Will work on that next week after the rain moves through.

btw, I'm in North Carolina, at the foot of the Appalachian Blue Ridge, so there is no shortage of training roads nearby.

I can be on the Blue Ridge Parkway in about 45 minutes.

 

I hope you'll tell me if my analysis sounds reasonable.

 

Thanks again.

 

Hi Jake,

 

Thanks for posting this up. Not as well known, but we did Harley-only schools for a while, and the techniques all stayed the same.

 

I'd like to say this is a short/quick fix. But honestly I don't know how to completely do that without getting you up to Level 2. That's where we spend the whole day on the visual skills. They are a whole series of them, staring with the 2-step and moving on from there. Any chance we might get you to a school?

 

Best,

Cobie

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Thanks, alscbr.......

no, not in Minnesota, but NC.

Many of our roads here started out as buffalo trails, and buffalo never developed the concept of two-lane traffic----so the typical rural/mountain road has 9 ft. lanes, with some actually approaching 8 ft. And when the edges aren't white-lined, it's sometimes a challenge to find it.

 

I know what you mean, are you in Minnesota by any chance? lol Those types of turns are a regular occurance around here and it's very annoying. Makes it hard to hold a good line when the turn strays out and then decreases radius with no bank and using the 2 step drill is impossible because every turn has such a long curve on it.

 

I have played around with this a little bit around here (I am on a 600CC sportbike mind you) using the 2 step I pretty much wait until I come as close as possible to the yellow line on the turn entry and then using quick flick getting the bike leaned over just in time BUT the trick is to not over steer the turn. This is where I realized I was making a critical mistake.

 

I did everything else right, I used the throttle control rule, visual skills, body positioning, 2 step and quick steering but my steering input was too much! I came from riding in CA mountains where you have to quick flick and use somewhat aggressive steering inputs based on your riding pace because the turns are tighter, sometimes blind corners and whatever else goes along with it. Up here in the north its pretty much just put one finger on the bars and give it a push lol

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Thanks, ScrmnDuc.

 

I don't really see which of the 7 enumerated SRs would apply here. For sure I am steering away from something that frightens me. Maybe it could be said that I'm fixating on the security of the center line.......yeah, that should be right.

 

As far as looking at a point (points) 2-4 ft. to the right of the center line---yes, that's what I should be doing.

 

Good point, that I have omitted getting TOTW1. When I bought TOTW2, I did so believing that it was an updated version

of the first one. I'll get that ordered.

 

Thanks.

 

 

 

Jake, welcome to the forum. What you ride really doesn't matter, you ride. All the skills for proper cornering should be the same.

So your problem is hugging the yellow line in left hand turns. Now think for just a minute or two, what is a left hand flat turn on a crowned road?

 

 

 

Off Camber! Is what it is.

 

Long story short, you have an SR kicking in. Which one is it?

 

If this is a road that you travel a lot then you know the road and know what is on the other side. Why do you end up hugging the Yellow line? Because you can't see what's ahead of you and it is human instinct to take the safe proceived route.

 

You have mentioned reading Twist II several times but have you ever read TOTW? If not, that may be a good starting point. It starts with Chapter 1 The Road you Ride. Pg 4 is off camber. Chapter 6 is Decisions. Some of the decisions learned need to be un-learned to proceed in a correct manner. Read pg 48, it deals with past decisions. TOTW II continues on from TOTW and covers different material and as far as I am concered TOTW should be the starting point, not TOTW II. Twist II builds upon things learned in Twist, just like taking CSS classes.

 

To me it sounds like you need to untrain your brain/eyes from looking at the yellow line and train your brain/eyes to look at a point that is 2-4 feet to the right of the yellow line, or train your eyes to follow the vanishing point. That my friend will be a hard task to do. Practice, pracitce, practice every day on your bike or in your car.

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Eirik,

I'm not too interested in getting my head chopped off either........thus, I'm trying to work through this little hangup.

I should say, it's not terrible.......I certainly am capable of moving to the right when physics requires it.......but I know that's not

a good habit.

 

My greatest fear around left-handers i getting my head chopped off by an oncoming car, so I stay well clear of the centre line.

 

Here is a simple test you can do:

- Find a corner with the conditions you describe that has very little traffic

- Stand on the yellow line and look as far as you can around the corner

- Now, walk towards the line at the right edge of the road and see how far you can see. Quite a bit further, right?

 

I always place my bike so that I can see as far around a corner as possible without entering the oncoming lane. In this position I have the most time to react to whatever hazard the road ahead might hold since I will spot things that much sooner.

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You know it just occurred to me, while reading your post, that what I'm doing re: the center line is adding to the problem I'm complaining about. I move over and hug the center line, which allows me to see less of the edge of the road in front of me than

if I were, say, in the right tire track.

 

So, it couldn't be that I move to the center because I can't see the edge. It must be the more basic fear of riding near the edge on an off-camber road.

 

 

...........And I'm doing this (I believe) because I can't clearly see the right edge of the road ahead of me.

It's hidden by the crown in the road.

 

How can I overcome this?

 

Welcome, Jack !

 

I don't believe that you should try overcoming that reaction completely, maybe finding a medium ground would be more appropriate.

 

You shouldn't over-ride your sight: if you cannot see that right edge far ahead enough, you must either reduce your speed or relocate your line toward the yellow line (without getting dangerously close), so your eyes can reach a longer distance.

 

Now, if yours is not a visual problem, but rather a survival reaction for riding and leaning over a negative camber, then you need to reconsider it.

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I live in Virginia and have been on the blue ridge parkway pretty often so I know what you mean. Its easy to get drawn into the double yellow lines knowing that your tires are still in the correct lane. I just found that having a slight change in mind set helped me stay fully in my lane. Instead of thinking about where my tires were on the pavement I was thinking more about where my head was relative to the pavement in left turns. As I approached a corner I thought of what I needed to do to keep my head just inside my lane and didn't worry about where the tires were. Of course you need to make sure the tires stay on the pavement! However, if your head is close to the yellow line than your tires will definitely still be on the road.

 

Also I found that you really can't have much of a "line" through left turns. You more or less need to follow the curve of the road. Personally I feel its not as important to have that late turn in point when making a left turn on a two lane road. You already have a much better sight line through the corner compared to if it was a right turn so there isn't to much of an advantage by turning in later. Turning in as late as possible and using all of the road width does help you get through the corner with less lean angle.... but so does going slower. So just make sure you're going the appropriate speed.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for the post, Dave.

 

I've been working on this the last week, and think I've pretty much got it solved.

 

As it turns out, and Cobie probably already knew this, I was turning too early on left turns. A later turn entry coupled with a quicker turn seems to be positioning me more where I want/need to be in the lane.

 

 

 

I live in Virginia and have been on the blue ridge parkway pretty often so I know what you mean. Its easy to get drawn into the double yellow lines knowing that your tires are still in the correct lane. I just found that having a slight change in mind set helped me stay fully in my lane. Instead of thinking about where my tires were on the pavement I was thinking more about where my head was relative to the pavement in left turns. As I approached a corner I thought of what I needed to do to keep my head just inside my lane and didn't worry about where the tires were. Of course you need to make sure the tires stay on the pavement! However, if your head is close to the yellow line than your tires will definitely still be on the road.

 

Also I found that you really can't have much of a "line" through left turns. You more or less need to follow the curve of the road. Personally I feel its not as important to have that late turn in point when making a left turn on a two lane road. You already have a much better sight line through the corner compared to if it was a right turn so there isn't to much of an advantage by turning in later. Turning in as late as possible and using all of the road width does help you get through the corner with less lean angle.... but so does going slower. So just make sure you're going the appropriate speed.

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I put some time into this very question in the past and believe visual skills are the key. I chatted with a few riders that linger on the yellow (apex area) a bit to long. The longer the eyes are fixed there, the more they get sucked onto the line. Of course it's different for every rider and corner combination but I would start with finding can connecting those points in a way that "flows" your vision throughout the corner?

 

Have you noticed any differences in the left corners where this doesn't happen? Sweepers vs hairpins maybe?

 

 

EDIT: Special thanks go out to Misti for her insight on this topic.

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