Skilful riding

Geoff Preston
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2019 6:33 pm

Skilful riding

Post by Geoff Preston » Sun Oct 27, 2019 4:22 pm

A few years ago I posted an item on this forum exalting the thrill of bike riding, I figure enough time has elapsed to repeat the exercise and given my firm belief in the old adage " you can't get enough of a good thing" cop a gander at this.




THE PACE (Advanced riding American style?)
....Racing involves speed, concentration and commitment: the results of a mistake are usually catastrophic because there’s little room for error riding at 100 per cent. Performance street riding is less intense and further from the absolute limit, but because circumstances are less controlled, mistakes and over aggressiveness can be equally catastrophic. Plenty of road racers have sworn off street riding, “Too dangerous, too many variables and too easy to get carried away with too much speed,” track specialists claim. Adrenaline addled racers find themselves treating the street like the track, and not surprisingly, they get burned by the police, the laws of physics and the cold. harsh realities of an environment not groomed for ten-tenths riding.
....But as many of us know, a swift ride down a favourite road may be the finest way to spend a few free hours with a bike we love. And these few hours are best enjoyed riding at The Pace.
....The Pace is a street riding technique that not only keeps street riders alive, but thoroughly entertained as well.
The Pace focuses on bike control and de-emphasises outright speed. Full-throttle acceleration and last minute braking aren’t part of the programme, effectively eliminating the two most common single-bike accident scenarios in sport riding. Cornering momentum is the name of the game, stressing strong, forceful inputs at the handlebar to place the bike correctly at the entrance of the turn and get it flicked in with little wasted time and distance. Since the throttle wasn’t slammed open at the exit of the last corner, the next corner doesn’t require much. If any, braking. It isn’t uncommon to ride with our group and not see a brake light flash all morning.
If the brakes are required, the front lever gets squeezed smoothly, quickly and with a good deal of force to set entrance speed with minimum time. Running in on the brakes is tantamount to running off the road, a confession that you’re pushing too hard and not getting your entrance speed set early enough because you stayed on the gas too long. Running The Pace decreases your reliance on the throttle and brakes, the two easiest controls to abuse, and hones your ability to judge cornering speed, which is the most thrilling aspect of performance street riding.
YOUR LANE IS YOUR LIMIT.
Crossing the centre line at any time except during a passing manoeuvre is intolerable, another sign that you’re pushing too hard to keep up, Even when you have a clean line of sight through a left-hand kink, stay to the left of the centre line. Staying on the left side of the centreline is much more challenging than simply straightening every slight corner, and when the whole group is committed to this intelligent practice, the temptation to cheat is eliminated through peer pressure and logic. Though street riding shouldn’t be described in racing terms, you can think of your lane as the racetrack. Leaving your lane is tantamount to a crash.
Exact bike control has you using every inch of your lane if the circumstances permit it. In corners with a clear line of sight and no oncoming traffic, enter at the far outside of the corner, turn the bike relatively late in the corner to get a late apex at the far inside of your lane and accelerate out, just brushing the far outside of your lane as your bike stands up. Steer your bike forcefully but smoothly to minimise the ransition time: don’t hammer it down because the chassis will bobble slightly as it settles, possibly carrying you off line. Since you haven’t charged in on the brakes, you can get the throttle on early, before the apex, which balance and settles your bike for the drive out.
More often than not, circumstances do not permit the full use of your lane from white line to white line and back again. Blind corners, oncoming traffic and gravel on the road are a few criteria that dictate a more conservative approach, so leave yourself a metre or so margin for error, especially at the right side of the lane where errant oncoming traffic could prove fatal. Simply narrow your entrance on a blind right-hander and move your apex into your lane about a metre on blind right turns in order to stay free of unseen oncoming traffic hogging the centreline. Because your running at The Pace and not flat out, your controlled entrances offer additional time to deal with unexpected gravel or other debris in your lane: the outside wheel track is usually the cleanest through a dirty corner since a car weights outside tyre most, scrubbing more dirt off the road in the process, so aim for that line.
A GOOD LEADER, WILLING FOLLOWERS.
The street is not a racing environment, and it takes humility, self assurance and self control to keep it that way. The leader sets the pace and monitors his mirrors for signs of raggedness in the ranks that follow, such as tucking in on straights, crossing over the white line and hanging off the motorcycle in corners, If the leader pulls away, he simply slows his straight line speed slightly but continues to enjoy the corners, thus closing the ranks but missing none of the fun. The small group of three or four riders I ride with is so harmonious that the pace is identical no matter who’s leading. The lead shifts occasionally with a quick hand sign, but there’s never a pass for the lead with an ego on the sleeve. Make no mistake, the riding is spirited and quick—in the corners. Anyone with a right arm can hammer down the straights: it’s the proficiency in the corners that makes The Pace come alive.
Following distances are relatively lengthy, with the straights taken at more moderate speeds—the perfect opportunity to adjust the gaps. Keeping a good distance serves several purposes, besides being safer. The Pace’s style of not hanging off in corners also reduces the appearance of pushing too hard and adds a degree of maturity and sensibility in the eyes of the public and the law. There’s a definite challenge to cornering quickly while sitting sedately on your bike.
New rider indoctrination takes some time because The Pace develops very high cornering speeds and newcomers want to hammer the throttle on exits to make up for what they lose at the entrances. Our group slows drastically when a new rider joins the ranks because our technique of moderate straight line speeds and no brakes can suck the unwary into a corner too fast, creating the most common single-bike accident. With a new rider Learning The Pace behind you, tap your brake lightly well before the turn to alert them and make sure they understand there’s no pressure to stay with the group.
There’s plenty of on-going communication during The Pace. A foot off the peg indicates debris on the road, and all slowing or turning intentions are signalled in advance with the right hand and arm. Turn signals are used for direction changes and passing with a wave of the right hand to thank the cars that move left and make it easy for the motorcyclists to get past. Since you don’t have a death grip on the handlebar . your right hand is also free to wave to oncoming riders, a fading courtesy that we’d like to see return. If you’re getting the idea The Pace is a relaxing non-competitive way to ride with a group, you are right.
RELAX AND FLICK IT.
I’d rather spend a Sunday in the mountains riding at The Pace than a Sunday at the racetrack, it is that enjoyable. Counter steering is the name of the game, a smooth forceful steering input at the handlebar relayed to the tyres contact patches through a rigid-sport bike frame. Riding at The Pace is certainly what the bike manufacturers had in mind when sport bikes evolved to the street.
But the machine isn’t the most important aspect of running The Pace because you can do it on anything capable of getting through a corner. Attitude is The Pace’s most important aspect: realising the friend ahead of you isn’t a competitor, respecting their right to lead the group occasionally and giving them credit for their riding skills. You must have the maturity to limit your straight line speeds to allow the group to stay in touch and the sense to realise that racetrack tactics such as late braking and full throttle runs to redline will alienate the public and police and some of your fellow riders and possibly introduce you to the unforgiving laws of gravity. When the group arrives at the destination after running The Pace, no one feels out gunned or is left with the feeling they must prove themselves on the return run. If you’ve got something to prove, get on a racetrack.
The racetrack measures your speed with a stopwatch and direct competition, welcoming your aggression and gritty resolve to be the best. Performance street riding’s only yardstick is the amount of enjoyment gained. Not lap times, finishing position or competition beaten. The differences are huge but not always remembered by riders who haven’t discovered The Pace’s cornering pureness and group involvement. Hammer on the racetrack, Pace yourself on the street.
PACE YOURSELF.
The street is not the track – It’s a place to Pace.
Two weeks ago a rider died when he and his bike tumbled off a cliff paralleling our favourite road. No gravel in the lane, no oncoming car pushing him wide, no ice. The guy screwed up. Rider error. Too much enthusiasm with too little skill, and this fatality wasn’t the first on this road this year. As with most single-bike accidents, the rider entered the corner at a speed his brain told him was too fast, stood the bike up and nailed the rear brake. Goodbye.
On the racetrack the rider would have tumbled into the hay bales, visited the ambulance for a strip of gauze and headed back to the pits to straighten his handlebars and think about his mistake. But let’s get one thing perfectly clear; the street is not the racetrack. Using it as such will shorten your riding career and keep you from discovering the Pace. The Pace is far from street racing – and a lot more fun.
The Pace places the motorcycle in it’s proper role as the controlled vehicle, not the controlling vehicle. Too many riders of sport bikes become baggage when the throttle gets twisted – the ensuing speed is so overwhelming they are carried along in the rush, The Pace ignores outright speed and can be as much fun on a Ninja 250 as on a Hyabusa, emphasising rider skill over right-wrist bravado. A fool can twist the grip, but a fool has no idea how to stop or turn. Learning to stop will save your life; learning to turn will enrich it. What feels better than banking a motorcycle over into a corner?

Author. Nick Ienatsch.

The Author is one of our American cousins, I’ve altered the appropriate left/right hand references but if I’ve missed something, apologies.

Geoff Preston.
Mick Hewitt
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Apr 25, 2019 5:57 pm

Re: Skilful riding

Post by Mick Hewitt » Mon Oct 28, 2019 6:38 pm

Geoff,
One thing mentioned about 'straight lining through bends struck a cord. On the Associate/Full Member ride the pace was at the speed limits but I found I was leading at too advanced a level! By this I mean I was taking the most efficient line at times by straight lining and crossing the crown - trouble is that if I was being followed by an associate then they may be trying to follow my lines and this could get them into trouble! When I take out an Associate I tell them to ride within there lane(n/s to crown) to prepare them for test. On test RoSPA does leave it to the rider to make the decision to offside - cross the crown line but if you get it wrong then you may fail as it could put you into a dangerous position with oncoming or emerging vehicles from unseen driveway/junction - IAM on test will not condone crossing the crown line to straighten the line - a failure! For this reason I advise them to keep within their lane.
Future social rides I'll keep myself in check and ride for the people behind me.
If I think back when I was an Associate I believe that with my then lack of experience/knowledge that manoeuvre may have beyond my capability to safely follow!

Associates, please don't try this as keeping to the speed limits within your lane is the safest position to maintain. Speak to your Observer or see us at Group night if you have a question on this.
Regards
Mick
Geoff Preston
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2019 6:33 pm

Re: Skilful riding

Post by Geoff Preston » Tue Oct 29, 2019 8:32 am

Relevant points well made Mick.
AndyLee
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Apr 25, 2019 3:38 pm

Re: Skilful riding

Post by AndyLee » Tue Oct 29, 2019 2:54 pm

Thanks Geoff for a sobering and thought provoking article which highlights issues we have all witnessed at one time, or another. I'm as guilty as anyone else for not leaving enough in reserve sometimes. The psychology of the group ride is certainly a challenge and is touched on several times in your article. It's amazing how we can let it affect us without necessarily realising at the time. Perhaps we should invite a psychologist to speak at a group night and explain it to us....

Andy
Geoff Preston
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2019 6:33 pm

Re: Skilful riding

Post by Geoff Preston » Fri Nov 01, 2019 9:17 am

Now there's a thought Andy!
phil reader
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:43 pm

Re: Skilful riding

Post by phil reader » Fri Nov 01, 2019 9:49 am

Do you think the psychologist would need to be a Motorcyclist to totally understand the dynamics of a group ride?
Geoff Preston
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2019 6:33 pm

Re: Skilful riding

Post by Geoff Preston » Sat Nov 02, 2019 8:39 am

I have no insight into the world of Psychology Phil but I kinda suspect this is all to do with the mind and not the physical, so I feel the understanding of riding may be somewhat irrelevant but, what do I know?
Mick Hewitt
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Apr 25, 2019 5:57 pm

Re: Skilful riding

Post by Mick Hewitt » Tue Nov 05, 2019 7:20 am

Before Geoff's article I was planning to attempt a presentation at the November AGT on the state of mind from when we start training to an advanced level - basic stuff for me to try and put across. I decided to do this because of some red mist I had on a Full Member ride in the summer.
Mick
SimonE
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Apr 24, 2019 9:06 pm

Re: Skilful riding

Post by SimonE » Tue Nov 05, 2019 12:46 pm

I'm not surprised Mick - you are a bit of a hothead! :lol:
Colin Digby
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:34 pm

Re: Skilful riding

Post by Colin Digby » Wed Nov 06, 2019 11:51 pm

Great Post Geoff some things for me and i am sure a lot of others to think about
And Mick your points are very relevant to leading any ride Thanks
Last edited by Colin Digby on Mon Nov 11, 2019 8:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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