What kind of rider are you?
Just today, someone sent me a link to a news story about a 30-year old woman in Los Angeles that was killed in a motorcycle crash. According to the story, the woman was riding a 95 Harley-Davidson and upon rounding a curve, crossed the center line, and crashed head on into a truck.
The point of the email was a Ride Like a Pro class is desperately needed in the Los Angeles area. Well, the good news is, we are working on a Ride Like a Pro training location in California.
Now, I currently have 17 Ride Like a Pro schools around the country, Japan and Indonesia and are always looking to expand.
Getting back to the terrible crash that the emailer wrote to me about; this type of crash is called “failure to negotiate a curve,” and it’s the most common motorcycle crash that involves just the rider.
There are many reasons for why people fail to negotiate a curve. In general, it is due to the rider lacking skills and not applying the proper techniques to negotiate the curve. Rarely is the rider’s speed a factor.
The proper way to negotiate a curve is to do all your braking BEFORE entering the curve. Start the curve in the outside portion of the turn. If the road curves to the right, you start the turn in the left portion of your lane. That allows you to use your head and eyes for the best view around the turn. Next, you head for the apex, or the inside of the curve, then exit to the outside.
So, what causes a rider to run too wide and cross the center line? First, the rider looks at the center line or the oncoming vehicle and since the hands follow the eyes, (you go where you look), the rider gets closer and closer to the obstacle. In addition, most riders have no idea how far their bikes can lean because they’ve never tested their lean limits. As the bike starts to lean further than it does when sitting on its kickstand, riders tend to panic and straighten up the bike. Once the bike straightens up, it can no longer turn. Thus, the bike goes straight into the oncoming lane.
Most riders, even those with many years of “experience”, ride on instinct alone. Sadly, when it comes to riding skillfully, it’s the opposite of your instincts. Your instincts tell you to fight that lean. Your instincts tell you to stare at the thing you don’t want to hit. In other words, the exact opposite of what you should be doing.
How can you tell if you need some training? Well, if you think you don’t need more training, you probably need it more than anyone else.
As an example. Last week I was at a local bike rally with my Ride Like a Pro team performing our rider skills show. Between shows I watched this woman riding through the rows of bikes looking for a parking spot. She’s riding a new Indian Chieftain with a beautiful custom paint job. I can see she’s intermittently dragging her feet and duck walking her bike and looking straight down at the ground directly in front of her and she has her hand on the front brake. She didn’t fall but she had several close calls in less than a minute. As she passed by my booth, I called her over and told her about my new Ride Like a Pro on your Indian DVD. She said, “I don’t need that, I just ride for fun!” Translation? I depend on dumb luck. This woman spent 30K on a bike she has no clue how to ride.
Believe me folks, if you think riding is fun now, it’s a whole lot more fun when you actually know what the hell you’re doing, and a lot safer.
It doesn’t take weeks or months to learn the proper techniques, it just takes a few hours. I’ve seen riders who have improved their skills by 100% with just an hour of practicing the techniques I demonstrate in my Ride Like a Pro video.
When they come to my class with an hour or two of practice, they are night and day above the riders who come to me with years of experience that never watched my video or practiced the proper techniques.
So, what kind of rider are you?
For more information on my advanced Ride Like a Pro class, DVDs, downloads, and book, www.ridelikeapro.com
Copyright 2017 – Jerry “Motorman” Palladino
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