A while back I wrote an article about biker games at local bike nights and rallies. To summarize, I stated in the article that maybe the organizers of these games should try something other than the hot dog bite and the slow race. Maybe a game or two that would require a little more skill, and a little less luck. At a HOG rally I attended recently, the organizers did just that.
At this rally, they set up three key holes; a key hole is a circle with an entrance way. In this case, they set up a 20 foot circle with a six foot wide entrance. The entrance way was also six feet long. Inside the 20 foot circle, they drew out another circle of 16 feet. That way, the rider has a four foot path to ride around. The rider then had to do the slow race into the entrance, around the circle and back out through the entrance way. Of course, the slowest time wins. They had three key holes set up so three riders at a time could compete. While many riders entered the competition, most were eliminated very quickly with only three riders in the final run, competition was very tight.
After the men competed, it was time for the ladies to give it a try. About ten or twelve women entered. Unfortunately, none of the ladies completed the key hole. The winner only made it ¼ of the way into the circle. Why you may ask couldn’t the women perform the exercise? The answer is, not one of the women had any idea how to use the friction zone of the clutch and coordinate the throttle. None used the rear brake to steady the bike and all the women were staring straight down at the ground.
The real question is why women have a much harder time with the techniques needed to ride at slow speeds. I’m going to take an educated guess at this question. My guess is most women never learned to drive a standard shift car. In a standard shift car, in order to creep through stop and go traffic, you must slip the clutch, i.e., use the friction zone. To parallel park a standard shift car, you must also use the friction zone of the clutch. If you’ve never learned this skill in a four wheeled vehicle, getting the hang of it on a motorcycle which can tip over will be much more difficult.
So ladies, and a lot of guys out there too, get to know how to how to use that friction zone. It’s your best friend at low speeds. Not just for competition purposes, but any time you have to ride below 20 mph. To get the hang of it, practice the slow race in a straight line. Keep your head and eyes UP at all times, get in the friction zone, bring the revs up a bit and put a little pressure on the rear brake. The rear brake helps to steady your progress. Vary your speed from a slow walking pace to a fast walking pace.
Have someone walk alongside you to give you an idea of your speed. Occasionally try bringing the bike to a stop without putting a foot down, then taking off again. With an hours practice, you should be getting very good at the slow race. Its well worth your time and it will save you from the embarrassment of dropping your bike.