Look down, you go down
The other day, I was watching a neighbor’s son trying to learn how to ride his first two-wheeler bicycle. The kid looked to be about five years old. The bicycle was a tiny BMX type. Luckily, the kid was decked out in all the BMX gear including shin guards, elbow pads and a helmet. I say luckily because he was falling quite a bit. His mom was watching him from the shoulder of the dead end street the boy was riding on.
She offered no instruction to the poor kid other than to scream, “Keep pedaling.” I’m sure this was due to the fact that she didn’t know what else to tell him.
As I watched the kid, I noticed he was making the exact same mistakes motorcycle riders, even experienced motorcycles riders make. First, as he pedaled, he was looking straight down at his rapidly moving little legs instead of looking ahead to where he wanted to go. When he attempted to turn around on the two lane street, he slowed to a crawl and continued looking down. With no forward momentum, he would fall right over every time.
I’ve seen the same thing with motorcycle riders attempting to make a U-turn, they slow down too much. With no forward momentum, gravity wants to pull that 800 lb. bike right to the ground. You can U-turn a motorcycle at a slow walking pace if you’re very good at using the friction zone and rear brake; most people are not well versed in those two techniques.
Why do little kids and even experienced motorcycle riders make the same mistakes? The reason of course is instinct. Your brain tells you to go as slow as possible when turning. Your brain tells you to look at the ground or the curb or any obstacle you don’t want to hit. Since your hands follow your eyes, you tend to steer into the obstacle whether it be the curb or the ground.
Why your instincts are wrong when it comes to riding a motorcycle or even a bicycle, I can’t tell you. What I can tell you is, with a few hours of practice using the correct techniques you can overcome your instincts and be on your way to becoming a highly skilled rider.
My NEW Ride Like a Pro video will show you step by step exactly how to learn the proper techniques. Once you get a good handle on the techniques, you can sign up for one of my Ride Like a Pro classes and take your skills to the next level.
Copyright 2014 – Jerry “Motorman” Palladino