Motorman’s Tips, Tricks and Techniques
The Art of the Dip:
Let’s say you’re in a parking lot on bike night cruising down the lanes looking for a spot to pull into. You find a spot on the right between a couple of other bikes and you make the 90 degree turn into the space. The problem is, as you put your feet down when you come to a stop, your handlebars are turned and you have to use the front brake. If you squeeze that front brake instead of grabbing it or snatching it, you won’t have a problem. BUT, if you pull that brake in too quickly, you’re going down. Not only will you damage your bike, but you’ll hit the bike on your right, plus, your body will be caught between the two bikes and you could be hurt and suffer severe embarrassment.
How can you avoid this situation, you must be asking by now? Well, there are two things you can do. The first and most common technique used by unskilled riders the world over, is to stop while the bike is at a 90 degree angle to the parking spot and duck walk the bike into the space. If you don’t mind looking like an unskilled amateur rider, this technique works just fine.
But, if you would rather ride like a PRO and not have to backup and go forward several times to get your bike aligned in the space, this is the technique you should use. It’s called the DIP.
Let me explain why this works so well. The further you lean a bike, the tighter the turn you can make. The rear tire tracks inside of the front tire with these two facts in mind, this is what you should do. If you want to turn right, first turn the handlebars to the left, let the bike lean to the left, then turn the bars to the right, let the bike lean to the right, straighten up the bike, and your in the parking space perfectly straight without duck walking or dragging your feet like some kind of sissy. Using this procedure, when you have to stop in the parking space, you will be able to use the front brake as you put your feet down because your handlebars will be pointed straight ahead. The dip will also help when you’re turning right or left from a stop. To practice the dip, get up to 5 mph, stay in the friction zone, put a little pressure on the rear brake and turn your handlebars as far to the left and to the right as you can.
You must let the bike lean from left to right. With a little practice, you should be able to scrape the boards as you dip the bike side to side. When you can touch those boards down, you’ve mastered the dip.
Remember, all it takes is a little practice. Good Luck!