Big Eds Blog - Riding Tips and Tricks!
We've all had the talks with worried family members, nosey friends and even the far too opinionated stranger, all centred around the same topic - "You won't catch me on one of those death traps" when referring to our pride and joys. It is undeniable that on a motorcycle you are more exposed than our four wheeled 'friends', however steps can be taken to ensure that when on the road you are as safe as can be from not only yourself, but other road users.
First of all comfort needs to be addressed, before head out make sure you're happy with your bike, from your tyre tread to brakes, make sure every feels right before you set off. In doing this it will make you more comfortable and relaxed on the bike, knowing you can trust it and it is in optimum condition.
Comfort also means your gear, full race leathers to nip to the shop for a pint of milk may be excessive, however shorts and flip flops are too far in the other direction. Find a balance that suits you, ask yourself are you comfortable in what you're wearing, and more importantly are you safe. You will relax because of these precautions, and before long the checks will become second nature.
Now onto the roads! On a motorcycle you can either feel like king of the roads or extremely small and vulnerable. A key factor in making sure it isn't the latter is road position, be confident to stick to your line on the right side of your lane, for this is the optimum road position. If you choose closer to the pavement which we have all seen some riders favour doing, you are evidently closer to the raised kerb, meaning if someone overtakes you particularly close you end up boxed in with nowhere to go.
Growing up watching racing many of us have heard the term "slow in, fast out" and it's something that many forget when they first get on a motorbike. From cornering both left and right, one of the worst outcomes is overrunning a corner at speed and either running into oncoming traffic if turning left, or something equally hard and brick-like on a right hand turn. With all things on a motorcycle, be smooth - usually the slower you do things the faster you can get them done. From instances such as cornering to braking smoothly, just be calm and composed upon the approach, drop her into the corner and accelerate out when you hit the apex. It will be a more pleasurable ride for you and other motorists will thank you for it!
On the subject of other motorists, we should really discuss our previously mentioned four wheeled 'friends'. The more technologically advanced cars are getting, the more detached they are getting from the road. From air-con to heated seats, sat-navs to phone chargers, there are more distractions than ever in the modern car, leaving us bikers a little more exposed. The only advice to be given is to think everybody else on the road is a bad driver, always expect them to make a mistake, and always leave yourself enough time and space to ensure that it doesn't hinder your ride. Before long it becomes second nature, it prevents you from taking risks that may put you in a sticky situation; it also makes you a better road user all-round as you're aware of everything going on around you.
Sadly it's common knowledge that everyone falls off the proverbial horse at some point, and these tips are in no way fool proof. However, one of the reasons we love what we do is because of the thrills involved. Just make sure you're safe and most importantly enjoy your ride, experience is everything, trust yourself and your bike and you'll never go far wrong. Ride on!
29.05.15 - Big Ed