Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lean On, Me!

The comma in the subject of this post takes it beyond a seeming quote from a Bill Withers song and makes it an important note to self. For the past week or so I've made a huge adjustment to my riding style because of something posted by a fellow blogger, and to him I'm truly grateful for the suggestion.

It was at The Great Motorcycle Pizza Tour where our gracious host, Lucky, penned the following:

Minimize Your Chicken Strips - In day to day riding, it's best to have a margin of safety, so you shouldn't be riding at the limits of your bike or ability. On the other hand, it is important to know how to handle your bike at extreme angles. You should be able to ride better than you usually need to so you can handle unusual circumstances. So find a safe place and wear down the edges of your tires now and then. It's fun.

Reading that was a eureka moment for me because before I'd even finished reading it I came to realize something that had been lacking in my riding style since I started scootering four years ago. I remembered leaving the lot of Team Effort Cycle in May of 2007 with my little Piaggio Fly 50 and hearing the salesman reminding me, "Don't lean too far until you're comfortable with it!" And I realized when I read Lucky's advice that I'd never moved beyond that "don't lean" mindset. For four years, even after the upgrade to the BV 250, I'd been slowing way too much when going into turns and corners, and watching the cars behind me crawling up my rear end as I was nearing intersections at which I needed to change course. I'd never gotten comfortable with leaning adequately because I'd never really tried it, and so I braked more than I needed to at every turn.

Practicing my turns with more lean and heeding the lesson from the cycle safety course that taught that the bike will go where the eye leads it has made a remarkable difference! You can teach an old dog new tricks - even when you're the dog!

Thanks, Lucky! I hope you find that ultimate pizza someday!


Doug said...

Hey Joe, I found that video of you practicing!


But seriously, our modern bikes and scooters are capable of performance well beyond the level of even very good riders. Exploring your own personal limits is a good thing and you'll likely find that the limits of the bike/scooter are well beyond those. Sort of comforting if you think about it.

irondad said...

God, that's all Lucky needs is a bigger head! I have met and visited with him twice, now. Once here and once there.