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Thread: The psychology of riding poorly

  1. #1
    Flirting With The Redline Joseph Hanna's Avatar
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    The psychology of riding poorly

    Sunday I rode poorly. There was utterly no reason. I was rested and felt fine. Felt like riding actually. I bobbled slightly at a very odd angled stop sign getting out of my neighborhood. That startled me. From there on the bike felt heavy and ackward. The throttled seemed even more ridiculously twitchy than usual. I got to the canyons and couldn't for the life of me get things sorted. My lines where forced. I started to get overly tentative. I grabbed a fist full of brake several times (which I never normally do). My friends were pulling away from me with ease and I just couldn't keep the pace even though the pace was pretty chill. I broke off and went home. Maybe I could have ridden "out of it" but my instincts told me to get off the bike.

    I keep my head in the game at all times (at least I like to think I do) but Sunday something got in that same space in a difficult way. Interesting how the psychology obviously plays a role. Imagine what the Isle of Man riders must do to remove the psychological gremlins that simply have to be chasing them.

    Just my 2 cents and food for thought particularly for the newer riders. I suppose the best conclusion here is...."it happens" and what one might do when it does "happen".

  2. #2
    Miles of smiles We've stopped counting... asp125's Avatar
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    Crashes happen when you push beyond your head space. If you're not feeling it, the correct response is to break off like you did, or go do something different. Sometimes I will eschew canyons for a nice relaxed cruise to the coffee shop or around the farmlands.
    When life throws you curves, aim for the apex
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    Flirting With The Redline 2000 Posts! Sorg67's Avatar
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    This is a great observation. Thanks for sharing!!

  4. #4
    RiderCoach 4000 Posts! AZridered's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Hanna View Post
    Interesting how the psychology obviously plays a role. Imagine what the Isle of Man riders must do to remove the psychological gremlins that simply have to be chasing them.
    That is why so many racers have rituals that they go through before practice, before qualifying, and before racing. It is a matter of replicating desired conditions. It should also be pointed out that racing is very task oriented. Unlike street riding, racing may not always be fun, sometimes it is a job which must be completed.

  5. #5
    Flirting With The Redline 2000 Posts! Sorg67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZridered View Post
    Unlike street riding, racing may not always be fun, sometimes it is a job which must be completed.
    I used to take my golf fairly seriously until it got to the point that it was not fun anymore. I had a standing 7 am tee time on Saturday mornings. One Saturday I decided not to play. And on that Saturday morning when I opened my eyes at 5 am, my first thought was; "thank god I do not have to play golf today". That was when I realized I was not doing it right.

    Now I play much less seriously, I do not score as well, but I have a lot more fun.

    Serious golfers use a pre-round and pre-shot routines for similar reasons.

  6. #6
    RiderCoach 10,000 Posts! SoCal LabRat's Avatar
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    Really good post here. I have that problem at times, for no apparent reason my riding skill is stilted and choppy. You made wise choices. Most times I stay on the ride but like Asp125 change my intensity to a more relaxed attitude. Don't be in a hurry. Relax, spend more time to achieve smoothness if it's there, and give yourself plenty of space between you and whatever is around you.
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  7. #7
    RiderCoach 5000 Posts! NORTY's Avatar
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    We talk about riders (or any skilled activity) as being "In the Zone."

    It stands to reason that the reverse is true also. The trick is to recognize this and act accordingly.
    Knowledge speaks, wisdom listens.

  8. #8
    I thought about this post after a slight incident during my commute home. I was coming around a curve, when someone who had entered the median to turn into the direction I was headed, did not stop but continued into the lane I was in. It's a low speed area, so though I was accelerating through the curve, I saw them. I saw them come in and was able to slow and retain an escape route. Here's where things went wonky. I intended to honk, but the BMW horn is not quite in the best position, especially if you've engaged your clutch. My brain vapor locked. I *wanted* to honk, and accelerate away from the car that had stopped halfway into my lane. What i *did* was not find my horn, get confused by not finding my horn, keep the clutch engaged, and hit the throttle. Since the car had stopped, and I was already traveling slowly, I basically Vroomed at the guy, and then when I realized what was up (as I was passing him) accelerate around him.

    This little lapse in mental acuity affected me during the rest of my commute. I turned wide. Twice, I popped my clutch going into second gear. As soon as I realized I was riding in this head space, I made sure to take no short cuts. I resorted to "recent BRC grad" headspace. It helped a lot.
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  9. #9
    RiderCoach 5000 Posts! NORTY's Avatar
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    Yes, sometimes we can get saturated and not be able to press the horn button when needed. It's a seldom used feature, so it doesn't get brain memory. Did you activate your blinker instead? I've done that! LOL
    Knowledge speaks, wisdom listens.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by NORTY View Post
    Yes, sometimes we can get saturated and not be able to press the horn button when needed. It's a seldom used feature, so it doesn't get brain memory. Did you activate your blinker instead? I've done that! LOL
    BMWs have a weird blinker system. There are, for lack of a better term, flipper paddles on each side, and a cancel button on the throttle side. The horn button is exactly like the cancel switch, but on the left grip side. It's slightly higher than I'd like, and a bit awkward to press when I have the clutch engaged. I need to learn to hit it with my thumb knuckle, rather then my thumb. But, as you said, it's not a feature I use often. So, even though I've had this bike four years, the muscle memory isn't there. I do remember, with my Shadow, honking when I wanted to cancel my turn signal.
    '02 Shadow Spirit 750 - The R-Honda TRADED IN
    '07 BMW F800 ST - Eyegor TRADED IN
    '17 Kawasaki Versys 650 LT - Phantom

    "I own a Goldwing...when I get cold, I just turn on the autopilot and go downstairs and sit in front of the fireplace and drink hot chocolate. The bike beeps to let me know when we're starting our final approach." -- shonuff

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