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"Locker bleiben", or what It feels like to let the bike do Its thing

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  • "Locker bleiben", or what It feels like to let the bike do Its thing

    This is For Crash.

    In German, "Locker bleiben" translates literally to "stay loose", But that is incomplete. Locker is not just loose, but also flexible and shaped. The root of the word is lock, which is a curl of hair.

    I'm done with day four of may Alps Trip. Yesterday, I had a few pretty well overcooked Turns, mostly uphill righthanders that I apexed way too early. On one of them, I watched It go down, and was bad, looking like bike-meet-wall bad.

    The bike is fine and so am I.

    Crash was in my head yelling "Keep riding the damn motorcycle" (which I love so much that I call It Rule Zero), but that wasn't enough. At some point in the turn, I let go. Not of the bike, but of the notion that I could ride the turn out better than the bike could. I decided to trust the bike even moreso than ever before. I relaxed completely, save my outside (left) leg.

    This was completely beyond "loosen up on the bars, This was Spaghetti noodle Time.

    It was so weird. Like an out of body experience.

    I felt like I was just kind of hanging there. Not "hanging off", but literally, physically being supported by the bike during a hard lean. The bike became weightless in my grip. I pushed a little with my left toe and looked up. The bike magically did its thing, and while It wasn't a great turn, it sent from baaaaaad to safe.

    I spent today riding faster than I ever expected to, with far fewer mistakes. I spent most of the time trying to get that feeling imprinted Into my brain and body. The lightness, that little pressure in my inner thigh, the ability to use the pegs strongly to my advantage. I need a track day to really hammer It in, but now I get a little bit more of what riding is supposed to feel like.

    I like it........
    Katherine goes to Fahrschule - the German rider training thread :: Nine Days in the Alps :: BRC 2014 :: Finding GS Land
    2012 CBR250R (sold), 2001 Super Sherpa, 2004 BMW F650GSa - not a big Ford truck...

  • #2
    Alex, can I ask you what your objective is when riding? I have had other replies but interested in your answer.



    Sent from my Galaxy SIII, Tapatalk and my two left thumbs.
    CURRENT BIKES: 2014 Suzuki Wee Strom, 2016 Honda CBR500R
    PREVIOUS BIKES: 2002 Ninja 500, 2002 Kawi ZR-7S, 2002 Kawi Concours, 2003 Yamaha XT225, 2006 Yamaha FZ6, 2005 Suzuki Wee Strom, 2004 Honda CRF250R, Yamaha TTR250
    Test riding bikes since 2004.
    If loud pipes save lives, imagine what learning to RIDE that thing will do!
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    • #3
      "Locker bleiben", or what It feels like to let the bike do Its thing

      Good question. It's a different reason now than It was when I started, and in the context of this thread, relatively narrow. I like the interface with the bike. I am working toward smooth, and from driving, I am used to the idea that fast is a byproduct of smooth instead of a goal in its own right. There is some amount of overcoming internal limits going on, too. So when I say I was riding faster than before, it really means I smoothed myself out, stayed on line, and spent less of my attention on controls. The byproduct of that is speed, if the opportunity to go faster is there.

      I may be being unusually self-analytical here. Maybe a clearer Statement is that I transitioned from riding ON The bike to riding WITH the bike.

      I hit a wall about five years ago with driving: It was either significantly upgrade my car, or plateau as a driver. As I have yet to acquire an Elise, the bike is a welcome opportunity to work on my machine interface and continue growing in that skill group. It's working quite nicely, and the fun/adventure factor is 10x what I get out of driving.

      Riding very well (beyond safe, actually become good) became a goal in its own right some time ago. I expect to spend time learning some offroad skills when I get home, too.
      Last edited by atomicalex; 09-24-2013, 10:36 PM.
      Katherine goes to Fahrschule - the German rider training thread :: Nine Days in the Alps :: BRC 2014 :: Finding GS Land
      2012 CBR250R (sold), 2001 Super Sherpa, 2004 BMW F650GSa - not a big Ford truck...

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      • #4
        "Locker bleiben", or what It feels like to let the bike do Its thing

        Smooth is a great goal. Fast, on the street and especially on unfamiliar road really is not. But it's something that happens as we continue our riding career especially as we ride with other, more experienced riders who carry more speed through corners.

        I think a big part of your fix was getting your eyes up.

        I don't know if your Beemer is the right bike to be really pushing the envelope with. I just don't want you to get hurt doing something that is beyond your or your bike's capability. Don't make the mistake of trying to recreate a serendipitous moment that may never really happen again.

        Now that I've said all that, I know that you want to explore doing more track days. I hope you can really focus on finding the zone and learning your limits in that environment.

        ETA: have you read The Pace?
        ~Teri
        Originally posted by Bugguts
        Hey, at my age running hot and loss of spark is a common problem.
        2013 Triumph Tiger 800
        2018 Triumph Street Triple R - Low
        2015 Ninja 300 (sold to a student rider, renamed Lloyd)

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        • #5
          Originally posted by atomicalex View Post
          At some point in the turn, I let go. Not of the bike, but of the notion that I could ride the turn out better than the bike could. I decided to trust the bike even moreso than ever before. I relaxed completely, save my outside (left) leg.

          This was completely beyond "loosen up on the bars, This was Spaghetti noodle Time.

          It was so weird. Like an out of body experience.
          That's the entry point to Flow.

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          • #6
            "Locker bleiben", or what It feels like to let the bike do Its thing

            Originally posted by NoCo Gal View Post
            I think a big part of your fix was getting your eyes up.

            I don't know if your Beemer is the right bike to be really pushing the envelope with.
            Agree with both. the loosening of the Body was a surprise side event that I was lucky To experience and be able to process. And I can buy a new-to-me track bike every year For Ten years before I get Into properly Set up Elise costs. This fact Has Not escaped me!

            This Trip is really sucking me Into the whole GS Thing. I Can already Envision Trips in The US.

            I read The pace a long Time Ago, before riding was a possibility. Probably Time To read It again.

            Edit- Yup. Makes me smile, because I remember the day it kicked in with my car. It was like the light came on.
            Last edited by atomicalex; 09-25-2013, 01:00 AM.
            Katherine goes to Fahrschule - the German rider training thread :: Nine Days in the Alps :: BRC 2014 :: Finding GS Land
            2012 CBR250R (sold), 2001 Super Sherpa, 2004 BMW F650GSa - not a big Ford truck...

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            • #7
              Originally posted by AZridered View Post
              That's the entry point to Flow.
              Flow? I'd agree with that.

              Loosening up and letting the bike do it's thing is major--it's amazing just how competent most bikes are these days, they can perform better than most riders, as long as the riders let them. it's great to feel the bike railing through a turn, responding to the road, with only minimal nudges on the bars--you just let it know where you want it to go rather than "control" it, and the bike goes there gracefully rather than grudgingly

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              • #8
                Nice work Alex!

                Hanging off is just an extension of what you did. Same concept, different body position. The first time I got it right and felt my knee slider skimming along the track surface, it was great. Same deal, a lightbulb kicked on and I thought "oh, THIS is what cornering is supposed to feel like!"

                I still find myself wrestling the bike a lot on the street, but sometimes my brain kicks in and says "hey dummy, stop working so hard" and I just relax and let the bike go through the corner.
                Sportbikes are NOT BEGINNER BIKES

                Current Bikes: 2009 Yamaha FJR1300A | 2009 Kawasaki Versys | 2006 Kawasaki Vulcan Nomad 1600
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                • #9
                  I can really relate to your experience. Back in May or June I went out on a ride on my then new to me Sprint. I was on a road I was minimally familiar with and ended up going into a turn way faster than I should have. I remember the same sort of thought process - "Oh crap, I'm way too fast, I'm going to hit those rocks...don't look at the rocks, don't look at the rocks...don't give up riding...push harder, nothing is scrapping" Needless to say I made it through the turn fine and while I went into that turn faster than I should have, it wasn't "too fast" for the bike to deal with nor, apparently, too fast for me to deal with. I must admit that my riding on twisty roads has picked up in pace somewhat since that lesson, and I also know that the Sprint is capable of far more than I am willing to push it to.

                  I have also come to a similar conclusion regarding track time. I am planning on doing the Keith Code class next spring and then try to find a suitable track bike. I can see now where skills that can only really be learned on a track can translate into safer riding on the street.
                  Keith

                  '11 Triumph Sprint GT - Blue (The fastest color)
                  '05 Kawasaki Vulcan 500 - Blue (The fastest color)


                  Originally posted by atomicalex
                  It feeds my love of machinery to be that close with my whole body.

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                  • #10
                    There are lots&lots of epiphany moments in motorcycle riding

                    The 'loose' comes from being in a natural relaxed and balanced state; but it's a standing there loose, or a riding stance loose,
                    not a fast asleep or couch potatoe loose, go rag doll and ride good loose.

                    "Locker bleiben" I like that
                    it's way more expressive and accurate then simply "stay loose dude" because Locker bleiben includes the flexible 'shaped' curl of hair concept. Yes it's about being loose and responsive as opposed to tense, abrupt & forceful with rider input, but you still need to be 'on-board' that motorcycle when it comes out of the corner, or down that hill, or up that rock, or out of that straight.

                    you gotta 'jump-on' those 2 tiny tire patches Locker Bleiben and ride that sucker
                    ... some leg work is required or the bike will make it there without you, so people shouldn't interpret 'loose' as just go all Gumby like and you'll be just fine.

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                    • #11
                      Going up The back side of Stelvio was incredible. I was locker, just gently picking My way up The 39 switchbacks. They are numbered.

                      Coming down The Front side was The thirteenth circle of hell. I could Not loosen up AT all. I had to stop AT 46 (of 4 to breathe. The difference was a Real eye opener. Spent The Rest of The day trying To undo The knots in my upper Body! That, and an Audi that I Had ride around The outside of in a right Hander due to it intruding my Lane...

                      I am extremely Glad that I went back to Hit Umbrail After surmounting Stelvio. The descent was closed But Not The actaul Pass, And it's 1.5km and Ten turns From Stelvio. I even Did a shutter delay Pic of me with The Sign!

                      It will be a while before I grow enough Balls back To do The Front of Stelvio again.
                      Katherine goes to Fahrschule - the German rider training thread :: Nine Days in the Alps :: BRC 2014 :: Finding GS Land
                      2012 CBR250R (sold), 2001 Super Sherpa, 2004 BMW F650GSa - not a big Ford truck...

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                      • #12
                        Katherine goes to Fahrschule - the German rider training thread :: Nine Days in the Alps :: BRC 2014 :: Finding GS Land
                        2012 CBR250R (sold), 2001 Super Sherpa, 2004 BMW F650GSa - not a big Ford truck...

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                        • #13
                          I need to ride there. For continuing training purposes of course.

                          I love you are getting this experience Katherine!
                          ~Teri
                          Originally posted by Bugguts
                          Hey, at my age running hot and loss of spark is a common problem.
                          2013 Triumph Tiger 800
                          2018 Triumph Street Triple R - Low
                          2015 Ninja 300 (sold to a student rider, renamed Lloyd)

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                          • #14
                            A large part of getting a rider comfortable on the bike is getting into the flow. I keep telling newbies not to fight the bike.

                            Part of that is having "soft hands, and loose arms". Often times if you find yourself panicking, you tense your grip and lock your elbows. Fight the urge and keep riding the bike. If you're riding within your limits on the street, you can always lean more before you drag knee or pegs. Practicing proper body position in a lean also helps.
                            When life throws you curves, aim for the apex
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                            • #15
                              I tell classes about the "R-word" of motorcycling, that is, "Relax".

                              How do you handle situation X? Start by not tensing up, because it sends bad information to the motorcycle. Relaxed means you can sense things more accurately. Relaxed means your brain can spread its attention around to everything that is of concern, rather than locking in on whatever made you tense.
                              Jeff

                              "Remember when being socially distant was a symptom of a potentially debilitating mental disorder, instead of a government mandate? C'mon, it was just a few weeks ago!"

                              "Modern Liberalism: The embodiment of an irrational fear of letting other people run their own lives."

                              '13 XT250
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