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For those of you that don't get the mag... I was just thumbing through and saw this article... I'll post it here... it's a good read... ESPECIALLY FOR NEW RIDERS such as I… sorry in advance for any misspellings.. I couldn’t find it online so I read and typed it here… :twofinger

"On a recent Sunday ride, I Had the opportunity to witness a crash as it unfolded directly in front of me. Thankfully, it was a somewhat slow-speed fall after running off the road that resulted in no injuries—some minor damage to the motorcycle and moderate damage to the rider’s pride were the only casualties. Having a front-row seat to the incident, however, allowed me to witness the numerous missteps that lead to what could be considered a common accident among novice riders: overshooting a turn and panicking, resulting in an off-road excursion and an inevitable crash.

It was a pretty frustration experience as the crash unfolded because I wanted to correct the rider just as the first mistake was committed, but I was powerless to do so. Then, as each mistake compounded upon the next, starting a chain of events that could not be undone, I could only watch and hope that no serious injuries would result from the crash. I felt eerily detached as the events unfolded, like reliving a crash in my mind, only this one was happening in real time. Each moment was broken down into milliseconds, and I found myself literally trying to will the rider not to fall in to the next trap: “No, don’t do that- No, don’t do that, either, your going to… oh no…”

The first mistake is usually the biggest one, and in this case it began with a lack of concentration. We were stuck behind a slower rider, and when he finally waved us by, the main portion of our group was already so far ahead they were out of sight. I’m sure this resulted in a sense of urgency on the soon-to-crash rider’s part to catch up (unfortunately, she wasn’t one of our usual riding group, so we had no idea of her disposition or riding capabilities). As we approached a blind, decreasing-radius downhill right-hand turn (yes, a rather difficult bend that could catch out any rider)., I watched as she became momentarily distracted by the cars parked in turnouts on each side of the road. That slight distraction was enough to miss noticing that the turn was getting sharper, and once she realized that she was running out of road, she panicked and target-fixated on the outside of the pavement. This caused her to run straight across the opposite lane (thankfully there wasn’t a car traveling in the opposite direction) and off into the dirt; I could see her gaze going off the road instead of following it, which could have allowed her to make the turn (you go where you look). She then continued to use the brakes as she rode into the dirt, causing the bike to immediately slide out.

It’s difficult to watch someone go into panic mode, because the seemingly “freeze up.” And any real bike control tends to go out the window at that point. Instead of focusing on taking steps to escape the situation, riders end up concentration on running into the very hazard they’re trying to avoid

Controlling panic is a very tough challenge. It requires that you ignore your minds overriding thoughts of imminent catastrophe, which is a lot easier said than done. But the key to controlling that panic impulse is confidence in knowing what to do when you find yourself in those situations, and that only comes from proper riding instruction and practice.

The rider whose crash I witnessed had taken the requisite MSF riding course, and supposedly had a couple of years’ riding experience under her belt. But riding in canyons is an environment demanding some riding skills that realistically can only be learned with continuous practice, preferably on a racetrack were the consequences of a mistake (and the ability to correct that mistake) are generally far less dangerous.

Sport riding at even a moderate pace requires a rider to be much more assertive (and skillful) in his or her control inputs. The necessary level of concentration gets ratcheted up a few notches, and riding decisions and actions must be made at a far more rapid pace than normal street riding. The rider must be confident in using more of the motorcycle’s performance envelope, including using that performance to get himself or herself out of trouble if necessary. Becoming comfortable with this increased level of interaction with the motorcycle is only possible through extended seat time in this type of environment; and putting yourself in this situation before you are truly ready with out exercising caution can get you in trouble in a heartbeat.

I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for riders to attend a proper riding school at a local racetrack. The lessons you will be taught by the instructors- and the skills you will learn there- will pay huge dividends down the road, including saving you some very costly lessons that you could never foresee."--- BY KENT KUNITSUGU Sport Rider- October 2004

Ride Safe Ya'll

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