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King of the Hopeless
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What specifically helped you the most to become a better rider? Was it a particular book? Was it learning to look through the corner? What was the thing you can tell everyone that allowed you to make your most significant breakthrough towards becoming a better, faster or safer rider?
 

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Safer: A bunch of mistakes etched into my memory. I do things and afterwards think "if X had happened, I would have been screwed!" Then I commit it to memory to avoid that possibility in the future. Crossing my fingers and hoping X never happens on the first time a situation arises.
 

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Definitely hanging out with people who were better than me. Its the same thing I've found with being a musician... you'll tend to plateau after a while, but playing with some new people that force you to sharpen your skills helps a ton.

This doesn't mean squids doing stupid stuff on public roads. It means friends that actually have skill, do track days, etc.
 

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^^ Def. learned a lot in a little time by riding & talking to older, more experienced riders.

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A guy on a scruffy bike
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1) Instruction.
2) LOTS of practice of what was instructed.

Historically, for me one thing that has helped a lot was a 12-month riding season in SoCal, so my skills never got rusty and had to be recovered. Now that I'm in NH, I'll have to deal with periods of not riding, and getting sharp again after the hiatus.

PhilB
 

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I would honestly say hanging out on here through last winter. Most people would say that you can't just apply something after reading about it, but some people CAN (sorta) do that.

That being said I'm not trying to claim I went from clueless to perfect. I'm simply saying that I did a lot of reading on this forum and the first time I took my bike out in spring 2012 I did what I read and noticed significant changes... then I just went from there and practiced. I'm a whole different rider going into this winter than I was last October.
 

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Mediocre Strafer
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Trackdays and books.

But not just "go out and ride around" trackdays. Usually I'll take whatever course or training is offered - everything from stepping down to the C group to go through the supervised sessions again, to hiring the video chase cam guy. Video works *really* well to show what you are and aren't doing, and how it's different than your perception.

I also don't usually just go out and try to run fast laps at the track. I focus on two or three turns with a common element (picking braking point/entry speed, exit point, bringing bike upright, whatever) and then basically cruise the course between those points, reviewing and prepping.

I do this on the street in some ways, too. You don't have to be going 10/10s to learn something. I play with traction control and ABS all the time - seeing what conditions will tr***** the electronics, then how I can be smoother and NOT tr***** them. People who have ABS and never use it befuddle me - I deliberately activate ABS under different conditions almost every time I ride, to test braking conditions and surfaces.

KeS
 

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There's a lot of things I've done that really helped me. Here's what worked for me chronologically:

MSF course - It picked out fundamental flaws in my riding.

Track days - #1 thing I learned from trackdays is to look up. This is a valuable life lesson. Look up, it works!!!

American Supercamp - I learned that people online preach an ideology about riding that may not be the best for me. I learned a lot just talking to real racers about riding motorcycles at Supercamp as well.

Riding a dirtbike - Reinforced a lot of the things I learned at Supercamp, but helped me loosen up on the bike.
 

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MSF course

Then I read a book called "Total Control," which taught me how to be a faster/controlled rider and encouraged me to practice what I had read

Then trackdays, and hanging out with trackday junkies instead of squids
 

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I started riding with guys who were much faster and thought I was learning something because after a while I could kind of keep up. First time at the track I realized I didn't know squat. Riding within your limits. Go to trackdays or classes like Lee Parks total control. Keep an open mind make sure you take advice from the right people, at a trackday most any instructor/ CR will be able to help you with something by following you. It's a learning curve some folks start riding and in a year or two are dragging elbows (naturals which I'm not) most folks just need seat time and practice. Final note, while most track orgs are truly interested in helping riders ride better, many times if you don't seek out help they will leave you alone unless your doing something silly. First thing find an instructor bother him or her with questions or get them to do a tow and follow. Most of them love it when they see a student actually following their advice and tend to want to help more and more. That's been my experience, hope this helps.
 

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Track has really helped me most.
 

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Track. Easiest way to learn your limits and the limits of your bike/tires. Best thing to do is to get behind someone slightly faster than you and try and keep up with them.
 

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Trackdays and instruction. You'll never take your riding skills to another level riding street only. Take someone who's been riding the street for 20 years, put them on a track for the first time and watch them get passed like they're standing still by chicks on Ninja 250's.
 

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Heres what helped me: "OH shit! Oops!" And I would never do whatever that was again.
Check out Twist of the Wrist, its very helpful

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Two things I think... I'm constantly experimenting with different techniques on the same road to see what works and what doesn't. But that's just how I learn, doesn't work for everyone.

I also only work on one thing at a time. Like at the beginning of the season I focused a lot on upper body placement, where my head should be and what my hands and arms should be doing. Then I moved on to lower body, which I struggled with a lot. Now I'm currently working on foot placement and the most effective way to move my feet when transitioning.

The other thing that really helped was riding in shitty conditions. Once I learned how to relax while riding in sand my awareness improved overall.
 
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