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Folks, I am swinging my leg over a bike after a very long hiatus, about 20+years. Before then it was only intermittently. I am experiencing a strange phenomenon. If I am traveling on fairly narrow, rural roads I am relaxed and comfortable doing the speed limit + 10, so say 50-60mph. But when I venture onto much wider single lane roads (not multi-lane highways) with posted speeds of 50-55mph I get tense, and all of a sudden 50mph seems too fast. I know it's all in my head. For some reason I feel very small on the bike, I move over to the far right of my lane and tend to go at or below the speed limit. Suggestions for getting over this?? Will I get over this? Is the solution simply exposure therapy?

Thx!
 

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Nothing wrong with driving at or even a little below the speed limit.

If you get a caravan of logging trucks crowding you, look for a safe place to pull off for a break.

If you can find somebody good to ride with, that helps a lot!
 

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Hey Ijun46, yeah it can be scary to take up riding after a long hiatus. Just keep practicing on less traveled roads at low traffic times until you gain some confidence again. Do you have any friends that ride as well? Sometimes riding with a friend that has more experience can help as well.
 

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Welcome back :)

I got back on the horse last year after a 20 year break. The first day l had my bike l was trying to ride a 3 hour route to avoid riding 10 miles of freeway. Finally l said phuqit and just got on the freeway like l used to. It was a bit scary...l kept my eyes peeled, scanning, scanning, scanning...

2 weeks ago l sold that bike. When l got on the freeway l thought, "9 months ago l bought this bike and l was scared to death to do this ride."
 

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Folks, I am swinging my leg over a bike after a very long hiatus, about 20+years. Before then it was only intermittently. I am experiencing a strange phenomenon. If I am traveling on fairly narrow, rural roads I am relaxed and comfortable doing the speed limit + 10, so say 50-60mph. But when I venture onto much wider single lane roads (not multi-lane highways) with posted speeds of 50-55mph I get tense, and all of a sudden 50mph seems too fast. I know it's all in my head. For some reason I feel very small on the bike, I move over to the far right of my lane and tend to go at or below the speed limit. Suggestions for getting over this?? Will I get over this? Is the solution simply exposure therapy?

Thx!
I can relate..

I used to fly on the highway years ago but after a 26 or so break it was a lot different...

Riding was scary in general when I started back but now I am very comfortable again except for some highways..

My best guess is that it's when you are riding in a less familiar setting that you're tensing up.... Familiarity breeds relaxation and the opposite breeds tension, which can hurt your performance....

I still tense up on some highways. I don't get much of a chance to do highways so my time back on them isn't enough yet for me to enjoy it, depending on the road.. When I tense up I try to remind myself that no matter what, being tense is not going to help... Take deep breaths and shake it off if you can.. Loosen up and waggle your elbows... Slow down if you need to until you feel more comfortable...

In the end I would bet that any road you feel tense on you can conquer if you just spend a little more time on those kinds of roads... And try not to look AT the road you're on, look DOWN the road and just flow into the ride...
 

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You're not the only one.

I was away for 25 years and started riding again at last fall at age 65. At first everything was scary. Each bike transition was scary - going from a Honda 50 to a Honda 75 to a Harley @ 1440 cc with a sidecar. Each road type was scary at first. The more time on each bike and the more time on each type of road, the more comfortable it becomes. Now I have to watch my speed on the Harley on the highway or it will creep up above speed limit.

I am still more tense on the highway at high speed but that is to be expected - everything happens fast at speed and there is more traffic on the highway. A country road with loose gravel demands lower speeds and quicker reactions.

Don't let the tension deter you - keep at it and it becomes second nature.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the advice and support Y'all! I know that time in the saddle is the ultimate remedy. After being off a bike for so long you forget about things like the effect of wind on the bike and the sense of being uncaged... put the two together and it can be creepy at times. Oh and did I fail to mention that the bike I am swinging my leg over is an 825lb (beautiful) beast!

Highways are out of the question for now. I went on the turnpike once about 22 years ago on my then new custom Sportster. I was headed to a motorcycle training course so I could get my license and decided to try the pike for the last 3 miles... Holy S***! I think every 18-wheeler on the east coast passed me that day. I recall looking at their wheels and thinking about what the instructor said the previous day "you go where your looking"... Yikes!

I will keep at it!

Thx!
 

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Oh, and Trondyne you hit the nail on the head... road familiarity is a key factor for me too, and like a horse, that bike knows when you are tense and reacts VERY differently (not in a good way) than when you are relaxed. Bottom line: time in the saddle builds confidence, which = more relaxed and enjoyable riding...
 

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... Oh and did I fail to mention that the bike I am swinging my leg over is an 825lb (beautiful) beast!
...!
Welcome back to two wheels.

I see from your profile that you're riding a 2015 Indian Vintage! Beautiful bike, but maybe you'd feel more at ease if you had a lighter bike while you rebuild your skills.
 

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Gotta agree with Oz that getting back into riding on such a large heavy bike isn't the best way to start up again, after a near twenty year break I bought a Husqvarna SM610 to refamiliarize my self with riding again.
 

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Welcome back, I did the same thing took a 25 year or so break. I bought a Vstar 650 as my breaking bike. 3,000 miles and 3 months later I upgraded to a Royal Star Tour Deluxe. I'm retired and do 95% of my riding between 9 and 3
 

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Have to agree with above. Maybe too much bike to start with. I'd put some time on some not well traveled roads to get used to the weight of that bike. You'll get there in time. We hope anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I am getting used to the heft. The benefit of a little more weight is that it's a bit more resistant to being blown around by the wind. Getting it out of the shed at my summer camp is a bitch though :)
 

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I am getting used to the heft. The benefit of a little more weight is that it's a bit more resistant to being blown around by the wind. Getting it out of the shed at my summer camp is a bitch though :)
Aerodynamics have more to do with performance in the wind than weight. My 474 lb Beemer roadster handles the wind much better than my 300 lb heavier Road King.
 

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I agree Oz. I took the windshield and saddlebags off the bike this past weekend and that made a difference as far as being pushed around. That said, there's only so much wind buffeting one can take. I am considering a different windshield configuration, like a shorter (so I can see over the top) re-curve.

I should add that if not for Polaris bringing back the iconic Indian brand I might not have a bike other than the 1946 Chief I have that started all of this craziness. That explains the hefty Chief Vintage... the Scout was too small. I felt like an ant among the giant cagers.
 

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Coincidentally, I ran into a guy a few weeks ago here in North Carolina with a new Indian Chief and also a 1946 Chief!

He told me that he sold all the other bikes in his garage (five of them), except for the '46, to buy the new Chief.

Best of luck getting comfortable with your new bike.
 

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Folks, I am swinging my leg over a bike after a very long hiatus, about 20+years. Before then it was only intermittently. I am experiencing a strange phenomenon. If I am traveling on fairly narrow, rural roads I am relaxed and comfortable doing the speed limit + 10, so say 50-60mph. But when I venture onto much wider single lane roads (not multi-lane highways) with posted speeds of 50-55mph I get tense, and all of a sudden 50mph seems too fast. I know it's all in my head. For some reason I feel very small on the bike, I move over to the far right of my lane and tend to go at or below the speed limit. Suggestions for getting over this?? Will I get over this? Is the solution simply exposure therapy?

Thx!
Welcome to the forum. Sorry but I cannot relate to your problem. I swung a leg over a new 2007 Yamaha with twice the power that I had ever experienced and felt pretty good right away. I did feel slightly uneasy at first but took the BRC for the first time ever and graduated on my 60th birthday. In my opinion, it is all in your head. If you ever felt OK on a bike, you will feel that way again pretty darned quickly.
 

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Aerodynamics have more to do with performance in the wind than weight. My 474 lb Beemer roadster handles the wind much better than my 300 lb heavier Road King.
I can't figure this one out... I don't know if anyone here would have any idea about this.. So what makes one bike more susceptible to cross winds?

Years ago I rode a '78 GS550 and I can't ever remember the wind bothering me at all as far as pushing me to one side, etc... Now riding a CB900C which is about 100 pounds heaver and a little longer it seems to be very sensitive to cross winds... I've even been in a turn or starting a turn on the highway and a cross wind comes along and tries to undo my turn.... I had to turn extra hard to get back into the line I wanted... I never remember this with the GS and I rode that bike all the way from New Orleans to New York...
 

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I can't figure this one out... I don't know if anyone here would have any idea about this.. So what makes one bike more susceptible to cross winds?

Years ago I rode a '78 GS550 and I can't ever remember the wind bothering me at all as far as pushing me to one side, etc... Now riding a CB900C which is about 100 pounds heaver and a little longer it seems to be very sensitive to cross winds... I've even been in a turn or starting a turn on the highway and a cross wind comes along and tries to undo my turn.... I had to turn extra hard to get back into the line I wanted... I never remember this with the GS and I rode that bike all the way from New Orleans to New York...
A motorcycle's air resistance is called drag. A rider's position also plays a significant role in the creation of drag. A sport bike with a streamline fairing and a low crouched rider will likely have less drag than a cruiser with an upright rider, forward controls and no windscreen.

A bike's side profile shape affects drag with respect to cross winds, too. More drag means you'll get pushed around more than a bike with less drag.

Click the link for a Yamaha article "MOTORCYCLE WORKSHOP. PART 2: AERODYNAMICS". http://www.yamaha-motor.eu/designcafe/es/archive/archived-articles/index.aspx?view=article&id=442628&segment=&archive=false&page=1

 
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