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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I pretty much suck at motorcycles. My turns are wiggly, my speed is too low, my traction reserve is generally over 50%. When I ride in groups, someone always asks whether I have much experience - this after 100k or so miles on motorcycles, which itself isn't much for this forum, but it's about 5 times the mileage of the canyon-carver asking the question.

The thing is, I ride in traffic. Commuting. **** weather. Animals. Road weirdos. My own mistakes. Unseen potholes. Darkness. Rain. Sleet.

I think of myself, in that private inner monologue, as a pretty good rider. Mainly because I don't crash much. But the group ride sweeper on the R1000RR behind me pretty much thinks I can't ride at all. Because my sidewalls are..... pristine.

So what makes a "good" rider?
 

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I pretty much suck at motorcycles. My turns are wiggly, my speed is too low, my traction reserve is generally over 50%.
I don't even know what "traction reserve" means. I suppose that makes me even worse than you.

The thing is, I ride in traffic. Commuting. **** weather. Animals. Road weirdos. My own mistakes. Unseen potholes. Darkness. Rain. Sleet.

So what makes a "good" rider?
Observation - the ability to see things like the hazards you mention above, anticipating
dangerous situations before they develop, seeing simple everyday things like road signs,
proper use of mirrors........

I think of myself, in that private inner monologue, as a pretty good rider.
That can be a dangerous assumption. Take an advanced riding assessment to
get a second opinion.

Mainly because I don't crash much. But the group ride sweeper on the R1000RR behind me pretty much thinks I can't ride at all. Because my sidewalls are..... pristine.
Give them enough room to pass so that they can ride on at their own pace.

Get a recent edition of the UK publication: Motorcycle Roadcraft. The Police Rider's Handbook.
Chapter one covers most of the risk factors like riding to impress others, the thrill of taking
risks, overconfidence after training and additional risks that are unique to emergency response
riders like noble-cause risk taking. Based on UK roads (driving on the left), but most of the
main themes are universal. This book is the bible for police, army, paramedic, blood bike
and just about every advanced rider training course on this side of the pond.
 

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I can't answer your question as stated right now because I need to think about it but I can tell you your sweeper isn't worth his salt if he is pushing you by criticizing you. You continue to ride your ride. Don't ever ever let anyone push you beyond your abilities. NEVER!!!!!
 

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Nightfly
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I would not consider you to be a "pretty good rider" but someone who has had luck on their side. Riding 100k miles is not going to guarantee you have developed skills beyond any basic level people develop for survival. Competence is inherent in developing confidence. Skills are what you learn while passing through such process.

You never stop learning how to ride, acquiring new skills should the most important part of riding. If you think you've learned all there is to know about riding it will quickly show you how pitiful the skills are you believed you have acquired, and they will take you out.

Skill is not something learned from a book or by watching a video but is developed by using what you have learned effectively and able to put that to use in your daily riding. When you are riding and doing those things competently and confidently, then you have developed skill.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I don't ride with that group any more. Didn't like them. I agree with ZXT10D that the skill is in the roadcraft. I honestly do not care how fast I can make it through a corner. I am aware that there is a perfect line, an ideal time to throttle up so that every ounce of traction not used to brake or turn can be applied to acceleration. To me, that sounds like a great way to ride on a track, and a formula for disaster on the public roads.

Do I have the ability to ride faster? I am aware of which wrist makes the bike go more. I choose not to do that. Drive the same way. Those guys that want to get together and explore what their machines can do? They are welcome to pass. I still wave at them.
 

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Nightfly
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There ya go, relying on a book. Finding out what your bike can do is more about finding out what you can do. Twisting the throttle only makes the bike go faster, you as a rider need to learn how to keep up. You're probably afraid you'll discover your limitations.
 

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Hey BWB75 - after I went down and broke my ankle in 2010 I felt much like you do. I took a course at www.motomark1.com and got my confidence back. I reference them just so you can see what they teach as I bet you are nowhere close at all. But the skills they teach are applicable to all bikes and styles. It is not a track day as that has its place as well. Rather how to lean, where to look, and what to expect while riding. All very important skills.

Best of luck and I hope you find a good course.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So the original question was what skill means to you. To me, riding as fast as possible is not an indicator of skill. I am sorry if that message did not translate. Sarcasm can hbe hard to convey in print.

To me, skill starts with the decision to wear proper gear, getting training, practicing skills, and trying learn while riding. Another skill is watching traffic both ahead and behind, training the mind to see the small indicators. A big one is following distance.

On a track, speed and cornering skills matter. In my opinion, those are less helpful on the road. Just because I might be able to take a 40mph turn at 110 doesn't mean there won't be a deer on the other side. In fact, I would argue that such maneuvers, however masterfully executed, do not indicate "skill" when practiced on a public road.

As for relying on books: Yes. I do read about riding. I also take training classes and watch videos like MCRider. I hope it all helps.

I guess to me, being a skilled rider is about the same as being a safe rider. Which makes me a heck of a boring partner for folks who want to see what their 200 HP supersport can do.
 

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Wearing the proper gear, reading books, watching videos, taking mc courses, IMO, has nothing to do with skill. Going into a 40 mph corner at 100 mph on the street just shows how stupid a rider is. Being a safe rider (all encompassing) is a skilled rider. Ask yourself this.....Do these 'Ricky Racer' canyon carvers, you or anybody else know what is on the other side of that corner?

You say while on a group ride, some people ask you how much exp you have? Who cares? Your turns are wiggly? Too slow? Work on it.

Maybe the biggest thing as a skill set, is to have confidence in yourself and your bike. Like you, I have well over 100k on bikes. The one thing I've learned over the years is to expect the unexpected.
 

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I guess to me, being a skilled rider is about the same as being a safe rider. Which makes me a heck of a boring partner for folks who want to see what their 200 HP supersport can do.
Y'all are sounding like poor mentors, pushing people to ride like you. BWB75 didn't say he didn't have track skills, what he really said is he chooses not to use them on public roads. And that the group he was riding with wanted to ride faster than he wanted to. He's riding his ride which is what we tell all new rides as well. Pushing your limits on public roads isn't a skill, it's stupidity really.

But I also don't think you mean to be condemning him for riding well within his limitations. As he stated, sometimes the written word does not translate well. Emoji's can help but even with them it's not the same as face to face communication. I've suggested to others, don't read more into something than is written.

That's my 2¢.:) :) :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks, Hog. Truth is, I have not taken a track course and have doubts about those skills. :) That's okay, most times, since I tend to prefer easy going rides and highway cruising.

I still wonder if there isn't a good safety case for classes at a track in order to increase your personal performance envelope. For example, you might enjoy putting along at the speed limit and looking at the scenery (like me), but halfway through a 40-mph turn that deer is staring you in the face. Suddenly having the skills (and maybe the motorcycle) to properly execute an unplanned swerve while already in the middle of a turn sounds real good. Even though you might not want to use those skills on every turn, having them when you need them could help. Not advocating 100-mph wheelies on the I-95, but maybe practicing some higher speed skills in appropriate conditions isn't all bad.

There might be many types of skills that pertain to motorcycles.
 

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I still wonder if there isn't a good safety case for classes at a track in order to increase your personal performance envelope. For example, you might enjoy putting along at the speed limit and looking at the scenery (like me), but halfway through a 40-mph turn that deer is staring you in the face. Suddenly having the skills (and maybe the motorcycle) to properly execute an unplanned swerve while already in the middle of a turn sounds real good. Even though you might not want to use those skills on every turn, having them when you need them could help.
I think that pushing your performance/comfortability envelope, if done properly, will make anyone a better daily rider. Going to the track helped me realize how much "reserve" performance was left when riding on the street and increased my confidence in the bike if emergency maneuvers are ever needed. Additionally, it was just plain fun getting acclimated to higher speeds and the necessary reaction time needed to utilize said speed.

Regardless, getting into 6 digit mileage with no major mishaps means you must be doing something right! And if you enjoy how you ride, that's all that matters in the end!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Well, there have been mishaps, just luckily not major. I have been rear ended twice at low speed in stop sign/light scenarios. Both times could be described as "not my fault," but I know better. I could have flashed my brake lights, could have tooted the horn to wake up the distracted driver behind me, could have been paying enough attention to recognize that the driver behind me was looking down and not up. Could have reacted fast enough to execute an escape plan (which I didn't have in either case, yet another mistake). Both incidents could have been avoided through better roadcraft.

Some say that no accident is unavoidable. I don't think that's true in all cases. Sometimes bad things just happen. But in my case, it was avoidable.

So second to following distance is keeping an eye on the rear view. I try to have an escape route and be as conspicuous as possible. Not perfect at it (or anything else), but so far so good. It's been 10 years since the last time, and that was 10 years after the first time...

So it happens every ten years? And its been... 10 years?

Ruh-roh!
 

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Nightfly
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Anyone who confuses proper clothing with skill should not be treated with leniency. This guy is a detriment to all riders. He's an accident waiting to happen. Why doesn't someone give him a trophy for looking good on his machine.

Come on Larry, this guy said he was rear-ended twice at low speed and then takes the blame saying he could have avoided those "mishaps" had he only tooted his horn and flashed his brake light. Yep, that vehicle getting ready to slam you from behind will take notice of your frail sounding horn.

Roadcraft, there's a piece of information he gathered from a book but has no idea how to put it to use. And if he was trying to be as conspicuous as possible maybe he DIDN'T buy the proper clothing.

We are not trying tell this guy how to ride. We're trying to save his life. This guy has no desire to learn any real riding skill, and I certainly question his wisdom. He should take your advice Larry and knock his bike over, then just walk away....
 

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Come on Larry, this guy said he was rear-ended twice at low speed and then takes the blame saying he could have avoided those "mishaps" had he only tooted his horn and flashed his brake light. Yep, that vehicle getting ready to slam you from behind will take notice of your frail sounding horn.
I don't know if you might be reading more into that than he meant.
But you are correct about the horn. I'd say his situational awareness
is very questionable. I think he said he'd like to improve overall though.
Maybe saying he has survived 10k miles is only by luck but just exposing
himself here to take the beating he's taking might show he does honestly
want to improve. So saying, "walk away", really isn't helping him or
anyone else for that matter.
 
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