5 ways to improve your motorcycle riding skills
Riding a motorcycle effectively requires a whole range of different skills, coming together when called for. If you’re going to get the most from life in the saddle, then you’ll want to take the time to work on those skills – even if, in practice, you rarely have cause to pay much attention to them.
Avoid jumping on the brakes
Applying too much force to the brakes will adversely affect your traction, and make slides more likely. You should be braking as smoothly as possible, over a long time. That means planning what you’re going to do well before you do it. Conversely, you’ll want to release the brakes as smoothly as you applied them. The riding experience will almost certainly improve noticeably.
Of course, there are some instances where it’s necessary to brake suddenly and unexpectedly. You should approach every intersection as though you’re going to need to perform an emergency stop. That way, on the occasion where you actually do need to perform one, you’ll be able to do it.
Practice shifting gears
If you’re doing a lot of riding through suburban areas and a-roads, then you might already do a lot of gear-shifting. What’s important is that you don’t develop the wrong habits. Upshift as you accelerate, and make sure that you aren’t changing gear too early. If you can feel the engine straining, then you’re pushing it too far.
Riding a motorcycle in a straight line is easy. It’s cornering that separates the great riders from everyone else. You should be comfortable enough with cornering that you’re able to do it safely as well as at speed. Slow down as you approach the bend, squeeze the bike with your legs, and keep your eyes fixed on the road ahead of you.
Wear the right gear
If you’re not wearing appropriate equipment, then you’re putting yourself, and other road users, at risk. This has consequences when you come off the bike, but it’ll also effect your level of comfort when you’re on it. This applies especially during spells of cold weather.
Of course, what the right gear actually is will depend on the weather conditions, and the road conditions, too. Investing that little extra will be worthwhile when you get caught out in the rain. Incidentally, this also applies to non-physical investments, like your motorcycle insurance.
As every competent musician will tell you: practice and performance are two very different things. What you do when you’re riding about the town might not allow you to focus on particular skills and pay attention to what you’re really doing in the saddle. As such, you might make a point of taking yourself and your bike down to an available track.
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