Riding not driving your motorcycle


Riding your motorcycle is a reactive actively. This means you do not sit passively on the saddle like a sack of potatoes! (as you do in your car) One 'drives' a car but 'rides' a motorbike. This deliberate change of verb is no accident.

Essentially, for every force/action that the bike subjects your body to you have an equal and opposite reaction.

Accelerating For example when accelerating quickly. The motorbike jumps forward leaving your body 'behind'. A beginner rider just hangs on for dear life onto the handlebars - an experienced biker has an equal and opposite reaction by leaning forward. This does two things i.e. it keeps the arms free and relaxed and keeps weight on the front wheel. Physiologically the benefit is that the biker is in control and not the wild beast somewhere in the engine, again creating a better rider. 

Braking. The reverse happens under heavy braking. The motorcycle slows down while your body wants to continue over the handlebars. A beginner pushes against the handlebars in a desperate attempt to stay on - an experienced rider has an equal and opposite reaction by leaning back slightly and griping the bike with the inner thighs. This does three things i.e. keeps the arms free and relaxed, prevents excessive downward force onto the front wheel which in turn allows the braking action of the back wheel to be more effective.

Cornering is another example. As the motorbike leans over onto the left you tip your head to the right - as the bike leans onto the right you tip your head to the left. All this 'head tipping' results in your eyes (and brain) seeing a horizon that is horizontal and not sticking up at a 45 angle. The advantages are obvious!

Once these three examples have been mastered you learn to allow your body to be reactive at all times in other situations e.g. zipping over speed bumps, avoiding potholes and maintaining maximum tyre traction on bad surfaces.

In short, its about riding - not driving!

All these topics are dealt with in greater detail on the 'Ride' page of this web site. Check it out!

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