TEAM Arizona Riding Tip: I Can Ride A Bike With No Handlebars!
Okay, okay, I’m sure you’re thinking that TEAM Arizona has lost its mind. A bike with no handlebars? The music group Flobots would be proud, we think, with our take on a bike with no handlebars in this article.
Learning not to just be “present” on the roadway at all times but genuinely being a thoughtful rider can completely transform the way you – and others – experience your riding each and every day. Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be as difficult as it might sound. By formulating and implementing a proper riding strategy for any situation, you can essentially place yourself well ahead of your own bike so you can monitor your progress more closely at all times.
We are going to ask you, the viewer of this article, to consider a virtual motorcycle. Yes, it can be the motorcycle of your choice WITH handlebars. Now, let’s start our trip up Mt. Lemmon. The first curve is approaching. What are you thinking about?
The Problem with Riding Behind Your Motorcycle
Are you thinking in advance of the curve about your entry speed, lane position, entry point, and vision reference points? Or are you just taking the curve as it happens? In a sense, this is the difference between riding “in front of the motorcycle” versus “riding behind the motorcycle”. Performing actions on an as-needed basis may mean putting yourself in a position with little to no margin for error. In fact, we are now “riding behind the motorcycle”.
Simply put, letting your mind lag behind the rest of your ride puts you and other riders on the road at risk. When you’re not actively implementing a good, solid riding strategy and scanning the road ahead vigilantly, you’re not only going to experience issues cornering, stopping, and maneuvering your bike but you also are likely to interfere with other drivers on the road, which seriously puts your personal safety at risk when you’re on a bike. You’re not giving yourself sufficient reaction time, which makes for a seriously dangerous foray out onto the open road for everyone involved.
Let’s explore some signs that we are riding behind our actual motorcycle:
- We experience surprises on the motorcycle
- We have to employ hazard avoidance techniques on most rides
- We are frequently having negative interactions with surrounding motorists
- We experience challenges with our higher speed cornering (above 15mph)
- We feel anxiety or added stress from riding
These are a few indications that we may be “riding behind the motorcycle”. The results from riding in this position include less fun and greater risk. So, where do we want to ride? We agree; IN FRONT OF THE MOTORCYCLE, where there are no handlebars.So how do we start “riding in front of the motorcycle”.
What Riding in Front of Your Motorcycle Means
Of course, we don’t literally mean to ride in front of your bike, beyond the handlebars – that’s both dangerous and likely to get you a ticket for stunting. Metaphorically, riding in front of the motorcycle simply means keeping your mind on the road ahead, so you don’t encounter immediate challenges, difficulties, and threats that put yourself and others in danger when you’re out riding. Ideally, you should implement a 12-second rule when it comes to assessing the road ahead. The human brain can visually process a challenge on the road ahead in as little as 13 milliseconds in some cases. Still, you need the remaining 11 plus seconds to formulate a plan regarding how to navigate the challenge. Scanning the road ahead of you by a significant distance keeps your mind in front of your ride and helps you spot and navigate threats more easily
Below are a list of TEAM Arizona blog posts that can help you with creating a strategy for success on the roadway:
By planning ahead and “riding in front of the motorcycle” we can reduce our risk greatly, increase our confidence in our performance, and dial up the FUN! So, are you ready to ride a bike with no handlebars?
How to Start Riding in Front of Your Motorcycle
If you’re ready to give up riding behind the motorcycle, then it’s time to change up your riding style. But how? The best way is to invest in some training courses taught by experienced riders and coaches, where you can build a solid foundation of tried and true techniques in a safe, comfortable environment. At the very least, check out our YouTube riding tip videos.
Ultimately, these courses will supply you with what you’ll need to ensure your head is in the right place; well in front of the motorcycle
Bill Seltzer has been a Motorcycle Safety Foundation RiderCoach since 2003 and a Total Control Advanced Riding Instructor since 2011. He currently serves as the Marketing Director for TEAM Arizona and is a member of the Arizona Strategic Highway Safety Planning committee. Have questions or comments about the article? Email him: Bill@MotorcycleTraining.com
Contact TEAM Arizona Today!
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