What do motorcycling, cycling and speed skating all have in common. Well for one thing I've done them all. For another, one of the hardest skills in all of them is cornering with control.
I used to go cycling with a friend in England while I was still in the army. One of our favorite challenges was trying doing one downhill followed by a sharp left without using our brakes. I never did get the hang of it, always nearly going into the opposite lane of traffic.
Later on I took up speed skating, which is basically going around in circles really fast. I'd reach a certain speed up to which i was fine but past that speed I'd start to get scared going around the corners. I'd feel like I was going to be thrown out of the corner. Not that there was traffic to worry about but still the idea of hitting the boards didn't sit well with me.
And with motorcycling I retained my fear of going around corners fast.
I bought one of Keith Code's books in the hopes of learning the secret of cornering, but while helpful in other ways it didn't really nail down for me what I needed to do to get the corners, except practice. So I went on a couple of his track days and got to ride on a race track fairly fast. I was probably the slowest in the group on all three days but I had a lot of fun. And it wasn't until after the third day that I started to figure out some of the basics of what I needed to corner better.
What helped was coming off my bike in a corner called the corkscrew. It basically happened because I was tired and not focusing on what I was doing. Luckily I was going at slow speed so there wasn't much damage to myself or the bike and I still had the next day to ride again.
The trouble was that I was even more scared going around corners than usual. Until I figured out that I was looking at where I didn't want to go, the outside of the corner. I'm not sure if that's always what happened when I got scared (speed skating or cycling) but the difference was phenomenal. I started to look ahead and guess what the fear totally disappeared. I actually felt really comfortable. And it reminds me of riding the I5 so long ago from Calgary to San FRancisco. Riding through Oregon I'd look into the corner and the bike I was riding seemed to go where I wanted to just by me looking at where I wanted to go.
Later on I was given one final helpful bit of advice prior to leaving the track. One of my instructors showed me a video of myself riding and he told me I wasn't using the track to full advantage. Later on I learned how to combine his advice and the idea of looking ahead. I positioned myself on the road for the best view of the way ahead.
But even that didn't give me all the answers that I needed for better handling the corners. I'd say if anything that was the basics. For even better control I had to learn how to feel and control my body. On a bike especially, the better I control my body the better, by extension, I can control the bike. And it isn't just control, it is feel. Bikes don't just have controls, they have readouts, information from sensors that tell you how fast you are going, how fast the engine is spinning, even how much fuel is left and whether the engine has oil pressure or not.
I like to think of myself as not your everyday yoga teacher. I've been lucky enough to have one teacher, Andrey Lappa, who showed me how to create my own yoga poses. And I've been lucky enough to have spent a lot of time learning and doing tai ji, and dancing. And all of these things together I use to not just teach yoga, but to teach people how to better feel and control their body.
it's not something that I was born with. I had to learn it through lots and lots of practice and now I try to teach my students, (a lot of whom are grandma's) how to feel their bodies and better operate it.
My intent is to use yoga like exercises to teach people how to use their body well in such a way that they can use it effectively in any activity, not just yoga. and I've spent a lot of time using different actions on a motorbike with the intent of learning how to corner better, more comfortably, and with more control without being scared shitless all of the time.
And rather than just practicing, my idea is to teach people what to practice so that they know what they are doing, and understand how to use different body positioning movements to move their bodies center of gravity relative to their bike.
Motorcycling is basically an exercise in balance and body awareness. the better you balance and the better your body awareness the easier it is to handle the bike with greater confidence and ease.
But like riding a bike their is a cost. You have to practice. Not endlessly, but enough so that you can feel your body and move it without having to think about how to do it. If you ever took a motorcycle riding course prior to getting your license, this is like that, a rider training course but instead of teaching you how to ride your bike it teaches you how to handle your body so that you can better handle your bike.
Extreme flexibility is not required. And guess what, you've got a 30 day window to try out the exercises.
Leanpub is the publisher and a refund is only a mouse-click away (maybe a couple of mouse-clicks) if you aren't happy.
Got questions, you can email me. And if you really like the book and have a website you can sell the book yourself. there's a 50 percent commission for affiliate sales.
Note that this book isn't' going to teach you how to ride. My assumption is that you already have some experience. It also assumes you have some common sense. The exercises are designed to help you better handle your bike while riding. That doesn't necessarily mean faster.
It gives you the tools necessary so that you can notice what you do on a bike both when things go wrong and when they go right so that you can repeat the good habits and get rid of the bad ones.