Riding your Motorcycle with Confidence


Riding your motorcycle confidently in the wet is exactly the same game as riding in the dry but, obviously, there's less grip. As we usually choose to avoid riding in the rain we get less experience. Everything that's needed to gain confidence in the dry – comparing the view ahead with stopping ability, assessing corner speed, learning to relax and, most importantly, backing off if you're tense – also applies to riding your motorcycle in the wet. Though with extra hazards from poor surfaces and damp roads, it's a slower learning curve and one to climb with care.

A confidence-inspiring machine keeps the rider in a comfort zone more of the time and lets him get on with enjoying the ride. It is always best to gather confidence on a motorcycle that doesn't intimidate you. Big-bore sportsbikes are perhaps less suitable for this than smaller or softer machines. It's all relative, though. While a Honda FireBlade may scare the pants of a freshly direct-accessed novice, a seasoned fast boy is likely to find it reassuring and confidence boosting.

If you explore your motorcycling limits until the motorcycle reacts, it's likely to do so less violently on a softer machine. Many riders take a retrograde step by moving up to a bigger motorcycle before they've come within the capability and ability of their old motorcycle. They're just getting used to it, becoming comfortable with the way it stops, turns and brakes, ready to hone skills when wallop – thrust back out of competence and back to the bottom of confidence ladder.
Confidence will grow with the kilometers if you're prepared to spend time in the saddle, understand your motorcycle and be open to learning. When a rider is performing at the peak of his abilities, his might enter a 'flow' state. Utterly immersed in the activity, the world slows down and he seems to predict events before they happen, often feeling as though he's looking at himself from the outside, while going at unprecedented speeds.

It doesn't happen very often – and is extremely rare for road riders – but racers like Wayne Rainey and Mick Doohan have whispered of such experiences. Ayrton Senna, the man regarded as the most talented F1 Driver ever, did too and he said it scared him witless. It's not to be mistaken with daydreaming for a whole journey and forgetting how you got somewhere...
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How many times have you crashed your motorcycle in the last three years?

  •  Never
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