Saturday, September 11, 2010

Breaking Bad Riding Habits

It is said the best way to break bad habits is to never develop them in the first place. I hope whoever coined that bit of wisdom promptly got kicked in the shins by someone trying to break a bad habit.

Lately I've been trying to get rid of habits that have a negative impact on my riding. So far, it hasn't been easy.

The particular bad habits I've been trying to break are: not keeping my knees in, putting too much weight on my arms (which is, amusingly enough, mostly fixed by keeping my knees in), and rolling on the gas too late in curves.

Keeping my knees against the tank is easy to remember, so long as I'm paying attention. As soon as I do it, it's easy to keep the weight off my arms. Of course, eventually I stop paying attention and get lazy and before I know it my arms are tired...

This probably isn't a revelation to many of you, but keeping my knees against the tank also does wonders for my riding confidence. Tight corners with my knees out? Scary. Tight corners with my knees in? Exhilarating.

The habit I've really been battling, however, is rolling on the throttle before leaning the bike over. I've somehow developed the habit of not applying throttle until I've hit the apex of the curve. Now, I know that getting on the gas before leaning into the curve makes for a more enjoyable and controllable turning experience. But I still tend to coast into curves and hit the gas at the apex.

For what it's worth, I've been working on it. I've been slowing way, way, way down and hitting the gas before the curve when I remember to. Over course, when I'm thinking about other things, like that oncoming truck, sometimes I forget. Frustrating.

Have you got any bad habits, or stories of breaking bad riding habits?


Circle Blue said...

I'm working on the throttle thing, too. I tend to ride conservatively not only by nature but by machine. I have a SYM Symba 101cc bike.

No gas tank to hug with my knees, but tensing up the arms doesn't help my reaction time. Riding in an Urban environment reaction time is a big deal.

Nice post and I promise if someone says to me: The best way to break bad habits is to never develop them in the first; I'll kick them in the shins and give you credit for it.


irondad said...

It's a four step process. Say to yourself:


The knee against the tank thing also helps with using the rear brake properly. So you get a bonus!