Fear of Going Fast
July 24, 2010 at 6:29 am #4130
As a new rider, how does one get over the fear of going fast? I mean over 50mph. When we’re on the road, a string of cars line up behind us and we need to pull over to let them pass because I’m going so slow. I’m just not comfortable going above 50 – I have a Sportster 883L.
Any suggestions other than just more time on the bike?
thanksJuly 24, 2010 at 12:06 pm #27725
Honestly, I’m not sure how I can help you out here. I didn’t really have that problem even as a new rider. The *fear* for me didn’t begin to kick in until around 90mph.July 24, 2010 at 12:30 pm #27727
90mph on a Ducati is an entirely different experience than 50mph on an 883
lbh you have an inborn instinctual mechanism that’s only job is to protect you. That mechanism is telling your brain that riding above 50mph is jeopardizing your health. It’s an extremely valuable tool us humans have but unfortunately some lose the ability to heed it’s warning and others still just ignore it. Keep riding, keep learning, keep safe and that mechanism will adjust and 50mpg won’t feel intimidating.July 24, 2010 at 12:53 pm #27728
You’re the second person on these boards to confuse my SV650 for a Ducati. I’m guessing I should take it as a compiiment? lol.July 24, 2010 at 1:09 pm #27729
… and I have to think that the bike you have chosen certainly contributes to the problem, but I’m not going to be ignorant here and say go buy a faster quieter bike, I’ll try to suggest some real world solutions for you.
H-D’s are loud and shake from the get go plus lack any sort of wind streamlining, so even 50 can seem like you are just flying. You speak of ‘us’ & ‘we’ so the assumption is you are riding with other Harley’s ( possibly larger and modified to be grotesquely loud ) and another assumption is; they are leading and you are constantly playing catchup in the wake of a noise that sounds like a space shuttle launch ?
Step one: you need to take the lead position, now their noise ( and yours ) is behind you, you’ll hear your own engine and can focus on going the speed limit ( or slightly faster
Step two: Take the left position instead of the curb position ( while not ideal for safety while riding in numbers ) you won’t feel like you are being driven off the road. Ride the line you would if you were riding solo. Let the riding partners provide your rear echelon traffic interference for a while.
Step three: I personally hate the idea, but ear plugs as recommended by some just might be the ticket, bear in mind that when you have a deficit in one of your senses the others have to make up the difference, so keep those eyes pealed for danger (from ahead and to the sides ), ignore the guys behind other than to make sure they are keeping up once in a while
Step four: get a windshield if you haven’t already, not a big one, just something that dampens the wind buffeting at high speed and keep it tilted back at the top edge so that it actually streamlines a little !
Hope this helps some !July 24, 2010 at 4:30 pm #27730
The trellis frame and the red tank in your pic does make it look a bit like a Monster.July 24, 2010 at 5:22 pm #27731
Also remember that the bike is more stable at speed then it is going slower.July 24, 2010 at 5:47 pm #27732
thanks for some input. To clarify – the “we” is my husband on a BMW and me on the HD Sportster. I have friends who do use ear plugs, I’ll give that a try, although I don’t think it’s the noise that’s really bothering me about going fast (perhaps it is and I don’t realize it). Any other suggestions are welcomed!July 24, 2010 at 6:10 pm #27733
what possessed you to buy a sportster 883 for a beginner bike in the first place?July 24, 2010 at 6:23 pm #27734
i bought a HD 883L because it was the only bike i could reach the ground flat footed. I’m 5’1/2″ with very short legs. Also, i was looking at the Honda Rebel, but everyone told me it was too small/light and after doing the little riding I’ve done, I do like the heaviness of the HD in the wind – I would’ve been blown over on the RebelJuly 24, 2010 at 9:17 pm #27740
Hubby is on a Beamer and you are wanting to keep up with a Sportster ! … if he’s not towing a trailer you do have a problem.July 25, 2010 at 1:06 am #27744
Jeff in KentuckyParticipant
The fear of going faster is your mind telling you that you need more hours of practice at a lower speed, something that most guys do not have.
Within 3 weeks of getting my bikes when I was in my teens and 20s, I had to find out what their top speed was. At 105 mph, a 1978 Yamaha XS-650 makes your eyeballs shake.
The bike that I have now has never been over 85 mph, I guess because I bought it when I was 43 years old, and I am a little more cautious than when I was younger.July 25, 2010 at 3:25 am #27747
Ride your own ride. With time and experience you will feel more comfortable at speed. Most men and especially young men have a much higher tolerance for risk than women so they may be willing to go fast sooner, but they feel the thrill and fear just the same. I know the first few times I was out on the road it was scary once I got above 50. Now I don’t think too much about 55 but speeds much over 65 are still thrilling.
Riding with full gear including a full face helmet will help as you will feel safer. A wind screen and/or ear plugs will also help as you won’t feel the speed as much. However don’t try to completely ignore your warnings. They are mostly telling you that you are not confident at handling your bike at speed yet. Spend time working on you skills and most of all ride.
CraigJuly 25, 2010 at 5:17 am #27749
I would definitely recommend ear plugs for speeds over 50mph, for lots of reasons. But in this case I know it feels faster to me when I am not wearing them. Sounds like having my head in a clothes dryer. Too much sensory input!
But I would say the main thing you can do is keep your eyes up, look at the horizon. The horizon is not moving very fast so it slows everything down. Apart from that you want to be scanning at least 12 seconds down the road anyway, looking for danger before it gets in your face. If you are focusing on the ground beneath you then it’s going to seem like you are moving at 100mph.July 25, 2010 at 5:32 am #27752
As Eon and Gary have said, keeping your head and eyes up is VITAL to staying calm and knowing what you’re going to do well before you have to do it.
It’s also true that you will feel much safer if you’re not worried that a 25mph crash will rip your face to shreds or put you in the ER. Good, armored gear will help a lot.
The biggest thing, however, is confidence in your own abilities, which as some have already said, comes with practice. Make a point to go to a parking lot and practice skills, especially braking and hard cornering. I’d also really suggest taking some sort of more advanced riding school. If you don’t have confidence in your abilities, you’ll hesitate to push them, which is good! As has been said already, “ride your own ride,” keep practicing, and you’ll get more comfortable in no time.
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