Whats the best wayto come to a stop at an intersection/stop sign?
February 5, 2010 at 3:28 pm #24418
I always down shift as I’m slowing- I never DS at a light EVER- I don’t want to be fussing there at all- to many things going on that need my attention more than the shifting does-
I prefer to do so in a manner that allows for a bit of engine braking- probably downshifting sooner than others do… I’d rather be able to apply throttle if I need to and have the engine already moving rather than having it lugging and slow to respond… but all this probably has to do with the fact I drive a manual truck and you can’t get shit out of it at 1000-1500RPMs, so I’d rather roll in 3rd at 2500 than in 4th at 1500 so thats just habit… So I downshift in a manner to accomadate that.
although I had to break the coast to the light in neutral habit- which hasn’t been a difficult transition surpisingly enough.
I’m not familiar enough with the sound of my machine and and an engine that rolls at such higher RPMS yet to be super familar with shifting through- and truthfully the aftermarket exhaust isn’t helpful in allowing me to ‘hear’ when I shift. So unfortunately I’m about 50/50 on shifting based on sound and RPM’s…. I also think I shift WAY to soon going up and down lol. I see people talking about riding all day in 3/4 all day and to me that just seems weird- but I’m working on it!
From what I understand most 600’s cc and larger bikes never are in 6th on basic street/freeway riding- the powerbands are so much more different than what I’m used to it’s still a finesse point for me that needs a LOT of work!February 5, 2010 at 5:17 pm #24421IBA270Participant
Remember that your bike makes power much higher in the rev band. If you are in too tall of a gear (4 instead of third or even second) then it’s tough to get going. Doesn’t sound like you’re doing that, but certainly stay (around) the middle of the rev range. Think of down shifting like this; imagine you will stay in the gear you just down shifted too. Then, as you slow more, shift to the next lowest gear you would normally ride at that speed, and so on…make sense?February 5, 2010 at 5:24 pm #24422SantaCruzRiderParticipant
Except for starting the bike and the rare pull over to adjust a visor or something, my bike is never both running and in neutral.
Stopping at lights, I cycle through the gears, sometimes providing a moment of engine braking in each gear, sometimes just keeping the clutch in and dropping down gears as I pass through what I estimate to be the right speed. Even when coasting down, I very much like to have the bike sliding through a gear that will allow me to power forward at all times.
Of course I have had a very few (thankfully) panic stops where it’s full brake and I come to a stop in 5th gear. But I quickly kick down to 1st in case folks start piling up and I need to move (I also try to end panic traffic stops in as safe a place as possible, typically off to the side of a lane or splitting lanes (legal in Cali) and a couple cars into the backup.February 6, 2010 at 5:45 am #24432
SantaCruz brings up a really good point… braking… and quick stop braking ( I try to not refer to it as panic braking- cause panic that means I didn’t practice enough!)…
you can’t do it in real life if you can’t do it in a more or less controlled setting of your choice… being able to downshift quickly and effectively will be key in a quick stop- esspecially since the car behind you may not see your sudden stop it may be necessairy to move quickly out of the way.February 10, 2010 at 12:17 am #24485
I think the idea is that the panic carries a very negative tone to it first off and its definitely when your body locks up in a panic you don’t process (as you mentioned)… and when things outside your control happen that YOU don’t panic… you react with skills that you’ve perfected and honed instead of doing what you’re body knee jerk does- which is usually the exact oppoist of what needs to be done anyway.
To me the idea is that it isn’t a panic for me… its just reacting as I’ve trained- if I’m panicking- I haven’t trained to react the proper way. You’re absolutely right- no one can get every thing right all the time- its just not possible and there are just to many variables against us to get it right all the time. And mitigating the risk you are willing to take certainly is an important part of that process.
Its not about circumstances- its a about training, and for me in personally referring to a quick stop or an emergency stop as a panic stop I feel like I’m already setting myself up for (lack of a better word) failure.February 10, 2010 at 6:54 am #24498eonParticipant
I think you are arguing over the definition of the word panic, but I am with lexcapade on this one. Panic to me implies loss of rational thinking. You may have been taken by surprise by the events that happened but you did not panic. “panic stop” bad connotations for me, in the same way that “accident” implies an lack of responsibility.February 10, 2010 at 2:40 pm #24500
^ yep (well- healthy debate rather than argue no animosity here!)
thats what I mean. I’m not at all saying shit’s not gonna hit the fan. Cause we all know it has- and it will- especially in areas where you live- I live in Jersey so we have a lot of asshole drivers too
But if you are prepared by practicing quick braking and swerving clutch control and other lovely parking lot drills you reduce the likelyhood that you will panic and lose track of your rational thought/reactions. You’ll be automatic at smoothly braking to scrub off speed THEN swerving off to the shoulder etc etc etc instead of panicking- and trying to brake and swerve at the same time which is where you lose your traction.
If you are practiced in handling YOUR body and your reactions and your machine- other people may panic react but you can be confident in your abilities and your bikes abilities- you will know what you can and can’t do before you lose traction.February 10, 2010 at 3:56 pm #24502IBA270Participant
As you ride more, you will develop the ability to better “control” your environment and anticipate situations that can arise. It’s a perishable skill, and it requires a slight different mental outlook when you ride. Here are a few ideas:
* RIDE/BE VISABLE-Many people, myself included, like to think that they are invisible to other riders. By thinking this way, you’ll tend to ride in positions that make you even less visible. Think about visibility of you to other drivers and do your best to stay in their line of sight.
* LANE POSITION-This goes hand in hand with visibility, but lane management is a key skill that isn’t covered enough in the BRC in my opinion and not many other places either. It’s absolutely key for estabilishing visibility, your line of sight, escape routes and avoidance of debris. Not an inclusive list…I can’t cover all the situations, but as you ride, particularly on a divided multi-lane highway, consider the advantages and disadvantages to each lane and the position within that lane. Some teach one lane has three positions. I’d advise you to see it as only two. I worry LESS about the car directly in front of me. There’s little they can do. I worry MORE about the cars that want to merge between the car in front of me and me for instance.
* TAKE INVENTORY-Identify the cars around quickly as you scan your surroundings. Lose that red sports car? He’s probably in your blind spot. You’d better find him… Coming up on an onramp? Look to see who’s going to be driving in your space.
* BE PREJUDICED-No, not like that, but you need to “profile” the drivers around you. People reading, putting on make-up, fighting, texting, smoking pot (yes, and you can smell it too…), talking…whatever it is they are doing, watch for them. Teenagers, old people, beat up cars, cars without mirrors, cars with flat (or near flat tires) aggressively driving trucks, squids on motorcycles, cars with out of state plates, drivers looking intently at exit signs, notice everything and be prejudiced against what you think they’ll do.
* COVER YOUR CONTROLS-I ride with one finger on the brake and the clutch at all times…in case I miss something…
* AVOID “DISCOLORED” PAVEMENT-Look for inconsistencies in pavement color or texture. Don’t ever assume it’s benign. You might not have known there was a traffic jam just 20 minutes before you where a truck sat leaking transmission fluid on the ground…the same transmission fluid you’re about to ride through!
I could type all day, but I’ve got to find a job! Good luck out there!February 10, 2010 at 7:01 pm #24504eternal05Participant
I think two of the most important points you mentioned are what you called “take inventory” and “be prejudiced.” Not nearly enough people take this extra step in protecting their safety.
One thing implicit in your post that I’d like to add explicitly is that is that you should not only “profile” the passive signs that they may be up to no good (e.g., putting on make-up, busted car, etc.), but also actively try to figure out which drivers to avoid based on their active driving behavior. In other words, as you’re driving along, you should be tracking the cars around you for any irrational behavior (e.g., driving 20 in a 45 with heavy traffic with no signal on, sudden lane changes without signal or head checks, tailgating, any sign that a driver hasn’t noticed or isn’t likely to notice changes in conditions, etc.). This information should help you determine where to ride, and which drivers to get the hell away from.
To make an unwarranted analogy, it’s very easy to get injured in any sort of sport/exercise scenario, but with martial arts you have to be particularly careful. Getting punched unnecessarily hard by a sparring partner is one thing, but my weapon of choice, Brazillian Jiu Jitsu, revolves around moves that aim to dislocate, crack joints, and choke opponents. When I’m on the jiu jitsu mat, I go out of my way to profile all the other guys and try to figure out which ones are either a) too rough, or b) don’t have good “lock-sense” (i.e., don’t have a good sense of when their arm bar or choke starts to really kick in). Once I’ve identified these guys, I stay the hell away and, if asked to roll, politely decline. I learned this the hard way, after being put out of commission for weeks more than once by things like a torn rotator cuff muscle or cracked ribs.
Like IBA said, you should also be keeping track of every vehicle around you, especially ones you’ve identified as potentially hazardous. This is especially important when you have to take evasive action. If the car in front of you slams on its brakes and you KNOW for a fact that the left-most lane can’t have anybody in it, you can swerve away from trouble without hesitation. That extra two seconds to look and think about what you saw could cost you.February 14, 2010 at 7:48 pm #24540
excellent posts by both of you! thank you!
I haven’t hit the major freeways *yet* too much damn snow/ice at this point to even make it out of the complex… totlaly keeping an eye on this for the next months.
One thing too that someone and I were discussing this week was practicing riding while your driving.
All of these things can be practiced to improve your situationational awareness while you are driving- so instead of just shutting off and getting from point A to point B…. drive proactively- I personally practice onramps and off ramps since we tend to brake through a turn in a vehicle- its habit. I try every time to downshift and deccelerate to a speed to safely negotiate WHAT I CAN SEE… which is annyoing in a truck when I know I can go faster- but I stick to it just for practice and I do my best to never brake through a turn now. Just a little thing to help me when I’m on two wheels.
Being situationally aware takes work and practice- and if you don’t phsycially have to worry about getting run over you can really hone your skills at that by eliminating some outside issues and concentrating on the one thing. I personally find it VERY helpful- but I’m a very visual/hands on person so any extra practice I find to be super helpful lol.
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