Two Magazine, May 1997, Tim Dickson
Is there a place for really, really fast riding on the road? Of course there is, but only if you're ready for it. The really, really fast rider's toolkit:
Makes the difference between thinking something and knowing it. It's hard to appreciate or explain the value of experience until you've got it. To want-it-now young-'uns the notion of building an arsenal of experience through years of practice and applied, conscious learning is repellent and unnecessary, but it's the most valuable tool in the box.
There's no such thing as 'natural talent' on a motorcycle - bikes haven't been around for long enough for nature to recognize a need to hardwire-in the ability to ride one. Ability, be it machine control or roadcraft, comes from a combination of enthusiasm and an applied, conscious desire to learn and improve.
Knowing you've got the skills and ability to deal with anything frees up valuable brain capacity. Confidence removes much of the stress and worry of riding on the road, it allows you to relax and focus more clearly. The world around you happens more slowly when you've got nothing to worry about (see also 'Arrogance') .
A surplus of confidence can lead to this, but it's not such a bad thing in small doses - as long as you don't get carried away. But don't let arrogance be a barrier to learning more, and don't dismiss others as a source of further knowledge and skills. Most people can teach someone something worthwhile.
Know when the time is right to press on and, more importantly, know when it isn't. It's a curse but we have to share the roads we ride and the world we live in with others. Know when to back off and give someone else the time and space they need. And know there's always tomorrow/next weekend/next summer to enjoy.
It may or may not exist, but if it does it's the 'good' variety you're after. If yours has erred to the 'bad' of late, perhaps it's best to go steady for the time being until life's on the mend.
Sometimes things just don't feel quite right for really fast riding. The problem may be in your head or out there in the real world, it may be something small that's there, then gone, or something big that won't go away. An obstacle in your mind is as important as one on the road. Either way, if the Spidey sense is tingling, pay heed.
Understand how things work and you're better placed to get the best out of them and use them to your advantage. 'Things' can be motorcycles, or tyres, or suspension, or traffic light phasings, or flows of vehicles at junctions, or the effect of the first rays of sunlight on cool, damp pre-dawn air - all stuff that affects us when we ride.
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