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How to be a better Rider in 15 Steps!

Updated: Feb 27


Let's admit it. In our heads, we all think we can give Valentino Rossi a run for his money. In reality, though there's nothing further from the truth. However, don't lose heart - here are 15 ways you can be a better rider tomorrow than you are today.




  1. Pay Attention

  2. Ride A Dirt Bike

  3. Ride Behind A Better Rider

  4. Compete

  5. Look Ahead

  6. Sit Right

  7. Adjust Your Controls

  8. Clean & maintain Your Ride

  9. Ride in the Rain

  10. Ride Another Bike

  11. Be Smooth

  12. Brake Hard

  13. Be Situationally Aware

  14. Stay Curious

  15. Listen To More Experienced Riders




 


1. PAY ATTENTION - An experienced rider is all about the road and the ride. His/ Her mind is focussed on the task at hand and all that matters is the road the ride and the rider. Nothing keeps your two wheels on the right side up more than paying attention. Put aside the phone, turn off the music and just ride. Your focus is the road, the lane, your fellow road users, and all the thousands of things a motorcyclist has to deal with when on his bike. Riding for too long or having a heavy meal pre-ride, find yourself dozing off? Pull over, park, get a coffee, and get your mind right.



2. RIDE A DIRT BIKE - Nothing teaches you more about traction and body positioning than riding a dirt bike. Get yourself on one and you'll learn what to do when you come across water or sand and gravel even on paved roads. Besides balance and coordination, you'll also find an increase in your overall awareness and road focus giving you better hazard perception and agility.



3. RIDE BEHIND A BETTER RIDER- We all think we are fast till a fast rider overtakes us. There's a lot to learn from better more experienced riders and it's a good idea to stay behind and safely observe their riding habits- lesser braking going into turns, more engine braking use, better shifting habits, better on-road presence, and control. The list is endless if you are ready to learn. Word of caution- Don't try to blindly follow a fast rider until you are truly capable and confident of your skills. Explore your limits, but gradually.



4. COMPETE- Everybody loves a winner. Compete in local racing circuits and not on the road. Competition at any level makes you focus and try harder. It doesn't matter if you never make it to the podium, as long as you are a better rider today than you were yesterday- it's a win-win.



5. LOOK AHEAD- Riding long distances or through slow-moving traffic for hours can tire a rider out. When we get lazy we tend to focus more on the near field of view right in front of the bike. Instead, keep your chin up and look ahead and further. Anticipate trajectories of objects before they are a hazard rather than react lazily when they're too close for a confident evasive move. In a turn, look where you want to go: through the turn to its exit. Just entering a turn is not enough. Always plan till the exit.



6. SIT RIGHT- Riding a motorcycle is a communion of man and machine. Motorcycles being dynamic vehicles are tremendously affected by a rider's position when perched on the bike. So sit right, be dynamic depending on the road condition and you'll be able to control your bike better when something unexpected comes about.



7. ADJUST YOUR CONTROLS- Ergonomics are important. Being able to reach the horn, lights, brake, and clutch levers in a dramatic situation is of utmost importance. Make sure they're never out of order and well within grasp at all times.



8. CLEAN AND MAINTAIN YOUR RIDE- Regular cleaning and maintenance especially if done by you will show up any issues with the machine before things are out of hand. Worn-out wires, cables, loose nuts, and bolts are what you need to keep an eye out for. A good pre-ride check that quickly does a once-over of your bike's most important running bits is a must.



9. RIDE IN THE RAIN- Someone once said ‘you don't ride, if you don't ride in the rain’. We get what they meant. Riding in the rain increases your focus and ability to deal with different kinds of traction, lean angles, steering input, braking, and overall smoothness.



10. RIDE ANOTHER BIKE- Every motorcycle is different. It's easy to get complacent when riding the same bike every day. Try to get your hands on different kinds of motorcycles. This will help you to understand dynamic behaviours, sharpen your focus and keep you learning more about what you love.



11. BE SMOOTH- Go on a track training weekend and one of the things you'll learn is how to be smooth. Being smooth on a bike is a sure sign of a mature experienced rider who is efficient in riding and carrying momentum across varying kinds of riding situations holding absolute control over his machine. Being smooth is the culmination of good bike and body dynamics, awareness, and confidence in your machine.



12. BRAKE HARD- It's all fun and games on the road till the next human, animal or misdirected fellow road user makes a mistake. Slamming the brake is an instinctive reaction that we must learn to control instinctively. Don't wait for a panic braking event to learn how it's done. Find a safe open space and practice braking hard. Observe the shift in weight and the bike handling dynamics when riding single, two-up, or fully loaded and learn to anticipate a situation in advance and prep to brake safely and surely.



13. BE SITUATIONALLY AWARE - This is something that deserves its own topic. Being situationally aware means to be aware of yourself, and of other road users, and of finding ways to avoid calamities situations by studying and avoiding anything that may appear in your trajectory, rather than have to employ your skills to get out of a near miss. This requires all of your focus and awareness at all times when on the road about everything in your immediate and ever-changing dynamic road space. In short, know where you are on the road, relative to everybody else, and have an entry-exit plan in any kind of situation. Over time this becomes second nature.



14. STAY CURIOUS- If we think we know it all, we don't. There's always something new to learn, a new skill to upgrade, a new adventure, and new possibilities in the world of motorcycles. The culture alone is worth exploring. Read, research, watch youtube videos and go out and practice. Motorcycling is a lifelong passion, there's so much to know.



15. LISTEN TO MORE EXPERIENCED RIDERS- This one is a no-brainer. Know a seriously fast rider? Met a world-traveling motorcyclist? Stop and have a chat. Keep an open mind, ask good questions and you will know more today than you did yesterday.


Learning to ride is no casual task. While motorbikes are addictive and fun and enabling, one needs to be dedicated and capable of understanding a lot of information.


If you're just about to get into riding motorbikes because they're fast and cool, honestly that's just the tip of the iceberg. If you want to impress someone or fit in you're probably getting into it for the wrong reasons. Ride for yourself, for fun, for freedom, but do it safely and do it because it's what you want to do. Just ride.


 

Relevant Links:


  1. HellRaiser MotoWear Apparel

  2. Riding in Summers? Play It Cool

  3. 5 Tips to up your Adventure Touring Game


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