from the ďEducatorĒ

 

This month I want to dedicate this space to some conversation about the mental part of riding your motorcycle. Lets start with the end, if you get on your bike to go for a ride and you are not mentally prepared to do so, DONíT TAKE THAT RIDE!!!!As is often written, there are many levels of awareness and having as many working for you as possible when you are riding can be very helpful. Mostly, in the area of safety. Which is really the point to this article, your safety. If we could learn anything from this article, let it be; the ability to focus your mind, on the job of riding your motorcycle, automatically and every time you mount your bike, If you could just do this one thing, you would make great improvements in your ability to ride safe.One of the wonderful reasons I love to ride, is the fact that it clears my mind of the stresses of the day. If I go out for a ride, and I have my head in the game, then my mind is pretty much busy with the demands of processing all the information I need to safely ride my bike. And as a result, its(my mind) is too busy to worry about those dumb things that were bothering me earlier. This is just one side benefit to paying attention to your riding, but one you should be able to appreciate. Often on week long trips of daily riding, I reflect on the fact that I never once thought about work or other things that I thankfully have forgotten. But this couldnít be done if I wasnít mentally involved with my riding. So here are two reasons to be mentally in the game, safety and stress relief. The stress relief was easy to understand, concentrate on something important and its hard to think about other things, at the same time. Safety, on the other hand, is a little more complicated, because now we have to figure out what is important to keep track of and how to apply it. In one article I canít possibly cover all the ways we can mentally ride our bikes, but we can focus on a few, that hopefully you can make automatic. GWRRA has the ďTĒ Clock method, that teaches you how to go around your bike and do a pre-ride check, and make sure that your bike is ready to take that ride. You can do the same thing with your mind and should. Before you get on your bike, you should mentally walk yourself thru your ride. Where, how, what roads, what will be the possible conditions that you might encounter, do you have any goals on this ride, are you picking things up, or dropping them off, are you riding just for the fun of it, etc. By preconditioning you mind with a picture of your ride, you will have better focused it on the job at hand. Once you get aboard your bike, before you even start the engine, look around your bike, from the seated position, get a feel, and I do mean feel, for the dimension of your bike. The size, the weight, look over both shoulders, and check the boxes, check the mirrors. If you just take the moment to do this it will help to condition you to, be able to easily glance over your shoulder for a lane change, or a quick manuvere. Also, if you have any physical difficulties, like on this particular day when you look over your right shoulder you realized you have a soreness in that shoulder, that you hadnítnotice before. This could be something you donít want to find out about in the middle of a lane change or quick safety manuevere. Being in tune with your bike can be very helpful. GWRRA teaches that you should keep your eyes moving at all times and that you should be checking in front of you, to the right and to the left and in each of your mirrors. You need to be aware of your surroundings, at all times. This alone, takes an effort to continually accomplish. Its when you forget to do this that you run the risk of safety failure. When you come to a stop light, and you have been stopped for 10 seconds, do you forget to recheck the mirrors to see if the guy behind you is stopping or stopped, or skidding into your back side. You must remain constantly aware of all ways danger can come your direction, from in front, or from the side, or the rear. This is where the more you train your mind to automatically scan your surroundings the easier it becomes, and the better you will be doing it, even when you consciously forget. What you want to eliminate, are the times that you forget to check on your well being. I, for one, as I get older, I realize that my ability to take a quick glance and see everything correctly is, well, not as good as it once was. If you have ever thought you saw something and it turned out to be different, donít fool your self into ignoring that sign. As we get older, we need to take a longer look at things and that takes a little while longer to do. So give your self the time to take that look, and if your glance doesnít give you a clear understanding of your space, donít make that move!! To sum this up, before you get on your bike, mentally take your ride. Once on your bike, glance around the bike by looking over both shoulders, and checking the view in the mirrors. Get a feel for the weight and size of your bike. Once under way, be constantly aware of the 360 degrees of space that surrounds your bike. Be constantly scanning all the key places, ahead, to the right and to the left and in both mirrors. Whether moving or stopped, try to never let down your mental guard. The more automatically this can be done, the more time you have to smell the rose orchard you just past.

 

David and Kathy Bierman