April 11, 2011


Scuse my non-blogging yesterday.

I spent the day learning how to ride motorbikes. My better half thinks I am suffering from male menopause but I suddenly spotted motorbikes and wondered if it was a skill I might need. Odd at my age, but not unheard of. Often, throughout my life, I have simply done stuff because "it was there". I still have a long list of stuff that I will get around to. Or not. But the motorbikes suddenly appealed.

So, off I popped to do my CBT (Compulsory Basic Training). Now, I know some of you will wonder why I did this, given my Freeman bent. The answer is simply this: it falls under the heading "Do no harm". If I were to hit the streets on a powerful machine without any prior knowledge or training I might hurt someone, or myself. This goes against my grain. Actually, it should go against everyone's grain.

With that in mind, I spent the day on one of these:

(Honda 125 CG)

I found it quite complex to start with. All limbs are involved and it was quite a trick to get my brain to work everything out. The training was excellent and enjoyable. I started at 10 am and by 18:30 or so, I felt competent to ride. I need a lot more practise but riding is surprisingly pleasurable so I look forward to getting some miles under my belt before taking the test.

The biggest lesson of the day was just how badly car drivers treat people on motorbikes. They are extremely ignorant and don't seem to think at all when they see (or pretend not to see) people on motorbikes. I think I may have to modify my bike (when I buy one) to house a Gattling gun. The instructors kept saying "It isn't a matter of if you get hit, but when".

So if I go quiet for a while, I may just be recuperating, or stone dead.

I will find a way of letting you know.

Meantime, I am very much alive, and looking forward to improving my riding skills.

Next week: Nude bungee jumping!



Smoking Hot said...

Welcome to the world of bikers ... you going to join an outlaw MC now? :)

Anonymous said...

Look at this video and weep.


Scenes from a video shot from a streetcar traveling down Market Street in San Francisco in 1905.

No rules (just common-sense). No traffic lights. No restrictions. No bleeding 'elf and safety'. But it works.

Just think what we have lost.

Anonymous said...

Re biking.

I've been biking all of my life.

My advice for what it's worth is get a Honda Lead Scooter. Good reliable easy first-time transport and fun.

Electric Start. Just get on and open the throttle. No gears as it's all automatic. No oily bits.

Captain Ranty said...


Don't I have to shag a dead dog at 110mph first?

Or have I been misinformed?


nominedeus said...

Welcome as SH said, to the 'REAL' world m8,I have no problem with you doing the training and reccomend after your cbt and getting the 'hang of it for a while to do the accompanied ride scheme training on a bigger bike!
Motorists are complete ars*holes most of the time and are to analogise like the sleepers in society that have not awoken to the truth of Lawful Rebellion, they don't get it and probably never will.
In the meantime m8 grow eyes in the back of your head, ride defensively, command the road you are on by being in the middle (not in the gutter) and learn to give the single finger to those that try to kill you and a wave of thanks to those that show some consideration, they do exist as sometimes even bikers drive cars! Oh and seriously learn your roads, intimately (I know every turning field gate, bump, hole, gravel patch, etc on my local roads) and learn to read the road far further ahead than any motorist ever does, it may just save your life....oh and remember eye contact with drivers, if you cant get it dont assume they have seen you!

wv= edgesom, yep youre on the edge now m8 stay safe!

Captain Ranty said...


My son has a Sym 125. We are going to share that for a while. I think I need to get a geared bike fairly soon otherwise I will need retraining. (My small brain retains info poorly).

That link is amazing. I see "chaos" in a lot of African cities, and it works there too.

We have had our common sense removed by successive governments.


Theo C Cupier said...

As a biker (ex) congrats. I too am considerng a return to middleweght traffic wars.

Funniest biker thing ever - Cheech and Chong's Big Bad Motorcyclist sketch.

Captain Ranty said...

Thanks Indy.

The instructor said that my observation was excellent, as were my "Life-savers". It may have been directly linked to my twitching sphincter. You really do need to be hyper-aware.

She was going to give me a shot on a 400cc bike but we ran out of time. I will book a couple of lessons and I can rent one of her 125's for half a day (£30) to practise on.

What surprised me was just how fast 30mph feels on a bike. I also had (in amongst the anxiety) a real sense of freedom on a bike that you don't get in a car.


Captain Ranty said...


I will dig the clip out. I haven't seen it before.


Anonymous said...

From the long distant past, well before the CBT existed, the best advice I ever got was "never believe they are turning until you see the whites of their eyes"

Wonderful days that I remember fondly.
I had to get my own bike, because riding pillion, I realised that I was helpless in the hands of madmen.

When my son finally got a motorbike many years later, I told him that as long as he remembered that he was invisible, inaudible and had no right to be on the road in the first place, he should be fine.

Have fun.


killemallletgodsortemout said...

Congrats, Captain! Motorcycling is great fun, I've done it all my long life, and still do.

Do yourself a favour, and once you have passed your test, join an Advanced Motorcycling Group. They'll teach you to ride defensively, safely but progressively. My local group uses some police motorcyclists as trainers - they are top rate, experienced and friendly and teach you how to plan your ride so that you can minimise the dangers posed by the hazards that abound on the road, including blind cunts who couldn't give a fuck about anyone but themselves.

Advanced Motorcycling Groups are a bikers best mate - seriously, do it.

Anonymous said...

A few hints from a guy who learned to ride in South Africa and still has all his arms, legs and fingers.

Rule 1. All four wheel motorists are blind spastics and that is on a good day. On a bad day, they are frothing maniacs who hate your very guts and will grasp any opportunity to crush you against a lamppost or a bus.

Rule 2. Treat every motorist as a psychopath who will employ any trick this side of the law to wipe you out. Work on the assumption that they all know you, they all hate you and are in some kind of telepathic communication with each other.

Rule 3. Learn to listen to the paranoid within you. This may sound like fantasy, but I swear to God, in 3 months you will be able to tell a driver's intentions by the way his car sits at a stop street or a give-way sign. Really.

Apart from all that ... best of luck. There is nothing quite like riding a bike.

On a good day, it's like flying.

Uncle Nasty

Captain Ranty said...


"...invisible, inaudible and had no right to be on the road in the first place..."

This is great advice. I felt a smattering of that yesterday when I did the road section of the training.

I shall remember it.



Captain Ranty said...


Good advice. I will do it despite my natural aversion to coppers.

If it helps keep me safe I am happy to do stuff like that.


Captain Ranty said...

Uncle Nasty,

Thanks also for your tips.

It is already imprinted on my brain.


TheBigYin said...

Maybe Mrs Ranty has a point CR about you belated mid life crisis and as for budgie jumping in the nude then I have to say now don't every try it as I'll have to report you to...Just re-read your words CR...I knew I should have went to specsavers!

FireballXL5 said...

Excellent stuff Capt. as you said, the sense of freedom on a bike is awesome. Lots of good advice on here, I went straight to a big bike after passing my test and TBH you will feel much more secure on a larger more powerful bike.

Ride on!

Longrider said...

As a general rule, treat every other road user as a blind homicidal maniac and you'll be 99% right.

Those who mention advanced training are spot on. That's where you will learn to ride effectively while making progress. Some of the best trainers are class 1 police riders. If ever you get the opportunity to go out for a ride with them, take it.

Captain Ranty said...


Now that I think about it, I see no reason NOT to involve budgies.

Thanks for the tip!


Captain Ranty said...


The wifey at the training centre said the exact same thing.

I'll let you know what I decide on when Old Ma Ranty gives me the nod to buy something.


Captain Ranty said...

Thanks LR.

Message received and understood.


richard said...

125cc of snarling death! Good move. Top tip, when they let you loose on the road and you lean into a bend - especially a left-hander - some people feel that the grip's about to run out and they straighten up and drift across the line and into oncoming traffic. Apply more power and lean more; counter-intuitive at first, but it'll stick the bike more firmly to the road. Practice leaning and braking whilst leaning - careful now! - on a quiet roundabout and gradually quicken the pace. Good luck!

richard said...

"It isn't a matter of if you get hit, but when".
Bollocks! The police don't, because they ride properly. Nobody does who does.

Richard said...

Welcome, Cap'n! Lots of good advice above. My own take (which is probably a repetition of what has already been said) is this:

"If they can kill you, they will." So make it impossible for them to do do. Ride defensively but positively, leave a bubble of safety around you, and if anything happens that seems dangerous, review it in your head to see how you could have avoided it. Always have an escape route planned if things go wrong. And that stuff about the whites of their eyes is bollocks, sorry. I have approached a junction where the car driver has been looking directly at me, and stayed looking at me as she pulled out into my path. It's bizarre, but it happens. On the other hand, biking is the most life-enhancing thing I know, and done well it is a thrill every time - a little bit of magic dust in the dullest day.

Welcome to the tribe. You'll fit in.

Captain Ranty said...


Thanks for the tip.

Regarding the police, they may well be afforded respect that we mere mortals aren't.

Besides, their bikes are a little more noticeable than civvy bikes.

Could that be why they are never hit?


Richard said...

I agree with t'other Richard about Police riders. They are ultra-safe but also ultra-quick, because they ride to a proven system - a system that has 'making progress' as an essential component.

One other thing - don't be reckless. On a bike, there is always another chance to get by. Be patient. You'll still get there first.

Richard said...

"Could that be why they are never hit?"

I'm sure it helps. But if you read the Police manual 'Roadcraft' you will see they ride to a system that anticipates everything that can go wrong and allows for it. That, combined with excellent technical riding skills means that they rarely come a cropper. The Roadcraft system may be a little anal for everyday, but the princioples are sound. Never make a move that you haven't worked through mentally beforehand; or, in the parlance, never put the bike where your head hasn't been.

Captain Ranty said...


Great tips from you again.

My mate just called in. He has been riding since he was a lad. He said that I should get hold of the Police Bike Riders Manual. (Are you both on about the same book?)

Says if I read that and practise what they do, I won't go far wrong.


Richard said...

That's the one.

Anonymous said...

Dear Captain
As I have said earlier I have been biking all my life. I used to ride everyday from Epsom to the West End. That was a few years ago when I had an enormous throbbing beast between my legs oh and the bike was a Triumph 650.
Never had an accident on my bike (car yes) but then again my only advice is to treat everyone else on the road as potential murderers and never, never, never trust 4 wheel traffic to do the expected.
I now life in Antibes France and I call the bikers here "donors". They think they are invincible until dead or in a wheelchair. I've never seen so many guys in wheelchairs so take care.

Captain Ranty said...

Thanks George.

Where riding is concerned I am all ears. I'll take all the advice I can get.

I am hoping to enjoy the experience and my safety is my number one concern! I reckon that if I stay safe, everyone around me is safe by default.



Captain Ranty said...

Thanks Richard.

I may not have got the title exactly right but as long as there is only one (police) manual I can't confuse myself. :)


Longrider said...

I can only echo Richard's comments about Roadcraft. I learned the system and have been applying it since 1980. So far, I've managed to remain upright apart from the occasional low speed spill on snow in the early days. I avoid going out in snow these days.

Captain Ranty said...

I think it will be a very long time before I venture out in snow.

Mind you, black ice is what does me in. I have killed three cars as a result of that stuff. Snow is tame by comparison.

Bad enough with four wheels let alone two!

I am very keen to learn the right way straight off the bat. It is hard to undo bad habits.


killemallletgodsortemout said...

Captain. Re snow and black ice. Advanced Riders know when NOT to ride.

Get a copy of Roadcraft, and get a feel of "The System".

It works, and it will help to keep your riding safe, systematic and progressive.

Just Woke Up said...

When no-one can afford legal fuel for their cars in the not-too-distant future and the roads will be much emptier you'll congratulate yourself for your foresight.

Happy biking and always wear leathers. Road rash ruins your day!

Indyanhat said...


have fun ...but not quite this much!...yet!!!!

nominedeus said...

oh and theres this as well

NewsboyCap said...


I rode for 10 years, no MOT, no TAX, no INSURANCE, no LICENCE, no TRAINING, NO MONEY.Rode to work every day/night, never stopped by the police.It is the best way to learn to ride, Daren't have an accident or speed past cameras,it built up an inner phobia of any thing in a car. And forced me to look after the bike, couldn't risk breaking down in case the 'nice' policeman insisted on helping.
Since becoming 'legal' I've been stopped numerous times, caught speeding once, but still have the 'fear' of cars.But take no advice from me listen to the others they are much more sensible.

Captain Ranty said...


Just ordered the 2011 edition.

'Preciate the advice.


Captain Ranty said...


Oddly, I never thought of it that way.

It's a win-win!


Captain Ranty said...


I'm no judge but I'd put his speed at slightly above 30mph on that Uppsala Run.


It's gonna take me a week or two to get up to that standard, but we must set our sights realistically.

Otherwise we face terminal disappointment.

Thanks for the links.


Captain Ranty said...


That was always an option. I absolutely hate applying (begging) for permission, licenses, tests, and all the shite that goes with it, but I refuse to be a danger to others.

It's all very well having freedom, it's quite another to use it wisely and with responsibility.

I may get cocky with the cops when I am 100% confident of my abilities but until then I'll play the game.


microdave said...

"Re snow and black ice. Advanced Riders know when NOT to ride."

A Police Motorcyclist I used to know told me he was ordered to continue riding his BMW R80 in snow, even though he didn't want to!

FRESH snow (on the rare chances you find it) is perfectly OK. I've ridden 20 miles to the pub, and back home again at night, after a couple of drinks. On the other hand trying to ride on roads full of ruts all going in different directions is a perfect recipe for bodily contact with terra firma! I fell off 3 times in the first mile on one such occasion.

Black Ice is something else - I was riding to work one winters morning and approaching a junction where I needed to turn left. Just rolling off the throttle caused the back wheel to slip, so I had no choice but to gently re-apply power, and try and stay straight. Luckily no one else was about and I managed to come to stop the other side of the crossroads....

Captain Ranty said...


Yon black ice is sneaky.

Every time I had a crash involving the stuff the conditions looked perfect. Decent temperature, sun out and shining, then wham! I'm upside down screaming like a lunatic....


Richard said...

I'd agree with Microdave - fresh snow is just about rideable with care. Rutted snow, slush, ice, no thank you. That's what cars are for. I also hate riding in fog. It's the only time I feel really vulnerable. Otherwise, it's two wheels all the way. Cold and wet are not a problem with the right gear. Leaving the night shift yesterday and it just started to rain. The day guys said 'poor old you, riding home in the rain'. I laughed, as I was looking forward to it.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, while I think ... and I am amazed that none of the other riders has mentioned it. Learn the physics and practice of counter-steering as the Americans call it.

To turn left, push the left handlebar FORWARD!! Your front wheel aims to the right and you go LEFT! Think of the old dirt track and speedway riders.

Make this instinctive and you'll never sandpaper your arse on a corner again.

It sounds utterly bizarre, but practice on a straight empty road. To do an instant lane-change, jab the corresponding handlebar forward for the corresponding direction ... left bar to swerve left, etc.

It only works above a certain speed.

You may not realise it, but you are actually doing it in a high-speed sweep. You are actually falling into a curve, and centrifugal force is forcing you back upright. Balance the two and you perform a beautiful sweep.

A thing of beauty and a joy forever.

Where new riders go badly wrong is when they are halfway through a curve, and see that they are going wide, they panic, logic cuts in and they PULL THE HANDLEBAR BACK INSTEAD OF PUSHING IT SLIGHTLY FURTHER FORWARD. This flips the bike upright and clean over and you eat gravel ... or worse, the headlight on Mrs. O'Reilly's Ford Fiesta.

('scuse the caps, but it's important)

Any comment from other riders?

Uncle Nasty

Anonymous said...

Hi Captain, welcome to our world. I just dropped by to add my tuppence worth. I've never been without a bike since the age of about 10, my current steed being a 2010 Triumph Bonneville SE. Being a shortass its the perfect choice for me, its small, light and agile, handles beautifully and has more than enough power. I highly reccommend you look at one of these when you choose your permanent mount.

Now, my advice to you, firstly, is listen to Richard (GFGN) because IMHO he's spot on in everything he says. Secondly, forget stuff like Ghost Rider, that's not fun its Russian Roulette. Motorcycling is mostly confidence and feeling comfortable with your bike. It has to feel like an extension of your own body rather than you and a machine. That's why its critical that you choose the right bike because without this match, Roadcraft is only a partial help. Here is an example of a man who is totally comfortable with his bikes.


Anonymous said...

Uncle Nasty - You said: To turn left, push the left handlebar FORWARD!! Your front wheel aims to the right and you go LEFT! Think of the old dirt track and speedway riders.

For that to happen, your rear wheel has to have NO traction. If the rear wheel has any grip at all and you do that, you will high side to the right. Its a good technique on gravel or black ice but nowhere else, hence its use in speedway. Its really the old trick of steering into a skid, because that's what the rear wheel is doing - skidding.

You also said: Where new riders go badly wrong is when they are halfway through a curve, and see that they are going wide, they panic, logic cuts in and they PULL THE HANDLEBAR BACK INSTEAD OF PUSHING IT SLIGHTLY FURTHER FORWARD. This flips the bike upright and clean over and you eat gravel ... or worse, the headlight on Mrs. O'Reilly's Ford Fiesta.

When a motorcycle is being ridden around a bend, the handlebars hardly turn at all. A bike is steered by leaning it into the bend or corner. What you are describing is when the bike goes too far over and the front wheel loses grip and starts to skid. The rider panics, tries to move the handlebars and the front wheel suddenly regains its grip, throwing the bike over in the opposite direction. This is called a 'high side'. The faster you go into a corner, the further the bike has to lean to counteract the centrifugal force which is trying to throw the bike wide. This is why you see a race rider with his ass hanging off the seat. He's trying to add as much weight as possible to bring the bike over further.

4 wheels move the body, but 2 wheels move the soul.

NewsboyCap said...

4 wheels move the body, but 2 wheels move the soul.
Sorry but that is the only bit of your comment that is right.
Look up a guy by the name Keith Code
this guy teaches racers, and you'll see that Anon@23:07 is just about spot on.

Richard said...

Anon, thank you for your kind comments :)

Run before you can walk, Cap'n. This stuff about counter-steering is all very well, but it's not exactly page 1 of the how-to book. If you can ride a bike (push or motor)above 15 mph, then you can counter-steer already. It's totally natural. What Uncle Nasty is talking about is a technique where you deliberately give a shove to the inner handlebar in a fast turn, in order to tighten the line you are on. It's pressure on the bars, not a distinct turn. It moves the front wheel slightly off-line and the bike responds by leaning further. It's counter-intuitive, but it works well, and not knowing how to do it is probably the cause of a lot of SVAs among male riders of a certain age. But it's not what you need the day after you pass your Direct Access. Make haste slowly.

If you're reasonably well co-ordinated, then the physics of riding will come with practice. What you need to work at is attitude: what the Police class 1 rider said to me when I did my IAM test - safe, smooth and quick, in that order. I've been riding for nearly 40 years now, and I love to go quick, but I'm not afraid to wind it back when necessary, I'm patient, I plan ahead and I don't feel the need to prove anything to anyone. Keeping the risks fairly low and the rewards fairly high is what it's all about.

Shit, just enjoy it! It's the most fun you can have with your trousers on.

Gordon the Fence Post Tortoise said...

Judging by the steed you show, does this mean we're eventually going to be treated to a photo of the cap'n whizzing around Lagos wearing half a hollowed out watermelon and a huge pair of wrap-round sunglasses?

Anonymous said...

Thank you NewsboyCap and Richard for your comments.

I realise I may have overstated my case. OK, back to reality. Find a nice stretch of wide, level road, preferably low on traffic.

At moderate speed, centre your bike slap in the middle of the lane and maintain that position.

Going straight as an arrow?

Right. Push lightly against the left grip (i.e. away from you) The bike and you will swoop -- there's no better word -- towards the left lane - instantly.

Relax the pressure and you proceed once more straight down the road. Try the same on the right and you will be back in the lane from where you started.

Then ... try it with two fingers, then one. Be subtle. Smile like a loony when you realise just how precise you can be ... just how much control you have.

It's like waking up one morning with wings.

Let us know how you get on -- and beware the Jubjub bird, the Frumious Bandersnatch and the bike-eating Fiesta.

Uncle Nasty

Captain Ranty said...


I went out on my sons Sym 125 last night. (Just after 5pm so it was in bright sunshine).

It was blowing a gale so probably not ideal conditions for practising, but I figure if I can handle wind and rain I won't worry too much about.

Twice when I was bearing left on a bend I drifted all the way across the white line and ended up on the wrong side of the road. Just as you guys are describing here. There was no oncoming traffic but it could have been messy if there was. I had forgotten Richards tip where he said to apply more power-my instinct was to ease off the throttle, which did not help matters.

I have to correct that otherwise I am going to hurt myself.

I'll try the technique out later today. Luckily my roads aren't that busy.

Thanks again for the help and advice.


Captain Ranty said...



Actually, I was fully qualified to be an okada BEFORE I did the CBT! The Lagos lads don't have any licenses, tax, MOT, insurance or common sense.

Mind you, I could earn an extra few Naira in the evenings. What a novelty! A white okada in Lagos. I would be the first ever!

I was hoping to buy something a bit bigger than a 125 though. I'll bung a piccie up when I graduate to a bigger machine.


Gordon the Fence Post Tortoise said...

"A white okada in Lagos"

book title?

About 18 months back - I did see some Nigerian lads with a Yamaha 600 howling absolutely flat out through the traffic back and forth on the Lekki coast road about 10Km east of town.

They appeared to be having some kind of competition, same 4/5km of road - backwards and forwards, changing riders etc...

Reminded me of one of those US cop video shows with the insane, crazed escaping biker - the ones that make you flinch.

NewsboyCap said...

Possible reason for drifting across the road,-look where you are going- or where you want to be going, not where you are!! I now this sounds stupid but if you focus on where you want to be rather than the immediate piece of tarmac in front of the bike your body will react accordingly.As Richard says, safe 1st, slow 2nd the quick will come with confidence.
Have fun and smile to yourself.

richard said...

"Twice when I was bearing left on a bend I drifted all the way across the white line..."
See? I told you. There was a story in Bike magazine of a newly-qualified rider doing just that and ending up dead, horrifically drifting in front of an oncoming lorry. Remember; more power plants the bike, and more lean gives you a greater contact patch on the front end. It will NOT break away in the wet or dry (unless there's oil or other contamination) but it's not a tip I gave you, it's a fundamental rule. If you think it's running wide give it gas and lean more. Practise until you can do it, or it'll do you.
Remember, "In like a lamb, out like a lion!" Which would be in at about 45 on a CG, then nail it if the road ahead is clear, halfway through the corner. Practise on a quiet roundabout 'til you can go round it fast, and keep your foot just over the end of the peg so you can feel it touch down before the peg digs in. There is much to learn; get it right and you'll live. If your local cops do a rider assessment programme get them to cast an eye on what you're at. They're skilful riders, enthusiasts too, and will help you if they can.

Richard said...

Looks like we're all ganging up to tell you how to do it! Ignore us and go your own way, for God's sake.

As for the drifting across the lane, I suspect this is because you are used to driving a car, where you don't have much choice on road position. On a bike, you can ride where you want, and if you don't have a plan, then you will end up going hither and thither. Most riders will position for forward vision (left approaching rights, right approaching lefts), with due regard for any potential hazards on the way. This leads most to riding by default in roughly the position of the driver of a car, about 2/3 from the kerb to the centre line. Good forward vision, easy to pull back if circumstances demand it. If you plan a line through a corner (roughly: wide going in, turn when you can see your exit clear, power out), then you won't drift across because you will be consciously following your planned line.

I can't find a contact email, or I would have sent you a couple of things.

richard said...

I wouldn't say we're ganging up, Richard, we just don't want to see the Captain come a cropper. All motorcyclists like to help a newcomer. But yes, you can only learn and enjoy it by doing it. I was a bit annoyed that the instructor said it's a matter of not if but when, though; there's no point in frightening people, and no need if your instruction is good enough to instil the necessary mindset and skills.

NewsboyCap said...

Richard@15:12 I would suggest you read this if you think that leaning more will stop you from drifting across the road. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Countersteering

And braking while cornering err NO..

This from a West Midlands Police bike instructor.

Captain Ranty said...

Well, just went out for a pint of milk. (A 12 mile round trip on country roads).

Practised the tips given here and I did not drift once.

I tried to analyse it and concluded that I used a combination: I looked ahead (around the bend) rather than down in front of the bike (scooter), I leaned a little more and I added some power, but not much. I also picked a line before I got to the bends and maintained it which also felt better.

I feel a lot better about the bends now. Even a slight lean has quite dramatic results.

Thanks again to you all for the tips!


Richard said...

Heh. Bends are the best bit :)


Anonymous said...

From NewsboyCap's wiki article.

"Even more so than on a bicycle, mastering the technique of consciously countersteering is essential for safe motorcycle riding, and as a result is a part of the safe riding courses run by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation and the Canada Safety Council. At the higher speeds that motorcycles commonly attain, it becomes increasingly impractical to steer by taking advantage of the minute and random corrections needed to maintain balance.

Much of the art of motorcycle cornering is learning how to effectively "push" the grips into corners and how to maintain proper lean angles through the turn. When the need for a quick swerve to one side suddenly arises in an emergency, it is essential to know, through prior practice, that the handlebars must be deliberately pressed away on that side instead of being pulled. Many accidents result when otherwise experienced riders who have never carefully developed this skill encounter an unexpected obstacle."

Excellent stuff, Very lucid and through ... Thank you

Uncle Nasty

nominedeus said...

What???you mean the Capn's not aiming to be the next Ghost rider!!!!!
I admit what he is riding at the moment may need him to get off and push for the extra ooomph but hey we all have to make do with what w2we have at hand (have heard a nitrous kit helps those littlies go like hot snot)

Captain Ranty said...

The Captain may have balls of steel in certain circumstances but he knows when he is a newbie and needs to take care!

The scoot will do for getting some road-sense, but I am looking forward to my first motorbike.

Checking out the biking magazines now to see what I fancy.


richard said...

For NewsboyCap, if you're drifting wide (or the radius of the corner tightens) you lean more to get back on line. This is achieved, as you say, by contersteering and not by leaning the body. You then need to apply more power as increasing radius turns require acceleration to maintain the same roadspeed. Braking in corners? Err, YES! You shouldn't storm up to a corner and then brake to scrub off speed, or use the brakes in a corner at all if possible. BUT you need to be able to brake in a corner, and in fact the new CBT has just that skill as part of the test. Unless you think deer, badgers, emerging tractors etc will only oblige you with an appearance on the straights.
For Captain R, good luck, you're taking it steady and having fun.

NewsboyCap said...


I will have to agree to disagree with you and listen to the instructor who trained me for my bike test and the police instructor, who both insist that all braking should be finished before making any cornering.They also insisted that braking while banked over will 'stand' the bike up thus reducing your ability to follow your chosen line through the corner."If an obstacle appears in your path 'try' to steer around it and only use a minimum of rear brake to reduce speed" they said.
An increasing radius will require more power to maintain a desired speed but a decreasing radius will require less speed therefore what the instructors say about finishing braking before cornering, being at the correct speed for the conditions holds true.

Richard said...

Braking in corners is certainly possible, but to be avoided if you can. Your tyre has only a limited amount of grip. If you're using 80% of that grip to go round a corner and then use another 10% to brake gently, no problem. If you brake equivalent to another 50%, down you go. Ideally, you scrub off all excess speed before the corner, come off the brakes, let the bike settle, and turn in. In the real world, sometimes it's useful to use a little rear brake. I find that the rear brake will steady the bike and not make it stand up. Using the front will compress the forks, alter the steering geometry and probably end in tears. Yes, I know Rossi trails his front brake into a turn while banked at 60deg, but he's Rossi and I am not.

The best advice is - if you're going into a corner way too hot, leave the brakes alone, keep some power on (some, not a lot - remember you only have limited tractiion) look at your exit and lean it further for all you are worth. The bike is capable of far more than most riders imagine. Even a CG125 (which, by the way, I really like - a truly honest motorbike).

richard said...

NewsboyCap, "what the instructors say about finishing braking before cornering, being at the correct speed for the conditions holds true."
"both insist that all braking should be finished before making any cornering."
Agreed, it SHOULD be.
"if an obstacle appears in your path 'try' to steer around it.."
Yep, but what if you can't?
"and only use a minimum of rear brake to reduce speed" they said."
No, this advice will lead to a fall or an impact. Rear brake stabilises the bike only, it doesn't do much to slow it. Plenty of people use just the front (although they shouldn't) and modern bikes have linked brakes anyway, the bike gives you one forward disc plus the rear if the rear brake pedal is used. I always use both brakes when banked over if the need arises, but then I'm not a learner. Your advice stands as good advice for a learner, but braking with both brakes in a corner is a skill which must be developed. The bike will try to stand up if you brake when it's leant over, as you say, but that's why you counteract this with the appropriate input.
Maybe we're talking about techniques which are a bit advanced for a learner. The Captain will pick this stuff up as his motorcycling career takes shape.

Richard said...

richard 17.05:
""and only use a minimum of rear brake to reduce speed" they said."
No, this advice will lead to a fall or an impact."
Sorry, that's not true. I use the rear in corners - a minimum- fairly often and I am still upright.

"Rear brake stabilises the bike only, it doesn't do much to slow it."
That's the whole point. If you need heavy braking in a corner, then you are going down no matter what. Moderate rear brake in a corner will take off a little speed, which is usually all you need to get round safely.

"modern bikes have linked brakes anyway, the bike gives you one forward disc plus the rear if the rear brake pedal is used."
Sorry, that's not true either. (The minority of) modern bikes that have linked brakes use a proportioning valve which distributes braking effort to all brake discs, front and rear, in proportion to whether the rider is using the pedal or lever. The system you describe was used by Moto Guzzi 30 years ago (I had it on my 1979 V50) but even Guzzi now use a proportional system.

"Maybe we're talking about techniques which are a bit advanced for a learner."
I think we are. Interesting to the experienced, but perhaps more confusing than helpful to the new rider.

NewsboyCap said...

Agree with every word.

Richard@17:05 "Your advice stands as good advice for a learner,"
I thought we were offering advice to a learner, but as you say the captain will pick things up as he goes.

Captain Ranty said...

Just so that you all know, I am taking it in.

Your (collective) advice, whether for a novice or an expert, has been most helpful.

On Monday I was drifting onto the wrong side of the road. On Tuesday I had learnt to correct that.

Thanks again.


NewsboyCap said...

I think the previous posts go to show how passionate 'bikers' can be about something that is 'better than sex'-well at my age- anyway.
If only we could get the 'sheeple' to become as motivated about the predicament we are in. We could remove the f'ing PTB,extract us from the EU, create a fairer banking system and live under the rule of LAW, Common Law, in no time at all.

Anonymous said...

I have found that a lot of motorists suddenly become a lot more conscious of motorcyclists after they -- in turn -- have ridden a bike for a while. You can tell them ... they are the ones in slow moving traffic who move aside and make room for a motorcyclist splitting lanes as he idles to the front of the queue.

I do NOT recommend lane-splitting at anything approaching speed.

I have always felt that we could slash all motoring fatalities to the bone if all motorists were required to ride a bike as part of the training/licensing procedure.

Not forever ... just for a few weeks. It gets one out of the armoured shell "Nothing can touch me, I'm in a car!" Mindset.

It's a thought,

Uncle Nasty

richard said...

NbC, we were indeed offering advice to a learner, but he (I think) took mine and has stopped the tendancy to drift offline - a potentially dangerous problem that learners often encounter. More lean and more throttle equals more grip and a tightening radius.
Richard, you are correct. Linked brakes mean that the rear brake can't be used in isolation, and is proportional; CBR (with increasing acclaim) Blackbird, plus a minority of others. If you want to scrub off speed with the rear, yes it'll work and it's certainly rare to need hard braking in a corner but it can be done, and it's a good idea to learn the art because one day you'll need to do it. Mr Badger doesn't respect the sanctity of corners. A V50? You're probably an old hand like me. If our approaches differ we still know what we're doing since we're still here. Not sure how only rear brake in a corner could possibly load the front and thereby increase grip should you need to tighten the turn or stop sharpish-like, but I'm sure you know what suits you best.
Happy biking to all.

Richard said...

UN - I've long thought that car drivers were much better wrt bikers when almost all motorists started out on a bike for cost reasons. The Mini has a lot to answer for. However, forcing people onto a bike for a few weeks as part of gaining a licence is unlikely in todays H&S world. I still like the idea. No-one can read a road surface like someone whose life depends on it.

Richard - yes, I've been around a bit! Passed bike test in 1973. The V50 is the one bike I would buy back in a heartbeat if it became available - a truly lovely little bike. The reason I don't like linked brakes* is exactly what you say - the rear can't be used in isolation. That may prevent learners from locking up the rear in a panic, but it removes a useful bit of the toolkit for the rest of us. Use of the rear in a corner doesn't load the front; that's the whole point. It slows you down without upsetting the balance of the bike. It works for me and, to be sure, I have used the front in bends too, if I felt it was useful. There is no right and wrong here, just better and worse ways of dealing with a huge variety of situations. As you correctly say, we're still here, so we must be doing something right.

(* Yes, I know - on the Guzzi there was no independent rear brake. Thing is, the bike responded best to smooth, well-planned riding, and the 'footbrake' (i.e. rear and one front disc) was all that was needed in 99% of situations. If you went into a corner too hot, it was *always* best to lean further and hang on rather then brake - it always had a bit extra to give.)

I'm going to dip out of this conversation now, and just wish Captain all the best with his biking. If he gets as much fun out of it as I have over the last 38 years, then I will be pleased.