FORT POLK — May is Motorcycle Safety Month, and riders should pay particular attention to the three musts of riding: Comfort, control and inputs.
You’ve probably heard how consistency breeds comfort; well the opposite is just as true: Comfort breeds consistency. Top racers turn consistent lap times over and over, unless blocked by drastically slower traffic or some sort of mechanical breakdown. Those lap times often never waver more than a few tenths so it’s pretty obvious these racers are providing roughly the exact same inputs at close to the exact same spot on the track on any given day and at incredible speeds.
Consistency comes with being comfortable with what you’re doing and where you’re at. While it’s true that top racers push their limits to the very edge, they’re still never too far from their instinctive comfort zone. The more you venture from your comfort zone, the quicker you’ll reach its edge. Once there you may not be able to recover. End result is a crash, and that is never conducive to comfort. Great learning point, perhaps, but not very comfortable.
Part of establishing your comfort zone is riding consistency. By providing the same smooth, deliberate and consistent inputs while hitting the same mark, you reinforce those inputs to where they become more accurate and require less of your devoted concentration (mind and eyes) to achieve them. This is commonly referred to as “muscle memory.” Establishing confidence in your muscle memory is a necessary part in building your comfort zone.
When you’re not rushing, you’ll find you can easily identify more reference points to determine where you are or need to be and what you need to do while on your motorcycle. That makes it easier to avoid repetitive mistakes, and when adding speed, those additional reference points will be a savior for unexpected events while riding.
Smooth, deliberate and consistent inputs through the handlebars and controls also supports your confidence. With different riding situations comes familiarity — you start to gain rider instincts, a rider’s sixth sense about what’s going to happen and how you’re going to engage it ahead of time (proactive).
Now the required attention focused on inputs is lessened and more of your muscle memory takes over because you’ve become more confident in your ability to handle those different situations. As your confidence grows so does your comfort, hence, your speed. Just don’t lose track of where the edge of your comfort zone is or your traction reserve for that matter.
Riding with comfort breeds the consistency that allows you to more easily concentrate on and practice important techniques.
For more information call 531-1981.