Learning off the Bike

I did read Roadcraft, the Police Motorcycle Manual, a few years ago. I picked up a few things, but it didn’t really gel for me. Likewise, I didn’t really find watching people’s YouTube videos on riding enormously helpful.

But now I’ve done some observed rides, now I’m trying to put these things into practice, I find the book, and the videos, enormously helpful. The book fills in gaps in what I know, the videos give me great examples of what really good riding looks like.

I find myself looking at different things. Not just looking at where the rider in a video is positioned, but looking ahead of him and imagining his planning process, so I can predict where he will move and when. Watching his head movement as much as possible, so I can see what observations he’s making.

Alan sent me a list of great videos by a local police rider. I particularly like this one, as its on roads we’ve been riding on, and it shows positioning for view and straight-lining bends really well. The rider is just so smooth and controlled.

I just find I’m watching other riders so differently now. Just for a bit of fun, here’s an American police low-speed control competition. The riding is really impressive – what was my brain saying? Where is he shifting his weight? Is he on the lock there? Where’s his eyeline?

My next observed ride is on Saturday (after a morning at GoApe! in Aberfoyle). It may be the last one for a while, as I’m going abroad for work until early December. I’m going to be continuing to practice till we go, and I’ll have to find out if there’s a way I can get some riding done in Vancouver as well.

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