Today I’ll talk about riding slow.
In order to go slow, riders need to have good throttle and clutch control. Riders must also have good balance. For throttle and clutch control I start by having riders sit on their motorcycle at an idle. Head is up, eyes looking forward. Do not give the bike any gas. Just let it idle. Now slowly and gently let the clutch out until you feel it start to engage. Then pull it back in. And repeat. The motorcycle may “rock” very slightly, but should stay in one place. The goal is NOT TO GO ANYWHERE. This is a gentle and safe way to learn to “feel” the clutch. (I do this anytime I ride a different motorcycle.)
Once you have the “feel” of the clutch, give the motorcycle a little bit of throttle while your legs are still dangling to the ground. Let the motorcycle move forward slowly a foot or two and then pull in the clutch back in and stop. Don’t completely “dump” the clutch. You’ll move more than a foot or two. Repeat.
Practice this drill of moving a few feet and stopping. Remember to keep your head up, and eyes looking forward so you are riding by “feel.” Maintain contact on the clutch rather than just dumping it. As you get better, instead of coming to a complete stop, keep moving forward very slowly, pulling in the clutch and ALMOST coming to a stop before letting the clutch out again. At this point, you should be crawling along very slowly in a straight line with your feet dangling down near the ground. Practice this in a straight line.
Now we’re going to throw in the “balance” component. Repeat the same drill of crawling along slowly in a straight line, only now put your feet up on the pegs. You will learn to balance the motorcycle by “counter balancing.” If the motorcycle starts to lean to the right, you will shift your weight to the left- the opposite side. If the motorcycle starts to lean to the left, shift your weight to the right which is the opposite side. You must practice balancing while also feather the clutch in and out. Remember, the idea is to go SLOW!
I invite Dual Sport and Dirt Bike riders to practice this drill standing. Standing gives the rider additional leverage and control. When the bike leans right, push your left hip out and drive your right knee into the gas tank for control. Conversely, when the bike leans left, push your right hip out and drive your left knee into the gas tank. Women seem to push their hips quite naturally.
Sometimes men get locked in riding over the seat. If you are not able to push your out, try turning your foot so that the toe is pointing perpendicular to the motorcycle. So, if the bike is leaning left, turn your left foot perpendicular to the motorcycle and your butt and hips to the right. If the bike is leaning right, turn your right foot perpendicular to the motorcycle and push you but and left hip out. This sounds more complicated than it is. Essentially you’re turning your body and pushing more from your butt than your hip.
If you have specific questions or skills you’d like me to cover, please reach out to me at www.advwoman.com. Ride safe and Have Fun!