Be brake ready
When riding in a town or through country back-roads, it’s wise to ‘arm’ your brakes by riding with a finger or two on the lever. You never know what’s around the corner. You can still use the throttle and hold the bars, but if you have to brake hard and fast, you’ll be better prepared with a finger already on the brake – a potential life saver.
Don’t scream up behind a vehicle and sit behind the bumper, revving your engine like a mating call. Stay a safe distance behind and when you’re going to overtake, pull out laterally so you can see ahead and prepare for any potential hazards. The vehicle could be slowing down because they want to turn off. Once you can see it’s safe, then you accelerate into the gap.
Look for the signs
Some days, the traffic is just out to kill you. There’s no obvious explanation for this occurrence. As a rider, you need to look for the signs double hard – a car nearly pulling out on you, traffic blaring horns, road rage driving, a tractor turning a corner, these are signs that shout be fucking ready. When the road is against you, lay off the throttle before it gets you.
Don’t get cornered
Don’t get suckered into a corner by riding out of your comfort zone. If your mates or other riders are riding too quick, let them go and ride at your own speed. They’ll wait for you (I’m sure). Riding out of your comfort zone is a sure-fire way to disaster.
Filtering through traffic is completely legal and car drivers hate it. Be sure to comply with traffic signs, road markings and filter with extreme care and attention. Look way ahead, keep the bike in a low gear and anticipate being side-swiped. I would think about using hazards here (if you have them), especially at night. Read more about this in my other blog here.
Twist your way to safety
When joining a motorway, you should use the speed of your bike. Accelerate hard into a gap then slow down to the appropriate speed of the other traffic. You’ve got a good reason to hit the gas and keep it safe when joining fast-moving lanes.
Test out your lean by circulating a roundabout and learn how far you can lean your bike. Find a quiet one with as few exits as possible, and go around. Don’t worry about the knee-down stuff, just get comfortable with how far you can actually lean on your bike.
The way to riding in the wet is smoothness. Avoid big weight transfers such as heavy accelerating or braking as they can over-load the tyres. There is a surprising amount of grip in the wet, but load your tyres accordingly and watch out for slippery areas such as white lines, manhole covers and always brake in a straight line.
The rear wheel slide
If the rear steps out just roll the throttle a bit and tame the back wheel, don’t touch the rear brake. Use the throttle to either hang it out or bring it back into line – the more gas, the further it goes out, less it comes inline.