Spring Clean Your Riding.
If you’ve been riding a little less regularly over winter, or your prefer to hold off riding altogether until spring comes around, then you might find yourself a little rusty. We asked our own riding expert – Chief Instructor Ian Biederman – for a quick guide on getting back into the swing of things this spring.
Ian Biederman, Chief Instructor at the BMW Rider Training school, helps hundreds of riders every year get their licence, return to motorcycling and learn some advanced skills.
With the good weather arriving, many riders are getting ready to resume riding after the winter. Here's his advice on getting back into it.
So, you’ve dug out your bike from its winter hideaway, dusted off your kit and are ready to go… a summer of fun and excitement awaits! In my 25 years’ experience as an instructor I have been fortunate enough (although some might not agree) to ride almost 365 days a year – which keeps you at the top of your game, rather than getting a tad rusty over winter.
But there are a few simple bits of advice you can concentrate on to keep you safe and increase your confidence.
Every new season I get to meet many riders coming back to their bikes after they have spent the winter driving their cars and the most common aspect I find is reduced visibility, especially when turning right.
Consider this: on a right-hand bend or a roundabout in a car, we have a tendency to push into it, brake into the bend, load the front nearside tyre of the car to steer through the turn and accelerate away. This is the technique that then becomes the benchmark when you get back on the bike.
However, it does not work so well on two wheels – causing you to want to close the throttle, giving the bike a feeling of running out of bend and heading towards the left hand curb.
Riders can sometimes reduce their visibility with incorrect positioning - especially on right-hand bends, says Chief Instructor Ian Biederman. The trick to success is slowing down entry into the bend, and being faster out.
The answer is very simple to say, but hard to apply: slow down the entry of the bend. Try to ensure that all of the speed is lost using the brakes whilst the bike is upright then use a slight pressure on the throttle to gently push the bike through the turn until the bend is finished and accelerate away with the bike upright.
Conceptually, it’s easy to do, but with several months spent riding less or not at all over winter, the default method generally involves carrying too much speed into the bend.
So, if you are finding you need to steer early thus apexing the bend and exiting it near the left hand curb or braking through the bend, remember it’s far easier to enter the bend considerably slower.
It makes the turn more accurate, more comfortable for your nerves and heart, and allows the bike to be upright earlier and therefore you can appreciate the exhaust note of the bike as you accelerate away with a little more energy as the bike is upright. In my book, far more fun!
Try it, you may be surprised that this method actually increases your overall average speed.
Enjoy a fantastic summer of fun and feel free to ask Ian questions about riding tips, should you have them: firstname.lastname@example.org