A good ride today - despite the hail (in Hales! 😉 ) and rain showers giving reason to occasionally consider micro-climates (damp patches 😉 ).
The group I was in today consisted of Dan (of Hi-viz fame 😉 ) and Matt (just famous 😉 ).
Dan led the first section which was quite technical and gave lots of 'opportunities' for avoiding such hazards as mud, stones, branches, and a couple of wandering ducks!
In his debrief Dan mentioned that it was worrying/intimidating/off-putting/distracting (I think one of these was the word he used) being followed by and watched by an observer, in this case doubly so, and it got me thinking - dangerous at my age! 😉 .
By the very nature of what we do and how we approach trying our best to ride to a high standard, we all take a serious look at our riding - and rightly so when our very lives could depend on it.
However, we can perhaps lose sight of why we ride motorbikes - because we enjoy riding motorbikes! Let's face it, they're not convenient - you get wet, and not practical - not much room even in a GS's luggage!
Being serious about our riding is all well and good as long as being 'serious' doesn't in itself interfere with our riding. If we become tense, or so focussed on what we're trying to do that we forget to ride like we're enjoying it, then it can have an effect on the ride. Riding to the system does not exclude enjoying riding the bike. It should give the confidence to enable you to be relaxed and get a 'feel' for the bike.
I related to Dan an article I read a long time ago in a windsurfing magazine, written by Peter Hart, a top sailor and instructor at the time. In the article he described a pupil who was having difficulty completing a complicated manoeuvre. He would get most of it right, most of the time, but not all of it right at the same time. He asked the pupil to sing aloud 'The Grand Old Duke of York' as he was doing the manoeuvre and, as if by magic, the pupil successfully completed the manoeuvre. The explanation given was that the singing distracted the conscious mind from interfering with what the sub-conscious mind knew it had to do (through constant practice and conditioning) and so he was able to do it 'without thinking'.
Perhaps, sometimes, when we're thinking so much about what we should and shouldn't be doing (and what the following rider is thinking about how we're riding 😉 ) we risk losing the fun factor of riding the motorbike, and as a consequence, the smoothness and 'sparkle' associated with good riding.
I was singing Queen's "We are the Champions" (don't know why that one) as I was enjoying schwinging my way through the bends of the B1117 and B1118. I use it and it works! Maybe give it a go yourself and get to enjoy riding your bike.
Laters Dudes 🙂