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Old 05-07-2013, 04:47 AM   #1
foxtrapper OP
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Reasons not to exceed your sight limits in turns

Saturday had a couple of intersting events out riding. Not a big deal, because I wasn't cooking it hard into the turns. But if I would have been, it very well could have been ugly. I'm not bragging about my riding skills, or bashing people who can ride a whole lot harder than I can. Just a generic comment about riding within ones own limits.

Corner#1 had the nice sign, indicating a tight 90 degree left hand turn, think it even had a 15 mph recommended speed posted on it. No big deal, and though it's wooded farmland, I could see what looked like the road out beyond to the left. Start the turn, and woops! It's about 30 degrees to the left, like the sign indicated, but it snaps back to sharp 90 degrees...to the right! I'm now on the inside of the turn, leaning the wrong way! Sure, I make the turn, but not on the line I would have liked.

Corner #2 is on a dirt road I occassionally ride. As I'm coming into a turn I see it looks different. Ah, they've graveled the dirt, lovely. Slow it down. The gravel looks funny though, so I slow down a bit more. Crikey, they've used river run! Big pieces of river run! Golf ball sized pieces of rounded gravel, that roll like crazy on the hard packed dirt. Stand the bike back up and try to tippy toe it around the turns, and just generally enjoy a mile of riding on what are effectively ball bearings. Double sweet, the one section that is paved (for god knows what reason, it's only about 100 yards long) is also covered with this rounded gravel.

No drama with either, but if I'd have been cooking along at the limit of my riding abilities for what I was expecting, I probably wouldn't have successfully made it through either, as both were worse than I'd anticipated. Again, not bragging, I've no reason to brag. Many can ride far harder than I can. Just a generic comment on leaving room for the unexpected, and not exceeding the limits of what you can see.
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Old 05-07-2013, 07:05 AM   #2
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Thank you for the reminder of why I ride so I can stop in the road I can see.
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Old 05-07-2013, 07:39 AM   #3
daveinva
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I approve this message!

As tempted as I often am, I struggle to contain my, errr, enthusiasm on new and unfamiliar roads. I won't even approach my limit unless I know exactly what those corners are like, and even then, on a public road I be sure to leave margin for surprises ("Ohhaithere, Mister Deer!" ).

That said, had a great moment on Sunday, there's a road near me that is a short stretch of perfect twisties with excellent sight lines. It's barely a mile+ worth of road, but when devoid of traffic, it's just the perfect little place to push it. Sunday there was perfect weather, my iPod in, and NO cars in front of me. As a result I had one of those zen moments I'll remember for a long time to come.

Ride safe so you can enjoy those moments of perfection for a long, long time.
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Old 05-07-2013, 07:43 AM   #4
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Last summer I was riding quickly on a beautiful clear day on a deserted curvey country road in North Idaho. It was one of those magical motorcycle moments where the weather is perfect, the road is clean, and the curves come one after another.

I am leaned over on a blind right hander and just past the apex a hay truck had lost its load and the entire road was covered with broken bales and loose hay. On the right was a deep ditch between the road and a rock outcrop. On the left the hillside dropped off with a bunch of pine trees and boulders.

Even though I was moving quickly I was not riding beyond how far I could see. Instead of hitting the hay and sliding off the road into a pine tree, I stopped, marked the hazard, and helped the driver clear the road.

Besides keeping within your sight distance, practicing panic stops both straight and while leaned over in a turn are good ways to have the skills when needed.

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Old 05-07-2013, 07:45 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daveinva View Post
As a result I had one of those zen moments I'll remember for a long time to come.

Ride safe so you can enjoy those moments of perfection for a long, long time.
Yes! Have some going back decades that are perma-burned into the grey matter.
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Old 05-07-2013, 10:38 AM   #6
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Fucking cattle in the road.

Semi-tight twisties, railing and smiling, then Whooooa. I could have pulled it's whiskers as I squeaked by.

Yes, I was riding faster than my sightlines allowed. It was a real wakeup call.
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Old 05-07-2013, 11:21 AM   #7
scottrnelson
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One of the best riding tips that I picked up from reading Proficient Motorcycling By David L. Hough, is to do all braking before starting the corner, enter the corner from the outer edge of the lane, and tighten up to the inside at the end of the turn. This is usually referred to as a "delayed apex turn", but when I ride, the very end of the turn is my "apex". That means that when there is something like a turn that goes 30 degrees left, then 90 degrees right, I'm already right where I want to be for that second turn. That means that I no longer have the problem of a totally wrong line for an unexpected second turn as mentioned by the original poster.

I'm still surprised at how many riders want to define "riding at the limit" as being leaned over at 45 degrees and dragging a knee. For me, "riding at the limit" means riding at an interesting pace where I can still stop or otherwise avoid any hazard that appears around a corner unexpectedly. That means that tight blind right turns need quite a bit slower speed than the same turn that you can see all the way through.

I've had too many cases of actually finding an obstacle in a turn to take the chance of riding at a speed where I can't avoid them. Things like a stalled truck in the lane ahead, someone coming the other way three feet into my lane, rocks that have fallen down from the hillside, or animals in the road.

Part of what I enjoy most about riding a motorcycle in the hills is coming back safely to do it again at a later date. I can't rely on just luck.
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Old 05-07-2013, 12:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottrnelson View Post
One of the best riding tips that I picked up from reading Proficient Motorcycling By David L. Hough, is to do all braking before starting the corner, enter the corner from the outer edge of the lane, and tighten up to the inside at the end of the turn. This is usually referred to as a "delayed apex turn"...
The late apex approach also helps if you continually feel like you're being pushed wide at the exit.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOmyWRx8wfE
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Old 05-07-2013, 12:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottrnelson View Post
One of the best riding tips that I picked up from reading Proficient Motorcycling By David L. Hough, is to do all braking before starting the corner, enter the corner from the outer edge of the lane, and tighten up to the inside at the end of the turn. This is usually referred to as a "delayed apex turn", but when I ride, the very end of the turn is my "apex". That means that when there is something like a turn that goes 30 degrees left, then 90 degrees right, I'm already right where I want to be for that second turn. That means that I no longer have the problem of a totally wrong line for an unexpected second turn as mentioned by the original poster.
What is the right entry spot for a 90 degree left turn is the exact wrong entry spot for a 90 degree right hand turn.
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Old 05-07-2013, 01:14 PM   #10
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What is the right entry spot for a 90 degree left turn is the exact wrong entry spot for a 90 degree right hand turn.
I don't understand what you're saying here.

The outside of the turn doesn't necessarily mean the edge of the road. On left turns, it's the edge of the road, but on right turns it's near the center line.

What was the point you were trying to make?
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Old 05-07-2013, 02:26 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by scottrnelson View Post
....do all braking before starting the corner
I'm not sure that's very good advice. Thinking you should only brake while upright is WAY too limiting. I use my brakes well past "tip in" all the time. This technique is really pounded in at the YCRS. It's not just a racing technique either, it's a nice comfort to know your bike can easily brake far deeper into a corner than most people will ever attempt.
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Old 05-07-2013, 02:32 PM   #12
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I'm not sure that's very good advice. Thinking you should only brake while upright is WAY too limiting. I use my brakes well past "tip in" all the time. This technique is really pounded in at the YCRS. It's not just a racing technique either, it's a nice comfort to know your bike can easily brake far deeper into a corner than most people will ever attempt.
It took me a year of riding to completely break the habit of trail braking right to the corner apex. I have no problem at all braking while in a turn and do it whenever necessary.

But since I switched to getting all of the braking done before the corner begins, I haven't had a single case of getting into a corner too hot. Not a single case in nearly ten years. It happened several times a year before that.

I'm just saying that it is a good habit, if you want to be a safe rider, to brake before the corner starts and be lightly on the throttle once you've tipped the bike into the corner. Sort of a slow in, fast out idea.

And I'll agree that it's totally the wrong way to ride on a race track, but I don't ever ride on a race track, I ride in the mountains on a lot of roads that I've never seen before.
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Old 05-07-2013, 03:00 PM   #13
foxtrapper OP
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Originally Posted by scottrnelson View Post
I don't understand what you're saying here.

The outside of the turn doesn't necessarily mean the edge of the road. On left turns, it's the edge of the road, but on right turns it's near the center line.

What was the point you were trying to make?
I don't see how you're not understanding. Start wide, go tight, end wide. The road reversed unexpectedly, so I ended up starting the turn tight to the inside edge. That's not a good line.
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Old 05-07-2013, 03:29 PM   #14
scottrnelson
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Start wide, go tight, end wide. The road reversed unexpectedly, so I ended up starting the turn tight to the inside edge. That's not a good line.
And that's why I don't end wide. If you start wide and go tight at the end you're in the right position for a turn that goes the other way.
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Old 05-07-2013, 03:54 PM   #15
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you NEVER know what you will find around the next curve

It is NOT just unfamiliar roads that can bite you on the ass! Was out riding today on roads I have driven for 30+ years and know very well. Beautiful day, 80 degrees, clear, calm! Enjoying the many corners on a twisty, hilly, 2-lane, tree-lined, state hwy. with 50MPH posted limit, doing about 55. Begin a "blind" (can't see the exit), sweeping, banked, 30 degree curve and see a dead tree has come down across my lane. Other lane has on-coming traffic. I was able to stop in time. Had I been going 60= maybe. 65= serious problem.
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