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It has been a couple years now since I got on my bike for the first time and I have to admit it has been an interesting road so far.
I have to admit though I have learned for myself that the difference between a good rider and a dead rider has a lot to do with fear rather than confidence.
Last fall I laid my bike down at about 50 and have to admit it hurt pretty bad, luckily (at the time it was luck) I was wearing gear and the only thing hurt was my confidence. Circumstances involved a brand spanking new front tire and following a friend a little too fast. Being my second wreck I was discouraged and the bike sat most of the summer.
I just moved back out to Colorado with my bike in tow and decided to go for a ride in the mountains and stay the night at a friends house, next morning of course there was snow. Being a 24yr old male i decided to try and ride 100 miles home anways. Didn't work and my good sense got the best of me after only 4 miles and i turned around. Went up and got the bike later that week and observed how my riding habits have changed 20mph turns mean 20mph for me now and I am worried about all the traffic behind me, sand on the road, pressure in my tires and I wouldn't consider getting on the bike without my gear. I got into this thinking it took confidence to be a good rider and am now realizing it is fear that will allow me to become a better rider from this point forth...if only i would have known.
 

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Wrecking really puts things in perspective. I was an animal on my first bike. I would take the tires to the limit of grip around corners, do top speed runs, and try wheelies and stoppies constantly.

Then one day I was on a back road and I was approaching a blind corner. So, why not try a stoppie? I had done those little come to a stop and pop the back end up things but I wanted to do a 100+ foot rolling one like the pros.

Well, the front tire locked up at about 45 mph with the back tire 6 inches in the air. I was lucky enough to regain control as a full size Chevy pickup came around the corner at 50 mph. The side of his truck came 3 inches from taking my head off.

I did not ride for a year and now I am very cautious.
 

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msuskier81 said:
I am worried about all the traffic, sand on the road, pressure in my tires etc. and I wouldn't consider getting on the bike without my gear. I got into this thinking it took confidence to be a good rider and am now realizing it is fear that will allow me to become a better rider from this point forth...if only i would have known.
Riding on the track has increased both for me. I see all kinds of crap on the road that I didn't before nor did I worry about it. Riding the track has given me more confidence when I'm riding in a controlled situation and made me more cautious when on the street. I still love running through my favorite set of twisties near my house but when in unfamilar situations or roads I'm more restrained.
 

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While a certain amount of fear is okay, it sounds to me more like confidence vs. overconfidence. Riding with fear will get you hurt just like riding overconfidently will. You need to be confident in your skills and know exactly what they are (or are not). Fear clouds judgement and may make you zig when you should have zagged. :2cents:
 

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Street riding is about risk management and survival. My goal is to make it back in one piece. For example, the question I ask myself is not CAN I negotiate this blind corner at 60 mph, but SHOULD I negotiate it at 60 mph.

A riding class or track day will show the night and day difference between the closed circuit riding (where you can go to the limit of your abilities) and street (risk management.)
 

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Difference in my days as they started in '46 so by '47 I was into flat tracking, which tells you Indian & HD bikes & later on into Brit irons.

Still by '47 I was also into dirt hill climbing & believe me competiting as often as they were avaliable did humble you as to pre-war riders outdid you.

My street & hwy bikes were riden sensibly & by latter part of '47 I had latched onto my first two Brit irons.

Again sensible riding, for in '48 we were into starting up Scrambling, now called Moto Crossing, Enduros, Observed Trials, Cross Country Racing & Road Racing.

True in '49 I had a 1000cc Vincent HRD Rapide C that I used for hwy use & we are looking at a powerful bike of 45hp & the fastest one could buy bar a Black Shadow with 52hp & we could, & I did, convert a Rapid C into Black Shadow & even some Lightening power & so have a powerful bike of 60+hp which was outstanding in our time.

Still I continued to ride both dirt, some road racing & the streets to hwys. Like 42 yrs of the comp & here I am into my 59th year of riding the pavement.

So you can see the difference of one that learned what with powerful bikes then only now they would be a joke YET the growing up was a long & very learning curve which is something the riders of these days does not gain that.

When it came to stunting or wild riding that was done in competition. Still with a Yamaha YZF600r, Honda 929 & Honda 954 if my garage I do not go potato-potato-potato when riding & if the max speed limit I will be scooting along well above it (bar cities or towns where I ride at the flow of the traffic) & on suggested speeds, on the hwys, I will be taking the bends at twice+ the speed.

You see I am not a flat-lander with drolling long straights, but one that has done most of his riding here in the Cdn Rockie Mtns which means a lot of twisty up & down roads with most being two lane to some 4-lane.

With all those yrs of riding experience I am a somewhat different rider to those that are starting up or have riding a few yrs. Never created an automotive accident & my prangs (what you call crashes) have been many in practicing & in actual competition but pretty darn rare when it comes to pavement.
 

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I'm getting close to 3000 mi. now on my Z750S (my only miles, I'm a new rider) and there isn't a time I get on my bike when there isn't some fear in my stomach as I head out. I wonder sometimes if it's like this for everybody. I'm not saying this because of an accident I've had or anything, but it's been like that since I got my bike.
 

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If I was a bit frightened about riding, then for sure I will not ride that day for it would have to be the little guy inside of me.

Otherwise it is the pure enjoyment of throwling a leg over a m/c & riding it that has kept me at it for 59 yrs of riding.
 

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ESanders2 said:
I'm getting close to 3000 mi. now on my Z750S (my only miles, I'm a new rider) and there isn't a time I get on my bike when there isn't some fear in my stomach as I head out. I wonder sometimes if it's like this for everybody. I'm not saying this because of an accident I've had or anything, but it's been like that since I got my bike.
Actually, that only happens when I'm wearing gears and warming up the bike. The moment I engage the clutch, it disappears, and occasionally find myself doing things I told myself wouldn't do before I got on the bike. Still, when approaching a curve, I have to be more alert than usual. But during close calls with a cage, a tiny spark lights up back of my head. :D
 

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This goes for even when im in a cage, for the law of numbers dictates, the more people, the more retards, assholes etc.. and this is jersey so i always think, man this could be the last time I drive, ride, dont make it home. It just seems to stick out more in my mind on a bike due to no airbags or crumplezones to protect me.
Not to get to off topic, but has anyone ever had dreams of a bike accident and not decided to ride that day?
 

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Well on labor day of this year i hit an island (little curb divding traffic. There were no street lights and i just couldnt see it at 45 mph. split knee open. I get my bike back this week and im a bit concerned for my wellbeing. no more nite rides, no more wheelies, no more riding hard with friends or alone. ima enjoy going the speed limit, cause if i fell doing nothing wrong, then i could kill myself f'ing around.
 

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Well derfdiggler if it is your first year of riding or the present sportbike is very new to you, then possibly those ideas might be what you should have been doing in the first place, being sensible riding & learning how to become a smooth rider to s-l-o-w-l-y work your way up to being a faster rider without prangs.

If you have a chance to ride during Track Days I would say put up the money & not try to to stay ahead of others or try to hang onto them, but to simply ride around & get the feel of how the others seemingly are taking the bends, gearing down to slowing down & such.

When I raced be it flat tracking MXing, Observed Trials, or road racing I would walk around the circuit, with others or by myself looking at what I was going to be tackeling & trying to think how best to take on all parts. While in practices I would be feeling my way out & sometimes noteing how another rider took a part differently & that might give me an idea & possibly a better way. So in reality it is sort of the same in riding the streets or the roads.

I will find a road I sort of like & instead of going on to ride the loop to home, I had in mind, I will ride back the road. Then do the same another 4 to 8 times to where I know that road & can feel at home on it especially some 3 to 8 yrs later even with the small changes in the road. So in a way like road racing only it would be a public road.

Like after a while where the road might be max 100kph---60 mph I will be scooting along it clocking 135 to 175kph--80 to 105mph & after a while the suggested speeds of 40kph---15mph for some tighter bends & dives I will take those at 120 to 125kph--75 to 80mph.

Oh yes I should mention said road is not a few bends but might be around 100 plus miles to the turn around point I will take to possibly take a break at a small restaurant relax knowing I rode that section well to-day or possibly not to well due to some bend of twisty was not as good as I usually do. So that drives me to ride better on the way back. No I am not out to look at the mountains & such for good chance I have riden that very road or some other roads over 200 times in the last few yrs---it is the enjoyment of the roads themselves with all its ups & downs, bends, twisties, blind bends chewed out of the mtn side & such.

Hope the above can make sense to you & know the RCMP will not agree at my paces & how I get speeding tickets.

Lastly do you have logging rigs in your area that pound the same roads at least twice a day & basically the same roads? If so watch them for they know the road like the palm of their hand & that is why I do as well.
 

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Hey Smitty, how fast are you able to go through 35 mph curve with blind exit and keeping some in reserve? Specify hanging off/knee dragging. :D

80 in 15 mph, I don't know how curves are in Canada, but that's certainly something here... with all the gravels. :eek:
 

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Just a bit of hanging my butt off to the inside of the curve, knee is always tucked into the frame/fairing. It is really no problem & can go much faster for I know the roads are clean.

Besides most of these roads & bends have been set for 18 wheelers, logging rigs, large RVs, tourists & such. You get on a decent road & basically all the bends & such will be basically the same.

Back when the Trans-Canada Hwy was coming to Banff National Park in Alberta I was the the instrument man from the east gate to Banff. True just a two lane road then, that we put in.

Still we had this massive book on all the engineeiring aspects & laws about the Trans-Cdn Highway. I was quite excited for it stated all bends or turns had to be acceptable for a 300 wt truck at 70mph & I thought GREAT we are going to have the speed upped to 70mph only not so. So you see 70mph for all bends on a large truck is also 120kph.

So there is you answer Fantic. Is the roads, for tourists & such other vehicles (remember we have no railways or rivers or such for transporting on ships so it is all by trucks in this Okanagan Valley of B.C.) starts to break up, the Dept of Hwy will hire paving crews to redo a part or some miles of a road.

Slowly they are removing those rock blind corners with months of blasting & so a road is missing such dangerous (exciting) corners, to some parts of them being in up & down with bends, but four lanes.

For instance the ride from Calgary, Alberta to Banff & to Lake Louse was a narrow badly busted up two lane paved road & from there on up to the Columbia Icefields & to Jasper was a narrow gravel road, a small bit of pavement in Jasper, & then gravel again till one was within 55 miles of Edmonton before one hit pavement again. Now all of that is four lane to even wider.
 

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Z_Fanatic said:
Hey Smitty, how fast are you able to go through 35 mph curve with blind exit and keeping some in reserve? Specify hanging off/knee dragging. :D

80 in 15 mph, I don't know how curves are in Canada, but that's certainly something here... with all the gravels. :eek:
I was thinking the same thing. I bet it varies a bit between state to state, let alone country to country. 80 in a 15 is pretty impressive though depending on the road.

My general rule of thumb for the way Texas marks curve is double over posted warning is pretty safe. 2.5Xs posted warning is fun with keeping some in reserve for me.
 

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In my opinion you must ride your bike with confidence. However it is never a good thing to be over confident. I had a really terrible wreck 1.5 years ago. I was riding a R1 in Arkansas went around a corner too fast. went off the road hit a sign and some trees. broke my back, both arms, collarbone and collapsed a lung. I am ok now but when i got back on a motorcycle i drove under the speed limit and took every corner super slow. Now i have gained more confidence over this past 8 months. I feel the reason I had the wreck was because I was to cocky and over-confident. Now i have just enough confidence to raise my pulse and little but there is always a fear there. i think what i am getting at is that you must ride with some amount of confidence but you must always know what can happen
 

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I think you are exactly right, you have to know where your limits are and the consequences of pushing them. Too bad most of us have to learn the lessons the hard way and yours sounds particuarly bad.

To address the OP, confidence and fear go hand in hand when riding. Chances are you are never going to beyond the bikes ability on the street. That means the rider is the limiting factor. And what really limits the riding is the ability to process data and react. As you push your riding fear increases until you are at a point where you can no longer process and react to all the inputs you are receiving.

Everyone has the threshold. As you ride more and expose yourself more to these situations your fear decreases and confidence increases allowing you to handle tougher and tougher situations.

The key is to intially setting your fear to a low enough point that your skill and confidence can catch up and slowly raise your own bar. If you ride with no fear you are going to die. If you ride with too much fear you are going to die or quit. To improve you must constantly flirt with your reasonably established fear level and build confidence.

So in the end the both are interrelated to riding.
 

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i forgot to add one thing. when riding you must always fear the bike enough not to kill yourself, but you cannot have to much fear that you can't ride. that is where confidence comes in....
 

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zdavis said:
In my opinion you must ride your bike with confidence. However it is never a good thing to be over confident. ...
I've had pilot training and logged around 250 solo hours in ultralights. The instructors have a saying: There are old pilots, and there are bold pilots, but there are no old bold pilots. They said pilots are most dangerous at around 100 hours because they get over confident.

Sure enough at about 90 hours I took off without doing a standard pre-flight. I just wanted to get up and flying. I didn't check the petcock/transfer valves between my overhead and seat tanks. The fuel line vapor locked and the engine stalled when I was 75 feet off the ground in a steep climb out. I pancaked in at the end of the runway for $650 damage to the landing gear and a horribly bruised ego. I was flying the next morning.

My instructor came up to me with a smile on his face and asked "BTW, how many hours do you have now?" From that point on a part of me was always in the "shit can and will go wrong" mode no matter how eager I was to get going.

The big advantage with flying is that the pilot has around 99% control of his situation. On a bike a rider is at the mercy of every one else on the road. But due to costs, maintenance, bad weather and other factors, it is so much easier and convenient to ride than to fly.
 
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