U-Turns as the Way Forward
Slow speed riding comprises a specific set of skills requiring plenty of practice. We should always be able to ride at slow speeds with confidence, especially in urban areas, in order to:
- travel slowly with prevailing traffic
- make tight turns in narrow streets
- make U-turns
- manoeuvre in confined spaces, such as garages and parking areas
- filter – move safely between lanes of stationary traffic
Keys to confident slow-speed riding include: Observation – in particular, road surface and camber; Balance – keeping in mind your bike’s load; and, as ever, Looking where you want to go.
Specific machine control skills include:
- using the brakes with a bias to the rear. The rear brake is your best friend in slow-speed maneuvers
- slipping or ‘feathering’ the clutch at times to keep revs up and prevent the engine from stalling
- staying relaxed. Tension reduces your ability to steer or lean, at any speed. Breathe
One of the best ways to look like a numpty on our bike is to display incompetency at low speeds. Dropping both legs like ‘outriggers’ is a dead giveaway that a rider is not in complete control. (This shameful act has, at times, provoked verbal remonstrance from the writer.) As with any other riding skill honest self-assessment is the key to moving forward, and regular practice is essential.
Which aspects of low-speed maneuvering do you find more difficult? Find a safe environment and take opportunities to practice any maneuvers at which you feel less confident. Consider visiting a local learn-to-ride school to observe how these skills are taught or, speak with one of our qualified advanced rider development trainers.
Confidence and competence at low-speeds manifests itself at all speeds. Be your inner tortoise, before unleashing your outer hare.
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