Friday, January 15, 2010

Back to work.

As I'm riding for work I'm often thinking about the blog and our blogging community. Troubadour made a comment in this post that he could see how a motorcycle blog could easily turn into a photography blog. That pretty much sums up what I've done here lately. Which is fine. However, riding is my first love ( aside from Katie, that is ) and it's about time to get back to work. There's a lot of ground to cover ( figuratively and literally ) in the next few months.

Life seems to get really busy without my even trying, especially when I have so many diverse interests. I feel a lot like this gal. The G11 was sitting on the table with the flip-screen set so I could see it. I was playing with shutter speeds in between making some phone calls and drinking coffee. Yes, this is actually a gal, and not a guy. I bought her coffee, by the way. Whatever our thoughts on war might be, those who serve when called upon should be acknowledged. That's my thought, anyway.

What I really should have been doing lately is getting back into harness and putting some actual motorcycle content here. It's been too easy to throw a few photos out and call it good. All work and no play isn't ideal, either. There should be some of both to stay balanced.

A while back a promise was made by me to somebody who asked a question. A promise is a promise and I haven't forgotten. It's time to honor my word.

The question was this:

When talking about riders who have several year's experience, versus those who have one year's experience repeated several times over, how does one go about getting that deeper experience?

The one who posed the question has a short riding season each year. It's a good question. The plan is to explore that road more thoroughly.

Elvira's still on the road. We're having fun together despite the winter weather. This was her posing for me as we had time to enjoy some farm country on the way home the other day.

We'll start out with a overview here. Then, as Elvira and I travel, we'll take photos of various situations we encounter. We'll share those and explore in more detail some skills and strategies that are essential to successful riding. The plan is to sort of present it in layers. For example, we'll look at a particular situation. Then we'll talk about what might be expected from someone at Level 1. What would level 2 look like? Lastly, what would a very experienced and skilled rider do at Level 3, the highest one?

I hope it all works out and proves to be of value.

Here is an opening statement. The biggest factor isn't the passage of time. Yes, seat time is extremely valuable in building experience. As you can tell from the statement regarding a rider having one year's experience repeated ten times over, time by itself isn't enough. The critical difference?


As we work with new instructors, for example, we often encourage them to start out where they mean to end up. No, they don't have the experience of time in the saddle, yet. On the other hand, they can start to think like an experienced instructor. They can decide to strive for excellence, even though still new. They can decide to think like a motorcycle instructor. As opposed to just being an instructor in general. That part might be harder to understand.

Think of it this way. There are a lot of instructors out there. Or call them teachers, if you will. Many are very good in their own field. As an example, think of an elementary school instructor. While possibly being quite effective at teaching young children to read and write, they won't automatically excel at teaching nervous new motorcycle students.

There's a unique set of skills and reference points inherent to the two different pursuits. So what does that mean to us as motorcyclists? You can probably already picture where we're headed.

I recently took photos of two different wood piles. Here's the first one.

Most cut up wood is either piled or stacked on the ground. That's the way pretty much everyone does it. Think of these wood stackers as car drivers. We're all car drivers. Most riders were car drivers long before they were riders. Most people still drive more than they ride. Nothing wrong with that. It's the norm, so to speak. Now check out this next wood pile.

This is certainly a different approach! Yes, the wood is still neatly stacked. However, I'd say it's safe to say that very few wood stackers would have thought to do it this way. It required thinking differently than the rest of the herd, so to speak. I find it very refreshing, by the way. This is the kind of thing a successful rider needs to do, as well.

Driving and riding are both forms of transportation. Both are a means of getting us from one place to another. Internal combustion motors putting power to rubber tires which move us along. Riding, however, demands a unique viewpoint. Much like that expressed by the one who stacked the wood on top of the tree trunk.

Success secret #1: A successful rider must start thinking like a motorcyclist, not a car driver.

Miles and smiles,



Chris Luhman said...

That "winter" shot has too much green and not enough white to be winter. :)

I agree with #1. Riding does require a different mindset. If you fall back into the driving one, you're likely to get hurt. This is why I think every serious rider should take a course early in the riding season to shake the cobwebs out and get refocused.

Chuck Pefley said...

I spend more time on 2 or 3 wheels than I do in my car. The thing I've noticed when driving the car is I transfer many of the skills from riding to driving. I look much further ahead, constantly check mirrors and front wheels of cars in the adjacent lane ... far more intensely than I did before riding two wheels.

Conchscooter said...

I used to spend all my time on two wheels and I miss it. Though I do feel good about saving the dog.

bluekat said...

There's a time for photography and a time to ride...or instruct as the case may be. Ok, ok, I'm no Solomon.

Looking forward to reading more about getting that deeper experience. OMG - does that make some of us...shallow??? :)
Seriously, that repetitive experience thing sounds all to familiar. Yep, it's gonna be a good read!


irondad said...


We'll explore that subject more in the future. Sounds like you already have the proper mindset. Good on you! I wish we had some snow so I could show off like charlie6!


You are an example of having heightened skills from riding. Awesome. Too many riders take the mediocre skills from driving to riding. That doesn't work for long.


You keep circling back to the same answer. A sidecar for Cheyenne.


Despite your circular path in wording, the wisdom holds true! I intend to work it all in here.

Does it make some of us shallow? Not at all. I'm a better rider than I was five years ago. And I was a good rider back then. Was I shallow back then? No, just not as good as now. Same for you all.

Take care,


Chris Luhman said...

Dan: I'd be happy to send you some snow for three easy payments of $19.99! We have piles of it everywhere!

You're also welcome to come visit Minnesota and enjoy the snow in its natural habitat. :)

bobskoot said...

Mr Irondad:

You've got wood for us to cut, RIGHT ?

I think I drive more like a rider, and I also protect their "rear" when I happen by chance to discover them in front of me doing stupid things

bobskoot: wet coast scootin