Wheels Of Grace Magazine

Volume 12, Issue 6

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22 | WheelsOfGrace.com | #58 The moment it takes to observe and respond to something while riding seems as though it happens in the blink of an eye: 0.3 to 0.4 of a second. Blinks are natural and necessary, of course, but they take me, and me equals distance traveled. At 60 mph, that blink covers around 35 feet, about two car lengths or five bike lengths of road. Add in your reac on me and it's another 21 feet or three bike lengths. In the blink of an eye, you can miss an opportunity to correct an error. When thinking about me, it's also necessary to consider the nature of rider input. It breaks down into three basic forms: predic ve, reac ve, and predic ve-reac ve. A predic ve input is any planned control input that has a desired and defined result. This would be a rider's Plan A. Simple, two-part ac ons can be performed in 0.1 to 0.2 seconds when planned. The opposite is reac ve input, which is any control ac on triggered by an external situa on. Here, the rider is forced to respond outside of his planned ac ons. Typically, this takes .25 seconds or more. If reac ng predic vely is the best case, opera ng reac vely is the worst case. In between these are what we call predic ve-reac ve inputs, which are planned responses to unplanned situa ons. Think of these as an cipated damage control, your emergency Plan B. Like wearing a helmet, they are there when you need them. Smart riders learn and are prepared to use predic ve-reac ve reac ons at any me. For example, predic ve-reac ve inputs with the thro le include adding gas to save a front slide; staying on the gas for momentary rear wheel slides rather than chopping the thro le; and rolling off, not abruptly closing the thro le, in reac on to a big rear slide. Predic ve-reac ve planning applies to braking as well. Examples include easing out of the brake (either one) the instant that wheel locks up to regain control; lightly coming into the front brake while simultaneously bringing the bike up for an in-corner emergency; and trailing off the brake pressure as you lean in when entry speed is too high. Another example is using both brakes lightly in a run-off-the- road situa on rather than hammering one or the other. An important Plan B reac on is using the front brake to ensure a low-side rather than a high-side when a crash is imminent. Think about how predic ve-reac ve movements apply to body posi on. A few examples include relaxing rather than s ffening up in a crash, which can help avoid broken bones; relaxing on the bars when they weave or shake; staying in the seat in "panic braking" situa ons, helping to prevent an endo; and pu ng as much heavy braking force into the tank with your knees rather than into the bars through the arms, where it tends to induce a front slide. Predic ve-reac ve ins ncts should inform your steering inputs—as in bringing the bike up to ver cal the moment before leaving a paved road surface to help avoid a slide; saving a very low-speed p-over by turning the front wheel into the direc on the bike is falling rather than the reac on to turn the wheel away from it; and definite counter-steering employed in any rapid swerve maneuver. To put these Plan B inputs in perspec ve, the 0.3 to 0.4 seconds is, literally, the defining amount of me to save it if at all possible. Picture running wide in a corner. At 30 mph you are traveling 44 feet per second, in a 10-foot-wide lane. A 0.4 second blink is 17.5 feet; more than enough to catalyze a panic-induced error. Well-trained riders also know that's enough me to switch to Plan B, the predic ve- reac ve maneuver, to save the situa on. Riding Tips Wide-View Awareness By Keith Code

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