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Mississippi Cajun
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Finally, Spring appears to have arrived, and I am getting out on the bike almost daily now when the rains leave me alone. But I had a stretch of very little to no riding with ice, rain, freezing a$$ cold, etc. that had me sitting around the house having those images of riding flash through my brain where a car flashed across my path or something fell off the back of a truck or trailer (common around here), and I started getting a case of the riding horrors that something was due to jump up and cream me once again. Having done my stint in a wheel chair and on crutches, I was in no mood to repeat the experience.
The first few rides I made of any consequence I found myself jumpy and not as loose as I usually am. So I began evaluating my experience and reactions to what I was seeing or imagining. Finally, today, I allowed myself a high passing score on my performance and feel a lot better about myself out in the maniac cager traffic that usually prevails in the neighborhood.
Got to considering how many members we have that have been limited or shut out of riding all winter, and thought I'd suggest the technique of evaluating yourself a few rides into the season and making sure your abilities and reflexes have returned to mid-season form. I know that it has me feeling a lot better about myself and my bike just having done this.
 

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That is a good idea. I sorta, kinda do it, but I could increase my attention to more areas. I do a monthly exercise of several "Ride like a Pro" maneuvers in vacant parking lots. I'm either getting weaker with age, or a lot more confident with the front brakes. Just a couple of practice panic stops have my wrists close to the limit.
 

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Flat Land Redneck
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Even though I ride year round, I haven't really been doing any low speed practice. The other day Mr. SCSPARTAN and I went to my play ground to refresh. The 18' figure 8 felt really tight. I'm gonna recheck the distance, to make sure one of my buddies didn't reconfigure it on me like I did him once. Gonna have to start doing more frequent low speed work.
 

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I'm also like you, that first ride or two is always done with a pinch of nervousness. I don't use my iPod and force myself to concentrate on what I'm doing.

There's a large church parking lot 1/2 mile from my house. My first ride every spring is to that parking lot where I spend an hour or so practicing low speed maneuvers and hard stops.

Throughout the riding season I visit that parking lot at least once a week.
 

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luv the low country
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Even though I ride year round, I haven't really been doing any low speed practice. The other day Mr. SCSPARTAN and I went to my play ground to refresh. The 18' figure 8 felt really tight. I'm gonna recheck the distance, to make sure one of my buddies didn't reconfigure it on me like I did him once. Gonna have to start doing more frequent low speed work.
I'm getting better, COOT, but I still am not able to tighten up the circle as well as you, probably cause I don't practice too often.

KD, know the feeling of not quite being one with the bike after a period of time away from riding. I found that more so living up north in CT not being able to ride for months. Here in SC we had a couple of weeks that it got very cold, to cold for me to ride anyway, when it took an hour or so to get back in the grove.
 

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I wish I had read this before my first ride this spring. I didn't even think about it and took off. I felt really clumsy and awkward and that woke me up.

Good thread.
 

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Always start out easy before I let her fly.
 

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Put my bike up on my Sears jack & covered it on the last day or so in October. In January, maybe almost the middle of the month, the weather permitted me to get the bike out 2 afternoons in a row. After not riding since October it was good to be riding and although I didn't really notice any clumsiness or anything regarding my riding, in some ways it was like I had never ridden this particular bike before. I was just so amazed at the way the bike handled, and almost got some wood from experiencing the torque curve from about 2500 rpms to 5000. But those 2 afternoons were just easy get back in the groove rides. And since the rides in January I haven't been out again till this past Sunday and Monday. Yep, again it was in some ways like I had never ridden this one before. Should be good weather here tomorrow to get out and I've already started leaving my Tahoe on the drive so my bike can get in and out of the garage with ease.
 

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cool thing about PA registration is you can take PAMSP course for free. The one
I take last 8 hrs, 3 in class, 5 on bike. I've been riding many years, but this course
is a lot of fun, and instructional. Loosens you up and readies you for the season.Funny thing at 62yrs old I'm not an old guy at these courses.
 

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KD, I have nightmares about stuff that has NEARLY happened to me on bikes. I really can't imagine what you're dealing with having actually gone through it.

Tell ya this, though. You can count on some prayers being sent up for you from a little holler in a creek bottom in Arkansas. Hang in there.
 

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Had a similar experience two years ago. In September 2013 I had a wreck. Totaled the bike, 12 days in the hospital, 5 broken ribs, concussion, punctured lung. Anyway, blessed to have fully recovered. Found my first Harley, an 02 Electra Glide and brought her home in November. Got out and started riding in April of last year. The new bike combined with my last experience on two wheels wrecked my confidence. I was very unsure on the new ride. It wasn't any fun at all to ride even though I knew it was an awesome scoot. Almost made the decision at that point to hang it up and sell the bike. Gave it another week or so and my skills and my confidence began to come back. everything is cool now but I guess the lesson is that what's between the ears needs a little time at the beginning of the season to re-acclimate. Be careful out there.
 

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Mississippi Cajun
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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks Jo and to everyone. That time not riding does something between the ears, it seems, that allows those what-ifs that never happened to bring to question your instincts and abilities that you can only think about until the weather gods allow you the chance to get out there and prove the demons wrong. The good thing is that most of us never lose those instincts and abilities, but like that first baseball or football practice of the year, many of us should remember feeling like maybe we needed a new glove or something because what should have been automatic just weren't....but then, that's why we had those practices before the games started.
It's good to see so many here doing those parking lot exercises. They sure do make me feel better, and I practice them often during the year just to stay sharp. And now that I've had a few weeks of steady, everyday riding, I feel I'm ahead of the bike when on the road, and I'm seeing all of the things I need to and should see as I go down the highway.
 

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I do two things that help a LOT.

Before I start riding a lot of streets and traffic in the Spring. I take the bike out and do a bunch of drills on the street. Nothing fancy. A lot of turns, some hard braking, some hill starts, a few U-turns. I do it when there is ZERO traffic around, just so I am not distracted by the cars. It usually doesn't take much to get the "riding blood flowing again". But I think it helps to do it with zero pressure ... when there's just the bike, the road and me.

ALSO, every Spring I always go out into the local mountains in CA and ride a TON of curves. Basically, a one-day ride where I spend the whole time riding hundreds of curves in the mountains. Same deal. I start out nice and easy, and pick up the pace as my brain gets adjusted.

Usually by the time I have done these two things ... everything is clicking along again.

dT
 

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Mountain Rider
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That is a good idea. I sorta, kinda do it, but I could increase my attention to more areas. I do a monthly exercise of several "Ride like a Pro" maneuvers in vacant parking lots. I'm either getting weaker with age, or a lot more confident with the front brakes. Just a couple of practice panic stops have my wrists close to the limit.
Even though I ride year round, I haven't really been doing any low speed practice. The other day Mr. SCSPARTAN and I went to my play ground to refresh. The 18' figure 8 felt really tight. I'm gonna recheck the distance, to make sure one of my buddies didn't reconfigure it on me like I did him once. Gonna have to start doing more frequent low speed work.
I too have a vacant church parking lot I go to practice usually about twice a month. Keeps things going good with the slow speed turns and Ride like a Pro Stuff but I still not really better than 18' on a circle. Need to be more fearless I guess!
 

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Hit it she goes boom
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Darryl, glad to hear all is well. When the weather breaks and streets are clear I begin my yearly parking lot practice runs. The courthouse close to work is where they hold MSF classes, so the parking lot has painted lines. I do figure eights, fast stops, tight turns, until I begin to relax and feel at home on the bike. On one occasion I did hop on the super slab right from storage, probably not the brightest move, but I just couldn't wait any longer, took a few miles before I felt good. On those times that I feel I'm just "not with it" I'll go a couple miles, then call it, turn around and go home. One time I knew I wasn't feeling in sink, with riding, rode about 10 miles, still wasn't feeling right. I figured I'd gas it up and give it a few more miles then call it. Gassed up, got to a 4 way stop, cages all around, mom in a mini van had "brake tap" written on her forehead.. I saw it. Sure enough, she blew through as I was sitting there watching this. Then.. wham... I was there, rode about another 100 miles all good too!

My point is I think there are times to not ride, I've called it, because I was tired or knew my head wasn't where I needed it to be. Glad all turned out well for you. I know what you've been through on a bike, can't imagine how that felt.
 
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