June 5 & 8: Precision training

Two motorcycle classes this week!

I was actually supposed to ride last week too, but half of the two-instructor duo was off sick so we had to reschedule at the last minute. As you may know, I have fallen madly in love with riding. So I was a little sad to hear the news, not just because one of the instructors was feeling unwell 🥲

Anyway: luckily arrangements could be made for this week, so I got to go. Twice! 🥳

The ‘big’ new thing this week was to start work on one of the most annoying, precise exercises to perform: the slow slalom. Essentially: you let the bike idle in 1st, declutch the tiniest bit, and weave between a row of cones that are only 3 meters apart. It’s okay to be wobbly — you will pass as long as you don’t hit a cone, have to abort, or fall over.
This is hard! The first tries didn’t work at all, then the instructor halved the amount of cones and slowly sneaked them back in one-by-one until I could pull it off reliably towards the end of the session. Some helpful advice was to count while passing each cone and to slightly tap the rear brake at that moment — it adds a bit of rhythm and regulates speed very nicely.

During the second class this week we revisited many other exercises, which went down pretty well. However: the slow slalom was laughing me in the face. I did it well twice in a row, and then I just couldn’t pull it off again. I was using the rear brake too much, which caused me to have to pull out after the first couple of cones. So this is something to work on a bit more next time, hopefully finding back the balance in braking/declutching that I found so well at the end of that earlier class this week.

Still: all fun stuff to work on. The braking stuff is becoming more and more ‘natural’. The half turns are effortless and good. And we need to talk about the fast slalom. Ohh! Ahh! Hmm!

The fast slalom is almost always included in classes and I really see that exercise as a reward. It feels so good to weave between cones at 30kph and to feel the hips working — this mandatory speed more or less demands that you dance with the machine to flip angles.
That moment where you’re about to flip the machine from one side to another is Just Amazing. You feel weight transfer taking place, the bike bends through its suspension a bit as all the energy gets pushed into that corner, and then while you channel your inner Shakira the bike seems to become an extension of you (if it wasn’t already), ‘helping’ you to immediately go into that other corner you want it to go to. Imagine that feeling, repeated precisely every second for about 7 seconds.
It feels grippy, it’s a lot of fun, and it’s a really good exercise in feeling what you can do with the machine in tight situations.

Already looking forward to the next one (as always), whatever we decide to do. I love it.

Screenshot of a reaction I posted under an Instagram biker's video.

I wrote:

"Started classes a while ago. I was sold in the first two seconds after being let out on the road. I don't feel like my life needs fixing but holy fuck, riding unlocks so much. Madly in love with it, can't wait to pass the exams and buy a pretty machine to hit the road."

The other user, "moto.myth", responded by saying:

"Can't wait for you to experience all that riding has to offer! Stay safe, brother."
Context: the Instagram post under which I posted this comment used an audio quote saying “you better fix my entire life, you little shit”, where the “you” was the bike they bought.

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