June 24: Slow is not very wow

Two days ago I had a lovely class after two weeks off. Today I took another one, but it was a bit all over the place.

Some classics we revisited went really well, like the fast slalom and the emergency stop. However: the bane of my existence, the slow slalom, bit me in the rear again.

My problem is likely that I was taking too much ‘speed’ out of the slow slalom. The idea is to use the clutch very lightly (like: barely past that point where you need to apply force to squeeze the handle). Now that I think back I was often squeezing it in to about 40% today.
Simultaneously I was applying the fantastic advice I got last time: tap the rear brake a little bit every time you pass a cone. That technique works great at 12kph, but at ~9kph it brings you out of balance and you’ll have to abort or kiss the floor.
So I need to get my clutch game in line again, and trust that it’s the right speed no matter what my senses are telling me. Those senses of mine are lying in this exercise. I’ve done it successfully before, I don’t know why this time it felt like I was going faster and decided to use the clutch.

Leaving a parking space was another one that surprised me in the amount of work it took again. I had only done it once before but nailed it that time, so we didn’t revisit it for a while. Today I really needed like half an hour to find my jam. This one feels like it’s easy to fix though: my clutch game is good here but I need more throttle so I can make a tighter corner. I should also put my foot on the peg of the side where I need to go — that way I can’t easily get the urge to stick that leg out.

We also did the thing for the first time where you need to physically walk the motorcycle in and out of an imaginary parking spot. The technique is fairly straightforward but I wouldn’t say I’m confident yet. The weight of the bike (196kg wet) isn’t much at all for a machine of this size, still: that’s very awkward for me to move around manually with my twig arms. There are ways to make it feel less like you’re going to tip over together with the thing but I need to practice it some more to get comfortable.

So… a couple of things to circulate in the mind in the coming days until the next class on Saturday. Hopefully the next ones before the exam bring the last successes we need to tick everything off our list!

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