Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Mental Aspect.

Two of the last few blogs I have written have been about my advanced rider training, and the obvious areas I need to work at.  One aspect that I have not mentioned but has been on my mind a great deal of late is the mental aspect to riding a bike.  

I was delighted when my copy of 'The police riders hand book to better motorcycling" arrived in the mail, and upon opening the first chapter found it was entirely dedicated to the 'mental approach" to riding a bike.

To me the mental aspect of riding a bike cannot be taught, you have to self criticise, and analyse your own mental head space, and your own attitude to riding.  You have to sit back and judge your own attitude, and this like all things can be met with denial and a unwillingness to judge one self.  Being aware of you own head space before you throw the leg over the bike is a big part of safe biking.

Quote  "You need to be aware of the social influences on attitudes and safety but, in  the end the responsibility for the safety of your self and other road users  is yours alone" **

Since I have embarked to some training I have been paying special attention to  many of the bikers I see on our roads, there skills, how they are reacting and there general riding.  Some obviously need more training, but you can also see that they ride conservatively and with in there limits, even if technically they are not perfect.

The ones that worry me are the ones that seem to have a 'death wish" attitude when riding, neither caring for or being considerate of other road users.   It is easy to spot these particular riders, they are the ones lane splitting  at a ridiculous speed, undertaking on bus lanes and  left hand bends, weaving through traffic as if they don't have a care in the world.  These are the very riders that if they  have an accident will only blame every one else, and not take responsibility for there own actions.  They will not learn.  The problem lies with in there head and there attitude and not there skill level.  

Quote   " Every near miss and accident needs to be seen as an opportunity to re-evaluate and improve your riding technique"*

I may not be at a level where I can teach advanced riding to any one, I would not even attempt to teach new bikers, But I am at a level in my biking where I can encourage training, and discourage poor riding.   I  can encourage other bikers to get in the right head space, and adopt a safety first attitude.  I can get into some ones head and be prepared to stand up when I see riding that puts other road users at risk.  I can do all of this not only by what I say but by my actions on the road.

Riding a motorbike is one of life's great pleasures, but we all as riders should take on the responsibility to encourage safer riding.

The book that is pictured is an excellent read.  Well worth the small investment.  It is some thing that will be beside my bed and with me when I go away on the bike a lot.  It is a book that you can continually refere back to.  If Geoff doesn't beat me to it first I will do a review once I have finished reading it.  But it is not a book you can read in one sitting.  You need to digest it like a large juicy steak....bit by bit!


  1. After reading this book and then seeing the comments of some stupid people on the Kiwi Biker website, I can only shake my head in sadness over some attitudes. It's the borderline people we can influence, not the morons!

  2. The mental attitude should be to get satisfaction from doing things well.

    That is why I do not even attempt to do knitting or use a sewing machine, but I feel great after a good safe and progressive bike ride.

    All the best, N

  3. Great post. I will need to pick up the book. Funny to see the circle of life sometimes. On my trip a guy stopped me at the gas station to talk. He admitted that he had done something supremely stupid on a bike in his youth that had resulted in many broken bones, including his back. Two years of intense therapy to walk again when the doctors said he wouldn't. He said that he makes it a point to talk with riders to find out where their mind is at on the bike.

    Thanks for sharing the book info.

  4. Thanks Roger. I like this quote: " Every near miss and accident needs to be seen as an opportunity to re-evaluate and improve your riding technique"* That one is big on my list for learning riding skills. Whenever I read or hear about an accident I try to find out the particulars and try to discover the cause and solution(s). I too watch other riders and especially the police on motorcycles. That looks like a good book!

  5. Welcome to the wonderful world of Roadcraft. While you are putting your hand in your pocket, may I also suggest "How to be an Advanced Motorcyclist: Pass Your Advanced Motorcycling Test" It's on Amazon and also off the main IAM UK website. Slightly more digestible. The IAM use it in conjunction with the Police manual

    I read roadcraft origianlly without properly considering what the 'responsive gear' really meant, so I was barreling deep into corners for the view,while fighting the brakes all the way round. It was not until I did a Bikesafe some years later that it was pointed out that my pattern of gear changes were as if I was still in my car:

    "As your rev counter goes round to 8k, why do you change gear at 1500 ?"

    That made such a difference to my riding. Good luck

    April 28, 2011 2:32 AM

  6. Lori, Great story thanks for sharing.

    Mike: It is a great book, that quote really caught my attention.

    Young Dai: welcome my my blog and thanks for your comment. I will look up that book and add it to my collection.

    Nikos: As always you made me laugh...thanks mate carnt imagine you sewing anyway.

  7. FAZer: Roadcraft is really the book, but to be read in small doses along with Practical sessions with the instructor. the IAM book is a watered down version of Roadcraft, more digestable, yes, but definitely not in the same class. On one page in the IAM they have a picture of a motorcyclist in jeans!!