Don’t bother reading this article if you are content with your riding level or if you have to ask why you should bother spending time and energy improving. However, if you want to increase your motorcycling enjoyment (and safety), then read on.
1. Surround Yourself with the Right people
Align yourself with people who help elevate you to improve your skills rather than people who either stagnate your growth or hold you back. Some riders are not interested in growing, some are simply stuck in their ways, while others are unaware of the benefits of improving. Which people are more likely to help you become a better rider?
And associate with others who share the same level of respect for risk as you. Hopefully you cohorts wear protection and ride responsibly.
Internet and Riding Groups
Join groups that not only align with your riding philosophy, but also encourage and support skill development.
And make sure these groups share accurate information from reputable sources and the moderators aren’t afraid to correct well-meaning, but misleading or inaccurate information.
Seek additional sources to make sure group members know what they are talking about. If not, find another group.
These are your closest riding friends. These like-minded friends are willing and eager to talk about riding skills. Sure, they will talk about the latest bolt-on goodie or the newest model, oil or tire choice. But, at some point they will end up talking about what they recently learned about motorcycle handling, control techniques and the merits of a method they heard about but have not yet tried.
2. Look in the Mirror
Maybe you like the feeling and danger that comes with having only basic riding skills, after all we don’t ride to be safe. But understand that the odds of you suffering the financial and personal costs is much greater than if your skills are advanced.
Ability to Recognize Mistakes
Blaming others is an impediment to growth. Even though “the other guy” may be legally at fault, ask yourself what you could have done to avoid being involved. Maybe nothing, but ask the question of yourself.
And remember that we don’t know what we don’t know. and that we are the worst judge of our true ability. The Dunning Kruger Effect says that the less experience you have at a task, the more you think you know. Don’t be caught out thinking you know what you need to know when you don’t.
Hot on the heels of risk tolerance is motivation to grow. If the perceived reward of improved skill isn’t apparent, then motivation will be low. On the other hand, if you’ve been curious enough to discover just how deep the well of enjoyment is with the introduction of advancing skills, then you’re on your way.
Related to motivation is passion. It takes a lot of courage for beginner riders to make the leap into becoming motorcycle riders. The don’t exactly have passion yet, but they are motivated enough to spend the energy and resources it takes to get into this endeavor.
A certain level of sustained passion is one reason why people stick with riding over the long haul. But, at some point this passion will inevitably level off unless you seek out new opportunities…and growth is the more enduring.
You have to be willing to put in some of your precious energy into making this growth happen. Read, watch videos and ask questions. In other words, seek to find out about what you don’t know.
You don’t need to spend money to get this process started, but at some point you should plan on setting aside money to take some training from professionals, which may include advanced parking lot, off-road, on-street or track day training.
Your Learning Style
Some people are impatient and want to cut to the chase, while others delve into the depths of learning something new. Some learn by absorbing information and then applying the technique, others learn best just by hitting the bullet points and then trying it out.
Whichever way you learn, understand that there are not any real shortcuts. Be patient.
Knowledge is the first step, but knowledge alone will not make you a better rider! You must apply the knowledge by practicing.
You’re going to feel uncomfortable at first when trying something new. You may be afraid to fail or to look like a novice. This is normal. We all go through it. Back to my earlier point…find supportive friends and groups and get some training from a pro organization that has seen it all.
I know that many riders choose not to attend one of my courses or a track training day for fear of embarrassment. Remember, everyone is in the same boat as you. Sure, some will be more proficient or faster than you . So Relax.