Oct 5, 2006

Restraining order

I just happened to read what I think was the introduction to Reg Primore's CLASS book. That me makes a lot of sense goes without saying. Without repeating all of what he said, the part the impressed me the most was the part where he talks about restraint and its place in our skill set.

At some point in my blog, I have already talked about the rider's mind as a place where a ot can happen, good and bad. What Pridmore talks about hits that very nail on the head. His point is that while riding fast and all of that is great and thrilling, a mature rider must know when to use restraint. As in, the good rider knows when to back off. When the risk of doing what he is about to, is too much risk.

I realise that 'too much risk' is a fairly ambiguous term. I only agree to that when you apply it liberally. When taken at an individual level, it's a clearly defined thing. Would you race another rider on the street? While getting to work? Each of you can aswer that question without ambiguity. I'd only take that on in certain situations. And to clear the air, I'll define that situation. Ambient situation first: good weather, clean roads and light traffic are essential. Specifics? No racing with people I don't know. That means if I don't know how you ride, I won't respond. I'll happily go for a round who gets there first with riders who I know for sure won't do anything stupid. Which does make it safe, I know. But it becomes a more calculated risk. Which, in itself, may be too much risk for some. Second, the first time I see the other rider make a move I wouldn't (select a narrow gap, break a red or any such) the race is off. In most cases, I've ridden at a fast clip through traffic where the intention is for the both of us to get there quickly, rather than actually 'win.'

So what is restraint? In the above situation, it is stopping for pedestrians etc despite the self-imposed urgency. It is not losing sight of your essential traffic skills - positioning, visibility, speed control and the normal aversion to stupidity. Restraint is what you do when you listen to that inner voice and don't do that silly thing. The inner voice is within us all, and usually won't lead you astray, so listen to it. I do.

For those about the post about the dangers of street racing. I emphatically reiterate that I am against it. Sometimes, it's a convenient way to get home/to office quicker than normal. And certains places/times lend themselves to a very safe elevated speed commute. These are the only places I'd try it.

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