May 6, 2008

Better Late Than Early!

I am currently reading a book by Mark Gardiner called Riding Man and totally in love with the book. The basic story is of a Gardiner, who decides fairly late in life, that he must go racing at the Isle of Man, and what happens from then on. In there lay a superb piece of riding advice that bears serious pondering.

In the book, the scene is the Gardiner is hanging about somewhere when a grizzled old ex-racer gives him a stunning piece of advice about riding the TT. Before I unveil the nugget though, let me just touch upon why the advice is stunning.

The piece of advice relates to the Isle of Man TT, a race that takes place on public road. A place you and I come out to anoint everyday with our wheels.

'Be late everywhere.'

That in essence is the piece of advice. Let us dig into that, now.

The idea being offered is that it is safer to ride the TT by performing the required actions a bit later than you would at a racetrack. What actions? Turning into a corner, apexing the corner, getting back on the gas and so forth.

When you enter a corner on the street, being late is good. Selecting a turn in point later usually offers you the biggest safety-related advantage you can really ask for – a better sightline. Turning in later will allow you to see deeper into the corner. A racetrack has no oncoming traffic, rarely has dirty tarmac and you are never in danger of crashing into something you didn't see – like a parked truck in the night. On the street, turning in late allows you to commit more to corners because you can see more. Or, it allows you to keep your normal pace, but maintain a greater safety envelope.

Apex late. A late apex creates a shallower exit line. That means you run less wide out of the corner on the throttle. Which again reduces the chances of running off the road – if it were a one-way street, or running into the oncoming lane – far more likely and inherently dangerous.

Open the throttle later. Riding fast on the street isn't harmful per se, racing is. And now that you aren't racing, you can afford to get on the throttle later. Again, you might lose a couple of feet of acceleration on the corner exit, but those fractions you waited might just allow you to spot another hazard as you look to where you are headed next.

Being late is of the greatest use when you are riding a road you don't really know that well. Running late allows you to read corners better, keep greater safety margins at hand in an unfamiliar environment and frankly, try it and you will realise that you don't actually lose much in terms of time. On the other hand, a later turn-in produces greater lean angles – makes the ride more exciting, but reduces the amount of time you spend leaned over – at a lower traction level. The more I think about it, the more sense it makes and the more things I spot that promote a quick, safer ride.

And apologies for not posting for nearly a month. I was out of the loop for a long while and it's taken me time to get back to posting here. Let us hope that this post sees us return to normal pace.

5 comments:

--xh-- said...

happy to see you back in action.. the more I think about the advice, the more it makes sense... so true...

Madhukar said...

hmmm...
Apologies shall be accepted only after 15 posts :)

Mk

Sankoobaba said...

very true...
i agree...
it helps to have time on your hand..or should I say throttle
\good to have you back..
missed it all

EvolutioN said...

the hero is back!

Welcome, welcome, welcome welcome... welcome back God... :)

On a more serious note... where the hell were you... taking time off for a romantic getaway eh? :P

Keep the posts rolling in!

Love, laughter n keep the Faith,

Sagnik

Anonymous said...

"Apex late. A late apex creates a shallower exit line. That means you run less wide out of the corner on the throttle. Which again reduces the chances of running off the road – if it were a one-way street, or running into the oncoming lane – far more likely and inherently dangerous."

wonderful blog must say , but can you please explain in a simpler manner what do you mean here by a shallow exit line ? couldn't kinda visualize it.