Comparing Motorcycling to Golfing
Riding a motorcycle has many moving parts. Riders have varying abilities and as a result, riding with some people can be dangerous or boring. Dangerous because of peer pressure and the feeling that you need to keep up or boring if the other person has less experience and ability. A good comparison is comparing motorcycling to golfing.
If you are a golfer and you want to play a round of golf with a stranger, you will know how good they are from asking one simple question, “What is your handicap?” but that’s not the case for riding a motorcycle.
In golf there is a handicap system, that way you know how well you play compared to someone else. But it also creates a level playing field. In motorcycling this isn’t the case, they have either passed their test or they haven’t!
How it works
This is how it works, with golfers the lower the handicap – the better the player. In motorcycling, if they have a license, they can ride (supposedly).
If you played golf with a handicap of 5 then you are deemed to be a very competent player. Whereas if you have a handicap of 28 you need a lot more shots per round. It could be a pretty long day for the better player as they wait around for the player who needs 23 more shots during the game.
If this was a day out on the bike, the better rider would be hanging around waiting for the less skilled rider at the end of every road. Compare a rider with years of experience to a newbie who has just passed their test, the better rider would be waiting everywhere and the new rider would be trying to play catch-up with a possibility of running into trouble.
Skill not speed
So in motorcycling, it would be pretty good to know how well someone rode before you went out for a ride with them. The benchmark would be on skill, not on speed.
You just don’t know how good you are compared to the person you are going to ride with, especially if you don’t know them and have never ridden with them before.
Golf v’s Riding a motorbike
The biggest problem is, riders compare themselves to each other based on how fast they ride or how quickly they can go. There is far too much risk involved with riding quickly and getting from A to B as fast as you can.
The way to ride properly is to ride within your own ability so that you are comfortable and to the conditions of the road. This is because nobody wants to get into any trouble or have an accident, every ride changes and so should your awareness and planning.
In golfing terms, you could say that this is compared to how far someone can whack the ball from the tee. In other words, the one who hits the ball the farthest is the better golfer. Well, that statement is just wrong… it’s nonsense!
In golf, the better player shows how good they are using course management.
In riding terms this is how you deal with hazards, it’s the structured planning that you use consistently. If you ride well then you are more likely to stay out of harm’s way and out of trouble.
Course management in golf means staying on the grass and not ending up in the bushes, water or rough.
In riding terms it means Keep it on the Black Stuff, stay on the tarmac and not off the road, in the gravel or bushes and not into other vehicles!
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It should never end in tears
In fact, what he’s done is perfected all his bad habits by doing the same thing badly over and over again until it is ingrained into his driving. These bad habits are difficult to break and if you told him he was an incompetent driver, he would be unhappy and defensive.
That’s because his perception is that he’s been driving a long time and therefore is a good driver and knows what he’s doing!
If you want to be the best rider you can be, you must take further training and education.
Tiger Woods at the top of his game still had training lessons, even as a world champion. You have probably never heard of his trainer’s name because they never achieved the dizzy heights Tiger did, but they know how to perfect his swing and performance.
That’s where a good motorcycle trainer comes into their own. They know what to look for and what to change to get the best riding out of you. If you’ve never taken any further training, now is the time to start thinking about it.
Advanced riding is a way of getting from A to B without any issues, sometimes quickly and sometimes slowly. But the overriding common denominator is getting there safely with a perfect ride. How can you teach yourself skills you don’t even know about?
Final thought. When is your next training day to become a better rider?
Ride Safe and Keep It On The Black Stuff