Slow riding

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I practiced slow riding for a while before getting on the busy NYC streets. The reason is, the better you are at riding slow, the more control you have over your bike. This is basically what I did and a suggestion on how to practice riding slow…

First, your bike must have a wet clutch. You will want to be in the friction zone while practicing slow. (That’s the zone where you can “ride the clutch,” which you can’t do in a car. Oil makes the clutch “wet” and makes it possible to keep gears moving while the entire bike goes slow, like less than 10 mph.)

On a paved, flat surface, work on starting slow in the friction zone, hand always on the clutch, and get to about 5-8mph. Then come to a complete stop before putting your feet down. Practice stopping completely before putting a foot down. The more comfortable you are with this, the easier it will be to make slow turns.

Once you feel comfortable with having your feet off the ground as long as humanly possible, go back in motion and practice making U-turns by counterbalancing. Start with a road width of about 20-25 feet. At a steady, slow pace, look at the spot where you want to end your turn, turn your wheel, keeping in motion. Avoid using the brakes, pressing the clutch halfway, engaging the gears carefully. Move your shoulders in the opposite direction of your turn to counterbalance. The slower the turn, the more counterbalance you will need. If you have to, put weight on your foot pegs and move your entire torso opposite the turn.

If you feel you are going too fast, squeeze in the clutch to slow down. Try not to use your front brakes. You may use your rear brake to help keep a steady pace if your clutch is sensitive.

As you get better at making the U-turn (turning left and right), decrease the radius of your turn.

Hint: as long as your bike is in motion at slow speeds, you can counterbalance it. You should only need to put your foot down at complete rest.

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