We Are All Beginners

A couple days ago I made a post along the lines of "if you're fast this isn't for you" (and of course got a lot of dissenting opinions heh). This time, I'm going to propose a new idea. We are all beginners. 

Of course, the torrent of "I've been riding/racing/stunting/whatever for N years before you were born" comments will flood. But rather than pile on the circle-jerk, consider the following quote from Shunryu Suzuki: "in the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's mind there are few." Or think about the first rule of Dunning Kruger club... (The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don't know you're a member of the Dunning-Kruger club). 

Now what I really mean when I say "we are all beginners" is that every time we get on a bike, we are going to learn something. Whether it's a new bizarre way for cars around us to behave, or an extra 0.05 degrees of lean angle. Or even negative learning or learning something that doesn't work (for example discovering that using the front brake on wet leaves does not help traction or staying vertical). The trick is finding that learning experience, and making something useful of it. Look for the educational opportunity, and find a way to include that somehow in your skillset. 

Someone told me a story a while ago about how on a ride with tons of tarsnakes they were getting frustrated by the constant wiggles. But instead of deciding that this road was horrible and being mad about it, they learned that by blipping the throttle over the tar patches, they'd get a predictable little 2 inch drift which would then self-stabilize. After a few miles of this, you can bet they had a big smile on their face rather than cursing the horrible pavement. And probably learned something. 

We are also all going to be beginners at something directly adjacent to what we do. Ride street? You're probably going to find yourself a bit challenged on the track. Ride track? You might find dirt or trials to be very different from everything you know about bikes. Ride all of that? Try stunting or motorcycle-rodeo or gymkhana or whatever other adjacent skill. Or try doing the same skills on a different bike (grab a cruiser and drag knee?). As you cross-train on different disciplines you'll find that you get better at your original thing. There's a reason all the motogp guys are playing with motocross or flat track. It's cause it gives them something that you can't easily practice on a gp bike (controlled sliding).

Not all lessons or skills are useful, but you will probably be able to find which ones to internalize and which to discard. I for one still don't see a need for slow tight uturns (yes I can do them fine for demos or practice, but in the real world I'm going to choose deploying my inside foot 100% of the time because what's the point?) The important thing is that you recognize that lessons exist everywhere and that you can learn something on every ride. 

Older Post Newer Post