I spent the weekend learning about “the line of suck”, developing motorcycle auto-pilot and just how much control and confidence is required to do a figure-8 with The Roadcraft Academy. If you’ve ever felt a pang of anxiety approaching a tight curve, or your heart pounding from a car cutting you off — then you’re pretty much every rider out there, and you’ll certainly get a lot from this course.
These guys are incredibly passionate about motorbiking and more so about technique. My instructors Steve and Graeme are very skilled riders who were able to begin to instill the kinds of good riding habits I hope to have as I grow. More importantly they were able to coach me along in confidence building exercises that helped to give me a better sense of my bikes capabilities.
Our group was small, only eight of us, and it was mostly guys who had been riding for 20+ years. They were on big cruisers while I seemed to scoot around on my nimble GS. It was quite a site to see a 900lb Harley Electra Glide swoop around the obstacles and do emergency braking manoeuvres so gracefully. But what we all had in common was the need to refine subtle skills that turn you into a great rider.
There was one evening in the classroom, and the rest was on the bike. Each day a solid 5hrs of practice split between slow speed control and higher speed control. It was a great format, cause trust me, your clutch hand sure get’s sore! We were practicing in a giant lot and with a smaller class I got plenty of 1 on 1 feedback from the instructors.
Looking, I learned, is not enough. You have to focus. The line of suck is the trap you fall into when you don’t slow down enough as you approach a curve or turn. Developing your auto-pilot is incessant practice for your bodies muscle memory, so next time someone pulls in front of you, you not only stop, you can get the hell out of the way if the guy behind you doesn’t.
And when in doubt, ride it out!