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Riding Like A Girl Man Up

Yes, it is correct! I told you to “man up: ride like a girl,” and now I’ll give you some advice on how to improve as a rider.

To begin with, if you’re a male reading this and you’re thinking, “There’s no way in hell that riding like a girl can make me a better rider,” please stop reading. Simply take off with your stone wheel (the original Tubliss device) and club. You should certainly NOT read this article. But if you’re reading this and thinking, “Hmm, I wonder what she has to say,” then continue reading.

I’ve been riding and racing motorbikes for over forty years, and although I can generally accomplish what the males do, I often have to do things a different way. The builds of men and women vary, as does our wiring. To be clear, there is always an exception to every generalization. Nevertheless, ladies play to their grace and balance, while males often play to their physical might. The world’s top riders, however, combine both power and skill. Here are some pointers for “riding like a girl,” then.

First tip: It’s all about flow and smoothness. I’m not sure how many times I’ve seen men get on a bike and wind out the gears by slamming on the throttle as hard as quickly as they can. Traction and line selection usually get little consideration. Their guiding principle is to “grip it and rip it.” They are fishtailing through a tough area when the rear tire comes away, sending stones and dirt flying in all directions. Sort of enjoyable, really, to overtake them with my bike tracking silky smooth on a beautiful line with three quarter throttle, one gear up.

Selecting the right lines is essential. No matter how skilled and powerful you are, you will burn out if you continually choose poor paths.

“Smooth” is the first sentence I would choose. I search for straight if I can’t find smooth. Bonus points for a straight, smooth line. Occasionally I can locate a great long line that goes through the whole thing. In other cases, you have to connect the disparate lines.

I consider the hurdles if there are no clear-cut options. Moving, unstable barriers are more difficult to overcome than stationary ones. Because of this, I often prefer to ride over a bigger embedded rock rather than a scattering of smaller loose rocks. Stable traction is the name of the game. Anything may go horribly wrong once one of the wheels comes off, particularly the front wheel. Yes, nothing compares to the thrill of a well-executed power slide, but it does call for a high degree of ability and may go horribly wrong at times.

To be clear, there are situations in which taking the smooth, straight path entails leaping or floating over the barrier. Seeking for little kickers to jump off of may assist riders in cleaning a technical part in a really cool and fashionable manner. In other cases, it’s the only option!

Tip #2: Momentum is subordinated to technical expertise. The motorbikes of today are amazing vehicles. It seems like there is infinite power delivery and excellent suspension. We often get engrossed in the rush of moving quickly and enjoying ourselves. We barrel over barriers until we reach the narrow, jagged rock ledge at the top of the sandy bend, and then—bam!—we fall. Riding with momentum, in actuality, causes us to overestimate our abilities.

Learning true technical proficiency takes time. To really possess technical talent, one must be able to operate every part of the motorbike, including raising the front wheel, maintaining balance, releasing the clutch, controlling the throttle subtly, and coordinating the clutch, brake, and throttle to make the bike squat and stick. These are just a few of these abilities.

I had the privilege of riding alongside Nicole Bradford, an X-Games participant and past ISDE Champion. Her ride was elegance in action as you watched it. She rode with the grace, power, and balance like a ballet dancer in miniature. During our midday meal, we discussed her triumph in racing against men. In enduro competitions, it was very common for her to overtake male opponents on the second and third circuits. Why? because she was fluid, reliable, and error-free thanks to her technical abilities. Her lap timings remained constant. While a large number of the guys rode recklessly, crashing over barriers and bouncing off trees. Nicole passed a lot of people quickly and smoothly at the conclusion of the race, particularly as exhaustion set in.

For my part, I like studying and the abundance of available materials. Go locate an expert to teach you the necessary skills if you lack any of them. Those ER ambulance rides cost a lot more money than the money you put in yourself.

While we’re talking about it, don’t assume that your friend understands what he’s doing simply because he claims to. My business partner told me about her experience instructing a mixed-gender professional class. Seventy percent of the males in the group raised their hands when asked whether they thought they were experts on the subject of breastfeeding. Several males said that their spouses had nursed their children when questioned about their areas of competence. One man claimed that his experience as a breastfeedee qualified him as an expert.

How many ladies raised their hands, do you think? Of the ladies present, thirty percent acknowledged that they were specialists at nursing. When questioned why she had not raised her hand, one mother said, “I’ve only breastfed one child.” I would need to read more material before I could call myself an authority.

I’ll let you figure out the story’s lesson on your own. But like I said, it’s a wise investment to locate a true professional to assist you!

Third piece of advice: Ride sensibly. I laughed out this past autumn when hearing a tale of a man who rode a GS1200 like a single track dirt bike. The man was around 6’3″ and weighed over 200 pounds. The news that this rider had damaged so many frames that BMW no longer guaranteed them made us all giggle. Let’s be honest here: I will never be able to bike like that man! However, do I really want to?

Can I really afford to wreck my bike if I’m riding my adventure bike thousands of miles away from home or taking on technical single track deep in the woods? Naturally, we’re equipped to handle the odd flat tire and little glitch. Can I really afford to shatter my frame, though? Ruin the wheels? Break my radiator? No matter how skilled you are as a rider, you won’t go very far if you abuse the bike and your body to the point of failure.

My dirt bike talents came in handy when I raced downhill mountain bikes for a few years after retiring from motocross racing. I often placed in the top three in the pro and expert classes. There were, to be honest, quicker bikers. The fact that I completed every race and was quick and reliable made a difference. I witnessed a number of ugly, twisted wheels and saw bloodied cyclists transported off the race on stretchers. That’s how I rode back then, too: gentle, fluid, and smooth.

Therefore, you may want to think about loosening up and riding softer the next time you’re riding like you have a personal vendetta to shatter the face of every rock, pound the shit out of logs, and bottom your shocks as hard as you can. Your body and bike will appreciate it. You could be shocked to see that you’re moving more quickly as well.

Tip #4: Use common sense. We ladies are clearly more intelligent than you guys! This tale was given by Kacey Smith, who runs a long-running dirt bike guide company and has published three books on riding in Baja, Mexico.

“I was there at the Baja 1000 pre-run in San Ignacio, Baja. At the famed off-road destination in Baja, Ricardo’s Hotel, two men were replacing the tread on their tires. The novice was being shown by the head honcho how to replace the front tread. The hard-bitten cautious. I approached the inexperienced player and said, “You want to know how to do it the girl way?” after seeing her struggle for a long and start to bleed. “Hell yeah,” he said.

“Undo the tread from one side of the rim with the tire iron, much as you would when replacing a tube. Next, turn the tire over and remove the tread from that side’s rim in the same manner. As soon as you stand the tire up, the rim slightly dips into the bottom of the tire since both sides are now off the rim. And just like that! Simply grab the top of the rim and pull it away from the tire’s center while simultaneously applying pressure to the tread in the other direction. It’s not on. Reattaching it follows standard procedure (removing it requires many steps). I think the feminine technique is the most effective; there’s no pain involved and just reward. We’re simply intelligent!

Perhaps it would be a good idea to pause and think about if there is a simpler, more intelligent approach to do the task at hand the next time you’re having trouble with it. You could even see one of us brainiacs if you look around. If you ask politely, we could even assist!

I could go on forever about additional advice on Man Up: Ride Like a Girl, of course. However, you can only take in so much goodness at once, much like a sponge. I have a question for you if you’re one of those men who reads the whole thing without following the directions and believes that “riding like a girl can’t possibly make me a better rider”: As the one who was nursed, are you the “expert”?

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