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I seem to be developing an unhealthy and irrational fear that's causing me to do things I shouldn't be doing. A couple of times this year I went heavy on the rear brake and fishtailed. I understand what happened but the thought creeped into my feeble mind that my rear tire is slippery. It's not, it has about 800 miles on it and I check pressure frequently. With my new found paranoia I'm putting my brakes on or slowing down in turns. Not good.
 

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In the MSF course the instructor recommended we practice two things everytime we ride.

One is to pick a spot in the road and swerve around it - like a manhole cover, to get our avoidance skills to become muscle memory.

The other is to stop harder than you need to when there is no one behind you. Not that you have to bring the tires to the edge of a skid, just be more aggressive than you need to. Again: when there is no one behind you.

I do this ever day that I ride, and still sometimes I lock up the rear tire and it surprises me.

If you are feeling uncomfortable in curves, then slow down a bit more and have a bit more fun powering out of the end of the curve. Also practice pulling the curve in tighter in your lane, or letting it go a bit wider when you are halfway thru the curve, by pushing the grips to move the bike left and right in your lane. Unless the roads are wet with fresh rain you will not slide out your tires on a cruiser bike, the pegs will hit first, then the frame - so you will have plenty of warning that you are leaning too far.

Practicing your riding skills gives you confidence in your ability to handle anything the road throws at you, and the increased confidence makes the ride more enjoyable.
 

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I know of what you speak and my suggestion is to head for a large empty parking lot with no one around and start throwing that bike around. Build up speed as confidence increases and get the pegs scraping. You'll be back up to speed in no time.
 

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I would check the brake pads for glazing. Brake pads will glaze over at times and affect braking effectivity. When brakes get glazed over they become "grabby". Brakes normally have a progressive feel when applied and glazed brakes will have a more grab feel to them. A simple light sanding of brake pads will knock the glazing off and should work much smoother if this is your issue. Good luck and keep us posted.
 

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regarding brakes, in another thread I forget who recommended wiping down your rotors with acetone. I did this over the weekend and after 5 years the screech in my front brake is finally gone!

The rotors looked clean when I started, but a lot of black stuff came off with the acetone. Just be careful, dont get it on your tires or your paint.

I suppose it might be good to pull the caliper off and wipe down the pads with the stuff too.
 

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I also like to head to a large parking lot and practice some of the basics I learned in my MSF course. With school being out, there’s several lots available. I constantly try to work on my u-turns and gain confidence. With living in a rural area, there’s lots of little critters that like to run out in front of you from either side of the shoulder of the road.


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PRACTICE! That is the way to remove those "bad brain" moments. Like KCW and other have said, do one action while riding to commit it to muscle memory.

One thing I do when I ride is tell myself " commands." EX: When I go into turns and corners at speed, I say ... "Look, push, lean." Look thru the turn. Push forward on the hand grip. Lean into the turn. AND (this is where i am glad I have many voices in my head) I say ... You may scrape and it is OK. Don't freak!

Also, as mentioned in another thread. Always have an escape plan or two ready.


One of the main reason I find riding so fun is ... It allows my brain to focus on figuring out 2 tasks at the same time. Pick the best one. Try to execute that one as best as I can, but be ready at a moments notice to call an audible.
 

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I agree with all of the above.. I have gone from nervous about avoiding things or braking in a curve to making it a game.. A safe game.. While going down the road I like to flick the bike around man hole covers. (Also if you do this if one is open you don't hit it but that is another story). Even as I just go down the road I will flick the bike around marks in the road or patches. If there are a lot of man hole covers I slalom them. As for the braking an empty parking lot is your friend. That way there is a lot less of a chance a car slipped in behind you when practicing the panic stops. As for braking in a curve, if you feel you are coming into the curve too fast do not freak.. you got this.. Make sure to look through the curve, drag the back brake some and lower your throttle to slow down. Do not touch the front unless you are upright. Then once in the apex of the curve apply power and let off the brake. Sail through it dragging a peg and enjoy the looks of the cages behind you as you look like a champ scraping the peg and throwin some sparks at them.
 

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When you are riding on mostly straight roads and come up on a sweeping curve, doing the 'outside-inside-outside' approach and exit has the added benefit that as you are still on the straight part of the road you are moving over in your lane to start the curve on the outside of your lane.

It acts like an easement into the curve, so you are not going straight straight straight straight TURN!

Its all one big smooth sweeping motion...
 
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