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Old 01-18-2004, 10:41 PM   #1
Gary J
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How To: Blind, Lefthand Turns, on narrow, non-centerline painted roads (Stage Rd.)

Based upon some recent events, it's become very apparent to me that there's a serious need for some added rider skills education on safe cornering techniques for blind, "LEFTHAND" turns .... on narrow, non-centerline divided, twisty backroads (like "Stage Rd", between Hwy 84 and Pescadero Rd., in the Santa Cruz mountains - as a prime example).

Based on hundreds of trips up/down Stage Rd. (and similar roads) over the years, I've been able to develop a "recipe for success" in maximizing the chances of avoiding oncoming traffic incidents, on roads of this character. I've listed the key steps to this riding technique recipe below, with the hope that posting it here might be of value for other riders, in keeping everyone having nothing but safe and fun riding on these more "goat-trail" flavored backroads. Hope the info is of interest to some of you, and of value for your riding.

Gary J

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

For navigating blind, "LEFTHAND" turns, on narrow, un-painted centeriline, twisty mountain roads (like Stage Rd.).

RIDING PROCEDURE:

1. During the last 50 feet or so of your approach to this type of turn, steer the bike into position, to be traveling in the rightmost one or two feet of pavement.

2. Upon reaching the entrance to the corner, continue straight into the turn, MUCH longer and deeper than seems "normal" for an ideal "go-fast" line for the corner.

3. Continue to follow this go-deep, "outside 1-2 foot" path, until such time as you can completely see through the turn, and can determine if there is any vehicle (car, truck, motorcycle, or even bicycle) approaching in the oncoming direction.

4. IF it's totally clear, (then and only then) make a solid countersteering input, to commit to the corner, and "square off" the turn.

5. End of turn ....... and another day of fun and safe riding!

---------------------------------------------------------------------

P.S. : As a footnote to this concept/technique for "LEFTHAND" turns, it should also be mentioned that the identical mentality of "Stay Tight to the RIGHT HALF Of The Road" should be strictly adhered to during the execution of all blind "RIGHTHAND" turns as well, on these tight, technical, non-painted centerline roads. The trick is to paint an imaginary "centerline", in your mind, on these roads ........ and merely commit to never cross it ..... anytime from start to finish of any of the "blind" turns (right or left).

Gary J

Last edited by Gary J; 01-20-2004 at 10:11 PM..
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Old 01-18-2004, 10:44 PM   #2
Dar25
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Sticky it!

Cutting the corner on a undivided road is as dangerous as passing a car right before the blind corner!

<------- This is stage road btw...

Cheers,
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Old 01-19-2004, 12:35 AM   #3
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Re: How To: Blind, Lefthand Turns, on narrow, non-centerline painted roads (Stage Rd

Thanks for the tips Gary.

Quote:
Originally posted by Gary J

4. IF it's totally clear, (then and only then) make a solid countersteering input, to commit to the corner, and "square off" the turn.
What do you do if it's NOT clear? I'm picturing myself riding straight off the side of the road.
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Old 01-19-2004, 06:00 AM   #4
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Re: Re: How To: Blind, Lefthand Turns, on narrow, non-centerline painted roads (Stage Rd

Quote:
Originally posted by iamic
Thanks for the tips Gary.


What do you do if it's NOT clear? I'm picturing myself riding straight off the side of the road.
Good question, as I guess a bit of clarification is due.

When you're staying to the rightmost 1-2 feet of your side of the road during the apporach/entry to the turn, you're not really going "straight" ...... you're merely following the exact radius of curvature of the outside edge of the road ..... keeping at that 1-2' distance from the paved shoulder.

If you do see an oncoming vehicle coming, and it's blown the turn and is running wide over on your side, you merely continue to maintain that outermost 1-2 foot (or steer even closer to the edge of the lane, if the oncoming vehicle is really crowding you) location, as you complete your turn. The speed that you should be using when approaching any of these blind, lefthand turns, should be set slow enough on the approach that you can easily make line corrections as required.

Hopefully that clarifies the idea of staying right, and going deep, before really committing to tightening up your line for completing the turning ..... without the impression of putting yourself in the position of running off the road.

Gary J
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Old 01-19-2004, 06:25 AM   #5
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Good stuff, Gary. Thanks!
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Old 01-22-2004, 07:19 PM   #6
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Re: How To: Blind, Lefthand Turns, on narrow, non-centerline painted roads (Stage Rd.)

Quote:
Originally posted by Gary J

P.S. : As a footnote to this concept/technique for "LEFTHAND" turns, it should also be mentioned that the identical mentality of "Stay Tight to the RIGHT HALF Of The Road" should be strictly adhered to during the execution of all blind "RIGHTHAND" turns as well, on these tight, technical, non-painted centerline roads. The trick is to paint an imaginary "centerline", in your mind, on these roads ........ and merely commit to never cross it ..... anytime from start to finish of any of the "blind" turns (right or left).

Gary J [/B]
If you do not commit to hugging the right shoulder in blind right turns while coast-bound on Gazos Creek you may suddenly come face-to-face with the tourist bus that is slowly making the turn and occupy plenty of space across the "imaginary centerline".

Only practicing riding very close to road edges generates confidence in doing same. I frequently ride the road-edge white line on Highway 1 trying not to look in close, but, rather, looking well ahead. And if traveling slowly, the same on Bonny Doon, 9, etc etc. Keeping a careful eye out for the many hazards that are pushed out there by passing vehicles, of course.
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Old 01-22-2004, 07:30 PM   #7
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Cool post.

This technique is dead on for a safe ride through the narrows. The less travelled roads can give a false sense of security that can be tragic. I like to pace myself behind the leader or really any rider that can be "read" as far as oncoming obsticles. There body posture and amplitude going through a corner just ahead gives many clues to what you will find..Not perfect, but pretty damn effective.

Of course regular riding buds give you the best feedback , every human will *twitch* on the site of something un-expected, then giving me the extra time to react properly. Remember to salute your bicycle friend on the way by

V-strom..good to see you post ..Hope all is going well. Good point made.

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Old 01-22-2004, 07:45 PM   #8
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that's like what was taught in "proficient motorcycling"
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Old 01-25-2004, 07:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by budman
Cool post.

I like to pace myself behind the leader or really any rider that can be "read" as far as oncoming obsticles. There body posture and amplitude going through a corner just ahead gives many clues to what you will find..Not perfect, but pretty damn effective.

Fair, but someone has to go first, you if you're riding solo or leading a group.

I'm always thinking 'what could be the biggest, worst positioned thing coming toward me around this corner?'

Subtract the size of that from the width of the road and what's left is mine
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Old 01-28-2004, 04:49 PM   #10
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Good stuff.

I have one of those freeze-frame images in my mind: I was coming around a leftie, committed just right of the center of *my* lane, and suddenly there's a giant SUV passing a bicycle (and giving him a "safe" berth) with half the monster cage and gigantic rear mirrors right on the line of *my* apex (that is, easily 2/3 into my half of the road).

Yikes, it took all my processing power not to straighten up, hit the brakes, or chop the throttle (or wet my pants). Made it through fine with a lean adjustment...but I can still see that image....scary.
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Old 02-03-2004, 12:19 AM   #11
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Part of the 1/31/04 Marin ride took us on just such a road. The whole time, I had Gary's advice repeating in my head - very effective at preventing turning my Duc into a hood ornament. The best moment was the Ford F-250 with hay bales sticking out what looked like two feet on each side. Thanks again for the tip Gary. And thanks to Tom (NoGall) for doing such an exellent job of leading and signaling to both riders and drivers when to slow down and use caution!
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Old 02-03-2004, 08:28 PM   #12
Gary J
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Quote:
Originally posted by iamic
Part of the 1/31/04 Marin ride took us on just such a road. The whole time, I had Gary's advice repeating in my head - very effective at preventing turning my Duc into a hood ornament. The best moment was the Ford F-250 with hay bales sticking out what looked like two feet on each side. Thanks again for the tip Gary. And thanks to Tom (NoGall) for doing such an exellent job of leading and signaling to both riders and drivers when to slow down and use caution!
Thanks for sharing the report on the benefits that were found on an actual backroad ride, using the late turn-in concept for those narrow, single lane roads.

It's always great to hear that passing along an idea that was learned the hard way ....... has potentially helped in preventing a bad experience for other riders. Keep up the good work in your riding Mike!

Cheers,

Gary J
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Old 02-12-2004, 07:59 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by thump
I'm always thinking 'what could be the biggest, worst positioned thing coming toward me around this corner?'
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Old 02-21-2004, 09:21 PM   #14
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That would be me. ;-)

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Old 03-10-2004, 02:35 PM   #15
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I've been meaning to ask who that is on the back of the bike in your avatar? Hope you've been well. It's 84 degrees here today already!
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