"The Pace" - a little long

Discussion in 'Rider Skills Help' started by GriffXX, Aug 29, 2005.

  1. GriffXX

    GriffXX Guest

    I don?t often visit here, and when I post here it is usually regarding a ?bad news story? regarding a fellow board member. However I do enjoy your forum, as we all have at least two similarities, our Blackbirds and our passion for riding.

    I am also a member of a few non-Blackbird forums. Many of them are filled with squids (not sure if you use the same term over here) and newbies. In every one of those forums, I always either place in or bump up a article that first appeared about 14 years ago in the US called ?The Pace?. While few Bird owners are newbies (and we strongly discourage it in the US), I believe ?The Pace? is one of the greatest articles ever written about safety and riding smart while in groups. Hopefully you are familiar with this article. With your indulgence, I put it here as I believe it should be required reading for all who share our passion, regardless of experience. And yes, it is just as relevant for those of you who ride on the wrong side of the road!

    Ride Safe!



    .... Racing involves speed, concentration and commitment; the results of a mistake are usually catastrophic because there's little room for error riding at 100 percent. Performance street riding is less intense and further from the absolute limit, but because circumstances are less controlled, mistakes and over aggressiveness can be equally catastrophic. Plenty of roadracers have sworn off street riding. "Too dangerous, too many variables and too easy to get carried away with too much speed," track specialists claim. Adrenaline-addled racers find themselves treating the street like the track, and not surprisingly, they get burned by the police, the laws of physics and the cold, harsh realities of an environment not groomed for ten-tenths riding.

    .... But as many of us know, a swift ride down a favorite road may be the finest way to spend a few free hours with a bike we love. And these few hours are best enjoyed riding at The Pace.

    .... A year after I joined Motorcyclist staff in 1984, Mitch Boehm was hired. Six months later, The Pace came into being, and we perfected it during the next few months of road testing and weekend fun rides. Now The Pace is part of my life - and a part of the Sunday morning riding group I frequent. The Pace is a street riding technique that not only keeps street riders alive, but thoroughly entertained as well.


    .... The Pace focuses on bike control and de-emphasizes outright speed. Full-throttle acceleration and last minute braking aren't part of the program, effectively eliminating the two most common single-bike accident scenarios in sport riding. Cornering momentum is the name of the game, stressing strong, forceful inputs at the handlebar to place the bike correctly at the entrance of the turn and get it flicked in with little wasted time and distance. Since the throttle wasn't slammed open at the exit of the last corner, the next corner doesn't require much, if any, braking. It isn't uncommon to ride with our group and not see a brake light flash all morning.

    .... If the brakes are required, the front lever gets squeezed smoothly, quickly and with a good deal of force to set entrance speed in minimum time. Running in on the brakes is tantamount to running off the road, a confession that you're pushing too hard and not getting your entrance speed set early enough because you stayed on the gas too long. Running The Pace decreases your reliance on the throttle and brakes, the two easiest controls to abuse, and hones your ability to judge cornering speed, which is the most thrilling aspect of performance street riding.


    .... Crossing the centerline at any time except during a passing maneuver is intolerable, another sign that you're pushing too hard to keep up. Even when you have a clean line of sight through a left-hand kink, stay to the right of the centerline. Staying on the right side of the centerline is much more challenging than simply straightening every slight corner, and when the whole group is committed to this intelligent practice, the temptation to cheat is eliminated through peer pressure and logic. Though street riding shouldn't be described in racing terms, you can think of your lane as the race track. Leaving your lane is tantamount to a crash.

    .... Exact bike control has you using every inch of your lane if the circumstances permit it. In corners with a clear line of sight and no oncoming traffic, enter at the far outside of the corner, turn the bike relatively late in the corner to get a late apex at the far inside of your lane and accelerate out, just brushing the far outside of your lane as your bike stands up. Steer your bike forcefully but smoothly to minimize the transition time. Don't hammer it down because the chassis will bobble slightly as it settles, possibly carrying you off line. Since you haven't charged in on the brakes, you can get the throttle on early, before the apex, which balances and settles your bike for the drive out.

    .... More often than not, circumstances do not permit the full use of your lane from yellow line to white line and back again. Blind corners, oncoming traffic and gravel on the road are a few criteria that dictate a more conservative approach, so leave yourself a three or four foot margin for error, especially at the left side of the lane where errant oncoming traffic could prove fatal. Simply narrow your entrance on a blind right-harder and move your apex into your lane three feet on blind left turns in order to stay free of unseen oncoming traffic hogging the centerline. Because you're running at The Pace and not flat out, your controlled entrances offer additional time to deal with unexpected gravel or other debris in your lane; the outside wheel track is usually the cleanest through a dirty corner since a car weights its outside tires most, scrubbing more dirt off the pavement in the process, so aim for that line.


    .... The street is not a racing environment, and it takes humility, self assurance and self control to keep it that way. The leader sets the pace and monitors his mirrors for signs of raggedness in the ranks that follow, such as tucking in on straights, crossing over the yellow line and hanging off the motorcycle in the corners, If the leader pulls away, he simply slows his straight way speed slightly but continues to enjoy the corners, thus closing the ranks but missing none of the fun. The small group of three or four riders I ride with is so harmonious that the pace is identical no matter who's leading. The lead shifts occasionally with a quick hand sign, but there's never a pass for the lead with an ego on the sleeve. Make no mistake, the riding is spirited and quick in the corners. Anyone with a right arm can hammer down the straights; it's proficiency in the corners that makes The Pace come alive.

    .... Following distances are relatively lengthy, with the straightaways taken at more moderate speeds, providing the perfect opportunity to adjust the gaps. Keeping a good distance serves several purposes, besides being safer. Rock chips are minimized, and the police or highway patrol won't suspect a race is in progress. The Pace's style of not hanging off in corners also reduces the appearance of pushing too hard and adds a degree of maturity and sensibility in the eyes of the public and the law. There's a definite challenge to cornering quickly while sitting sedately on your bike.

    .... New rider indoctrination takes some time because The Pace develops very high cornering speeds and newcomers want to hammer the throttle on the exits to make up for what they lose at the entrances. Our group slows drastically when a new rider joins the ranks because our technique of moderate straightaway speed and no brakes can suck the unaware into a corner too fast, creating the most common single bike accident. With a new rider learning The Pace behind you, tap your brake lightly well before the turn to alert him and make sure he understands there's no pressure to stay with the group.

    .... There's plenty of ongoing communication during The Pace. A foot off the peg indicates debris in the road, and all slowing or turning intentions are signaled in advance with the left hand and arm. Turn signals are used for direction changes and passing, with a wave of the left hand to thank the cars that move right and make it easy for motorcyclists to get past. Since you don't have a death grip on the handlebar, your left hand is also free to wave to oncoming riders, a fading courtesy that we'd like to see return. If you're getting the idea The Pace is a relaxing, noncompetitive way to ride with a group, you are right.


    .... I'd rather spend a Sunday in the mountains riding at The Pace than a Sunday at the racetrack, it's that enjoyable. Countersteering is the name of the game; smooth, forceful steering input at the handlebar relayed to the tires' contact patches through a rigid sport bike frame. Riding at The Pace is certainly what bike manufacturers had in mind when sport bikes evolved to the street.

    .... But the machine isn't the most important aspect of running The Pace because you can do it on anything capable of getting through a corner. Attitude is The Pace's most important aspect: realizing the friend ahead of you isn't a competitor, respecting his right to lead the group occasionally and giving him credit for his riding skills. You must have the maturity to limit your straightaway speeds to allow the group to stay in touch and the sense to realize that racetrack tactics such as late braking and full throttle runs to redline will alienate the public and police and possibly introduce you to the unforgiving laws of gravity. When the group arrives at the destination after running The Pace, no one feels outgunned or is left with the feeling he must prove himself on the return run. If you've got some thing to prove, get on a racetrack.

    .... The racetrack measures your speed with a stop watch and direct competition, welcoming your aggression and gritty resolve to be the best. Performance street riding's only yardstick is the amount of enjoyment gained, not lap times, finishing position or competitors beaten. The differences are huge but not always remembered by riders who haven't discovered The Pace's cornering pureness and group involvement. Hammer on the racetrack. Pace yourself on the street.

    ? Copyright MOTORCYCLIST Magazine
    November 1991 issue
  2. Wolfie

    Wolfie Is a lunp Read Only

    dont have squids, they are called wankers, chavs, feckers, dead bastids, arseholes to name but a few.

    The pace is good have had a copy on my hard drive for the last few years
  3. Allan

    Allan Registered User Read Only

    The Pace

    Haveing read the above

    Interpret it as simply ride sensibly, mostly within the speed limit and keep your distance.

    But, why say what I?ve said in a short sentence when 10,000 words will do?.

    However, there?s quite a bit in there I don?t agree with. For instance, not straightening the bends out. If you can see through a series of bends and there?s nothing coming the other way, why the hell ride all the bends. Straightening them out keeps the bike more upright thus improving safety by cutting out the risk of hitting a gravel patch or anything else that may have off.

    If I want to? flip flop? left and right, then I?ll find my favourite section of road and do it. But on a run out, iron the corners out for stability and safety.

    But hey, that?s just my opinion and opinions are like arseholes, everyone has one!!

  4. ianrobbo1

    ianrobbo1 good looking AND modest Club Sponsor

    once again were talking "Hardley Movingson" here,!! :eek:

    good read though!! :bow:
  5. derek kelly

    derek kelly The Deli lama Club Sponsor

    My Father in law doesn't he's got a Colostomy.
  6. Wolfie

    Wolfie Is a lunp Read Only

  7. ianrobbo1

    ianrobbo1 good looking AND modest Club Sponsor

    I've ridden with quite a lot of other bird riders, and about the only real couple of comments I can make is that LOTS don't use their mirrors often enough, and many don't seem to understand that to ride in a "staggered" formation increases sight line and gives extra room for braking, yes I know I'm not perfect and "may" have a few faults, :eek: but my comments were meant in a constructive way :dunno:

    Group riding is VERY different to "riding for oneself" and many seem to be unaware of that fact, I believe Wilf has said in the past that he wont ride in a bird ride out, and to be honest I cant remember one he has ridden in, though I stand to be corrected!! :dunno:
  8. DEG5Y

    DEG5Y Been there, and had one Club Sponsor

    During my bike safe training, I was advised to use the other side of the road, when safe to do so, to increase or improve my view of what lies ahead.
  9. Wolfie

    Wolfie Is a lunp Read Only

    two from thetford. to sunny hunny and well next to the sea.

    and yes never again thank you. but each to their own, but i am happy that those that do do, it makes them happy and i can get some more sleep.

    I aint no riding god by a long long shot and yes we make mistakes we all do, but i aint being damaged by somebody elses mistakes, as you have said staggered formation looking ahead.

    But to go even further i am no longer part of the two local bike clubs because of ride out rules and the standard of people turning up, the rules were bent to suit people who take 3 hrs to do 60 miles on the A roads to southend for fucks sake.

    if people want to overtake at junctions wether they think it is safe to do so or not that is down to them, but i want no part of the clearing up, each to his own and all take but it aint for me.
  10. Wolfie

    Wolfie Is a lunp Read Only

    see i have a theory about that as well, if somebody needs to use the other side of the road to see what is ahead , they are travelling too fast.

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