Striving for progress over perfection
Hi, I'm Avalon and I'm a bikeaholic.
I've been racing motorcycles for almost 20 years now and have six motorcycles on my side of the garage. I don't really share my toys and indulge in them every weekend. It's fair to say I have quite the addiction.
Despite having won two European Championships and racing in the world championship, I have another confession to make: I only have my restricted motorcycle license. Straight off the bat, I'm going to tell you that I don't know everything about riding motorcycles and you probably don't either. And we can be OK with that. Instead, let's talk about confidence and striving for progress over perfection when riding your motorcycle.
Knowing your strengths and weaknesses is a great place to start. Although I've been riding motorcycles for well over 20 years, I'm aware that tight turns and riding on gravel are definitely not my forte. I lack confidence in these areas. I know many people in my position would be embarrassed to admit that but, unless you are Valentino Rossi, I'd struggle to believe you don't have a single weakness. In fact, I'm pretty sure even Valentino sucks at looking in his mirrors often enough (and a few other things on track this year, but that's a story for another day!). An obvious way to establish your strengths and weaknesses is to undertake some rider training, like a Ride Forever course.
Qualified trainers are able to provide new riders with some basic skills to practise and master. It's important for these new riders to build confidence and establish some strengths early on in their riding career. Throttle control, trail braking and riding strategically are some of my strengths and these give me confidence to race motorcycles and also ride with assurance on the roads.
In my experience, females and young riders often struggle with having enough confidence to ride to the best of their ability, making it even more important to highlight their potential strengths and run with them. Also, I must confess that being good at something does make it more fun, right?! So, knowing your strengths up your sleeve is important in that regard too.
More experienced riders may find that some of the exercises in the training are easier, opposed to other parts being more difficult, again leaving them with some obvious points to work on. Even if you think you breezed through the day as the best rider on the course, being humble enough to identify areas that could still be improved may just save your life one day.
Having too much confidence can be equally as debilitating as not enough. Motorcycles, roads and driver behaviour is forever evolving and therefore your riding should be too. It's pretty obvious when someone thinks they are better than they actually are. In fact, it can be scary watching them riding outside of their ability without even knowing it! A change in attitude for these riders is critical in making Aotearoa's roads safer for everyone.
In conclusion, knowing your strengths gives you confidence and knowing your weaknesses gives you something to work on. Some professional training can go a long way in building confidence along with some more skills, whether you think you really need it or not.
Now that I've publicly admitted my lack of ability on tight turns, I better go practise them before sitting my full license test later this month. Then, I will be able to ride bikes like the ZX6R I currently race, on the road as well. I can't wait!