by AYDIN Ural

A second note from Aydin and a deep one; patience is a virtue rarely praised in these fast and selfish times: in family, in business, in friendship and in motorcycling. As humility, patience is probably an out-of-fashion requirement. In the last blog of Aydin (COURAGEOUS BRAVERY or BRAVE COURAGE?) we thought about self-awareness now we have to add a new dimension: situational awareness. Like the old saying: before taking action, take a cup of tea. It helps thinking, while is legal.

I was used to having difficulty understanding the British motorbike trainer’s suggestion: “When passing through a town or when stuck behind a truck with no overtaking possibility, a rider should show patience – that is one of the virtues of a good rider”.

Being a motorbike rider and being patient? Those two didn’t match in my brain. I was always impatient and loved it – it felt like being alive.

After a couple of decades, recently I thought about that again, suddenly – while riding very patiently thru a town in Germany. I got surprised by how calm I was, making just 50 km/h in deserted roads at noon on a weekday.

There were reasons for that, I reckoned.

No, it wasn’t the fear of the police – I’ve never seen police nor police traps with radars on these roads.

No, it wasn’t the fear of speed cameras (that would send you a ticket even if you’d drive at 53 km/h) either, I knew their locations by then.

Maybe it was the knowledge coming with the maturity that there may be a kid playing in his/her home’s garden and suddenly (for any reason) runs across the street from between the cars parked alongside the road, getting visible only at the very last moment.

That kind of maturity comes with experience in life but having two grandchildren certainly helps keep that in mind. Sometimes I even ride at 30 km/h along some road segments although the legal limit is 50, just deciding to do so based on the surroundings and my own risk assessment not to harm or even scare anyone.

But it is not only that.

Everyone else has recourse to the law here, not because they’re idiots, because they have respect for others, because they know how to live in a civilized way, as if they had made the laws themselves (and in a way, this is the case). So you adapt, and after a while, internalize, as I do my own risk assessment for others.

But yet there’s another thing – maybe the most important reason.

I know that after passing through that town (and it will just be a minute or two), I will ride on a beautiful winding road that climbs a mountain, with perfect asphalt and lovely trees or agricultural fields on both sides, with low traffic, so I will satisfy myself using my riding abilities (not to the absolute limits, always leaving a safety margin, but close) to the limits.

But it’s not only that either, I reckoned later.

You don’t have to be in Germany to find road segments that would really make you enjoy riding to the fullest. Just as it’s not your bike (about how powerful or how capable it is), it’s not the roads either – it’s you-

If you can develop yourself in every ride, with every opportunity, then you are a good rider who would learn from and enjoy any situation, on any road in any country. I now realize that I wasn’t half as good a rider as I’m today in those days when I wasn’t patient. And I wasn’t patient because I knew I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the next opportunity as I didn’t even know what opportunity really was.

That’s exactly why I wasn’t comfortable with being patient. I remember some inexperienced riders trying to open their throttles at every straight road segment even when there’s a tight corner in few meters; just to brake abruptly to be able to turn that corner barely at 50 km/h with difficulty, sweating heavily, while an experienced rider would simply coast along comfortably at a constant speed of 70 km/h, enjoying the corners, enjoying the road in general and not getting impatient to go at a higher speed during the short straights as it wouldn’t pose as an opportunity to them, yet knowing they’ll certainly have opportunities like those corners and they’ll make the best use of them – just as anticipating hazards well in time, hence not getting tense if they materialize.

So being patient is actually a very determining virtue of a good rider indeed.

As a matter of fact, this is the case for any proficiency: consider a salesman, or a manager, or any person: the less competent he/she is, the more aggressive and hence the more impatient he/she will get in any slightly critical situation. And the more competent he/she is, s/he will act in a calmer manner in any situation, will exude confidence, calming the other parties as well. This is… like a rule. And as motorbiking is the spiller of character, you’ll first see it most obviously in riding.

One thought on “THE PATIENT BIKER”
  1. since I am not only a passionate rider but also a diving instructor let me add two lines from teaching diving:
    “If in doubt: don’t do it”
    “when you feel panic coming: stop-breath-think- act”
    feel free to apply…..

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