by Jerry Palladino
Let's say you're in a parking lot on bike night cruising down the lanes
looking for a spot to pull into. You find a spot on the right between a
couple of other bikes and you make the 90 degree turn into the space.
The problem is, as you put your feet down when you come to a stop, your
handlebars are turned and you have to use the front brake. If you
squeeze that front brake instead of grabbing it or snatching it, you
won't have a problem. BUT, if you pull that brake in too quickly, you're
going down. Not only will you damage your bike, but you'll hit the bike
on your right, plus, your body will be caught between the two bikes and
you could be hurt and suffer severe embarrassment.
How can you avoid this situation, you must be asking by now? Well, there
are two things you can do. The first and most common technique used by
unskilled riders the world over, is to stop while the bike is at a 90
degree angle to the parking spot and duck walk the bike into the space.
If you don't mind looking like an unskilled amateur rider, this
technique works just fine.
But, if you would rather ride like a PRO and not have to backup and go
forward several times to get your bike aligned in the space, this is the
technique you should use. It's called the DIP.
Let me explain why this works so well. The further you lean a bike, the
tighter the turn you can make. The rear tire tracks inside of the front
tire with these two facts in mind, this is what you should do. If you
want to turn right, first turn the handlebars to the left, let the bike
lean to the left, then turn the bars to the right, let the bike lean to
the right, straighten up the bike, and your in the parking space
perfectly straight without duck walking or dragging your feet like some
kind of sissy. Using this procedure, when you have to stop in the
parking space, you will be able to use the front brake as you put your
feet down because your handlebars will be pointed straight ahead. The
dip will also help when you're turning right or left from a stop. To
practice the dip, get up to 5 mph, stay in the friction zone, put a
little pressure on the rear brake and turn your handlebars as far to the
left and to the right as you can.
You must let the bike lean from left to right. With a little practice,
you should be able to scrape the boards as you dip the bike side to
side. When you can touch those boards down, you've mastered the dip.
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More articles by MOTORMAN:
Back to Basics Series:
A "Motorman" is the term used in police circles to identify a motorcycle
cop, or any law enforcement officer assigned to the motorcycle division.
becoming a Motor Officer, Jerry rode for enjoyment for about 25
years. Then one day, he saw a 5 minute segment on a television show
which depicted motorcycle officers training on their Harley police
bikes. The way these officers could maneuver these full size motorcycles
around like a child's toy, made it appear as if they were defying
gravity. At that moment, he knew that he had a lot to learn about riding
a motorcycle. Shortly afterwards, the agency he worked for started a
motorcycle unit. he was sent for training to Tallahassee with the
highway patrol. The training consisted of 120 hours of intensive
motorcycle training, focusing mainly on low speed handling. Jerry says,
"When I finished this training, for the first time I really knew how to
ride a motorcycle."