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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Perfect conditions here in Dallas. Cloudy and about 65 degrees, a little breeze was blowing to help keep the motor cooler . . . . and the 48 traffic cones that I ordered off eBay arrived yesterday. This afternoon I went out to practice in the South Garland parking lot at 3:30 PM and didn't come home til almost 7PM. The school is only 4 or 5 minutes from my house; really convenient.

First, I set up 13 cones at 12' intervals and practiced single-line cone-weaving. The goal for today was to do the exercise without touching the brake at all. At first, I had to bail out and miss a few weaves. But I was on a mission. Both feet flat on the floorboards, I wove through the cones backwards and forwards. After about an hour of weaving, it felt pretty comfortable. Occasionally, I'd screw up and bail-out, but better than 95% of my runs were totally successful. It's fun to feel the motor squat back and forth, keeping the speed in check. I have to admit, though, my throttle control needs work. I tended to oscillate between 1,000 and almost 2,000 rpms occasionally. I'd like to keep it around 1,200 as Harris recommends.

The cool thing was that I'd make my last cone weave of each string into an 18'-diameter circle, all without touching the brakes. (right circle at one end and left circle at the other) Circled right into the line of cones again and began the reverse run, never touching the brake. What was so difficult at first became much easier with practice. (Although I'm sure it'll take a good warm-up tomorrow to get back into the groove).

Eventually, I got tired of simple 12' cone weaving, I went to Lesson #4 in Harris's book. I set up the four lines of cones with the 0', 5', 17, 22' spacing. I had 24 cones with me so that allowed 12 gates.

THIRTY FEET between each set of cones? That seems ridiculously wide. This is going to be a snap (I thought).

First, I allowed each loop be as long and wide as my comfort level would allow, rounding the cones outside the gates. Again, I really wanted to drag the brake, engage the clutch more, and use more engine. It just feels more comfortable that way in my beginning experience stage. With 15 feet between each stagger, the long teardrop loops became easier; and I could accomplish it with both feet flat on the floorboards.

It was time to go "through the gates" (so to speak). Let me tell you, this is not easy! It takes head and eyes concentration, full lock handlebar maneuvering, and really good clutch and throttle control. I got through the number one gate just fine, but there was no way I could get it across and through the #2 gate!. I went around #2. Came back to the staring side and got through #3 gate O.K. Across to the #4 gate . . . .nope; can't do it, went around it, too! Decided to only make the odd-numbered gates and circle around the even numbered gates for a while. Then I went back to trying to make all gates.

I tried and tried and tried; and eventually discovered the trick. In addition to head and eyes as you go through a gate, you must keep turning the circle to make a fat teardrop so the that next gate can be approached almost perpendicular to the two cone gate. It's almost like figure 8's, where you hit the crossover point perpendicular to a line between the centers of the two turns. I felt like I was swooping through each gate, continuing the swooping circle around so that the motor would be in a positiion and have room to turn and go through the next gate. It's really hard to describe in words. I'm going to have to take a video.

I practiced Lesson 4 until sunset! Probably would have stayed another 30 minutes or so; except it began to sprinkle. You can bet I'll be back tomorrow with more Lesson 4 practice.

OH, I never dropped the bike, but did catch myself putting a foot down 2 or 3 times. I'll be real glad when that tendency goes away; I'd rather concentrate on clutching out of the uneasy feeling.

Ken
 
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Ken,

Sounds great.

Double check your set-up on the off-set cone weave though. It's not a simple 15 feet between gates, it's 12 feet to the first gate, then 18 to the next, to equal 30; not just 15-15. Hence the name "off-set cone weave".

Harris
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Oh, I get it.

It's going to make it harder? Sheesh!#@SasF#

I'm studying the page in your manual. Yep, I had it wrong with symetrical offsets. I see now that they are NOT symetrical. Looks like it'll be easier to get through the even-numbered gates and harder through the odd-numbered ones. That's going to be tough. :yes:
 
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Ken R said:
It's going to make it harder? Sheesh!#@SasF#

I'm studying the page in your manual. Yep, I had it wrong with symetrical offsets. I see now that they are NOT symetrical. Looks like it'll be easier to get through the even-numbered gates and harder through the odd-numbered ones. That's going to be tough. :yes:
Let me know tomorrow evening how much you enjoyed the "easy" even-numbered gates. :)

Harris
 

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Hi Ken,

The off set is difficult, but very rewarding once you master the exercise.

This exercise takes time to master, so make sure to have fun when you practice. :)

In the begining, I made a point of going through gates 1, 3 , 5, and 7, and around gates 2, 4, and 6.

I would then turn around, reversing the proceedure, going through gates 7, 5, 3, and 1, and around gates 6, 4, and 2.

This way, you exercise both your left and right side, ( one of them will be weaker, than the other, which is natural. ) but not at the same time.

I believe you will accomplish more, over a shorter period of time, by first alternating through, and then around, each gate. This will take the focus off of the exercise, ( getting through each gate ) and put the focus on where it should be, the shape of your circles.

You want to make consistent tear dropped shaped turns. left to right, right to left. The motor will come very close to scraping the floor boards when you're doing this correctly, but scraping should not occur.

I still warm up this way,

Take the same techniques into the off set, that you took in the slow cone weave, ...focus well ahead of your path, with a nice steady throttle, using your handle bars and clutch for braking. You will definitely need to use the handle bars for braking at some point in time, in this exercise.

After about ten runs, you will notice that the shape and size of your circles, in general, are a lot tighter, as the off set is somewhat of a rhythm exercise.

At that point in time, it may be a good idea to "force" your way through as many gates as you can.

I would focus two gates ahead of where you are, so that if you're starting at gate one, your head and eyes should be looking ahead to gate three.

Use all of the space that the exercise allows, in that you want to consistently place you front tire as close, but to the inside, of the outer gate cones as possible. ( this is why you're looking two gates ahead )

Don't be surprised if you only make through 3-4 gates the first day. And don't forget, the same mantra applies.....slow is smooth, smooth is fast.

good luck! :)

David
 

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Keep the videos coming Ken. Your's are as good as any I've seen for showing the bird's eye view!

Two things I learned when I started practicing Harris's exercises:

1) It's easy to watch videos and say, "Ya, I could do that." It's different when you put your money where your mouth is! It's harder than it looks, but once you get the hang of it, all of a sudden it's not too bad. Next try this stuff in traffic with an audience. I have alot of respect for the cops that do this daily.

2) The better I get the more I need to practice to keep those skills. It's discouraging how rusty you can get! But it comes back real quick.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Maybe next weekend I'll mount my camera again

dmax said:
Keep the videos coming Ken. Your's are as good as any I've seen for showing the bird's eye view!
I practiced for about 3 hours Saturday and 2-1/2 hours today, Sunday. It was really windy today. 20 - 30 with higher gusts, officially. When you're going slowly and trying to execute perfect turns, the wind can play havoc with one's balance. After a while, I discovered that with a quartering headwind, I could not complete the offset cone weave course without almost falling. With a quartering tailwind, though, I had good success. So I set 13 cones up for 12' weaving with the wind at my face and from the left; and eleven offset cone-weave gates to come back in the other direction. Then I spent the next 2+ hours going back and forth. (12' coneweaves in one directions and offset coneweaving in the other) It would be boring, except that I can feel more and more in control with each pass.

I'm quite proud of my 12' coneweaving. Without being overconfident, I believe that I have somewhat mastered them. Only knocked a couple over with my saddlebags in the first few warm-up passes. After that, no cone touching at all.

I did 5 in a row offset cone weave passes. That's a new record for me. Then I'd miss a gate here, do-over there, and then have another string of perfect passes. Accomplishing one in a row is really satisfying. Going for the "in-a-row-record" is challenging. I forget about the time.

When a run through the offset cones is going well, it just feels good! The motor is dipping, eyes never look at the gate, and seems to be more than ample room to get through the gates. Occasionally, I'd crowd a gate, but was able to adjust the track within one gate to get back in the groove.

Oh, my brakes stay very cool, indeed. Only touched them when I actually wanted to stop! Otherwise, my feet were flat on the floorboards.

Harris, if you read this, I have a question about my line passing through each gate. Today I was trying to refine my line, head-and-eyes, etc. Your graphic shows sharp right turn to enter gate #1, then line is almost perpendicular through the gate, then sharp right after exiting to go set up for gate #2. It looks like flattened teardrop.

I tried, but cannot accomplish that line. Instead, my turns are like rounded teardrops where your graphic shows flattened teardrops. When I begin the teardrop turn to enter gate #1, my bars stay pretty much stationary until time to alternate into the other direction for gate #2 (and so on). Everything about my teardrops is like your graphic, except my teardrops have rounded bottoms. Is this O.K.?

Next week I'll mount the camera on tourpack and see if I can get some quality video.

Ken
 
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Ken R said:
Harris, if you read this, I have a question about my line passing through each gate. Today I was trying to refine my line, head-and-eyes, etc. Your graphic shows sharp right turn to enter gate #1, then line is almost perpendicular through the gate, then sharp right after exiting to go set up for gate #2. It looks like flattened teardrop.

I tried, but cannot accomplish that line. Instead, my turns are like rounded teardrops where your graphic shows flattened teardrops. When I begin the teardrop turn to enter gate #1, my bars stay pretty much stationary until time to alternate into the other direction for gate #2 (and so on). Everything about my teardrops is like your graphic, except my teardrops have rounded bottoms. Is this O.K.?

Ken
Ken,

In the drawings in my booklet I was trying to illustrate that the motor should be passing through the gate at nearly 90 degrees to the gate. The "teardrops" should be round in reality. With my poor skills at drawing using MS Paint, the "Teardrop" drawings didn't come out exactly like I wanted. It sounds like you're doing it right.

I apologize for the confusion.

Harris
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Whew!

Harris said:
Ken,

In the drawings in my booklet I was trying to illustrate that the motor should be passing through the gate at nearly 90 degrees to the gate. The "teardrops" should be round in reality. With my poor skills at drawing using MS Paint, the "Teardrop" drawings didn't come out exactly like I wanted. It sounds like you're doing it right.

I apologize for the confusion.

Harris
I was thinking that it must take a real superman to make flattened teardrops.:wacko: :wacko: :wacko: :hystria:

Really hoping that rounded were O.K. cause I didn't think I'd EVER master flattened teardrops in a million years. :dunno:

If you think about coming to Abeline for the Texas HOG, let me know. I'd like to sign up for some individual training if you offer it.
 
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Ken,

Sorry to say that Abilene is just not gonna happen this year. Between union stuff, family stuff, and friends coming from Spain for a big ride later in the summer, I just won't be able to manage the TX HOG rally. However, part of our trip this summer will be the HOG Rally in Billings, MT. If you're going to be there, let me know.

Harris
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well, Billings MT is a lot ways from Dallas.

Harris said:
Ken,

Sorry to say that Abilene is just not gonna happen this year. Between union stuff, family stuff, and friends coming from Spain for a big ride later in the summer, I just won't be able to manage the TX HOG rally. However, part of our trip this summer will be the HOG Rally in Billings, MT. If you're going to be there, let me know.

Harris
Doubt that I'll visit Billings anytime soon, but Judy and I vacation every Fall in Estes Park. We've taken the bike a couple of times. Could do that again if it'd work out.

Ken
 
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