So you think you’re moving your body enough off of the bike through corners, but then you look at your on-track photos and find out that you’re barely moving off the bike after all. You feel like you’re moving off the bike; you SWEAR it feels like your lower body is way off to the side of the seat, and your upper body right with it, but the photos don’t lie – you’re barely off-center of the bike when you corner.
What is going on?
There are a couple of tips I can share to help you make sure your body is actually doing what you want it to, and not just simply feel like it’s doing what you’re intending.
First – your lower body.
Keeping your spine straight would allow you to keep your upper body symmetrical to your lower body, but this wouldn’t do you any good if you’re hardly moving your lower body off the bike to begin with. Sure you can drop your upper body lower and out into the corner as I wrote in my previous entry, but with your lower body remaining effectively centered on the bike, you are not maximizing the use of your particular set of tools. So how can you make sure you ARE moving your lower body enough off of the bike and out to the inside of the corner? A good rule of thumb is to place your butt-crack right on the edge of your seat towards the corner. Now, not all seats are created equal, and certain corners or pace require you to be even more (or less) off the bike, but placing your butt-crack on the edge of your seat is a good starting point for anybody that needs tactile reference to move their body off of their bike.
Then, there’s your upper body.
Sometimes, we are our worst enemies. Without being fully cognizant of what every part of our body is doing, we may not realize that it’s some part of our own body that is limiting us.
The photo above is from my very first trackday, and I can tell you that prior to having seen this photo, I could’ve sworn my whole body was off of the bike a hell of a lot more than depicted.
Take particular note of my arms, especially my left arm as it is the inside arm towards the direction of the corner. Notice how close it is to my upper body? I’ve since realized that my inside arm being in close proximity to my upper body did not give me any “room” to move my upper body out and off the bike. I remember feeling like that was the most I could move my upper body, as there was no more room to move. I didn’t know this at the time, but this was a good amount due to my inside arm.
Consciously spread your arms out and give your body the room it needs to move around. Dropping your upper body down can help achieve this because your elbows have to naturally bend, and they will more often than not bend outward of your body. Still, it pays to be cognizant of where your inside arm is, and to spread them outward as much as you comfortably can to help you move.
Think of your arms as your wings – when in flight, they’re of better use when opened.