Thruxton Slow Riding Level 2

Wow! What a difference a few miles can make. The majority had ridden through torrential rain, to arrive at a totally dry Thruxton for the follow-on Level2 slow riding. (Slow riding is a bit of a misnomer; it’s more like a steering and braking session). We had a bit of a scare though….. the hot water urn failed to heat anything…(No tea or coffee!!!) A second generator was tried; a check of the cables all pointed to the urn itself, so full marks to Richard Noon who hot-tailed it home to get a couple of kettles.

We had a large number of no-shows on the day as only 18 completed the session. (Hats off to Alec Shaw whom, having ridden from the Isle of Wight, broke down on the M3 and had to make a repair on the hard shoulder…all in torrential rain). But those that made it had a fabulous day (“This old dog has definitely learnt a few more tricks” was one quote.)

Many who arrived had done the L1 4 weeks previously, and so arrived with smiles. But they dropped off a bit after they had seen Andy Brown do the demonstration. With names like “psycho corner” and the “drive hard at the rubbish bins, brake and swerve” instruction caused a few furrowed brows…

The figure of eight was tighter than previously, but there were wonderful examples of synchoronised riding. It just needed a bit of music to accompany it. (Could it even become an Olympic sport in the future?); We had two lines of slalom, with spacing on one line wide enough to encourage riders to practice their countersteering to get a good roll and swing between the cones.

See, I can fit through

Psycho corner dared riders not to look at the gate….but through the bend….

Who put that bin in my way?

And the lean, drive and brake exercise had each group leaning more and driving harder as they got used to the feel. But it is the kamikaze alley that gets the most reaction. A fast approach to two large bins; swerve, drive hard, brake, u-turn, drive hard, brake hard, u-turn and do it again. but again, with a little practice we soon had everyone braking hard. One front wheel lock up (smoke too!!), and one with the rear wheel just off the ground. So some were really using their brakes!

Once again, ½ time was made better by some wonderful, man-size chunks of homemade cake! Timing is everything and whilst we had a bit of drizzle at the break, it wasn’t enough to dampen the surfaces or the spirits.

3 ½ hours passed just like that. We say thanks to those that attended for their positive attitude and can-do approach and we are grateful to the Thruxton circuit for allowing us access to the space. Roll on September 11th when we do Level-1 again…

Thruxton Slow Riding Level 1

291 days since its last outing, Slow Riding reappeared at Thruxton on the 10th July. It was an auspicious start as the picture below shows.

Yes, it was wet! But, it didn’t dampen the spirits or early enthusiasm of those attending. After all, to Advanced Riders, rain is just another thing to deal with and skin is waterproof, so with a turnout of 22 the MDU did an early trade in tea and coffee.

Those early smiles and anticipation weren’t quite so apparent after the demonstrations were completed by Alec and once the exercises started there was that usual mix of either smiles or frustrated furrowed brows. But, as the first 30 minutes ticked by, it was great to see how “lightbulb moments” came and the number of furrowed brows disappeared, and smiles were back again. Two sessions were completed, and the 30 minute break allowed bikes to cool down and riders to swap experiences and devour cake, kindly brought along by Mr Merchandise, Bob Elliott.

We had a bit of an audience too as a few observers with nothing better to do on a Saturday morning (Or maybe to get out of doing jobs at home) were there, all able to give their associates a moral boost.

After the break, the rain started to abate, and Rui was down to shorts and short-sleeved shirt, and he carried on managing the 20m slowest rider challenge in his inimitable way; talking about all sorts as he walked alongside the rider. 

All too soon the session was over, and with the sun threatening to come through, it proved the perfect end to a good morning of practicing a skill that is all too often overlooked.