This evening as I made my way home through the ‘rush hour’ traffic, an hour which i feel I need to point out lasts for ‘several hours’ and is completely impossible to rush through, I spotted an extreme Hokey Kokey motorcyclist.
As he pulled up to the (red) traffic lights in front of me he had both feet off the pegs and he sort of dragged his heels for a good twenty yards before finally wobbling almost to a halt a few yards short of the line. He then accelerated, sort of, by slipping the clutch in what sounded like 5th or 6th gear and almost stalled the bike.
When he finally stopped, still short of the line, he wobbled a little to the left and mashed the back brake (right foot) pedal and stuck his left leg down.
Then he put his right leg down.
And lifted his left leg and mashed the gear lever up and down for a while and found neutral.
So he put his left leg down.
and his right leg up (brake)
and took his hands off the bars.
The engine died with a jolt, it seems that he had a false neutral.
Both hands on bars (both hands in ?)
Clutch and brake pulled
Right leg down
Left leg up, shake and find neutral.
Start motor – both hands in.
Left leg down
Right leg up (brake)
Both arms off (out) and he started the usual bum scratching routine.
The light changed to green.
Both arms in. (clutch and brake)
Right leg down
Left leg up (gears, clunk into first)
Left leg down again
Right leg up (back brake)
Throttle and clutch and brake and drag left leg for 100yds up the street.
Most Brits are taught the following…….
– As you approach the lights, down shift to first gear, use the clutch to ensure that you have ‘drive’ ability (ie it is in gear) prior to actually assuming that you are in the correct gear.
– As you stop use the rear brake (right leg remember) to hold your position on a hill etc, hold in the clutch ready for a getaway and use your left leg (gears) to stop the bike falling over and embarrassing you.
– Scan for traffic, keep your right hand on, or near the throttle.
– As the light changes, take a final look before committing to the launch, increase revs, slip clutch, ease off the rear brake and as soon as is practical, lift left leg to pegs in anticipation of gear change.
There are very good safety reasons for this.
– Staying in gear and ‘ready to go’ allows you to react quickly if you need to get out of the way in a hurry – in my riding career I have needed to do this just twice, once I would have been run onto by an inattentive motorcyclist, the second I moved to the right to avoid getting the front of my bike ripped off by an idiot in an SUV who was ‘driving’ while talking on the phone.
– You have more control on the approach. You are already in an appropriate gear as you approach the lights and you can react if the lights suddenly change to green rather than have to click up and down to a random (but better) gear than 5th/6th etc per my friend above. Most motorcycles acclerate rathe better in 1st/2nd than 5th/6th.
Oh and in the UK, we call it ‘The Spastic Dance’, which although wildly politically incorrect, is a very good description of what it looks like when you are sat behind one and the lights…..