Wobblers, Idiots and you

There are three groups of riders, wobblers, idiots and you.  A “wobbler” is someone who wobbles around corners slower than you and an “idiot” is someone who goes around corners faster than you.  The idiot is so named because they are obviously going too fast for the conditions.

I do not condone racing on the road, but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate travelling at “an increased pace”.  I have my own mental “cheques and balances” by which I ride on public roads.  There are enforced limits I place on myself, which restricts how “enthusiastic” I am on public roads.   What these limitations are, is rather arbitrary; riders of differing skill levels will either be horrified or laugh at my limits – depending on their own wobbler/idiot status.  It is suffice to say that the kangaroo standing on the other end of one particular blind corner and I agree that my “safety margin” was sufficient.

From my own experience, I have discovered “A Speed vs. Effort” effect.  Riding faster, up to a point is easy.  A small increase in pace is achieved with only a small additional effort.  But there is a pace where that changes.  Extra pace is very difficult to come by.  Trying to ride past this limit on public roads is dangerous.  This is the time that mistakes tend to be made and smooth riding ceases to occur.  Ironically, the added abruptness and mistakes are probably slowing you down too.

If you are aiming to rapidly increase your riding ability* you need to push yourself beyond these bounds.  This should only be done under the controlled circumstances of a race track.  Reputable racing schools can undoubtedly help most riders improve their cornering ability / speed, but like most things quantity trumps quality.  In other words, time on track is the key ingredient.

Back on public roads…  Remember that when riding with friends (or strangers) that they will likely be wobblers or idiots (or sometimes both!)  Riding with “idiots” can put you in a nasty predicament.  There is a fair chance that they are only slightly faster than you.  This can lead to you being “dragged along” by them.  If this leads to you exceeding your safe pace, be mentally strong enough to “let them go”.  Sometimes this can take a scare for you to realise that you are indeed riding above your ability.  Sometimes scares turn into panic.  Panic leads to crashes.  Riding with “wobblers” puts you on the other side of the fence…  Regular riding friends probably grow accustomed to the pace you set.  If it’s too fast for them, they will probably come to accept that and wave you on your way.   They will meet up with you at the other end. 

If you are riding with inexperienced riders remember the “do unto others” law.  Did you appreciate being left behind by more experienced riders when you began riding?  Telling a beginner not to try and keep up is only fractionally less irresponsible than expecting them to keep up.  Be kind to them and leave your “fast riding” for another day.


* Suggesting that “riding ability” equates to how quickly you ride is overly simplistic and not terribly relevant for road use.  Your ability to sense bad drivers and hazards are far more important skills to hone when riding on public roads.