Develop Your Line

The Line

After conducting my Rider’s Workshop for over a decade, I have an insight. Here it is: If you want to take your motorcycling to the next level, develop your line. 

As soon as your motorcycle wheels start rolling, you are creating your line – intentionally or not. My experience is that most motorcyclists pay no attention to their line.  They ask themselves, “Why pay attention to something new since I already know how to ride safely?” This is true of cruiser riders and sport-tourers alike.

They are partially right! Most of these motorcyclists do know how to ride safely – on  straight roads. As it happens, the line isn’t as critical on straight roads as it is on mountainous ones. Once these same riders get on hilly, twisty mountain roads, their line is all over the place – largely because they don’t understand its importance! After one or two sloppy curves, their line wobbles, their confidence decreases and their pucker increases. I see this all the time.
 Great motorcyclists own more skill than average ones. Great riders have developed a great line.
When riders attend my Workshop, I give them the blueprint for the safest line on a mountain road. The blueprint is precise. It is also flexible. The blueprint is in the form of a mantra. Workshop attendees now have the means with which to develop their line for maximum safety and fun 100% of the time their wheels are rolling.
Here’s a good story to get the point across:

Thanks to the instruction given during the Riders Workshop, and the comments made while we have just ridden, my skill level has gone to a place most will never attain. Not that they can’t of course, it’s just that many either already think they are already expert, or have no interest in becoming better. I have taken the principals you teach and honed them until they are second nature. When we ride together  I tuck in behind you and just follow that perfect line you always find.

Some ask what it has done for me? The answer is simple. First, I am a much safer rider today than before we met. To wit, I now where the road is going without always seeing it; I know where to put my eyes; I am confident and know where to put my bike at all times; I know how to “feel” the road for traction in all conditions; I know the gear to be in; I know how to use and I employ a trailing brake; I know how to find the great invisible roads; I shift smoother; and  I ride with greater precision. I’m safer.

Second, it really is more fun when your speed has increased significantly and others just can’t understand how you can go that fast and make it look so easy. The better one becomes the more fun it is. As an example of this, I was riding home from out last excursion, through the some of the great twisty roads in Southeast Ohio, when I drove past a service station with two riders on BMW’s – one on a K12 GT and the other on an R12 RT. I was going to stop for fuel but decided to push on and stop in another 40 or 50 miles. The two guys tucked in nicely behind me and we became a nice tight unit out for an afternoon ride. Not too many miles ahead we were in some of the best curves Ohio has to offer, and that was the last I saw of them until I stopped for gas. They pulled up next to me and said “we saw you go by us on the big Adventure and decided we were going to have some fun and show you how real bikes handled in the corners. You embarrassed us, there was absolutely no way we could stick with you. Where did you learn to ride that fast?” Of course I gave them  the brochure you had given me and told them to do themselves a favor and spend a couple of days with you. I then gave them a big smile and said “do you want to tag along until the next fun section and I drop you?” I rode on completely smiling, alone with my music and thoughts.

I am safer because I am better and I am better because I am safer. Thank you.  You played a key role in this. Ken D’Arcy Rochester, NY

See you in the right gear.


Jim Ford