Sunday, December 18, 2011

traction vs control

when I started biking, I was scared of skidding. of course, my bike had much better brakes back then, and I was very rear-brake heavy, so I guess that fear was for a good reason :)

as my experience on my two wheels grew, my braking habits changed, and so did my confidence in making my bike do exactly what I wanted it to. I started pushing my bike to figure out exactly what point it would skid.

as an aside, notable markers:
100 to 20 on dry tar road with new tires in about one truck length with both brakes
90 to 0 on dry paved road with slightly worn tires in about 3 truck lengths with only front brake

anyway, there are many saner points between these extremes, and those are the points I usually find myself at. points that don't have numbers to put on a graph, but valid data anyway.

and with all this in my head, I've come to grow comfortable with the telltale screeching noise of my tires reminding me they're being pushed to their limits. but the real comfort is when I realized that there a big difference between losing traction and losing control. The squeak of tires when they bounce over rough cobblestones while braking strongly but steadily, the growl of cutting through gravel with one hand resting easy on the throttle and the handle held firmly straight, and many many more such things.

and somehow, that seems to strike a chord with my life too.

There are things you can to be liberal about, without losing control of your life. you may be pushing yourself, maybe because you find yourself in a tight spot, maybe in anticipation of something riskier than the current situation if left to chance, or sometimes, just for the rush of pushing yourself.

There are times when you don't need to worry about traction at all, just about staying on course and within your limits.

and of course, the are times when losing traction means losing everything. the end of the line.

traction is nothing. what matters is control.

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