By The Road Toad

Probably all of you use countersteering, yet many of you may not realize it and more may not understand it.

Basically, on a motorcycle or any two-wheeled vehicle, once you are traveling over 10-12 mph, if you want to go right, you push on the right hand grip. Want to go left? Push on the left! Right? Right.

Wait, how can that be? If I push on the right hand grip, that should point the front wheel to the left! Right?

Then how is it, that I go right? And vice versa for the other side — push left grip, go left.

Well, it all has to do with physics, geometry and moving through space — and big words and mind-numbing terms like tire side force, gyroscopic precession, rotary momentum and more. But, basically, what it all boils down to is this: Over 10-12 mph, push right to go right, push left to go left.

Here’s a simpler way to look at how countersteering works. At speed, when you push right, for an instant your front wheel goes to the left at the same exact instant your center of gravity goes to the right — or the inside of the turn. An immediate adjustment caused by the “trail” of your bike — and all the other fancy words I referred to before — and your wheel aligns with the right turn. So in simpler terms, you sort of “stumble” into your turn. It is not that simple, but it works and I’m not likely to express it any clearer.

Leaning, speed and turn radius area all part of maneuvering your bike safely, but the immediate and most direct response you want is solid countersteering skills.

You should go to an open area, like a parking lot, and practice intentionally using countersteering. Like I said, you probably do anyway, but once you become aware and proficient, you will find you will be much quicker in your responses to hazards like potholes or debris on the road, not to mention when you need a quick defensive response to a traffic situation. Like all things you want to excel at, you should practice. Just riding to and fro and not falling down does not hone your skills. Biking is exciting, exhilarating and fraught with hazard.

You want to last longer? Get gooder on your scooter!

Stay Alert! Stay Alive!