Practice routes

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Gareth
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Practice routes

Postby Gareth » Wed Jan 27, 2021 10:35 pm

I don't remember practice routes being discussed all that much, either here or in the previous forum, but they seem to be one thing we could do while maintaining good social distancing, prevailing stay-at-home rules permitting.

The routes I make up tend to be rural and NSL; I don't find urban driving all that pleasurable although it's satisfying to make a good fist of it. Having said that I have one route I use with associates which is exceptionally hilly through a town and still manages to include a short but tricky section of NSL.

The route I've used most, infrequently over many years, is just over 80 miles, about two and a half hours. Then I have a set of circular routes with a common section, from 12 to 48 miles, 25 minutes to an hour forty. The nearest point to join those is almost 20 minutes away so it's easy to prefer the route of 80 miles which pretty much starts the other side of town.

Perhaps I should explain the nature of the 80 mile route; I think it's just under an hour forty outbound on fairly nadgery roads, some single track and lots without a centre line, then the return on more flowing roads. Hmm, just checked on Google Maps, it reckons an hour five for the most recent variation of the return.
there is only the road, nothing but the road ...

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Horse
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Re: Practice routes

Postby Horse » Thu Jan 28, 2021 8:20 am

Is this a route you've used previously / regularly? If so, could a route that you don't know be better for highlighting any defecits?

I'm thinking of this from the instructing PoV, when using known routes has the advantages of including particular known hazards, sequences, etc. that were appropriate for the trainee. But they also were beneficial for the instructor because, as you knew what was [probably] immediately ahead then you could focus on the trainee's actions.
Your 'standard' is how you drive alone, not how you drive during a test.

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jont-
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Re: Practice routes

Postby jont- » Thu Jan 28, 2021 10:02 am

I spend a lot of time making up routes, although they're usually of the order of 200 miles or so (ignoring the continental style roads trips of a few thousand miles :lol:). I do have a couple of shorter ones if I've only got half a day. The problem is, I end up driving the roads as if I know them. My memory is close to photographic and I don't really find it that interesting bashing the same roads again and again. The last couple of times I've been out, I've used an hour or so of dual carraigeway to get me slightly further afield (doing similar distance on interesting roads would take double the time). But ultimately there just aren't that many interesting roads in this part of the world (unless you mean interesting in a "how soon am I going to break the suspension/sump?" way).

My preference is for B-roads, or wide unclassified roads. Single track for more than a couple of miles can become tedious, and even the wide white roads aren't great if you end up stuck behind someone uncooperative.

What I did notice the last couple of times I went out is a significant loss of stamina compared to when I was able to drive for fun a few times a month (ie I notice that I can't maintain the same level of concentration for as long, and I'm more tired at the end of the day)

Gareth
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Re: Practice routes

Postby Gareth » Thu Jan 28, 2021 2:43 pm

Yes, stamina (concentration, observation) is (are) a problem when there are long gaps between proper driving :( I'm planning to do the same route a few times to rebuild those, making a note of how far I go before I realise I'm displaying signs of tiredness.

Horse wrote:Is this a route you've used previously / regularly?

Once every year or so for the longer one, in normal times.
there is only the road, nothing but the road ...

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Horse
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Re: Practice routes

Postby Horse » Thu Jan 28, 2021 3:30 pm

Gareth wrote:
Horse wrote:Is this a route you've used previously / regularly?

Once every year or so for the longer one, in normal times.


Are you honestly able to drive from what you see, rather than what you know?

Edit: that sounds rude / challenging. Not intended to be, just a question.
Your 'standard' is how you drive alone, not how you drive during a test.

Gareth
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Re: Practice routes

Postby Gareth » Thu Jan 28, 2021 7:20 pm

Different times of year, different weather, potholes in different places, different walkers, cyclists, horse riders in different places. How can I not drive to what I see?

Last time was fresh and packed snow, salted on some roads so cold brown slush and water, first time I can remember it being like that.

On top of that, 80 miles? It's not something I know like the back of my hand. Obviously I remember what turning comes next. While I'm driving, I'm only thinking a little way ahead for the route directions, don't use a satnav. Generally I recognise the pattern of the road layout approaching a junction and remember which way to go next. Mind you, when I know I'm going to hold it all in my head, I try to keep it relatively simple.

For instance, there a village I arrive at and I know to turn left at the main road. Then I need to remember it's right at the second cross-roads, and I know it's the correct one when the side roads are opposite each other rather than staggered. One year I got it wrong and had to stop to look at the atlas.
there is only the road, nothing but the road ...

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GTR1400MAN
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Re: Practice routes

Postby GTR1400MAN » Thu Jan 28, 2021 9:28 pm

Horse wrote:Are you honestly able to drive from what you see, rather than what you know?

Edit: that sounds rude / challenging. Not intended to be, just a question.

Gonna get scary on roads you've never been on before if you can't. :o

Not sure I understand the question. Where are you leading/heading?

One of the points I make to Associates who say, "I don't know the road", when I take them on challenging roads they've not seen before (despite being local), is that by riding to The System you can do it on any road. If you find yourself planning on what you know, it's time to give yourself a little reminder. At times local knowledge can be a great thing, but at others it can be your undoing. I always take Associates 'near to home' if I can and it is surprising how many deteriorate.
Mike Roberts - Now riding a Triumph Explorer XRT. My username comes from my 50K miles on a Kawasaki 1400GTR, after many years on Hondas of various shapes and styles. - https://tinyurl.com/mikerobertsonyoutube

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Horse
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Re: Practice routes

Postby Horse » Thu Jan 28, 2021 9:52 pm

GTR1400MAN wrote:
Horse wrote:Are you honestly able to drive from what you see, rather than what you know?

Edit: that sounds rude / challenging. Not intended to be, just a question.

Gonna get scary on roads you've never been on before if you can't. :o

Not sure I understand the question. Where are you leading/heading?

At times local knowledge can be a great thing, but at others it can be your undoing. I always take Associates 'near to home' if I can and it is surprising how many deteriorate.


That's the gist of it. I find it's an interesting challenge to mentally 'step back' and look at a road I've known for ages in a 'forensic' way.

For instance, here:
https://earth.app.goo.gl/H4D8fQ

I'd been thinking about shapes of roads before I noticed that I'd never noticed the rise around the bend. I had been using the road for years by bike but, of course, they usually take small changes in elevation in their stride.
Your 'standard' is how you drive alone, not how you drive during a test.

Gareth
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Re: Practice routes

Postby Gareth » Thu Jan 28, 2021 10:45 pm

For shapes of roads I think surprises are points of learning.

Trying to see a road fresh might be a good exercise but if it really were fresh would you always miss the same things, or would it vary each time?

I'm a little bit bothered by an analytical approach because it can bring things into the conscious, taking unconscious attention away from where it's needed. Broadly, I prefer trying to develop unconscious attention by paying particular attention to surprises, however small ... and any feelings of disquiet or unease.
there is only the road, nothing but the road ...

Gareth
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Re: Practice routes

Postby Gareth » Thu Jan 28, 2021 10:53 pm

GTR1400MAN wrote:I always take Associates 'near to home' if I can and it is surprising how many deteriorate.

When I was in my early twenties, long before I got interested in improving my driving in a formal sense, I had a horrid realisation about how embarrassing it would be to have an accident near home. That mental reaction has never left me; I reckon it's stood me in good stead.
there is only the road, nothing but the road ...


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