by Liz Jansen
A motorcycle’s throttle is the device that controls the flow of fuel and air into the engine, thereby controlling the power. Learn to throttle up! Understanding throttle control means understanding power.
Your throttle is your friend. Lose your nerve and ease off on the throttle inappropriately and you’ll go down. It’s needed for momentum, forward direction, getting through rough spots, and getting off the starting line.
Throttle control has many life parallels.
- Merging. You need to apply your throttle when merging into traffic on a freeway. If you don’t, you won’t be able to keep up with the speed of the other drivers and either won’t make it into the flow of traffic or will cause an accident. Learning new technology or skills requires you to have the power on to keep up-to-date in your field—or get left behind.
- Learning new skills. When you’re first learning to ride, learning how to control the throttle for a smooth ride can seem elusive. Students lurch and stall frequently. But once you get the hang of it, all that is passé as you begin to embrace the experience of riding for the first time. In life, you also need to push through the learning curve to experience the joy that comes with mastery.
- Maintaining stability. A bike is more stable when under power. This means knowing how to react appropriately in corners or rough conditions. You’re in a stronger position when you’re in the driver’s seat and proactive, rather than reacting to the opinions and actions of others. Consistency, smoothness, and focus are essential.
- Transferring weight. Acceleration transfers weight from the front to the back of the motorcycle. Deceleration has the opposite effect. On a motorcycle, this is a major factor for maintaining stability and staying in control. In life, you can regulate your personal power depending on the situation you’re in. Sometimes you need to transfer weight to remain balanced and in control by delegating responsibilities.
- Maintaining traction. It goes against instinct, but the best way to maintain traction on gravel, wet pavement, or sand is to keep the power on. Likewise, when you run into rough sections on your life’s Road, the temptation is to slow down and reduce momentum. This can cause you to go off your path or get mired down. There’s no sense making life more difficult than it needs to be.
- Holding your line. This term often refers to successfully navigating corners. How you control the throttle entering, during, and exiting the curve determines how successful you’ll be. Too much or too little throttle will throw you off course. Similarly, you need to judge how and when to use your power depending on the situation in life that you’re in.
- Accelerating. You won’t go anywhere without applying power. It gets you started, away from the car that’s moving into your lane, and out of the path of the dog that’s chasing you. Likewise, in life there will always be situations that crop up where you’ll need to sprint to get out of trouble. It means staying aware of what’s going on in your immediate surroundings and having the skills and courage to react appropriately.
- Decelerating. Coming to a stop or merely adjust your speed using deceleration can be more effective, more stable, and less wearing on your brakes than using your brakes alone. Slowing down gives you an opportunity to rest and reassess a situation before continuing.
- Shifting gears. Good throttle control is essential for smooth gear changes—i.e., when you want to alter the amount of power you’re drawing on. It means briefly rolling off the throttle, changing gears, and then reapplying throttle appropriately. It’s like taking a mini-break or a breather while adapting to changing circumstances.
- Body position. While not exactly a throttle technique, a relaxed position, with arms bent and wrists relaxed, increases your effectiveness in managing power, especially in emergencies. When you’re tired, tense, or stressed out, you’ll tend to overreact and use your power inappropriately—on a motorcycle and in life.
How you use your power is entirely up to you. No one else’s hand is on the throttle. No one else can give you power, take it away, or control how you use it. Whether you’re riding a motorcycle or traveling your life’s journey, using your throttle and, consequently, your power appropriately affects your effectiveness in meeting your goals, your safety, and your longevity.
Read more life tips in 75 Tips for Mastering your Controls. Free Download for a limited time.