Narrow bridges

Bret Tkacs teaches low-speed maneuvering on Nepal’s suspension bridges

The amazing adventure bike Bret Tkacs taught his loyal YouTube viewers everything from good standing technique to setting up their bike lights for night riding. While the motorcycle instructor and tour guide is known for his highly technical videos, he also knows that a rider’s performance can suffer in the face of fear. That’s why Tkacs is heading to the Nepalese highlands for his latest YouTube entry.

Suspension bridges frighten even the most intrepid explorers. Whether you’re afraid of heights or not, the great expanse and precipitous drop mixed with the swaying motion of the bridge can stop any adventurer. Tkacs is no different, admitting he’s no “fan of heights.” However, the decorated adventure rider does not let himself be stopped.

Tkacs describes five common mistakes made by riders on a particular suspension bridge in Nepal. The first two errors include a poor assessment of the polished steel surface of the bridge and a blockage in the narrow door of the bridge. While these errors may seem specific to suspension bridges, all riders should know how to judge the traction of a given surface. They should also practice controlling the clutch to avoid stalling, especially in situations where stalling means more than an embarrassing restart in front of other motorists.

The YouTuber quickly goes to mistake number three, not committing to locking the handlebars to complete the 90-degree turn. Of course, not all turns require such a drastic turning radius, but riders need to know the limits of their machine after practicing in parking lots and open fields. Once the rider knows his own abilities, he should be able to perform such maneuvers even in high stress situations.

Tkacs recalls controlling the clutch for pulling out of a corner, but the last lesson focuses on the rider’s vision. The suspension bridges invite the rider to look down, but keeping your eyes on the horizon will alleviate the fear of falling and allow the rider to prepare for the next step. Bret Tkacs can use Nepalese suspension bridges to take the lesson home, but the five low-speed maneuvering skills will help riders in any situation.