Just to be on the safe side, let me see if I can accurately describe what, exactly, countersteering is, and an exercise that will practice it, and see if that's what you are already doing. Hell, even if this doesn't help you or I am way off base and it doesn't apply to you at all, maybe it will still help someone here who doesn't countersteer properly.

After all, all of the people that I've visited in the hospital in the past couple of years had NO IDEA that they weren't actively using countersteering. Simply put, they thought that they already knew how, but when panic time came around, the skill was nowhere to be found.

Imagine you are on a ski slope chair lift. Ever gone skiing? If so, then I am sure that you've seen the really good skiers... They are easy to pick out of a crowd of amateurs, falling all over the place.

The really good guys are easy to pick out even on simple slopes because they move peculiarly. What I mean by this is a complete separation of their upper torsos from their hips and legs. Their upper body and head always face in the direction they are going, while they seem "hinged" at the waist. Their hips move with the skis, which point left then right then left and back again in a "swoosh" motion, in order to control speed. Their legs absorb all shock, and their ankles are tightly together and move in complete unison, swaying to and fro without disturbing the upper body. They are unusually relaxed, skilled, and rarely tire because their form is so good and so relaxed.

Now imagine that there is a set of cones set up on that slope. This kind of skier would have no problem zigzagging in and out of the cones. However, if you were standing at the front of the cones looking down them in a line, you'd notice something interesting... The skier's upper body would be squarely positioned over the line of cones, and only his skis would be going around each cone. Think of him as "throwing" the skis out from underneath him, and around each cone, and then bringing his skis back before he falls. Then he does the same to the other side.

Now imagine it's not a skier, but instead a motorcycle. In the same way, a motorcyclist should be able to navigate, at a relatively high rate of speed, these cones set in a line like that, but on pavement. Effectively, the rider's body should go directly over the cones, while he "throws" the bike from side to side, almost like a pendulum, around each cone. Obviously, this has nothing to do with the rider's body position, since it is not changing relative to space, except that it's moving forward.

So how's it accomplished, and why's it relevant to safety? Well, it's accomplished by the rider putting a sharp bar input on the motorcycle at the apex of each of the small turns that his bike makes as it goes around each cone. He's loosened his grip, and is allowing the bike to move beneath him, almost on it's own, while he uses his legs and footpegs to support his body weight on the machine that moves radically side to side.

Done correctly, his body position would not seem to move at all, except forward as the bike moves forward, and yet the bike is "thrown" around each cone. This is countersteering... That sharp bar input is applied to the side of the bike ..... that is the direction he wants to go. He "punches" the handlebar left, and the bike makes a sharp left, and he "punches" the handlebar right and the bike makes a sharp right. Done in succession, he can go around those cones very smoothly and very quickly, with little effort and in a very short period of time.

This is one of the advantages of bikes, by the way, over other vehicles on the road. A car must move all of it's weight around each cone, while the bike can simply move the bike around each cone, but not necessarily the rider. This is a new tool that can be used on the road, in real-world situations to a tremendous advantage. Ever gone flying around a corner only to find a rock or pothole right in your line? Well, now you don't have to hit it... Give a sharp punch to the bar (it's up to you which side) and then again in the opposite direction, and you will find that you "threw" the bike around whatever object it was in the road. Sure, your body went over it, but your bike didn't, so you didn't hit it, and there is no damage. In fact, if the "punches" are of equal force, then you will amazingly find yourself back on the exact line you had chosen in the first place, without even a hair out of place. If your tires had painted a line, that line would be around the object, and your original curve would be smooth and perfect, with a "wiggle" in the middle around the object. Amazing!

Master this, and you can easily throw your bike two or three feet or even more in either direction, which gets really useful when avoiding potholes, broken glass, rocks, or whatever other junk is lying in the road and sneaking up on you. Of course, timing is crucial, so practicing this maneuver is what will really pay off in the end. And the more you practice, the more you will use this skill of "active countersteering" every time you are in just a regular old corner, without any debris. You will find yourself amazing your buddies and even yourself with "stupid human tricks" like passing people on the outside (with one hand on the handlebars... Works great when you spring the middle finger at your buddy mid corner), leaning the bike the WRONG WAY in a corner, and touching one peg and then the other, with a "flick..." "flick..." "flick..." back and forth, all while staying in one lane, and at 60 mph! You will also find that you tend to gravitate towards bigger and bigger bikes, as they will all seem light to you. And people will ask you, "How the hell do you flick that 650 pound K1200RS like that?!" Just smile and tell them it's in the countersteer. And then show them how to do it.

Now imagine what having a tool like that in your toolbox can do for your safety margin... Sure, there are the above squidly applications, but imagine how much better you will be able to handle the car that pulls out in front of you, the dude who makes a left turn in front of you, or the panic situation when you realize that the friendly curve that you were playing on suddenly is a decreasing-radius bike eater. Imagine going around a corner and seeing a bit of sand and saying, "Oops, better get my bike off of that," and then chucking your bike around that junk. I don't recommend using countersteering every time you steer your bike, just those times that you want to go in a different direction. :-)

Now here's the kicker... If you do this, and do it every time, then your brain learns a new trick... It learns how to steer your bike, all by itself, and without your conscious thought process. Why's this important? Well, when you find yourself thinking, "Oh shit," for whatever reason, your newfound "instinct" will get you around that corner... Whether you thought you were going to or not. It's great shit to train your brain for autopilot, and it's wonderful to know that your autopilot is programmed not to crash.

Okay, here's the exercise I promised you... I personally like to do it on deserted straight roads, and that's what I recommend. Cops will not like this, so be sure that you are out in the middle of nowhere when you do it. I didn't tell you to do this. Don't sue me. Yadda yadda yadda. Ride down the center of the road, along the hashed yellow line. Start at like 40 mph, and lock your body onto the bike. Stiffen everything except your arms. Now, using your arms only, steer the bike around each of the yellow hashed lines go to the right of the even numbers and to the left of the odd numbers. Keep your head and eyes level with the horizon, but keep the rest of your body stiff. Now increase speed slightly, and loosen your body, while still navigating your bike around each hash mark. Increase speed more, and now support your weight with your footpegs rather than your bike seat, but remain seated. Notice how the bike moves under you, and without you? Let it happen.

If you continue to increase speed, and allow the bike to "float" under you, eventually you will be like the skier Your body will go directly over the center of the hash marks, while only your bike goes around each of them. Notice what you are doing to make this happen... You are using a bar push, and nothing but a bar push. The "weighted peg" or "body position" will seem completely irrelevant to you, as any "body steering" will be easily overcome with the tiniest bit of bar pressure. Do this often enough, and there will come a day when you touch pegs... First the right, and then the left, in succession, again and again and again, without even moving your body or flexing a muscle, other than the ones in your arms used to punch the bars each way. Then you will find it easy to do this even in one lane on a straight road. And boy, people will talk about you... :-) Just make sure that you respect your new found talent, and realize that most riders don't have this skill...

So next time you are out on a group ride and you want to "rail" corners, be very careful with the dude that wants to follow you. If you "flick" your bike through a corner like that and he tries to do the same and fails, you could easily find yourself trying to explain to that dude's 19 year old widow how you made it through that corner on your big, Fireblade, while he didn't make it on his little R6.

Still, do not be without this skill. But if you see your friend not countersteering or incapable of understanding the concept, take it upon yourself to help him, even if he doesn't know that he needs help. Give him that tool, even if he thinks he doesn't need it.

Of course, this takes a strange formula of desire to help, the ability to communicate the action, and the complete avoidance of anything that could remotely sound like, "You suck, I am great." Just be there to help. After all, it's your buddy we are talking about. Save his life. I hope that helps someone...

Did you guys actually read all of this? LOL... I hope so! Have fun out there...