Thursday, April 19, 2018

It's that time of year!

Winter is starting to reluctantly lose it's grip on the Island, but just when you think it's over -  BLAM it gets cold and rainy and a little snow and frost thrown in for good measure. This is the time of year on the Island when people start pulling their moto beasties out of winter hibernation from their moto lairs.
I have already taught one full Novice class and am just finishing up a second. This group is all my girlfriends who ride, and belong to my riding group the Moto Mama's.  My BF instructor friend Debra and I proposed to our riding school a 4 hour skill refresher course to shake out the winter cobwebs from the bikes and riders skills.  The skill levels of riders varied from very new to long term riders.
All of this was done on the Moto Mama's own bikes, which is a wonderful way to build skill on your own ride.  We had everything there from Honda CBR 250's, Honda CB500x, Vintage Yamaha 750, Triumph 900, BMW650, BMW 310, Suzuki TU250, Suzuki Gladius and a fully dressed Harley Davidson.
Getting ready to launch into an exercise which entails riding a figure 8 within a circle.  This involves good clutch/throttle control and killer sightlines.  I love doing this particular exercise and I got a chance to put the Duchess through her paces demoing the exercises, I could do this particular exercise all day long. 
                                                              The Moto Mama's

There is a mother/daughter duo in the Moto Mama's, I loved watching the interaction and how proud mom was of her girl!  I love the diversity of the bikes the Moto Mama's ride and it's so funny how each bike suits the rider so well.
                                                        Fierce women kicking cone butt!

We started right at the beginning working on rusty friction zone skills practicing slow speed slaloms, the dreaded U-turn, 90 degree turns and a weave. I always find the skills that suffer the most with most new and returning riders are the slow speed handling skills and sightlines. Some of the ladies even commented on this themselves.  The U-turn box in particular elicited a lot of groans and "Oh no way can I do that", but with a little coaching they were all whipping off U-turns like butter on a hot griddle - they were SIZZLING!

Then it was onto  brisk starts progressing through smooth up and downshifting. We worked on solid stops with good braking techniques.  Just as in our novice classes we used a building block approach layering one skill on top another. 

                                                       Look, Lean, and Believe!

After we honed those skills we worked on counter steering, getting a little speed and lean on. This is were the fun begins, everyone loves doing this particular exercise. This prompted big smiles and usually cries of "More!"      

As an instructor watching the gals put their bikes through their paces and working on skills, I could see the confidence creeping in and skills smoothing out, and that's a good feeling! I am so proud of these women, they are fierce! We had an excellent day, everyone was so happy and feeling ready to ride. 
Wondering what to practice to blow out the moto cobwebs? I suggest working on slow speed skills, go practice some figure 8's, U-turns, slaloms, brisk starts and quick stops, getting used to the weight of your bike and waiting for that old muscle memory to kick back in.  If you really want to go to town hook up with your local riding school for an experienced riders course or skill refresher. 
                                       Have fun and keep the shiny side up!
I'm putting the Duchess through her paces early in the riding season.  I love working on slow speed skills, for me it is not about going fast, I love the precision of slow speed riding. 


Trobairitz said...

Great stuff Dar. What an awesome group activity for you all too.

Have a great teaching season!

Dar said...

Thanks Trobairitz. It was a lot of fun.

Deb said...

Keep those gals in line, Dar! You got it going, girl!

Troubadour said...

Good job getting the Moto Mamas together for the refresher course! I can't get my friends to take any additional training, but you know how men are...

Glad you're having fun teaching and giving back to the MC community; the students don't know it, but more often than not we get more out of it than they do.

Charlie6 said...

Good job helping your friends refresh their brain on proper motorcycling pays off huge dividends!

Dar said...

Deb - they are such a pleasure to mentor and ride with.

Troubadour - Gotta say it's not always easy to get people to participate, they're afraid of judgement by a friend, and multitudes of other fears and sometimes they don't want to pay for instruction. When we are out riding I try not to get pulled into teaching, but it happens on the rare occasion. You're right about getting so much more out of it, I love mentoring and it almost as good as riding. Don't tell my boss, but I'd do it for free 😉

Charlie6 - It certainly does pay off, they looked and felt ready to ride!

Shybiker said...

Great stuff. You're making the world a better place by encouraging new riders to dive into our beloved activity and learn the skills to do it safely.