Safety riding courses......


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vinlugg
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Safety riding courses......

Postby vinlugg » Sat Jan 11, 2014 12:13 pm



Hello all,

I'm relatively new to this forum and would enjoy hearing from you all what safety courses you have attended, the reason(s) why, and if you practice what you learned on a regular basis?
I became an MFS ridercoach back in 2004 and have taught about 200 classes. When I originally attended the class I hadn't ridden in about 10 years. When I announced to my wife I was going to purchase a bike and start riding again she was "resistant" to say the least. She said if I did buy a bike she would not ride with me. I really wanted her to ride with me. A friend suggested I take the MSF safety course the Sate of NH offers thinking my wife would feel safer. I signed up and took the course in April of 2004. I already had about 50K of riding and could not believe the things I learned during the course. I had never taken a course previous to this one. I was so impressed I applied to become a rider coach and the rest is history. I'm a strong supporter of safety courses. It has made a huge difference in my riding abilities.
So I'm curious how many of you have taken courses, which ones, and what you may have learned. Winter is a good time for these discussions since most of us don't/can't ride. Gets the mind thinking about things we can do to become sharper when the season does start.
Also, is there anything you all do in the beginning of the season to sharpen your skills?

Thanks for your imput.


Happy Riding

Vin
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harvey01
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Re: Safety riding courses......

Postby harvey01 » Sat Jan 11, 2014 12:55 pm

I have taken the MSF Courses, similar courses through the GWRRA, and several track courses. Worst moment in a course was at the Keith Code's Class when one of the students announced just before the first track session that he thought the concept of countersteering was false. I had really been looking forward to riding the course at Watkins Glen prior to that. But Keith jumped right on it and then put him in the second track session so I did not have to ride with him.

Track courses are the most fun but all who ride the street need the constant reminders of how to protect ourselves as we ride.
harvey
Ride Safe and Ride Often

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Re: Safety riding courses......

Postby vinlugg » Sat Jan 11, 2014 2:20 pm

harvey01 wrote:I have taken the MSF Courses, similar courses through the GWRRA, and several track courses. Worst moment in a course was at the Keith Code's Class when one of the students announced just before the first track session that he thought the concept of countersteering was false. I had really been looking forward to riding the course at Watkins Glen prior to that. But Keith jumped right on it and then put him in the second track session so I did not have to ride with him.

Track courses are the most fun but all who ride the street need the constant reminders of how to protect ourselves as we ride.


Counter steering is a tough concept for alot of folks when they first hear of it. When I explain it to students I first read the "book" explaination , see the blank stares on their faces and then say" if you want to go right....press right" I've had to deal with a few that want to argue concepts and theories....I avoid those conversations/debates.
I'd love to hear more about the track day things that are taught. What are some exercises we can practice on our own?
Thanks for the input Harvey.
Happy Riding

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Re: Safety riding courses......

Postby maestro319 » Sat Jan 11, 2014 3:55 pm

Hey guys. Where would I find info on safety courses in the Chicago area??

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Re: Safety riding courses......

Postby vinlugg » Sat Jan 11, 2014 4:30 pm

maestro319 wrote:Hey guys. Where would I find info on safety courses in the Chicago area??


You can google motorcycle safety courses or go to MSF.org and look for courses offered in your state.

I just googled motorcycle safety courses chicago and a bunch popped up.
Happy Riding

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Re: Safety riding courses......

Postby themainviking » Sat Jan 11, 2014 4:47 pm

I did not used to think safety courses or any motorcycling course were necessary to experienced riders. Then I needed to get onto the Kirkland AFB in Albuquerque NM on a regular basis, and was told that in order to get a sticker for my motorcycle, I would have to have an MSF course. This was in 1987. I took the course, and was I amazed at what I learned. I have been taking courses ever since, including several more MSF courses, the Advanced Riders course a couple of times, the courses offered on a local and regional level with both HOG and GWRRA, and the old trailering and parking lot practices that GWRRA puts on every year for their chapters. I have ridden, lifetime, over 800K miles, and I am pretty sure I would not have made it if I had not taken these courses.

If you have not had one - take one. Your life just may depend on what you learn.
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Re: Safety riding courses......

Postby maestro319 » Sat Jan 11, 2014 5:13 pm

Thanks vin. I'll do that.

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Re: Safety riding courses......

Postby vinlugg » Sat Jan 11, 2014 5:23 pm

"If you have not had one - take one. Your life just may depend on what you learn."

Well said mainviking.

In addition to the valuable information you learn it's a great place to meet new friends who like to do the same thing you like.

I have known numerous riders over the years that claim they don't need a course and it's a waste of time but those are the same people that won't attempt a simple u-turn on a normal two lane road because they can't make the turn without driving off the road. They'll continue down the raod until the road is much wider or find a parking lot. It's amazing the things you learn in two days or one day if you take the experienced class.
Worth every penny and more.
Happy Riding

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Re: Safety riding courses......

Postby WingAdmin » Sun Jan 12, 2014 8:42 am

I took the experienced rider course when I got my first Goldwing, a GL1100, thinking it would be good to learn some skills to handle this huge beast of a bike (coming from a tiny GSX-R750, that's what I thought!) I learned a great deal more than I thought I would, so I make it a point of going back every two years and taking it again. Every single time, I discover some bad habit I've acquired, or something new I didn't know.

I taught my wife how to ride (basics of controls, bike control, everything I could think of) and then had her take the BRC, from which she got her license (she came #2 in the class). A couple years later, we took the ERC together. I've seen her learn a great deal from it as well. Highly valuable, regardless of your skill level or experience.

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Re: Safety riding courses......

Postby themainviking » Sun Jan 12, 2014 9:44 am

WingAdmin wrote: Highly valuable, regardless of your skill level or experience.


I second that...
It ain't about the destination - it's all about the journey

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Re: Safety riding courses......

Postby JDMAG » Sun Jan 12, 2014 10:11 am

I took one in October last year. Loved it! It was an MSF coarse but since it was held at the local Harley place, they called it the "riders edge" coarse.

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Re: Safety riding courses......

Postby vinlugg » Sun Jan 12, 2014 10:37 am

Yeh Riders edge is based on the MSF curriculum with a few differences. I have seen a couple of goldwing riding courses offered out west on a race track somewhere. That would be a BLAST!! I also have the "ride like a pro" dvd. I use his suggestions for practice too. The dvd is awesome. I highly recommend it.

Even though I teach the course I need to practice to keep my skills up. I bought a stack of 12 orange cones from a sporting goods store. I drive to a local school, when it's not in session. Set up the cones similar to the course and practice for a good half hour. I'd practice longer but some of the guys I ride with won't come practice with me. That's a good sign that they need to do it!! They've never taken the course and it shows. One of them can't make a slow turn, with his significant other on board and has an Ultra!! He just avoids situations he can't handle or is afraid of. I've offered to give him some "free" help but won't do it. Afraid he'll drop his bike....my come back is , how will you feel when you drop it someday with her on the back?? The other guy we ride with freaks out with the front brake when we're in traffic. Any quick brake lights and he immediately grabs a handful of front and the tire has locked up a few times. Again, I've offered but he's afraid of dropping his too!!!
I feel it's fun to practice. Challenge myself. I keep telling them that they don't have to start with anything abrupt....wean youself into it.
I'm afraid they'll hurt themselves or their ladies.
Happy Riding

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Re: Safety riding courses......

Postby vinlugg » Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:55 am

"I make it a point of going back every two years and taking it again. Every single time, I discover some bad habit[/u] I've acquired, or something new I didn't know."


Our Administrator made a great point. Use it or lose it!! If you don't practice or take a course every couple of years...then your skills degrade. Riding skills have a short shelf life. if you don't PHYSICALLY go out and practice then you'll forget or get out of practice then when you need a skill to instantly reappear to save your bacon.....it either won't or you have to think about it to much which means to late.

I was wondering if there's anyone out there that feels taking these courses aren't worth doing? That you may feel whatever you do is as good or better? I've heard these folks say, these are a waste of time and you can't teach me anything, I've been riding 20 years, so many times but only when they don't know that I teach the course. I would love to hear the other opinion and the reasoning why.
Happy Riding

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Re: Safety riding courses......

Postby glasshead » Wed Jan 22, 2014 6:37 pm

I was just cruising the site and thought I would chime in. I posted this story last summer (or the one before that) but it bears repeating. I rode a cb 750 when I was in my 20's. Never took a course. Almost 40 years later, after not riding for 20 years, I bought an 83 Wing. I was 59 when I bought it, and a bit nervous given the time laps and the size of the bike. I took the basic MS class before I did any riding, (except to get it home). When I finished the course, knew why I dumped the 750 20 years earlier going around a turn. I lived in Southern Arizona at the time and hadn't come across many mountain curves until I moved to Flagstaff.
That would be a fairly good endorsement for the class if it ended there. However.... I live in Lexington, Ky now, with lots of opportunities for windy roads just out of town. The second summer of having the bike, I was riding home from my brother-in-laws down a two lane, narrow country road I had only been on once. There was a spot with a very sharp curve to the right. I was approaching it a bit too fast. All I remember is thinking "I'm going too fast and I see a red blur of a car/truck already in the turn coming my way." There may have been a tiny fraction of a second thought process, but I immediately took my eyes off the red (don't know what kind of vehicle) blur and looked past the turn and pushed the bars right until I came out of the turn. Something on the bike scraped the road all the way around. It happened so fast I didn't have time to panic or be scared. I would not have survived that turn without the training.
I keep saying I am going to take the advanced course. This summer is the one. I still go in a big parking lot at least once a week and practice a few turn arounds and some quick swerves.

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Re: Safety riding courses......

Postby vinlugg » Fri Jan 24, 2014 2:46 am

glasshead wrote:I was just cruising the site and thought I would chime in. I posted this story last summer (or the one before that) but it bears repeating. I rode a cb 750 when I was in my 20's. Never took a course. Almost 40 years later, after not riding for 20 years, I bought an 83 Wing. I was 59 when I bought it, and a bit nervous given the time laps and the size of the bike. I took the basic MS class before I did any riding, (except to get it home). When I finished the course, knew why I dumped the 750 20 years earlier going around a turn. I lived in Southern Arizona at the time and hadn't come across many mountain curves until I moved to Flagstaff.
That would be a fairly good endorsement for the class if it ended there. However.... I live in Lexington, Ky now, with lots of opportunities for windy roads just out of town. The second summer of having the bike, I was riding home from my brother-in-laws down a two lane, narrow country road I had only been on once. There was a spot with a very sharp curve to the right. I was approaching it a bit too fast. All I remember is thinking "I'm going too fast and I see a red blur of a car/truck already in the turn coming my way." There may have been a tiny fraction of a second thought process, but I immediately took my eyes off the red (don't know what kind of vehicle) blur and looked past the turn and pushed the bars right until I came out of the turn. Something on the bike scraped the road all the way around. It happened so fast I didn't have time to panic or be scared. I would not have survived that turn without the training.
I keep saying I am going to take the advanced course. This summer is the one. I still go in a big parking lot at least once a week and practice a few turn arounds and some quick swerves.



Nice example glasshead.

thanks.
Happy Riding

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Re: Safety riding courses......

Postby NKYWinger » Fri Jan 24, 2014 7:16 am

Like so many others; I returned to riding after a lapse of many years on a Gold Wing. I took the BRC course for the insurance discount, but I was surprised at how much I learned! (Again, like so many others)
I'm taking the advanced course this summer...

If you've not taken the BRC - go do it! It'll surprise ya....
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Re: Safety riding courses......

Postby MNAspencade » Wed Feb 12, 2014 9:19 pm

I will be retuning to riding a wing again as the weather clears here in northern MN. My last bike was a naked wing about 20 years ago. I have been reading about the courses and they look to be of good value. The hard part for me is the cost as my budget is tight - though I have a month or so to plan for it.... I also need to get the wing up and running first.

How much practice time should I have before taking the course??

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Re: Safety riding courses......

Postby WingAdmin » Thu Feb 13, 2014 7:15 am

MNAspencade wrote:I will be retuning to riding a wing again as the weather clears here in northern MN. My last bike was a naked wing about 20 years ago. I have been reading about the courses and they look to be of good value. The hard part for me is the cost as my budget is tight - though I have a month or so to plan for it.... I also need to get the wing up and running first.

How much practice time should I have before taking the course??


How much are the courses? Here in Ohio, they are all a flat $25...however perhaps they are state subsidized?

If you're taking the basic course, no previous experience needed. If you're taking the experienced course, you should have at least a year's riding experience under your belt.

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Re: Safety riding courses......

Postby NKYWinger » Thu Feb 13, 2014 9:04 am

Like Admin said for Ohio; here in KY the cost is mostly subsidized by the state. I think the BRC was about $150 and my share was only $30 or so.....
Check with the course administrator to see if your state subsidizes any/all of the cost...
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Re: Safety riding courses......

Postby seelyark1 » Thu Feb 13, 2014 9:13 am

The state of Florida requires you to take this course to get the required motorcycle endorsment on your license. I had ridden for years without one and then they changed the law and required it. Never too old to learn some new tricks! Was sure worth going to, but didn't like the $225 fee. Only one guy failed the course. I don't think he knew how to ride a bicycle, and would have had no business being on the road on a motorcycle. He couldn't keep the bike on the course! Met some very inyeresting people and had a good time taking it. Ride safe, Dave
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Re: Safety riding courses......

Postby WingAdmin » Thu Feb 13, 2014 2:15 pm

seelyark1 wrote:The state of Florida requires you to take this course to get the required motorcycle endorsment on your license. I had ridden for years without one and then they changed the law and required it. Never too old to learn some new tricks! Was sure worth going to, but didn't like the $225 fee. Only one guy failed the course. I don't think he knew how to ride a bicycle, and would have had no business being on the road on a motorcycle. He couldn't keep the bike on the course! Met some very inyeresting people and had a good time taking it. Ride safe, Dave


We had a guy like that on the first Experienced Rider Course I took. He was on a Harley, and couldn't manage a slow corner without his feet on the ground. He really had no business being on a bike on the road with the level of skill he had, let alone being in the course he was taking. He really didn't benefit much from the course, as it was far beyond his skill level. They recommended he go through the BRC.

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Re: Safety riding courses......

Postby Happytrails » Thu Feb 13, 2014 4:35 pm

I took the MSF in Maryland many years ago. At the time I was on a permit and riding a Honda CM400T I bought from a co-worker. I hadn't heard of the MSF but a buddy of mine from work had signed up for it and convinced me to go too. I didn't know what to expect but I really enjoyed the class. Nearly everybody in my class passed and got licensed. The ones who failed only barely failed having done something boned-headed in the heat of the moment. But they were just small things.

There were a couple gentlemen in my class in the mid 60's who had just started riding and they were taking the course with there sons. There was 1 girl and her husband promised to buy her a harley if she got licensed. There were a lot of good stories from our instructors and students. And I recommend taking the MSF to any new riders I meet.

I started riding when I was 26 I think and now I'm almost 51. I continue to practice the things I learned from the MSF often, particularly in spring. I've never taken an Advanced Riders Course yet but I may this year. My feelings about riding are that you can never stop improving or learning. The skills that I learned from the MSF have saved me many times over.
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Re: Safety riding courses......

Postby MNAspencade » Thu Feb 13, 2014 5:29 pm

The course in my area runs $160. I will have to look into it a bit further to see if there is any reimbursements. It would make it nice if it was.

I can see where the skills could be very helpful and much like here meet up with like minded people!

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Re: Safety riding courses......

Postby Fatwing Chris » Thu Feb 13, 2014 6:03 pm

A course here in Ontario will run you around $300 all out of your own pocket.Only takes a couple of mistakes when you start the riding part and they are sending you home.You don't get to finish the day even.They just tell you to rebook(for the same price) and try again.Been more than a few woman leave there(Barrie,Ont) bawling their eyes out and never go back.Not a great learning experience anyway,but for $300 I'll take my chances.For $25 or $50 I'd take it.Alot of insurance companies won't give a discount either for passing the course and others won't even give you a quote if you haven't taken one.

PS This course is mostly for people that don't have their full bike license and if they pass will have a full license.Never talked to anyone that took it that already had a license.
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Re: Safety riding courses......

Postby vinlugg » Fri Feb 14, 2014 12:27 pm

MNAspencade wrote:I will be retuning to riding a wing again as the weather clears here in northern MN. My last bike was a naked wing about 20 years ago. I have been reading about the courses and they look to be of good value. The hard part for me is the cost as my budget is tight - though I have a month or so to plan for it.... I also need to get the wing up and running first.

How much practice time should I have before taking the course??




Here in NH we supply the bike for the BRC and Intermediate classes so if your state offers the same don't worry about the bike part or practicing. We used mostly 250cc bikes.

vin


Happy Riding

Vin
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