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 Motorcycle Safety
 Rider Training Courses
 Proper Mindset for Training
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CaptCrash
Male Advanced Member
744 Posts
[Mentor]


Nampa, ID
USA

Honda

Phantom
Peer Review: 1

Posted - 07/15/2012 :  7:41 PM                       Like
Yesterday I was part of "Counseling Out" a struggling rider in training. This was in a Basic 1 course and I'll just say this was a middle aged rider. After the fact the other Instructor came up to me and said, "Last night during the introductions as riders introduced themselves that rider gave their name and then said, 'And I'm really scared'--so I kinda saw that coming."

So you know what was happening this rider would start to move the bike and paddlewalk, then get enough speed that the bike would straighten up and start to work at which point they would put feet on pegs, make a frightened face, chop the throttle and put their feet back down. We use a "three strikes" method and I delivered the first 2 strikes, pulling the rider aside and saying "You need to keep your feet up" followed by another discussion of "You have to keep your feet up". We even had the opportunity to do some one on one and nothing helped. In the long run the rider realized that "today ain't the day" and we parted ways.

I tell this a preparation because, to my mind, this rider entered training without any hope of successfully completing.

Wait. Did I just blame a student for their own failure? Yes, yes I did. Why would I do such a thing? Because in any kind of training the mental attitude the student brings is vitally important.

If you come to training expecting defeat you will probably get what you are looking for: failure.

When you decide to ride and take a rider training course you've made a good choice. However, taking a course is no guarantee of passing that course and unfortunately there's so much pressure to pass that folks get into their own heads and damage their own ability to learn.

Tbe first mistake riders in training take is "taking the course to get endorsed". I understand. That's a wonderful way to bypass the guys at Motor Vehicles, but it's not what you should be taking the course for. Because you've placed a huge payoff at the end you've actually upped the stakes and made things harder on yourself. I've actually had students say to me things like: "If I don't pass my husband says he'll just ride by himself he's tired of me on the back." And, "My wife said pass or sell the bike." Others say things like, "I'm going on a trip with my sons and if I'm not endorsed I can't go." Oh, these seem trivial to some of us but getting cut out an important family activity can put real pressure on folks. Should you jump from training to a cross country ride? Probably not but the pressure students bring on themselves is astonishing whether it's for legitimate reasons or not.

How do you stay out of your own head when you're getting trained?

First--remember it's not one and done. You can retake the course. You're not there to get licensed you're there to learn to ride. I guarantee you that your skill set (rank novice or returning rider) will get better with training. Every student I've ever had fail left as a better rider. The only failure was according to the numbers. Every rider gets better with training. Ever rider leaves better for having been there. Don't set a threshold for success that is really a hurdle. Remember: you go where you look and if you're focused on failing--you'll hit it.

Second--Be coachable. Take instruction. This is a bit of a trust relationship. Motorcycling requires a bit of a leap of faith at times, you have to be able to say, "OK. I'll try it." I'm not saying close your eyes and jump off a cliff; I'm saying if you're used to staring at the ground 20 feet in front of you and the coaches are standing at the end of a curve saying "Look up--Look at me!" Try it. they're not making stuff up they're working on building your basic skill set.

Third--Don't be needy. You're in a class of 12. A coach can't spend the entire time running alongside holding your hand. They just can't. You need to bring some confidence with you and you need to share course resources. Approach a coach on break but don't stop the whole show for long discussion on countersteering during an exercise. Likewise don't stop the process by constantly asking "how'm I doing coach?" If you're really screwing up they'll tell you. Sometimes it's safe to assume that no feedback means you're doing it right.

In the end you're taking a course to learn to ride. Does that happen in one day? Does anyone learn any skill completely in one day? Training is the start of a process not the end of a process. Go in with your mind set on learning not licensing and you'll be happy with the outcome.

Edited by - CaptCrash on 07/16/2012 12:28 AM

SkootchNC
Male Advanced Member
1062 Posts
[Mentor]


raleigh, north carolina
USA

Harley-Davidson

road glide

Posted - 07/16/2012 :  5:07 AM
quote:
Originally posted by CaptCrash

Did I just blame a student for their own failure? Yes, yes I did. Why would I do such a thing? Because in any kind of training the mental attitude the student brings is vitally important.



On another forum I frequent..... there are many BRC students who fail the class, and blame the instructor , because the instructor was harsh... or gruff, or even (god forbid) "yelled".

I usually reply , if an instructor's behavior upsets you... how will you deal with traffic???
alas, far too many people see the classes as an "easy way out"
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Axiom2000
Male Moderator
1761 Posts
[Mentor]


Georgetown, Delaware
USA

BMW

F 800 GT

Posted - 07/16/2012 :  6:40 AM
quote:
On another forum I frequent..... there are many BRC students who fail the class, and blame the instructor , because the instructor was harsh... or gruff, or even (god forbid) "yelled".

I usually reply , if an instructor's behavior upsets you... how will you deal with traffic???
alas, far too many people see the classes as an "easy way out"


Unfortunately, it seems like the prevailing culture for many is to not accept personal responsibility and look to blame anyone or anything for ones failures. I try to make it very clear, as instructors we will do everything within our power to insure a successful outcome, we will demonstrate, coach, instruct, offer tips, correct errors and encourage. But at the end of the day they, the students are responsible for the learning and demonstration of the required skills.

Often I am asked, "How many students have you flunked". My reply is always the same. "Both the written test and the riding evaluation are objective tests, on the written test you either answered the questions correctly or not. The riding evaluation is graded on a specific set of objective criteria, you either went fast enough or not, hit a line or cone or not, stopped quick enough or not. lines and cones on the pavement and times on stop watches are not subject to my opinion. Although I have recorded any number of unsuccessful scores I have never flunked anyone".

There have been many times when I felt like yelling at students, but resisted the urge. It just seems to me if I have to yell it's a sign I have lost control of either myself or the situation. Maybe some would react well to that type of discipline, but if it reached a point where you had to yell at someone, more than likely they should have been asked to leave before it ever reached that level.
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gymnast
Moderator
4260 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, Idaho
USA

Harley-Davidson

Sportster Sport

Peer Review: 1

Posted - 07/16/2012 :  9:51 AM
Riding a motorcycle in traffic will instruct one in the realities of personal responsibility in ways that are unique to a vehicle that one sits upon, rather than rides within. One's success or failure as a rider largely depends on the attitudes and self-knowledge one has acquired at the time he or she is introduced to the activity; and the specific activity-related knowledge and skills that are learned through formal instruction and/or mentoring by knowledgeable role models.

These things, along with caution and occasional good luck, may reduce the likelihood of need for emergency medical services over the period of one's participation as a motorcycle operator.

Not all persons are suited to be motorcycle operators. Those not suited are best culled during a (rigorous) off-road course of instruction, rather than being injured while using the public roadways as a result of improper/unsuitable attitude or lack of knowledge and/or essential basic skills.
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rmcdaniel
Male Starting Member
4 Posts


Grand Rapids, MI
USA

(None)

Posted - 07/04/2013 :  10:48 PM
Here's my strategy:
I'm going to read a bunch and watch lots of videos, so I am not clueless when I finally get to take my MSF beginner course. I'm going to take a training course so I can get my cycling endorsement. I'm going to get my cycling endorsement so I will be able to take lots and lots of test drives. I'm going to take lots and lots of test drives so I can find the bike that is best for me. I'm going to buy the bike that is best for me so that it is comfortable to learn on and capable of accommodating me as I grow as a biker. I'm going to buy a comfortable bike with room for growth so that I can spend tons of time in parking lots and quiet side streets, followed by lots of fun riding on daily commutes and weekend trips. I'm going to do lots of fun commutes and trips because I'm in love with motorcycling (even before I've ever driven one). I will NOT begin with that last step. The prior steps are crucial to enjoying the last.
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rayg50
Male Moderator
2083 Posts
[Mentor]


NYC, NY
USA

Honda

Shadow Spirit 750DC

Posted - 07/05/2013 :  8:16 AM
quote:
I'm going to get my cycling endorsement so I will be able to take lots and lots of test drives. I'm going to take lots and lots of test drives so I can find the bike that is best for me.
IMO, you need to rethink this part of your game plan.

As you read through prior threads you will find a theme come up quite often. That theme says that even experienced riders drop a few notches in ability when they get on a new (to them) bike. HP, friction zone, brakes, to name a few, are variables that one needs to become accustomed to. This results in another theme of increased PLP (parking lot practice) and easing into riding it in traffic. IMO, muscle memory, that we all strive to attain, that is a positive on one bike can be a recipe for disaster when it kicks in on a different bike. A very experienced rider, on this forum, recently mentioned selling one of his bikes (in the past) because of the mismatch in its front brake sensitivity to his muscle memory. IMO, words of wisdom by him to be noted and filed away for future reference by us all.

Sit on as many bikes as you can to find the one that feels right to you. Then read the technical specs to see if it is one that is appropriate to your current or post BRC skill level (ask here). Keep in mind that if you enjoy riding this will probably not be the only bike you ever own. This one just has to be right for you at this point in time (IMO).

quote:
I'm going to take a training course so I can get my cycling endorsement.
Reread the original post and give its excellent advise some thought.

My personal philosophy has been that if you enjoy something you can become good at it. The extra time that you may need to devote to it becomes something you look forward to. Take the BRC to gain skill, to learn safety, and most importantly to have some fun. The endorsement will just be icing on the cake.

my .02

BTW, excellent that you are reading through prior threads!!!
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greywolf
Male Moderator
1484 Posts
[Mentor]


Evanston, IL
USA

Suzuki

DL650AL2

Posted - 07/05/2013 :  10:03 AM
Good luck finding dealers who allow test rides, especially to inexperienced riders.
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SkootchNC
Male Advanced Member
1062 Posts
[Mentor]


raleigh, north carolina
USA

Harley-Davidson

road glide

Posted - 07/06/2013 :  6:05 AM
Two thoughts....

To the best of my knowledge ... only H-D and BMW usually offer "test rides". Other dealerships will do so... when the "Demo-truck" is in town, and the mother company is absorbing the cost.


I would caution you against doing too much reading/video watching before the class. My concern is that one could develop opinions on what is "right" and that may interfere with ones absorption of the course material

Get a good night's sleep (difficult when anticipating the road ahead). Enter the class with an open mind, and an "I'm hear to LEARN" attitude.


PS... and re-visiting my previous post.... I was never convinced an instructor would "yell at" a student... just speaking louder to be heard...which an
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rkfire
Advanced Member
1713 Posts


Stratford, CT
USA

Suzuki

Bandit

Peer Review: Blocked

Posted - 07/06/2013 :  11:35 AM   Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
quote:
Originally posted by rmcdaniel

Here's my strategy:
I'm going to read a bunch and watch lots of videos, so I am not clueless when I finally get to take my MSF beginner course. I'm going to take a training course so I can get my cycling endorsement. I'm going to get my cycling endorsement so I will be able to take lots and lots of test drives. I'm going to take lots and lots of test drives so I can find the bike that is best for me. I'm going to buy the bike that is best for me so that it is comfortable to learn on and capable of accommodating me as I grow as a biker. I'm going to buy a comfortable bike with room for growth so that I can spend tons of time in parking lots and quiet side streets, followed by lots of fun riding on daily commutes and weekend trips. I'm going to do lots of fun commutes and trips because I'm in love with motorcycling (even before I've ever driven one). I will NOT begin with that last step. The prior steps are crucial to enjoying the last.



As others said, good luck getting test drives.

As for the watching videos. Be cautious with that, there's an awful lot of BAD information out there. Our own CaptCrash has some excellent videos posted on youtube though.

I think the best source of all is the Safety Tips found right on this forum. That pink button up top and to the right. Or the download them all button below. Start with the "New Rider" tips and keep going.
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scottrnelson
Advanced Member
6914 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, ID
USA

Honda

XR650L, 1090 Adv R

Posted - 07/06/2013 :  12:28 PM
quote:
Originally posted by SkootchNC

To the best of my knowledge ... only H-D and BMW usually offer "test rides".
Triumph, KTM, and Ducati have also given me test rides on their bikes other than when their demo truck was in town.
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Magnawing
Male Senior Member
281 Posts


The Woodlands, TX
USA

Honda

VF750C

Posted - 07/08/2013 :  9:54 AM Follow poster on Twitter
Most of the dealerships I've visited, regardless of brand, had certain models available for test rides. You may have to search around to find a dealer that has a demo model of the particular bike you want but they are out there...just requires a little research.
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greywolf
Male Moderator
1484 Posts
[Mentor]


Evanston, IL
USA

Suzuki

DL650AL2

Posted - 07/08/2013 :  10:09 AM
Even where test rides are available, the first question they ask is how long you've been riding.
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kacinpa
Male Advanced Member
802 Posts
[Mentor]


Lansdale, PA
USA

Triumph

Sprint GT

Posted - 07/08/2013 :  12:05 PM
quote:
Originally posted by greywolf

Even where test rides are available, the first question they ask is how long you've been riding.



And in my experience, even with "Demo Trucks" if you have been endorsed less than 2 years you wont have much selection in what they will allow you to ride.

I agree that far too many people have "To get my M endorsement" as the reason for taking the course. The last section I coached had two participants who already were endorsed but hadn't ridden in a few years who signed up to "brush up" on their skills before buying another bike. They were like sponges trying to pick up whatever they could and responded well to tips and advice. Contrast this to a Father/Son pair a few weeks ago who were taking the course to get endorsed so they could ride to California within a month of the course. They had issues with Path of Travel, keeping their heads up and were not smooth in any way. After coaching they would act on the suggestion the next pass through an exercise but then it would go "poof". In line with what Axiom2000 said, when the time came for skills evaluation, they did not accumulate enough points to fail, so they secured the endorsements they wanted. We talked to them after the class and advised them to re-think their plans, who knows what they ultimately decided though.

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rkfire
Advanced Member
1713 Posts


Stratford, CT
USA

Suzuki

Bandit

Peer Review: Blocked

Posted - 07/08/2013 :  4:42 PM   Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
Connecticut has made MSF class the exclusive method of getting an endorsement. They will not test at the DMV period.

Good luck to the instructors, and class size, as well as motivation to actually learn vs getting their license.

I also have a feeling unendorsed ridership will increase. I know of at least a few that without a license, bought bikes from dealers, insured the bike, registered them in their own name, and riding. It seems weird to me that no one asks about a license. Especially DMV and the insurance company.

No helmet requirement for riders either.



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