Experiences from the Experienced Rider Course
May 14, 2010 at 7:25 pm #3961
Last night I did the ERC offered by my local ABATE group. Overall, it was a good evening, and a good chance to practice up on my skills.
The exercises were the same ones that I remembered from the BRC- cone weaves, off-set cone weaves, the box, and cornering drills. I kind of felt like we rushed through everything though since, with the exception of the cornering drills, we would only do 2-3 reps of each exercise. I know it was a time thing (we ran over 1/2 an hour on a five hour class), but I would have liked to spend more time and gotten some more feedback.
It didn’t surprise me, but I had less trouble with the low speed drills than with the cornering. Coming back to the more feedback thing- I’m still not sure why I was taking it wide every time. Yes, I was braking coming into the curve, yes, I was turning my head. I probably wasn’t braking enough. But I think it was really that I wasn’t initiating the turn soon enough. They only marked the inside of the curve, not the outside- so maybe that threw me off. I honestly don’t know.
As for the class itself- I was the only female student (out of seven) and one of the instructors was a woman. She was all business, while the other instructor was more lighthearted. The other instructor had also been my instructor for the BRC last summer- he even remembered me.
Most of the guys were on big cruisers (mostly Harleys, one Victory, and I think that there was a Kawasaki). There was one guy on one of the monster sized dual sports that seem to be favorites up here. My bike was pronounced “cute” and someone asked if it was a Softtail. I guess I don’t need that Harley afterall.
My little Thumper was also the smallest bike there, hands down. Some of the guys kept bitching about how difficult it was to get their big bikes around the cones and through the box. I told them I had no sympathy, to get a copy of “Ride Like a Pro” and see how real men ride their Harleys. “But I just want to go ride on the road- this has nothing to do with real riding…” Whine, whine, whine.
What was incredible to me was that I apparently was the only person in the class who had taken the BRC. It seems that most of the other guys were in there because the ERC and BRC are interchangeable as replacements for the riding test at the DMV. And here I’d been hoping to not have to listen to people bellyache about the test at the end.
At one point, one of the guys asked me why I was taking the ERC again when I had already taken the BRC. “Just because I wanna” didn’t seem like an appropriate answer, and my MMA training for a bar fight analogy didn’t seem like it would fly in this group, so I explained that I believed that it was a good idea to practice my riding skills regularly, especially given that my bike had spent the last five months cocooned in my garage.
Anyway, it was a good experience- even if the ego level irked me. I’d really like to have the opportunity to arm bar one or two of the guys. It would be soo… satisfying. *sigh*
So, my new mission, which I happily choose to accept, it to put more practice into cornering.
OwlieMay 14, 2010 at 8:41 pm #26450MunchParticipant
Were you accelerating through the turn?May 14, 2010 at 10:25 pm #26451IBA270Participant
You can take the ERC to satisfy the riding portion? OMG….
At any rate, the u-turn box on the ERC is ridiculously large. If those dudes can’t u-turn in the box, or the most generous off-set weave…watch out for them on the road. The can’t ride!!!
Good on you for taking more training! You were running wide becaue you weren’t looking far enough or pressing hard enough…or both. No worries…something to practice on!May 15, 2010 at 12:04 am #26452TrialsRiderParticipant
I haven’t seen you ride so it’s difficult to judge, but;
If you find yourself going late and wide in the turns, perhaps it’s as simple as a mind set and you are hesitant to initiate the turn. You need to pitch that thing into those turns with just a little more confidence and commitment, practice should help you learn the limits and to enjoy the feeling of carving turns, instead of fearing them and looking forward to going in straight lines all the time. It’s like downhill skiing, straight runs are just a way to gain speed and have a blast in that next corner.
I know easier said than done, right …or does this sound like something the trainers have suggested ?May 15, 2010 at 1:01 am #26455WeaponZeroParticipant
I’ve been thinking of taking the ERC myself. I feel uncomfortable riding it in the fact that some low speed exercises still come difficult to me on it even though I can do them easily on other bikes. I can do the box on my dad’s Kawasaki KZ400, I can do it on my friend’s dual sport, and I was able to do it on the BRC bikes. But I can’t do it on my own SV650, despite the fact that it’s the bike I know the best and have been riding for 2 years now. Something about the weight, I don’t know, but I just can’t turn at the slow speeds I need to do to be able to do the Box without it falling in.May 15, 2010 at 3:04 am #26456eonParticipant
Actually that sounds like a good reason to take it. There might be something simple you are doing wrong that an experienced eye will pick up. It’s probably some confidence thing that prevents you from doing it on your own bike as I assume the bike can do it easy enough. I had a helluva of tome mastering it on my scooter as it is heavy with lots of breakable plastic parts. Made it hard to commit to such a low speed turn.
And as Owlie mentioned, you will be shocked at the so called “experienced” riders who wobble around.May 15, 2010 at 6:17 am #26460eternal05Participant
I can do the box in about 2/3 of the allowed test space on my DR-Z, but when I used to ride my GSX-R on the street, I sometimes struggled to stay inside the lines at all. It took me months of weekly practice to finally get the box down on that bike. The combination of very high gearing in 1st gear (it’s geared for 82mph), almost no handlebar turning range lock-to-lock (a safety feature for high-speed head shake), and the combination of extreme top-heaviness and almost no fork rake made it extremely difficult to turn tightly at low speed. A tiny bit too little throttle/clutch, or a bit too much pressure on the bars and the bike would just dive into a lean. I could turn in a really tight circle, but only after slowly tightening it up from a bigger circle. That first dive from upright to full lean was just terrifying. Just keep practicing and, even though you’ll always find it easier on other bikes, you’ll eventually get it. Be stubbornMay 15, 2010 at 6:24 am #26462eternal05Participant
Owlie, these are the five reasons one typically runs wide:
1) Trying to make the turn at too high a speed (unlikely, unless you’re scraping hard parts)
2) Not turning hard enough (e.g., afraid to lean more, not putting enough force on the bars, inadvertently leaning your upper body away from the turn, etc.)
3) Not turning in fast enough, i.e, taking too long to get the bike from upright to turned in (if you’re running wide before the apex)
4) Turning in too early (if you’re running wide on the exit)
5) Rolling on too much throttle on the way out
Do you think you might be doing any of these?May 15, 2010 at 12:53 pm #26471ShamRock229Participant
Yeah, I would definitely be afraid of dropping my own bike, so I probably wouldnt commit 100% to the technique…where as on the MSF bike, I would go all out because it’s not actually MY bike….plus as you said, it’s a lot lighter and easier to control. Kind of like going from a mountain bike to a BMX bike…May 16, 2010 at 1:26 am #26477
Thanks for all of the suggestions guys. My guess is that it is probably #3 on Eternal’s list. I say that because I remember that when I started looking for the exit, I was always looking over my shoulder.
Thanks for all the comments and suggestions guys. It is a beautiful clear day outside- I’m going for a ride. Eternal- I owe you some ride pics.May 16, 2010 at 1:34 am #26476
I know- it is wild. I would have preferred that it didn’t because a) I think that the test is a distraction to practicing the exercises and b) the test cut into time that could be used for instruction.
However, in the end, I would rather that riders who are unwilling to take the BRC for whatever reason have an opportunity to get some real instruction…May 16, 2010 at 2:01 am #26482IBA270Participant
Can’t disagree with that…it is better than nothing.
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