Riding the Range…part 2

Riding the Range…why?

 

Ka5ysy

Joined: Feb 01, 2007

Location: Prairieville, LA

 

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Hi Lamble !

 

I have had a great time reading your thread and thoroughly enjoyed your trials and tribulations as a trainee and instructor. It brought back fond memories of my MSF ITC. 

The description of your live lcass at the ITC brought tears of laughter to my eyes as I recognized the predatory cones stalking the unsuspecting students/instructor candidates at every turn, literally!

 I am saddened that you are so frustrated in your first attempts; it will take at least 3-5 classes to begin to feel comfortable and in control. In flying, we refer to this as “being behind the aircraft” and it causes a lot of frustration.

 Another problem I noticed is that the standard MSF class setup is very intense for both the instructors and the students and simply task-overloads a lot of people.  It appears that you want to help instruct people in the proper way to operate a motorcycle, and keep them from becomming a statistic, so your heart is in the right place, so I have a suggestion to you:  Go to your local Harley-Davidson store and find the Riders Edge program manager. It is usually the person who runs the rentals desk. Talk to them about becomming an instructor for our program. The dealer-principal is the person who will sponsor you at the ITC and usually it is no cost to you directly.  The really nice thing about the Riders Edge version of the MSF courses is that it is normally spread over a 5 day period:  Thursday evening 6-9pm, Friday evening 6-9:30pm  Saturday Range 8:00am-3pm then about an hour and a half of class. Sunday range and evaluations from 8am-4pm. We typically give about an hour for lunch on Saturday and Sunday.  Monday evening we finish up the class stuff, give the tests and have a graduation ceremony and cake or whatever to celebrate completion of the course.  The net result is that this is a much easier assimilation process for most students than the  “firehose” version of the weekend classes that a lot of people cannot handle. It is also much more relaxed for the coaches most of the time.

 Moral dilema discussion:

I  also happen to be a NAUI scuba instructor for about 5 years prior to the MSF ITC, so I brought a lot of the training experience and techniques to bear on the motorcycle instruction as they are very similar. In a lot of ways, teaching newbies on motorcycles is exactally like teaching scuba. You have a lot of people (same basic instructor ratios) doing something that can hurt them badly, and you must anticipate their actions and intervene before they do something that cascades into a major accident situation. It is much easier to keep track of the motorcycles than to find that you are missing somebody in bad visibility underwater. Talk about a high pucker factor !!!.

I have absolutely no qualms about counselling out someone from a scuba class or a motorcycle class that presents an unacceptable risk to himself or others, because ultimately, that is your responsibility. We make absolutely clear to students in the scuba classes and the motorcycle classes that they are not for everyone, and that they must their cards and they will not be given simply because somebody paid for it. 

The last two motorcycle classes I have coached, I counselled out two students each because they could not control the clutch and were constantly doing mini-wheelies or stalling the bikes, causing delays to those students behind them, and dropping the bikes excessively. Usually after a lot of consecutive stalls I will ask someone if they would feel safe driving with their loved ones on the back  in the traffic we have around here, with the problems they are having. I complement them on the progress they have made, but gently suggest that the next instuction block will present difficulties they cannot master with their current skill level. In all cases, they realize this themselves, and will agree to a ‘drop on request”. They have the option to reschedule the riding portions again, however generally realize at that time that motorcycling is not for them, and will have left the program with their heads held high, because they opted out voluntarily.

 

Then there are those in the class that are not there for themselves: Their significant other is a biker and wants them to be a biker also. This is a major common problem with scuba diving instruction also. I have literally had wives and even some husbands that were on the verge of having panic attacks because they were so scared of the activities about to occur. Handle this with a quiet discussion away from everyone, and they will usually admit their fears and tell you it is not their thing. I will volunteer to tell the significant other the problem, and this usually comes a a surprise to them as they assume the other person is ok with the class. Bikers have precisely the same problem and it can be handled the same way.

 

Then there are the ones who are told by somebody that they absolutely have to take the class. Usually these are the teenagers whose parents care about them, and know they need instruction. You can read body language that they are totally unimpressed with having to sit in class since the know it all already. (Similar problem with self-taught bikers that for some reason are told they need an MSF card to be allowed to do some activity -military base riders for example). They sometime present hard nuts to crack but they can mostly be reached. Generally they realize they dont know everything after the limited space maneuvers when they cant ride the box, because they dont understand counterweighting.  Sometime the eye-openers are the press to steer ones at speed.

 

I know this is longish, but please do not get discouraged before you even get started. Teaching is hard, but very rewarding in the long run, and I love it when the “light bulb” goes on in student eyes.  

Definitely go see about the Harley-Davidson Riders Edge program. If you are interested, pm me and I will send you the regional lead instructor’s name and contact information for you discuss it with him.

 

Keep the faith and dont quit !  As the military taught me long ago: Adapt, Improvise and Overcome.  Failure is not an option !  NEVER QUIT!

 

Doug 

 

 

Posted on 07/05/2007 at 20:25

 

 

Lamble

Joined: Jan 10, 2007

Location: Seattle, WA

 

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Re: Coaching

Doug, such an impassioned message almost, very nearly, had me re-thinking. The HD does sound less frenetic for all involved. Problem is, I’ve just had two of the most enjoyable riding weekends I’ve had for many a year and there’s so much more I’d like to see and do. And with working full time now, I’m being selfish with my time.

 

I do admire anyone that delivers rider training and adding scuba just takes it up a notch, you can lose students in all three dimensions underwater.

 

Thanks, but I don’t think I’ll be going back to class.

 

Watch out for the bouys by the way, you know they are just cones on steroids don’t you?

 

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Lamble Banish bland www.unchainedworld.com recommendations@unchainedworld.com GS1150 ADV: Unchained Across the USA blog www.roughguidesintouch.com/lamble

 

Posted on 07/05/2007 at 20:23

 

Ka5ysy

Joined: Feb 01, 2007

Location: Prairieville, LA

 

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cones and things.

Lamble said:

Watch out for the bouys by the way, you know they are just cones on steroids don’t you?

 

 

I have actually had “Cone desensitization therapy”, so no problems here now

I do, however, confess to coneacide from time to time. Totally self defense, you understand. Cone shells, however, have the most potent neurotoxin in the sea, so I am somewhat paranoid around them for obvious reasons. Their harpoon is deadly!

 

I don’t have a problem with sharks and barracuda either, as we attorneys have a professional courtesy thing with them 

 

come on….   stay with it. If you need a really great business reason, how about this:

Being an instructor means the ability to write off motorcycle stuff as business expense when used for the instruction. This means operating costs, gear, maintenance etc.  

I have even been riding my R1200R doing courthouse runs and visiting clients which makes for another business expense deduction (milage) and to top it off, billable hours to boot!  Getting paid for riding a motorcycle is GREAT !

 

See… you really, really need to stay with the instructing !  Besides, you don’t have to do it every weekend. I don’t!

Posted on 07/05/2007 at 22:51

 

Lamble

Joined: Jan 10, 2007

Location: Seattle, WA

 

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Re: cones and things.

Lamble said:

Watch out for the bouys by the way, you know they are just cones on steroids don’t you?

[/quote]

 

I have actually had “Cone desensitization therapy”, so no problems here now

I do, however, confess to coneacide from time to time. Totally self defense, you understand. Cone shells, however, have the most potent neurotoxin in the sea, so I am somewhat paranoid around them for obvious reasons. Their harpoon is deadly!

 

I don’t have a problem with sharks and barracuda either, as we attorneys have a professional courtesy thing with them 

 

come on….   stay with it. If you need a really great business reason, how about this:

Being an instructor means the ability to write off motorcycle stuff as business expense when used for the instruction. This means operating costs, gear, maintenance etc.  

I have even been riding my R1200R doing courthouse runs and visiting clients which makes for another business expense deduction (milage) and to top it off, billable hours to boot!  Getting paid for riding a motorcycle is GREAT !

 

See… you really, really need to stay with the instructing !  Besides, you don’t have to do it every weekend. I don’t!

 

 

Unchainedworld.com is my riding tax deductable, trying to find unique places to eat and ride to.

I’m sure I’ll not be carrying on, it was a  challenge to qualify that I can chalk down to experience. Now my experiences need to be cast wider than Boeing’s parking lots.

 

I sense your real satisfaction in your undertakings, so I howish you continued enjoyment.

Those cone shells sound vicious, almost as bad as the attorney I’m having a run in with, on the BMWMOA site.

 

Steve.

 

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Lamble Banish bland www.unchainedworld.com recommendations@unchainedworld.com GS1150 ADV: Unchained Across the USA blog www.roughguidesintouch.com/lamble

 

Posted on 07/06/2007 at 15:59

 

Lamble

Joined: Jan 10, 2007

Location: Seattle, WA

 

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read all about it!

For a while I did wield the sharp end of a bic in anger, and the question that always arose was, how many questions should you ask? the answer was always one more.

So when I informed the jounalist who’d approached me about doing an article on being a Brit motorcycle instructor over here, that I had resigned, I was, as expressed here, concerned that the next occurance would be a series of difficult questions.

But no.

It appears that unless an article is spoon feed by a PR compant and only requires cut and paste, the journalists can’t be bothered.

 

“oh so why did you resign after only one day?”

It would seem a logical question to have posed.

So, I’m not faced with any inquisitive journo’s probings, which is a shame because I’d have liked to get Unchainedworld and the paper, scissor, rock concept out to a wider audience. Perhaps I’ll need a PR company’s pre prepared pap to get that in the press?

Or I could do a publicity stunt.:

Headline

Cone man the Bavarian

BMW rider found guilty in cone-ection to mass de-cone-struction.

Cone-demned to solitary cone-finement.

2 million and twenty six other counts to be taken into cone-sideration.

Cone manufacturers said to be in-cone-solable.

The conse-quences are not in-cone-siderable, said the judge to the Cone-sul for the defence, stating that a virulent cone disorder as a plea was un-cone-vincing to the jury and cone-tradicted the norms cone-sidered acceptable cone-duct for a cone-tractor employed here in this cone-tinent.

Cone-sequently, the judge cone-fered and cone-cured with the jury and the cone-viction for cone-icide would run cone-currently with the cone-viction for being a smart alec un-cone-stitutional Brit.

The judge cone cluded, that this cone thing was getting out of hand and could be the worst case of obsessive cone-pulsive disorder on record.

 

The judge then ran screaming from the court.

 

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Lamble Banish bland www.unchainedworld.com recommendations@unchainedworld.com GS1150 ADV: Unchained Across the USA blog www.roughguidesintouch.com/lamble

 

Posted on 07/15/2007 at 20:04

 

Lamble

Joined: Jan 10, 2007

Location: Seattle, WA

 

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Back on Course for the morning

Don’t jump to conclusions, I’m not back in class, well I am, but a different class.

This weekend’s North West GS Rally in Menlo WA, featured a master class clinic by Jimmy and Heather Lewis.

I never knew a GS could do what these folks did on them. I never knew I’d be able to bimble around in a feable attempt to emulate them.

Being back with the student helmet on brought back all the nerves and trepidation. Making turns infront of other riders, on a dirty rutted field was just tempting failure a touch too much. I was the rookie off roader. Sure I had knobblies on, to give me a snowball in hell’s chance of staying upright. Sure to bring reality into the programmme, I had also brought along some serious off road body armour, such was my confidence that at some point there would be a body, dirt, interface taking place.

I elected as a first timer, to go in group B. Group A has an HP in it, plus a KTM, so that class wasn’t my class. Watching these guys reaffirmed my belief that this wasn’t going to be any easier than I’d thought. Jimmy Lewis had both groups going as slowly as possible, counterweighting, slowing to the point of stall then kicking back into motion. He was all elegant, I was all effort, especially as one of my last tight circle slow motion turns had seen me drop the GS infront of the Head Trainer for WA Rider programme. At least the dirt looked fractionally softer than the tarmac’d parking lot at Boeing.

Slowly and painfully the exercise came to an end. Forearm muscles don’t build up pushing computer keys and I was abusing mine with all the clutch slipping I was doing. Burning, burning burning.

Exercise one ended and I’d stayed upright.

 

“Let’s move onto the soft stuff”. Well excuse me if I don’t share your enthusiasm Mr Paris -Dakar.

It was a horse paddock. It was soft, very soft dirt. It sucked rear wheels into its myre and hung on. Sticking to the hard packed circle for a while seemed like a good plan. Only after several bikes fell, did I feel the weight of peer pressure move sufficiently, to allow me to venture into the deep stuff. My first bogging down was intentional, so I could practise the extraction technique. The second wasn’t.

I still remained inexplicably vertical, when the figure of eight chasms were thrown at us. Okay they were less than a foot deep but from atop a GS they were beckoning cravasses. Dropping in at the cross point and remembering to weight the outside peg I still kept the GS up the right way and made progress around the figure at what I thought was a rather rapid speed. My self delusion hit home when I saw the video later. A lame snail, with an ill fitting orthopeadic shoe could have slithered around faster, even if it had got lost and had to ask directions.

I was less than 12 inches deep, but totally out of my depth.

The only concillation was, not a cone in sight.

 

That was to change in the afternoon session.

 

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Lamble Banish bland www.unchainedworld.com recommendations@unchainedworld.com GS1150 ADV: Unchained Across the USA blog www.roughguidesintouch.com/lamble

 

Posted on 08/13/2007 at 15:57

 

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