New Year, New Resolution Published in American Iron Magazine Issue #308
So we survived the holidays and though winter may still seem to have us in its grasp, it is slowly wearing away. Some of us may have gotten some new add-ons for our rides, whether as a gift or self-gifted, and are getting ready to show them off. Along with the traditions of the holiday season, many of us may have made a resolution or two to try and keep for the New Year. This year, how about deciding on one that would be easy to keep and would improve your riding experiences such as becoming a better rider through education.
I know the most common response is "I know how to ride" or the infamous "I have X years of experience, and they couldn't teach me anything I haven't seen or done." Well, as I have said before, experience is not the same as actual skills. Experience is basically just mental processing of a situation that may have had a physical outcome, but skills are a combination of mental and physical motor skills that will possibly help you avoid a sticky or even painful situation. Look at it this way: the more you think you know how to ride, the more your risk level can increase. No one wants more risk added to his ride; just swinging a leg over that seat for a roll down the road is risky enough, so why add to it?
Don't think that just because I'm a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) RiderCoach I try to push people to take courses. I actually work on practicing what I preach. This past summer I put myself in the position of a student a couple times to keep myself in check (trying not to let my ego tell me that I knew how to ride) and to see if I had developed any possible bad habits that needed attention and/or correction.
The first experience was an MSF BasicRiderCourse 2 (BRC2, formerly known as ERC, the Experienced RiderCourse) that I attended with a local HOG Chapter. After instructing/coaching the course for 10 years, I opted to put myself on the other side of the handlebars for a different experience. Although I did the course with no issues, I found that being a student concentrating on the exercises while on the range with other riders could be a bit distracting and even confusing. This may not have benefited my riding experience, but it certainly was some key information, which I can now use when I go back to the coaching side of things. Knowing what a student may or may not experience can surely help anyone teaching the course to cover or explain possible situations one may encounter.
The second event I went to was an experienced skills practice day with exercises similar to the MSF Bike Bonding RiderCourse and police motor officer skills. This one I didn't breeze through like the previous course; I had to put all my effort into doing things correctly, which I didn't achieve every time. Though I practice tight, slow speed maneuvers as often as I can, doing it on an actual range was definitely different. Some exercises were certainly more difficult than others, but the ones I struggled with were helped by instructors/ coaches telling me what I was doing wrong and how to correct it. Much like my students say to me, my response to them was "Easy for you to say." Yet I worked on what they said to do.
After several tries and practice rounds, and once I let go of some bad habits and trusted the bike, things started to come together and work – I was doing it. Learning new skills and making them work has a very satisfying effect: it makes you want to learn more. That, without a doubt, is one big benefit for anyone who rides. So, I'm here to tell you that if a RiderCoach of 10 plus years and over 40 years of riding “experience” can be in a position to learn and improve on new skills, there are surely many more out there that could do the same.
Having been on both sides of the road, one being the "I know how" mindset and the other riding with education and practiced skills, I can tell you that riding with training on my side is far more enjoyable.
Empire State Motorcycle Safety Education Program
will be at the start location for the 13th Annual Cold Finger Run.
Come on out to support this great event and stop by to say Hi
We have extended our 2 Year Membership Discount of $35
until January 31, 2016
Empire State Motorcycle Safety Education Program, Inc(ESMSEP) is a not for profit, 501(c)3 outreach education organization group of like minded motorcycle safety enthusiasts working towards the goal of promoting motorcycle awareness and the benefits of rider education through FREE informational seminars at libraries, adult continuing ed programs, dealerships, club/group meetings, rallies, etc. Our primary goal is to present the information to licensed motorcycle operators as to the importance of continuing rider education, but our information can also be extremely useful for newer riders as well. To date, there is no one in NYS that presently addresses what we do..
We are a member supported organization and have opened for membership at the end of this March. We have compiled a Member Benefit Program that includes discounted offers from our Sponsoring Partners. ESMSEP currently has 70+ Sponsoring Partners listed on our website that have joined our team with many of them offering a benefit offer for our membership and we are in discussion with another 10-12 companies and major corporations that have expressed interest in being a part of this new exciting venture. All of them are extremely supportive of our task and recognize the value of it for the motorcycling community plus the potential for future customers that appreciate their support of motorcycle safety.