As riders, we experience a variety of situations, opportunities, and paths depending on our personal goals as a rider. Some are perfectly content to sit back and enjoy the scenery, while others of us chase the thrills of speed and competition. No matter what aspect of riding you enjoy, we can all benefit from gaining more rider education. The real question is how, and where, to gain the best education we can.
Like many things in life, money can buy us a lot in the form of a riding education. From schools to classes, from parking lots to race tracks, there are a variety of opportunities available. One of the great things about being located in a part of the country where riding is common, we have many resources available. Some of the courses that I have seen include different skill level classes from barely beyond MSF to advanced “slow speed” drills, often hosted by a private party or even a local police department.
If one is choosing to pursue something a bit more advanced, there are several classes such as Precision Trackday’s Try The Track (or T3) course that offers opportunities for riders who are looking to improve their skills but who aren’t interested in or quite ready for a full on trackday. Courses such as these are a great way for riders to improve their skills no matter what bike or style of riding they choose.
Of course there are also regular trackdays with a variety of providers with a different atmosphere to each. Some providers, such as the aforementioned Precision Trackdays offer novice schools where you combine classroom and on track instruction into your day (at no extra cost).
For those with the resources, advanced, intensive schools such as the Yamaha Champions Riding School or Keith Code’s California Superbike School provide in depth, immersive schooling experiences for intermediate to advanced riders. Other classes with a heavier emphasis on all-style street riding can be found sprinkled around the state. Any opportunity to improve skills in an intensive environment is money well spent!
Some riders seem to naturally have a hunger for learning – perhaps a lack of “natural” talent can encourage that desire. I’ve noticed that the riders who seem the most interested in learning, the ones who hunger for those opportunities, are often times those who aren’t just naturally “good.”
Many people who start riding later in life experience this struggle since they are trying to learn something after the brain has moved beyond its plasticity phase (yes, it has been proven that children have a more plastic brain for learning, or relearning, “muscle memory” activities).
Teaching is another way to learn. In order to explain something to the newer rider, you have to really break down and understand what it is you are doing, why you are doing it and how. Try to explain to a new rider how to coordinate clutch and brake release when they don’t understand either….you’ll gain a new appreciation for the subtleties of what you do!
Photo from our friends at 4theRiders.com