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DECA Pre-Learner course notes (Hobart)

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' at netrider.net.au started by SiliconDreamer, Sep 13, 2006.

  1. I have written this because its what I was looking for before I started the course. Just an idea of what I would be doing and how difficult it might be.

    DECA Pre-Learner Training Course - Tasmania

    I thought it was a good course. 85% of the time was outside.
    The course is competancy based - so there is no test at the end.

    Day 1 covers alot for a beginner:
    1.1 Mounting, handling, walking with the bike.
    1.2 Balance exercise (being pushed)
    1.3 Stopping and starting the engine. Finding gears. Other controls.
    1.4 Clutch friction point (rolling forward)
    1.5 Complete clutch engagement
    1.6 Laps of area, including changes to second gear

    Day 2:
    2.0 Classroom stuff.
    2.1 Laps of area (again)
    2.2 Cornering (~30k/hr)
    2.3 Slow speed skills
    2.4a Front brake "setup"
    2.4b Emergency braking "squeeezzzeee"
    2.5 Simulated road exercise.

    I think thats all, and the order may be a bit different depending on instructor.

    My personal experience did not go beyond step 1.1 before the course.
    After day 1, I really felt the need to practice clutch and throttle control. Luckily I had a bike and a good area to practice on that evening.

    For anyone doing the course, I would recommend having some experience upto/including point 1.4. I think there is an introductory
    Pre-Learners offered by DECA which would give you that experience if you have never ridden before.

    The 2 days are either morning or afternoon sessions (4 hours each). I reccommend the morning sessions as this gives you time to practice more afterwards on day 1, and go do the theory test on day 2.

    The instructor (Duncan), was always encouraging and appeared to enjoy his job.

    In terms of expected skill levels...well no one fell off the bike during my course, but there was a bit of bunny hopping, stalling, missed gears and over revving - and that was just from me!
  2. Hey thanks silicondreamer....I'm in Vic but I'm sure the same applies here. Nice to know what's expected.

    When you say 'emergency braking' do you mean using both the front and rear brakes?

    At the motorcycle intro course I did, we only learnt how to use the rear brake, which is quite simple. The front brake is something that's going to require a little more skill and practice I think... :)
  3. Essentially, yes.
    I was very impressed just how short a distance I could actually stop in (only going 30 khr though).
  4. nice report.. im trying to encourage a mate of mine over there to get his bike licence. he wants to, but is a bit worried about the whole riding thing.. something liek this would be perfect for him i think.

    do you drive a manual car? when doig my learners i felt that driving a man car helped me figure out the clutch thing...
  5. Hey Silicon Dreamer, great report and welcome. I did the learner and P course in January of this year over consecutive weekends with Stay Upright and it was fantastic.

    Let us know how it all goes and if you want support, advice tips and tricks from more experienced riders just ask - I am in Kingston too BTW.

    When you are up and running some of us also meet up on rides so keep in touch.
  6. Sounds good silicondreamer! After my disasterous first go am booked in for the Introductory next Monday and then the Pre-Learners Oct 21st if there isn't a spot beforehand.

    I am told I have Duncan for the session and he is very good so fingers crossed. Did you find you could complete everything to his satisfaction in the 15 min time slots or were you given a bit extra time for the things you struggled with? I take it you passed in any case - well done!
  7. They must have changed the course since i did it (back in 2001). Everything described was done in one day, instead of splitting it up into two. And even then, for someone like myself who could ride a motorbike before hand, it was really boring.
  8. Yes it is a really good introduction - and things are taught in sequence - so your confidence and skills are built up and your not attempting something too hard first up.

    Yes I have been driving a manual car for about 8 years. The concept about friction point is the same - as is the consequence of just dumping the clutch!
  9. Thanks for the offer. I have a mentor at the moment (Father in Law is an ex Ulysses club president), and I am just cruising around the new housing subdivisions where there is little traffic so I am probably right for the moment.

    But once I have have improved my basic skills, I would be interested in finding out whats involved in the P course and getting my skills up to an appropiate level.
  10. They were not really 15 minute times slots. Points 1.1 - 1.5 took about 2 hours and then there was probably 1 hour just cruising around practicing gear changes, rear braking and clutch control.
    Duncan is very keen to ensure students have as much "bum on seats" time as possible, because "thats where its at".

    I thought I struggled on day 1 getting the clutch/throttle/brake thing going smoothly - but Duncan was very encouraging. It was obvious I had never ridden before and he in no way tried to undermine my learning.

    Later that day when practicing with my mentor - his advice was just to leave the front brake completely alone (only going slow anyway) and focus entirely on clutch friction point. I was practicing on a sloped turning circle which was a great way to work those controls.

    If you like, PM me and I can give you my phone number.
  11. Most of the guys im my course also had experience (probably dirt bike).

    I agree that the course does have to deal with both types of learners - those with no experience and those with lots.

    Its all about ensuring that all learners are at least up to a minimum skill level.

    Would you prefer the course to be shorter or more interesting?
  12. It doesnt matter what i'ld prefer the course to be, ive already done it :)
    I thought a one day course was fine, the only way for it to be more interesting would be to split the course into two parts, one with prior experience and one without. But that would most likely make it more expensive at the same time.

    Granted there are some people who go on the course who have never sat on a bike before let alone had several year hooning around an apple orchard on a dirt bike. It was just a little frustrating paying a good some of money to do the course to start with 'how to get on and off a bike'. Even then there was one girl who didnt pass.
  13. Thanks for this, Silicon. It's really handy to know what they cover as I'm booked in for my pre-learners in mid-June.

    I'm a brand noob and I did my "Intro to motorcycle riding" course with DECA about 3 weeks ago.

    The "Intro" course covered everything on day 1 of the pre-learners, except that it was kind of self-paced so if you weren't ready for the gear changes, you didn't have to do it and could just do laps instead.

    The "Intro" course was great for me as I'd never ridden a motorcycle before.. or even sat on one for that matter. Also, I've only driven an automatic car so it was really nice to get a chance to learn the clutch stuff without the annoyance of thinking I'd wasted $200+ if I failed to grasp it.

    Plus, I got an opportunity to do all the really stupid things out of the way, like dropping the bike during the "balance exercise". (The instructor said it was the most delicate bike drop he'd seen.. I guess that was mainly because I was thinking "Nooo! I can save it! Nooo.. I can save.. oh, it's on the ground.. oopsies".. I managed to pull something in my back trying to save it too). :cry:

    I also nearly ran into another rider (the virago too) while attempting to park. It was thanks to a large gaping gutter that just appeared out of nowhere and tried to eat me.. .. .. ok, maybe I ran wide and there was a medium.. small gutter that I nearly fell in. It was a lesson well-learned in keeping my eyes up. :shock:

    All in all it was a good 4 hour course and well worth the $70ish to do it. Even if I did nearly lose my leg to a run-away scooter.. TWICE. Gotta love the headchecks.. :grin: