Welcome to Netrider ... Connecting Riders!

Interested in talking motorbikes with a terrific community of riders?
Signup (it's quick and free) to join the discussions and access the full suite of tools and information that Netrider has to offer.

Learner Riding and Skill Development

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by FalomVtr, Feb 12, 2005.

  1. Hey there everybody. Ok lets try to word this the right way as I don't want to offend ANYBODY.

    In recent times Netrider has grown in memebers. A lot of new members are learners which is great. Means more people are hearing about Netrider plus it means our numbers are growing as a group on the roads. This has seen an increase in the number of Q and A threads from learners wishing to get more out of their riding and to gain better skills. We have even begun to run learner friendly rides and even had a learner skill day in which I was involved. :D

    One thing that does concern me however is the potential for this to become a "replacement" for proper training. We have many long term riders and experienced peeps who have lots of info to pass on. The learners also are chatting amongst themselves to analize thier riding to improve. ALL GREAT IDEAS.

    Please however do not think you can get by on just these things. The roads are VERY dangerous these days and I for one have seen behaviour from learners of late that concerns me. Solution?? Go and do a course. :wink:

    Many people think that a course is only for "fast dudes' or "experienced riders" but this is untrue. A cornering school or track course will cover things relevant to ALL rider levels. Granted that you pick a professional group YOU WILL come away learning more than you ever will on public roads with other riders.

    Instructors are instuctors because they have been trained and show ability to pass on correct information at the appropriate time. I am not for an instant suggesting that you all abandon the rides you arrange. Time on the bike is the most important thing of all. It gains you experience. What I do think would help everyone more though is more tuition. That goes for non-learners too.

    I hope this all makes sense and please believe me when I say I write this out of concern for fellow riders and their safety.

    As we become better riders we enjoy our time on the bike more. :D
    Good luck people.

  2. As I understand it, your trying to say that netriders advice and help should be taken as one part of your riding education, and should be mixed with such things as professionally run courses, magazines, books, dvd/videos etc.

    Oh, and of course the best bit... lots and lots of riding 8)

    Sounds fair and very un-offensive to me. I think it's great there are so many people in this group willing to help out us Loonies. (including yourself of course)

  3. Thanks JJ. Obviously I have worded this right as you have understood exactly what I meant. Chatting to other riders about riding is a great way to learn and also fun, but it's a PART of the picture. From experience I can say that courses are just fantastic for improving skills and confidence.

    Stew :D
  4. Actually I believe that the experience of others people can obtain from here improve rider's awareness of safety, and actually 'encourage' further rider training courses. Had I not looked for resources on the net, I would have well bought a bike, done an Ls then a Ps course and have it end at there.

    But because what I've found on netrider, I became alot more aware of how serious 'safe' riding is and how the level skill can make a difference to life or death whether in a racing environment, or just regular commuting.
  5. Agree with everything that's been said so far. The thing is, talk to as many people as possible as well as the professionals it will give you a broad view of motorcycling and help you understand riding from different perspectives. All information will help you be a better rider in the end and that's what counts.
    It's like anything in your life, for instance if you start a hobby you generally talk to others that do the hobby, then you may talk to professionals that can help you obtain the necessary gear, then you talk to some more people, then you may get some training, then talk to some more people, and so the whole learning process continues. I guess it's the same with bike riding.
  6. The learner practice day raised similar concerns in me as well, am I just passing on my own bad habits, am I picking up all/any of the problems a learner had, am I in any way harming the persons chances of developing into a self aware and safe rider? (I know that there was at least one thing I didn't pick up on until Stew pointed it out to me.)

    Getting tips from rank amateurs such as myself did seemed to help the learners that day but I'd be a hell of a lot more comfortable in my sense of definitely being a help to those on the day if they made sure they did the full P course before the test then continued onto intermediate and advanced training from the Pros.
  7. I learnt a heap when on group rides.
    You get to watch others and when you talk to them at the end of it all you walk away with new idea/skills etc.

    I think extra tuition is great but also practising on the road in company of other riders is equally as valuable.

    A ride school will teach you skills and ideas that you have not thought of but they are conducted in a "perfect" controlled environment.

    Get out on the roads and practice, practice, practice.
  8. My advice to new riders (having been there 15 months ago so it's still fresh)

    First work on your survival and general riding skills in a safe area. Emergency braking, swerving, tight manourving, u-turns, very low speeds, gearing down, hill starts etc. Carparks, industrial estates and new roads in empty hoursing estates are good.

    Secondly work on your roadcraft when you feel you are not spending 100% of your energy just controlling the mechanics of the bike. Look, anticipate, avoid etc. Do this enough and it also comes a bit more naturally.

    Thirdly, accept that all you can do at this point is control the motorbike and have a fair chance of not being hit by other road users. Now is the time to start learning how to actually ride the bike. How far you take this is up to you. This is the ideal time to take some expert training. After 12 months on the road I could control the bike but had no idea what it was really capable of. Now I feel I have the knowledge to ride the bike better and can take this away and practice.

    Fourthly, revisit 1, 2 and 3 again.
  9. Sorry that if this is long but it may give a different perspective.

    I'm a new brand new rider. I've had my licence and my bike for two weeks. I have heaps to learn. From my point of view any help, any (sensible) advise, any group rides would be appreciated.

    I don't know anyone who owns a bike so I'm learning all by myself. Sure I've been driving for 20 odd years. I've raced and rallied cars for even longer. I've driven 700 hp V8 race cars at up to 300k/h. I've even been paid to be a high performance driving instructor at Calder Park Raceway. I've worked in the motorsport industry doing race tyres and suspension for 10 years. However very little of this 'experience' prepares you for riding a bike well.

    I would even say that this "experience" is to my disadvantage as I'm used to being able to drive a car fast on any road and be confident that I can control it. However going into a corner too fast or not seeing the dirt road ahead can have disasterous consequences on a bike.

    I went out on my first ride into the country today. I think I nearly crashed 3 times. Each time I was going too fast (for the conditions and my talent) and using my concentration 'dollars' on riding the bike rather than using my 'dollars' reading the road. I guess you might simply say .."Well just slow down!!". But I didn't think that I WAS going too fast. When I went slow I thought I was going way too slow and when I picked up the pace a bit I would get caught out by the odd corner or hazard.

    What I needed was an experienced rider along just to control the ride. That experienced rider wouldn't have to teach me one thing if they didn't want to. All the person would have to do is ride in front at an appropriate pace to suit the road and my level of ability (learner level). The experienced rider can concentrate on reading the road and controlling the pace for the new people and allow them gain time perfecting their riding skills.

    Experienced riders know how to ride their bikes. They know instnctively where all the controls are and how to use them. The bike feels natural to them. A new rider uses some of their concentration on just riding the bike. The experienced rider doesn't have to look for the controls or feel for brakes or gear levers. The experienced rider has heaps of "dollars" to spend concentrating on the road. The new rider need the time on the road to get that same 'feel' that the experienced rider has.

    I think that experience riders can help give new riders time on the road by controling the pace and direction of the ride so that the learner will to be able to gain their own valuable experience. I acknowledge that every rider is responsible for themselves while on a ride and should ride to their abilities, I just think that having an experienced person along could be make the process a little easier.
  10. Tack if you have almost crashed 3 times on a ride then you are definately doing something wrong. Having a so called experienced rider there to read the road for you wont help. He may go into a corner faster than your ability allows. My point about instuctors is that they can teach you how to correct any faults before they become ingrained. Fellow riders definately help but relying on them too much can be very dangerous. Never assume that a rider of many years has any idea what they are doing. Many don't.

  11. FalomVTR opined..... Never assume that a rider of many years has any idea what they are doing. Many don't.
    :shock: I resemble that remark :p
  12. I think there's much that newbies like me can learn from more experienced Netriders, but I'm well aware they're not trained instructors and I can understand their concern that they are not qualified to take on that responsibility.

    I strongly recommend the instructed ride days organised by the Shire of Yarra Ranges. You get feedback from HART trainers, and I guarantee you'll come away from the day having learned a lot and had a great ride. For $33 it's an absolute bargain. Details here:

  13. Gromit, good option.

    Tack, following an experienced rider at even a moderate pace into a corner, turning on exactly the same line as them will not yield the same result unless you are equipped with the right skills. The result is also not due to them having a better bike. Another way of looking at this is...can we all play golf like Tiger woods by watching him on the telly and reading his books? Learn from peoples experience but to improve your skills you need to be taught the correct methods and put in heaps of practice. Even Tiger has a coach and I recon he spends a bit of time on the practice range.

    When you felt out of control was it due to you running wide in the corner or losing traction? You will be absolutely shocked at the speed and control you can have in a corner with the right technique.

    Keep up the riding, keep practicing, find out why you felt you were going to crash and work on it. One thing you don't see too often in this forum is information about riding mechanics. Way to difficult to explain in type.
  14. It is possible that all three incidents still may have occurred to me even if an experienced rider was riding ahead. That doesn't matter. The point is though that you experienced riders do not have to teach new guys, you don't have to teach lines or brake points or be scared to that your teaching bad habits. If you want to help new riders, just take them out with you at let them gain 'competency' through time on the road. The more gear changes they make the smoother they become, the more braking they do the smoother that becomes, the more corners they ride the better they read them etc etc. The more time they put in the better the level of competancy and the greater the confidence level. It comes down to time and miles travelled. That's what a new rider needs to start with.

    Just think back to when you guys first started driving or even riding. You gripped the steering wheel/handle bars like a vice, your eyes bolged out of your head as you stared down the road, your steering inputs were jerky, your acceleration was jerky your braking was harsh but with time behind the wheel/bars you got smoother. You relaxed, steering became automatic, acceleration smoother etc etc.

    Just for example when we were teaching high performance driving, the first skill we taught was braking. We wet the road, we set up cones and we made them drive at 60 km/h and brake. The first runs were always the same...cones go flying...but after just explaining that they had to 'squeeze' the brakes on, they quickly learned to stop in 15 metres. We could then get them to do 70km/h and stop in 20 metres. This was all done without even getting in the car!

    So if you all believe that faults with driving become "ingrained" then how did these drivers learn to correct their habits and learn a better technique??? Many of these people had been driving for 30 years!

    Oh, and BTW, there are plenty of professional golfers that did not have any tuition at all when they started and only acquired a tutor later in life as either success or money came to them. So who taught tiger Woods and was he a better player then Tiger?
  15. In the NT (to my knowledge) you MUST complete motorbike courses to get your licence.

    There is the Beginners course to get your L's (booked in for this weekend) and an Itimediate course to get your P's (booked in next weekend).

    they provide you with a bike and helmet and teach you to ride from the basics. Which is good cause I dont want to scratch my bike while I learn to stay up right!

    There is also the Advanced and the Special Defence Riding class. But you have to have a been riding for a certain time before you can enrol in them.

    They only way I could get my family not to have a hart attack when I said I want to ride a motorbike I was to enrol in them.

    That said I have found reading the netriders forum interesting and full of knowledge. I look forward to being a long time member.
  16. Sorry I can only partially agree with you here..

    Sure gear changes are okay. BUT
    I have recently completed the Australian Superbike School level 1 course and as such I have now been taught to navigate through a corner in a completely different way to what I have done in the last 14 years of riding. Im still no hoon but i now approach a corner at a completly different line and at a different speed to what I used to.. When i was learning i would follow a rider into a corner using his/her line and expect to do similar things as the bike in front of me..


    If you tried to follow me through a corner now you would have to match not only the angle of lean I put on the bike but also the speed the it took for me to go from upright to that lean angle and also start applying power at the same place in the corner that I did. If you dont then the line you take through the corner will be different to mine from a lesser to greater degree (most likely greater).

    You cant just follow someone to learn this, you have to be shown on paper, in the classroom and then go out into a CONTROLLED environment and overcome your bodies automantic self preservation instincts to be able to commence the process of correct cornering. I wish i had done this years ago.

    Riding is good but it is no substitute for instruction from a competant instructor.

    As an example
    You are going though a corner that is off camber not to fast but the bike starts to drift across the road and you know you are going to cross the centre line into oncomming traffic..

    do you
    A) Dabthe rear brake..
    8) Dab the front brake..
    C) Stand the bike up and brake hard and then turn again.
    D) Accelerate.. Stabilize the motorcycle with the throttle..
    E) Bend over and kiss your A#$e good bye

    If you had to think about any of those then your now on the wrong side of the road and into oncomming traffic... The only correct answer is d suprisingly enough.
  17. All I can say is that if everyone feels that trying to help new bike riders is such a bad thing then don't do it.

    Personally I thought that people's efforts in organising learner rides and days for improving skills was a good thing, is highly commendable and a valuable activity. I think it provides an ideal stepping stone from no skill to confident and competent. However it seems people here can't differentiate between going on a controlled ride at a comfortable pace to leaning into a high speed corner with the fairings dragging on the ground????
  18. If Tack tries to follow you through a corner now, at a speed that requires him to do a turn any more complex than what he did in his test, I'll slap him myself.

    But more power, less power, handstands on the seat...c'mon! This is one of those "Things we know, things we don't know, things we don't know we don't know" issues. Tack actually doesn't know enough about riding to know when he's doing something wrong. He's so busy fumbling with hands, feet, balance and all the other palaver that there is no headspace left for the subtleties of technique. He gets frightened (read "almost crashed 3 times") because of the unknown. In fact, I'll wager he doesn't even know when he's doing something right because a motorcycle is couterintuitive. You lean over at angles where any other object would topple. You turn by pushing the wrong way. So the feeling "I'm going to crash" might actually be a perfectly executed maneuvre performed by someone who has never experienced that combination of sensory inputs before. (Sorry Tack, not having a go here - just trying to trigger some memories of what those first days on the road were like)

    Sure, in six months time a cornering course will leapfrog him to a new level of riding skill but first he needs to learn where the controls are, how the bike feels when you put on brake in a corner, where your blind spots are. Most of all, he needs to get environmental awareness that's going to keep him alive on urban streets, and to submerge all that "housekeeping" stuff to the point where he has the headspace to make accurate judgements about the ambient risks. And a day of witches hats and lean angles isn't going to teach him that. Right now there are higher priorities than perfecting a late apex turn.

    If I'd done a course, I'd be a much better rider today. No doubt about it. I rode with the fast group on Sunday and was blown away - I'm motivated to do a cornering course because I now know enough to see the shortcomings of my technique (or lack thereof). And when ASBS let me mix my sidecar with the rest of the pack, I'll be first in line.

    I don't have the knowledge on how to correct the problems, but I do have the headspace to start refining my skills because I can handle the housework of riding at a level that is below conscious thought, and that frees me up in times of "high c0ckpit workload" to judge options. Tack doesn't have that freedom.

    How do I know enough to know what I don't know? Because I've ridden with others. They corner better than me. Not theoretically - "I reckon if you tightened up here and rolled on there blah blah blah." Practically - their back wheels vanishing over the next hill. I also now know enough to know that I can't develop this skill without someone watching me because I am at the limit of what I'm prepared to experiment with in an uncontrolled environment.

    This isn't my fault! A few years after I started riding a group called "Stay Upright" appeared. Stay Upright???? WTF? I wanted "Stay Cranked Over" - no mealy mouthed "Stay Upright" for me, thank you very much. My atrocious cornering is the direct result of poor marketing :) :oops: As Lurk points out, it isn't too late to fix this. But I also believe that you can try to fix it too early.
  19. i think the point has been lost a bit here. what was inititally being said is that learners should really be doing BOTH. its not a case of one is better than the other, both are valuable in their own way :?

    a slow riding course set my uncle straight with things i could never have picked up on cos i'm just not observant enuff, but on the other hand, they cant teach him ho to handle peak hour traffic or basic entry speeds and lines into corners over at motorcycle motion.

    what tack first said before was very true. when i was learning, i had a bloke on his 954 sitting in front of me keeping a decent pace for a learner. i got the hang of basic cornering just by following him. fair enuff, it doesn't teach you the finer points of how to knock milliseconds off your lap times, but for someone thats only been on the road for a week or two, it helps much more than superbike school possibly could.

    find a balance in the force you must..... :D