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Learners --- Read This Thread !!!

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by Supernego, Sep 24, 2007.

  1. I would like to start a conversation about the future of the Learners Rides, because I am sick of cleaning up blood on every single one of them.

    I know that each one for each own and that we always point out that we should only ride to our limits, but this can be applied to all the rides. Learners rides are different. Learners usually do not know their limits and these rides should accommodate that.

    We can just stop doing L rides and do Provisional Rides or just normal ones instead. However, if we want to help new riders to join our community, we need to actually help them, not just bring them along as our accessory on our weekend adventures.

    Something is wrong when every L Ride ends up with tears for some.

    Here are my 3c and please add yours…

    1c) Distance. The rides are just toooo long. Last one was 300km and then you’ll have to add the distance from Richmond to the rest of Sydney MA where everyone lives. Level 1 is 200km max. Most of the L riders have only done 200km around their suburb. If you ask them to do 300+, they will get tired, lose concentration, ride faster to go home while it is still day.

    2c) Speed. The head of the ride needs to go 10km/h BELOW the speed limit. This way, when someone get stack behind because he put the wrong gear or because he got scared and slowed down, he can catch up without having to brake the speed limit. That way the group will be tight and the riders will get early warnings for the next turn by the rider in front of them. At the last 2 incidents, the L rides were alone as the gaps were huge.

    3c) More stops. We did Lithgow to Richmond non stop. That’s 80km without a brake. We need to stop, regroup so we close the gaps and give a rest to the L riders.

    As I said, it is up to the individual. For anyone who had a close call in the last ride, let me inform you that on the back there were 5 experienced riders making a buffer zone for L riders to do the trip below speed limit and safely. We were doing 60 on the 100 zones of bells line road.. So it is up to you to take it easy. Having said that, it is up to us to make the L rides a bit safer for those who are just starting and try to find out what their limits are…
  2. I hear what you're saying Tony, but I don't agree.

    Yes, it seems something happens on every ride, but I think it's all part of the learning curve.
    we have so many learners in a concentrated area... statistics man!! I'm sure so many Learners have off's we don't hear about everyday!

    When people have come off, it has been due to inexperience, panic etc, thankfully at relatively low speeds. I think offering a group ride to learners in a semi controlled environment is a great thing and also a good spot (if there is one) to have these 'offs'
    You have a lot of people around you to render assistance and the speeds are not extreme. I'd rather have an off within a supportive group of people on a quiet road at low speeds, then by myself on the warringah freeway (for example) with cars everywhere etc,etc. I can learn from it, discuss it and grow from it, without being terrified of a sh*tload of aggressive sydney traffic making it's way past me!

    About your 3c's

    1) Distance.
    You have said they are too long, these rides are talked and posted about in detail on this forum. People are well aware of lengths of the rides before they choose to come along. I agree that perhaps we should look at organising shorter rides AS WELL. little half dayers.. working up to the longer rides. BUT, I reiterate everyone knew how long it was. I feel the longer stops actually drag the day out more and make people tired as it becomes an entire day job to ride 300k's!!

    2) Speed
    This is one of the most dangerous things I've ever heard. We were riding on busy roads!! If the head of the ride is doing 10k's under then the guy at the back is doing at least 20 - 30k's under. talk about a hazard!:shock: We need to encourage the learners to ride at the speed limit (as long as it is not above 80) this is a safe speed. not 60 in an 80 zone or heaven forbid in a 100 k zone!! it makes cagers and other riders not in the group impatient and may provoke unneccessary risk taking. Also the L platers were never alone, they were in small groups, split up, but NOT alone.

    3) More stops,
    Well you know my opinion already, however more much shorter stops may be an answer.

    I've gotta say, me and a few others were punching along Bells Liner Rd and caqme across a few groups of Learners and they were doing really well.. flowing with the traffic, taking good lines through the corners and generally having a good time riding, there was a cbr250 that took me a while to overtake, I think you under rate a lot of the learners Tony.. just a bit :) because as far as I could see they didn't have a problem.

    Bring on the next one!!
  3. Maybe you shouldn't restrict the rides to learners only (if that's the case). The best way I learned was from following experienced riders to see the lines and speed through corners, while keeping within my limits.
  4. Sorry, Browny, but I have to disagree. Falling off for any reason should NEVER be an expected part of a group ride, and DOUBLY so for a Learner's Ride.

    If an experienced rider, who's supposed to be mentoring the learners, falls off, then he was grand-standing and ought to be banned from such future rides.

    If a Leaner/Probationary rider falls off it is usually because he is trying to keep up with the faster boys up front (see above) or because the faster boys aren't mixed into the pack, mentoring and observing his behaviour.

    Supernego is right!! The lead rider whould ALWAYS be riding below the limit, and no-one for any reason whould be alloweed to pass!!!

    Read again what the Ride Planner says about the categories of rides.

    1. Beginner.
    Regularly BELOW the speed limits on easy, open roads and NO TRICKY SECTIONS. Not many turn-offs. 100-200km distance with regular stops every 50 kms.

    3. Intermediate
    At speed limist through open sections, near and at speed limits (where possible/appropriate) throguh windy sections. Regular turn-offs. 150-300km distance with approximately 50-80kms between stops.

    (Number 2 is sightseeing)

    {My emphases, above}

    Until and unless experienced riders can resist successfully the ego-driven temptation to hare off into the distance, or even do just the limit on these rides, there WILL be accidents, and the experienced riders CANNOT shield themselves from responsibility for them.

    A Learners/Probationary ride should NOT be a semi-controlled environment; it should be a strictly controlled environment. Ask the learners; that's what they want.

    What do you do on the frequent stops? Sit down with the folks who you have observed may be having problems, riding bad lines, riding too close to the persson in front, and de-brief the section. Offer advice and counsel. Ride in front of the person for the next section; tell him/her to try and mimic your lines/posture. etc. Then get him/her to ride in front of you for the next section and observe how well the lesson is being applied.

    THAT'S what group Learner/Probationary rides are all about.

    And finally, (for this post anyway) if a Learner/probationary rider wants to race off into the country at warp speed and impact the nearest scenery, don't come on a group ride to do it; do it in your own time, please.
  5. You can make all the rules you want, as has been done here numerous times, but just remember who makes up the majority of the ride....young guys who want to show how good they are :cool:

    One solution would be for everyone to take a testosterone removing pill before each ride :wink:
  7. After organising 2 leaner rides (last 1 in june)
    I have never had anyone fall off
    Expect my girl friend dropped her bike standing still :shock:
    My last ride had 34 people on it, some of which had only been riding a couple of hours
    If the ride is run correctly, Then there shouldnt be any drama
    But as you know riding a motorbike you can always become unstuck no matter how experienced you are.
    As for distance I agree it should be shorter with more stops
    Speed well depending on the group it should be at least 10 - 15 kmh under the speed limit
  8. +1

    But, don't you feel going so far under the speed limit is asking for trouble?? with other road users?/
    I feel if people can't sit on 60 in a sixty zone or 80 in an 80 zone then maybe you should not be on the ride? Because I think it's dangerous to be on the road and not be able to do this... hence why we see L platers on side streets etc,etc building confidence and practising before hitting major roads on rides such as these>??
  9. I'm gonna stay out of the previous arguments because I think basically both sides have been covered.

    However, I just wanted to make the comment that I can't think of a worse thing for a learner (especially a new learner) to do than go on a mass ride with a bunch of other n00bs.

    When you ride in a group there is pressure to perform (even for the most self-controlled of us) which can't be easily taken away, there is also a lot of unpredictable riders which can quickly cause dangerous situations and you can also pick up bad habits from other learners.

    When I was n00bifying I found it far more beneficial to go 1 on 1 with an experienced rider than to ride in a big group.

    If learners feel it's necessary to group ride I reckon it would be far better in a mixed group so they can learn more.
  10. As the other guys have said above fatigue is an issue on long rides like the Jenoloan caves run. As a learner I have to concentrate intensely... think back to my first commute to work a month ago by the time I got to work I was so tired I couldn't do any work lol and that was only a 10km ride. 400km/day for beginner is definitely too much, not for some but definitely so for others.

    As for learners blazing off into the distance... they aren't the ones crashing are they? if they crash then they have only themselves to blame and i'm sure they will receive their due ridicule. However this isn't the case from the learner rides I've been on.
  11. I know one of the main reasons I had an off on my first ride was fatigue. As a learner, you're concentration is spread very thin over a lot of things. You can get tired more quickly than an experienced rider. It all depends on the individual obviously, but anything more than 200ks for an inexperienced learner ride is probably too much.

    Iondah makes a good point about group rides. The larger the group the harder it can be to get 1-on-1 support and peer 'pressure' is definately a factor. Speaking from my own experience, just riding with one other person can be more tiring than riding on your own. If it's a mentor, then you have someone to offer support and help keep the traffic away, which more than compensates for the little extra attention needed. In a group, I not only feel a resonsibility to keep myself safe and the general traffic, but also to my fellow riders.
  12. hi guys,

    This topic interests me somewhat. What about a buddy system for the ride.

    An experienced rider who the learner can follow....they get advanced warning of corners, a bit of protection etc. the experienced rider could keep an eye on them, they don't feel the pressure to keep up, they dont have to navigate as well as learn. If they do have an off, there is someone there. The buddy could just follow them if they are a little more advanced, but still take the catchup pressure off and help with the navigation and a bit of protection from bully cars from behind.

    Anyway, just ideas.

  13. Bloody hell, jenolean caves as a newby learner is asking a bit much IMO. I am a newby to motorcycling, I have now covered over 40,000kms in the last 20 months and most of this has been in and out of traffic to and from work. yes it has included some freeway etc.

    Twisties and riding in a large group alway induces stress, stress increase fatigue.

    Now IMO if I had been asked to do a ride like the one above after a few hours riding :shock: way too far and technical, I woudl have said yes but shouldn't, now I would be asking to do it again!

    Look it is only my opinion but as a seasoned newbie I think it is still worth a review.
  14. Learner rides should be all about learning from others and gaining a deeper understanding about riding.
    You dont need to cover great distances to achieve this.
    Keep the trips short and there is no need for stops and no one feels like they are being left behind.
    I have been a corner marker on n00b rides that covered a total distance of 60k.

    Having said that, I have been riding for 30+ years and I still managed to come unstuck and not at high speed and not for the first time either. My point is get a large group of learners together and someone will stack for any number of reasons. Ride with a couple of mates and you may get away with it for a long time but maybe not.

    If the same ride or leaders generate crashes each time its time for a rethink on how the ride is planned and conducted.

    I screen the people I ride with (and drive with for that matter).
  15. n00b input:

    I just went for my first group ride on the weekend. We did approx 100kms. Ideally I wouldn't want to ride any further than that, as I was mentally and physically tired by the time I got home.

    I've been put off from going on other rides on the calenders simply due to the distance.
  16. Bit of a catch 22 really, learners need the seat time to improve and the only way to achieve this is to actually ride these kinda roads.

    we can make all the rules we want but rules are useless if people dont follow them

    as i said in the after ride discussion thread i too think the jenloan caves route was not suited to a Learners ride, not enough room for error on that narrow path.

    i'm divided too if they should continue, im getting sick of all the waiting around by the side of the road etc but it seems these incidents are commonplace on pretty much all the NR rides ive been on unfortunately, so have somewhat come to expect a lot of standing around.

    besides having something organised on a closed circuit for learners i feel helpless of what we can do to make it safer.
  17. what happened to people taking responsibility for their own actions? sure there'll be wankers who turn up, just stay away from them simple. me n my mates turned up yest and i know i cant keep up wit the "cool kids" so whatd we do? waited for the pack to leave, geared up, gave ourself room and did it all at our own pace. no issues.

    and u cant go blaming the ride for all offs, somethings are jus gonna happen regardless of whether the rider was alone or with a group. i only saw one of the incidents and it just looked like a simlpe mistake.
  18. In my opinion I think the amount of experience that is gained is up to the rider and how much effort he/she puts into it.

    If you only ride on the weekends for about 1 or 2 hours then it is obviouse that it will take you longer to gain the experience needed to attend these group rides.

    If your scared of traffic go to your local park and ride around the empty car parking lots, this will allow you to get familliar with your bike and what it will do in certain situations such as Braking, Emergency Braking, Sudden turning, and the time it takes for the bike to slow down or come to a stop. I personaly did about 10 hours of this in one week.

    Also seat time also gets into play, the more you ride the better you will get. When I mean you should ridd more, im not saying you should ride with a group. You should ride either by yourself or with a mate if your not confident enough to ride by yourself.

    This is my opinion and I know other people will disagree.

    My 2c
  19. +1 and well said Donshe!

    BTW what do you ride?
  20. Here is my 5 cents..

    Firstly, many thanks to Paul,Tony, Karl, and Jeff for taking on the lead roles in arranging these learner rides, they are a great idea, and from what I have seen many people enjoy them.

    Lets look at a few things:

    Distance: The ride to Jenolan Caves yesterday was 400km round trip (For me I live in Sydney's East) and this is a very long ride to be taking Learners on, especially the newer ones (I will cover them shortly) who have maybe only covered this entire distance in their short riding career. The problem is fatigue and impatience start setting in towards the end of the day, and we all know that is where trouble starts.
    I think we need to run shorter rides for the newer learners (with all learners welcome to come along) so that they are not feeling the pressure of long rides, and the lapse in concentration that can come with it. We can still have the longer runs for those more experienced learners, and provisional riders.

    We need to remember when taking learners on these runs, alot of them are riding bikes that are perhaps not so comfortable on longer rides (I saw several standing up on pegs to rest a sore arse - Hello Mr RG125 :) ) therfore more frequent yet shorter stops are needed. Browny has a point in stating that too much time spent stopping will make the day even longer, and press people to make up time, which can lead to accidents.

    Speed: Well I feel that this is where we need to seriously consider running two different kinds of learner ride. I disagree with having the lead rider riding below the 80km/h learner speed limit where conditions allow 80km/h as a safe speed. In tight, bumpy, wet etc etc conditions, then ride at a speed safe for those condtitions, but on open roads like Gt Western Hwy, Jenolan Caves road etc, the posted limit is often 80km/h and above with good surface conditions, and learners should be riding at 80km/h. This will avoid people in the ride group being tempted to overtake, and also assist in detering cars from overtaking. Yesterday, FTO (I am led to believe has been riding only a couple of weeks) decided it would be wise to overtake people on the LEFT, he did that to myself, and a number of other riders in front of me, one being a lady (Who was at the front of the group travelling at 60km/h in an 80km/h zone and conditions were excellent) who has only been riding for a couple of weeks, now how unsettling would that have been for her?
    I suspect that had the group been riding at 80km/h, FTO would have stayed where he was.

    I'll put on my flame suit now, but I feel it has to be said.
    If as a rider, you cannot ride to the conditions including travelling at 80km/h for learners where conditions permit, then you have no place on these long learner runs. What you are doing by travelling well below the safe speed limit, is holding everyone up, and frustrating everyone. This in turn makes the day even longer, and no matter how tightly you try to control the group, or drum the "rules" into them, people are masters of their own destiny, and they will overtake so as not to be stuck behind these slow learners. I witnessed a couple of girls yesterday leading a group of riders well below the safe 80km/h limit for learners with riders and car drivers getting frustrated. Riding at 60km/h on these open roads, is DANGEROUS!
    If you fall into this group, go back to rider training, or do some 1:1 with an experienced rider until you are confident enough to at least travel at the 80km/h speed limit for learners where safe to do so. This will prevent frustration for the others in the group, and other road users. This combined with the distance issue is why I feel we need to have 2 types of learner run.

    Route:Some of the routes for these learner runs are not really suited to learners. The Jenolan caves road is very twisty, steep, narrow, poorly signed and uneven. Serious consideration should be given to taking learners on these types of roads. Perhaps advanced learner rides would be better for these areas. Novice learner rides, should be on more open roads, with better conditions so that people don't panic, target fixate, or run wide into gravel etc. Places like Putty rd are far better for real n00bs than Old Pacific hwy or Jenolan Caves rd.

    Overall: Where you have such a broad difference in skill level of the attending riders (some only having ridden a few km, while others about to or already having their P's and a fair few km under the belt) you are going to have issues. The more experienced riders will better suit longer, and more challenging conditions than those very n00b riders, and when mixed, well accidents will happen. None of the accidents yesterday were a direct result of stupid speeds, but more like lack of concentration or better judgement if you like.

    The 2 riders that went down:
    FTO - Passes people on the LEFT at 80-90km/h, and likes to speed off down straights well in excess of 100km/h only to jam the brakes on, and slam down a few gears unsettling the bike right before the corner, clearly because he doesn't have the skill to carry that speed through the corner. I know this because I was following him. This is the wrong attitude, and it's not what is taught at the rider training facilities, so clearly this shows that despite experienced trainers drumming the safety message into poeple, some will always do what they think is best. A stack waiting to happen. Did I say anything to him? No, not my place to chastise him.

    Blackjackx (I think) - This rider was on the Putty learner ride recently, and when we were rounding Lemmings Corner (locals know it - Left hairpin) on the Old Pacific Hwy, he drifted wide into the oncoming path of a Hayabusa! Clearly his inexperience showed. Well some months later, he drops his bike at very low speed on a tight twisty road. I suggest some 1:1 time with an experienced rider or instructor, as clearly although months have passed, his level of skill is still lacking.

    I'm not having a dig at these guys so put the flamethrowers away now, what I am saying is that some people need greater level of supervision than others, and they develop at different rates. Attitude as we all know plays a critical part in determining what happens on any given ride. Mixing these people with far more experienced learners and Provisional riders is asking for trouble.

    Generally the guys on the rides are well behaved, I saw some really good riding from the guys yesterday. I think more structure and a seperation of real n00bs from more experienced n00bs with adjusted distances, and careful consideration of the ride route will see less accidents and more enjoyment.

    That said, if any n00bs want to take a run up the Putty or Old Pacific Hwy etc just send me a PM with your number or email address and I would be happy to take you for a run. I can do almost any weekday, and weekends are usually spent chasing Dan Chee, Yak or Browny (they all drink cans of Dan Chee's Harden the fcuk up) but if you are a Provisional or experienced learner you might be able to tag along and see some awesome roads in a small group.