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Reefton Spur Instructed Ride

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by GreyBM, Feb 10, 2008.

  1. I did the Shire of Yarra Ranges Instructed Reefton Ride yesterday and thought it might be helpful to share my impressions for anyone thinking of doing the ride.

    Unfortunately when I checked the Shire’s website there is only one more ride scheduled for this year (on 6 March) and it’s marked for scooters only. But maybe that is negotiable if they don’t get enough scooters. So if you are wanting to go it may still be worth contacting the Shire. The Shire also does a Toolangi ride and there are two more of them scheduled this summer (23 Feb and 13 Apr). While I haven’t been on the Toolangi ride I imagine that the only difference is the route and most of my comments would apply equally to that ride.

    On the day I went it threatened rain, but despite occasional spits the weather held off, so I was on good road conditions. I imagine some of my impressions of the ride would have been very different if the rain had set in.

    I guess I expected the ride to be an extension of rider training and figured it would be all about riding technique and cornering through the twisties. Well it isn’t (or perhaps it is but not directly). The emphasis here is more about road craft, that is, safety, hazard perception and riding within your limits as opposed to say, the HART advanced rider courses which has greater emphasis on riding technique and encourages you to push your limits within the relative safety of the training ground or track.

    The day starts with a short classroom session and then it’s off on the ride, up the Reefton spur, lunch at Marysville and down the Black Spur. Along the way there were about six stops to allow instructors to discuss roadcraft, provide feedback. These stops also allowed slower riders to regroup, so don’t worry if you think you might not be fast enough for the ride.

    Yesterday we had about 20 or so riders split into about four groups of around six riders, each with at least one HART instructor (for most of the day our group was accompanied an extra instructor, so we had one towards the front of the group and one towards the rear). We also had a bunch of people who’s job it was to act as corner markers to make sure you couldn’t get lost. I gather if there are fewer corner markers than we had yesterday, there may be additional stops to give the corner markers time to get in position.

    Initially the groups are divided up according to how long you’ve been riding which is used as a rough indicator of riding ability but it is made clear that if you are not comfortable with the group you are in, you can move up or down into the next group until you feel happy that you are in a group with a similar ability to your own.

    The system is that the Instructor sets off first and you get to follow along, hopefully observing good habits like lane positioning and cornering line and copying them. Then the instructor moves back through the group, following each rider in turn so that they can observe and provide feedback for each individual in the ride. They also swap the positions of the riders within the group until the group is sorted out pretty much in order of their speed/ability.

    Being a relative newbie I was placed in the lowest group and initially I felt that it was a little slow even for me. But after the second stop I was repositioned from the rear of the group to second position where I was able to ride at my own speed without either being held up or holding anyone up and I felt pretty comfortable there.

    All in all it was a good day. It was my first time up the Reefton Spur and being in a large group, complete with professional instructors gave me a lot of confidence. Also as the emphasis was on riding within your ability, I felt under no pressure that I was holding people up. And I guess if I was going to have an accident on the Spur I would rather have it with a well organized group. So if you are a Newbie to the Spurs, this is probably a good way to try it out.

    Strictly speaking, at the end of the day I am not sure that I learnt anything that was new. The stuff that they are trying to get across is just so basic that it should be obvious to us all that is, ride in a way that is least likely to involve you having an accident. But knowing stuff doesn’t count much if you don’t act on it. What I did learn was that I wasn’t doing lots of the obvious stuff to do with minimizing risk and realizing that helps me to do something about it.

    The day cost me $55. I had fun and so for that alone I felt it was worth it. But if something I learnt helps to save my life the investment was invaluable.

    I did have one minor disaster yesterday. But in the scheme of the Universe it was a small one and I figure any mistake that is not too painful and that you can learn from is a positive experience. So in the interest of helping other newbies and at the expense of my pride I will share some advice. If you put a banana in your top box, try to remember it is there and don’t squeeze a heap of other stuff down on top of it.

    Info on the Shire’s instructed rides is at http://www.yarraranges.vic.gov.au/Page/page.asp?Page_Id=1776&h=1
  2. Great write up! I think the Shire of Yarra Ranges and HART should be congratulated for coming up with such a scheme. Rather than see bikes as a problem, they've seen the opportunity instead. If bikes are going to ride these roads, it's better if a.) they don't crash and b.) spend money in the local cafe's etc..

    I saw a rider today on a blue CBR600RR who was totally all at sea with their bike. He was coming down from Dom Dom Saddle into the 1st left hander, I was coming up towards him. He seemed totally spooked by something and stood the bike upright, braked hard (he wasn't going quick) directly into the path of an elderly Volvo driver that was thankfully only doing 40kmh (in a straight line!). Perhaps he should have done the ride too.
  3. Good write up GreyBM. I went on the Toolangi ride a couple of years ago when I was a learner and I got a lot out of it. Very well organised ride and great advice from some of the best instructors in the business. I highly recommend it, especially for learners finding their feet.
  4. Great writeup GreyBM.

    Also being a new rider, I have been considering doing the Instructed Ride to improve my riding skills. Looks like a must do for March :)
  5. Good write up. I was on the black ER6 a few groups ahead of you and my wife was on the Burgman in your group.
    I got shifted between groups. Too fast for my initial group but too slow for the next one so I spent a bit of time by myself. Towards the end they got the groupings better. But I had two instructors look at me, one followed me up Reefton and the other down Black Spur. Different feedback and both spot on. I have a bit to sort out if I want to play with the fast guys!
    Thought it was remarkable value!
    Really impressed with how well everyone rode.
  6. and again... excellent report!

    I went on both their rides over a year ago, and one of my issues was that I felt stuck in the wrong group on the 2nd ride. I should have asked if they would allow me to move, but it's nice to hear that they now encourage you to move if you're not happy. It would make for a more rewarding day. Nice to know they take their feedback onboard. Great stuff! That makes me more interested in trying another, more as a marker of how I'm going, and to make sure I haven't forgotten any of the basics.
  7. Guys and Gals. :grin: :grin: :grin:

    Dont dispear. :cry:
    This ride is still on. 4th Oct. Not long now. :cool:
    I have signed upi for it but the organiser Mark Mc Guire is having trouble getting the required 15 minimum together. :cry:
    Also saw that this thread had been buried in this forum instead of Rides and announcements.
    (mods could you move this possible, please? :wink: :wink: I even did a search for the topic like a good little Netrider wot I am) :grin:

    many thanks.
    If he cannot get the nec numbers it will be postponed. :shock:

    Anyone need some further info I can e-mail the forms that Mark sent me.Send a PM

    Most informative. :)

    I for one am looking forward to it. :grin: :grin: :grin:


    ps better still e-mail Mark yourself for info. he will cancel if he doesnt get the 15 min by the 26th (fcuk-em!! thats this Friday people!!)
  8. Just spoke to Mark and he's cancelled it!
    Including me he had 8 and needed 15 by Friday.
  9. Bummer!!

    It's only Weds now. Thought he would wait till Friday before cancelling.