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Tuesday Night L's Ride.

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by GavinB, Dec 17, 2008.

  1. Howdy all...
    I didn't want this to become part of the "normal" vic rides forum so I thought I would pop it in here.

    Tonight was my first L's ride and what follows is my impressions / experience.

    Now, for anyone that has read my profile / hello message in the lounge, you'll know that I am not a true "new" rider. I used to ride a 14 years ago and have recently (3 months ago) started riding again.

    None the less, I like to think that I can always learn something from any new experience and decided tonight was the night to give it a go.

    Sidebar: A thanks to Johnny for leading and Drew and (sorry forgot your name) for TECing - awesome!

    The evening started with a whole lot of socialising / networking / bike admiring, very nice.

    John gave everyone a quick intro and also read the riot act to all, letting everyone know that this was a learner's ride and that if you wanted to "muck about" to save it for another time / the Thursday ride.

    Again all good... I'm feeling happy for having turned up.

    Everyone lined up to leave on the ride, and then the evening turned out to be less than spectacular from that point on.

    I was hoping to observe good roadcraft, maybe even pick a few pointers if anyone happened to notice me doing anything not so spectacularly good - instead here is a brief list of what I saw.

    Wheelies away from the lights.
    Lane splitting and lots of it.
    (I strongly believe Lane splitting should be legal - and I strongly believe it can be safer than travelling in a lane proper. Everyone does it (me included) - but it is illegal, so is it a prudent activity for a learners ride?)
    Diving in / out of lane - cutting off cars.
    Riding on the footpath to get in front of cars that had stopped at a red light.
    Bike riding while standing on the pillion pegs.
    Lots of speeding.

    I am certain that everyone on the ride, individually and even in a group are all great people. And some (by virtue of the list above) have some pretty "sweet" tricks and skills.

    But did I learn anything?
    Unfortunately, I'm going to have to say No.

    The L Platers on the ride - for a fair few, weren't much better behaved either - how much of their behaviour was influenced by the others in the riding group?

    I'm not saying it was a complete disaster,
    As a social get-together / networking activity it was pretty good.

    But if I wanted to socialise and network, I would have attended a coffee night and not a night that is "billed" as a riding night for learners to gain skills / confidence / advice.

    I don't want to sound like an old "nanna" (though I know I do, in this instance) and importantly I don't want to obscure anyone from offering their assistance to new riders and I most certainly don't want to "scare off" any newbies from joining in on the ride either.

    Simply, please try and remember the target audience for the Tuesday night ride is learners. Ensure your influence upon a learner is a positive and pro-active one.

  2. Thanks Gavin, interesting review.

    I was hoping to get along to one of these nights in the near future. Doesn't sound too good but I'll wait and see what other people respond with.
  3. 1 on 1 is the only way your going to get anything out of it, group rides will always have someone with a huge ego wanting to show off to all the newbies, or people who have the best intentions in teaching others but really shouldn't be for whatever reasons (like bad advice).

    If you want to learn from a more experienced rider get to know some one and ask them to help you 1 on 1.
  5. I received a PM about my message here in this thread and started replying....

    Then it dawned on me that I should share the reply with everyone.
    Luckily enough I am not a new rider so it didn't phase me too much really.

    Well it did do the to the point where I thought I should mention it...
    but I personally was never in any danger from any of the antics that went on.

    But it is a learner's ride and as such, that sort of behaviour shouldn't be around learners.

    Imagine someone who has just gotten their L's, anxious, nervous. They are in fact so concerned about their lack of confidence that they take the positive steps of attending a Learner's bike ride so as to help them with their skills / roadcraft. Possibly they are an introvert too so it has taken them all their will to even turn up on the night....

    You start off, and some idiot flies past you on a litre bike, weaving in and out of traffic, other bikes and across all lines on the road - just because they can. Throw in a wheelie, some blatant law breaking and all of a sudden, your experience with / about Netrider is less than glamorous. Perhaps it even bothers you so much that you decide that riding really isn't for you, afterall?

    Considering that the forum operates with the very best of intentions, just take a look at the "paying it forward" thread. Or the openly emotional outpouring of support within the threads about Lena, Her accident and Stewy's efforts to get her back on two wheels again.

    The forum makes you want to be a little more like that. You want those people to positively influence your learning experience and make you a better rider, from all their experience., opinions and views.

    Let's consider you are a fully licensed rider, you have a great bike capable of 120+ in first gear... If you have chosen to attend a learner's ride then surely you were (originally) motivated by the fact that you wanted to do something positive for others. There are far better rides and places for having a "hot go", than sedately riding around metropolitan Melbourne?

    It isn't to so much that I am having a sook that some of the riders were a little aggressive, I think it is more that I view it as;

    "That could have been so much better. Pity it wasn't."

  6. Welcome to the world of riding motorcycles in a group, dude.
  7. If you would like to get some practice happening I would highly recommend you perhaps shoot Raven a pm...he has taken many a Netrider under his wing for some tuition...

    Unfortunately large groups attract try hards, show offs and posers...who get mingled in with those who want to learn and those who are there to teach...

    Getting some 1 on 1 tuition will make all the difference and in a lot less risky an environment :)
  8. +1 what he said.
  9. Gavin, I'm sorry your experience last night wasn't what you expected it to be. Being a learner, and riding by yourself on the wide open road can be a little daunting when your first starting off, so being in a group of riders with varying levels of experience can assist in building confidence as well as providing networking opportunities among new riders.

    Its true there are some shenannigans that enjoy the odd rush of adrenolin and possibly the learner ride isn't the place for them, but regardless if you are on the learner ride or just commuting to and from work on a daily basis, you are going to see someone pop the odd mono, filter between cars to gain an advantage at the green light or have a little "fun" on their bike. Being in a group like last night also increases your visibility making it less likely some retard in a car is going to act the goat around you but all in all, the learners ride is usually a great ride for beginners. Try next Tues as I'm sure it'll be better for you.
  10. i had ridden twice after getting my L's before coming to an L ride.. it was the best thing for me, i've learnt so much..met lots of new people, it also gave me confidence and almost a 'barrier' because cars were much more alert with 20+ bikes near them... my experience with netrider has been nothing but positive...just stick to your own pace

    1) i think i saw one or two (small, power) wheelies the whole night...so you must have had the good seats

    2) the learners will see lane splitting on the road , not just on the L ride.

    3) never saw anybody on the footpathf, except one corner marker

    +1 to everything kampa77 said
  11. Some time back, I went on the Thursday night mystery ride soon after getting my bike. Everyone eventually cleared off into the distance except for the TEC who patiently followed me. I got some good advice that night from the TEC and (I think Drew?) who had a sweet very dark blue ZX14.

    Some residents came out and formed a human road block on that ride as well and complained about the noise and quick riding coming through the back street of suburbia. That didn't give a good impression about bike riders to them.

    I got some positives out of that ride and noted that some can get carried away or playful when they're in a group.

    +1 about Raven. He and Pinx once followed me sedately into the city and gave me some tips. Unfortunately, despite their encouragement to keep improving, I gave it up soon after that due to getting a few scares in quick succession but am back on a bike again and those things which led me to initially stop no longer scare me in the same way.

    To sum it up, you can get what you want out of any group ride ranging from lots of tips to playing up.
  12. I agree with you Gav

    As a novice rider, I totally relate to what you've described in your OP and subsequently

    Yet despite the "please behave yourselves" from good folk who lead the ride (such as Johnno and Shadowarrior et al) at the begining of every L ride and on the "Tues L plate" forum, the advice/request is ignored and disappointingly the 'idiocy' continues to rule, from what I've read

    My first L ride was two (?) weeks ago, and I too was shocked at the disorganised rabble-riding from those who are supposed to be setting a good example to learners: it was not what I expected either

    However, I appreciate the good intent of the experienced people behind such a ride and will make another effort to come along and support it ... just wish there was some way to discourage and stop those who are ignoring a simple request: this is an L ride, save your stoppies, wheelies, and other off-putting antics for THURSDAY

    To the person who PM'd you about your OP? Have the balls to criticise publicly!

  13. I've been on the odd NR ride, though not for ages. It was my first L plater ride.

    There was a few on the bigger bikes on the back wheels and fcuking around and the L platers could probly do without that intimidation, but the main pack seemed to run pretty sensibly. Yep, when we got to lights, we would all filter to the front but I don't think I saw anyone splitting through moving traffic that I noticed.

    I hear what you're saying, the cruising speed was probably a bit too high for an L's ride, but then again, that's what a TEC is for, so everyone can ride at their own pace without feeling rushed. They won't be left behind. The group will just naturally fall into the fast group at the front, the big pack and those taking it extra easy at the back.

    So overall I was happy with it :grin: thanks Leader and TECs :grin:

    Oh, and I wouldn't recommend going on the Thurs MR in that case :p :LOL:
  14. Sounds like things have changed since my last ride about 4 weeks ago.
    Cant saw I've ever seen one wheelie on any tuesday rides ive been on.

    And lane spliting is legal in non moving traffic. On most tues rides i've been on, I dont notice much spliting. PPle are usually happy to sit behind traffic.

    4 weeks is a long time though
  15. If they have made filtering legal, it's news to me. I would love to think it is, but alas I think that's too much to hope for. :cry:

    (though for the record I don't particularly think making splitting in traffic moving >25kph legal is a good thing to fight for)
  16. Hmmm, thanks for your post Gav, it is always good to get feedback from everyone to see what the majority feel.

    I will always continue to try to keep the group at a comfortable pace for learners (anytime I get railroaded into leading lol :wink: ).

    I think maybe you might need to take in a MR or AR to properly get your feeling about the learner night into perspective; I was getting learners that were asking me to step the pace up; but I have to keep the ride comfortable for first time riders, I guess that's what the ride is all about.

    I don't think this ride is all about 'learning' (or necessarily being taught) anything; everyone should learn everytime they get on a bike, if you didn't learn anything from the ride; you'd better open your mind to accept things into it.

    I guess this ride is all about riding in a group that has more restrictions (speed limits, stunting etc) put on it than other rides going, to make learners feel more comfortable. If you want lessons, speak to some experienced riders one-on-one or go to HART or something.

    I think that if forum'ers out there want to help & support these type of events, raising negative aspects on the public forum is not the way to do it, speaking to the volunteers that help co-ordinate the night is more constructive.

    Regards, John
  17. Hi again!

    I am not too sure whether or it was clear in my previous posts or not, judging by some of the responses.

    My posts were meant as a review of the evening a set of observations and not much else.

    The antics didn't bother me, of themselves.

    I admitted in my post that I lane split (riding to from work daily on the Monash - you'd be nuts not to). So again the lane splitting, of it's own was a non issue.

    The "erratic" riding of some - again on it's own was no big deal, the riders have enough experience / skill to handle themselves and their bikes.

    (Oh and just for the record - I wasn't talking about the corner markers at all when I mentioned the riding on the footpath. That was a blatant act of getting to the front of the queue, in front of the other riders and cars that had formed up waiting for the lights to change to green.)

    And I also said, that socially - I thought the night was a good experience.

    I agree with everyone, that one on one (with an appropriate mentor) is a fabulous way to learn and plenty of people offer their time for this purpose too.

    So far everyone seems to be in agreement with all of that.

    My comments about introverted new riders in need of some help with confidence amongst traffic etc wasn't about me personally either. I rode for nearly 5 years previously and am quite confident / comfortable with what I can and can't do. Regardless of the legal / moral implications I lane split pretty much all the way into town on the Monash and I join it at Langwarrin (40 odd clicks each way).

    My posts were more along the lines of;
    It is a Learner's Ride.

    A true new rider joins the "learner's Ride" for the purposes of gaining experience / skills / confidence.
    Are they actually going to learn any of those things in the environment provided to them on a Tuesday night ride?

    Sure, everyone got some riding in.
    Group riding at that too.
    I strongly believe that all riding adds to your confidence and skills as long as you look for the lessons in that experience and take it in personally.
    So - initially that's all great - for everyone.

    I don't want to speak for her, But Chris rode in from Resovoir with (I think it was Nadine - Sorry if I got her name wrong)... her.
    If not entirely comfortable with getting to the L's ride on her own - did she manage to get the maximum value from what could have been on the night?

    As a whole group - did we create an environment whereby a learner could learn "sound" roadcraft and riding skills - are they going to take away anything from last night that will make them a safer rider - has it increased anyone's enthusiasm about wanting to move from their L's to a full license and ride "full-time?

    Among those lines, "I" personally believe it could have been a much better experience than what it was.

  18. My understanding is, if the traffic is not moving, you are filtering, which is legal, if the traffic is moving, you are lane splitting which is illegal. If there is only one lane of traffic, it is illegal to pass on the left of moving traffic, but if the traffic isn't moving I would expect it to be classified to be filtering.

    I'm sure someone will have the correct legal knowledge to advise here?
  19. At least the "average experience" was free and run by volunteers...

    Personally if i were interested in improving my skills i would take a course(which i will be early next year). I think your review was slightly critical of the few people running the ride considering its a pretty relaxed social environment and with the guys that like to push their bikes in front of everyone and lead the pack.... well there is generally a few occassions where they end up in the bushes and thus learn some restraint.
  20. Gav, this is an 'open to the public ride', if you think it could have been a better experience for learners, I think what you want would be impossible to deliver, I welcome any suggestions on the night if you so desire :)