Saturday, August 8, 2009

Riding Course

Today, I took the "first timer" class from Riding Course. The class was held at Dakota County Technical College (DCTC) on the driving range.

The course is described as a "Advanced Rider Defensive Skills Training and Advanced Rider Defensive Skills Development for street motorcycle riding" when in reality it is learning to how to be an amateur racer. The first time class is great for focusing on how to ride smoothly (throttle, braking, turning inputs), but the emphasize a racing line while never mentioning that a safe line on the street will be different.

The racing line is the shortest and fastest line through a corner while the safe line on the street is usually a delayed apex. Using a delayed apex on the street will maximize your sight line and keep you away from the middle of the road where oncoming traffic is likely to cross over. Being able to see down the road an extra second or two can help see the unexpected and give you a better idea how tight the turn is. On the track, you see the same corners over and over and you know what to expect. On the street, I've found it is best to expect the unexpected as it is filled with hazards (sand, potholes, and distracted drivers).

This group is great if you just want to see what your bike can do in a safe and controlled environment. They broke the riders into three groups and each group rode 20 minutes of each hour which is a lot of track time for your buck. I found it helpful to get some time in practicing techniques without having to worry about cars, dogs, sand, and kids with ice cream cones on the road.

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