Sunday, May 15, 2011

RiderCoach Training: Day 2 – BRC Completion

Today was the second day of my ten days of Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) RiderCoach training. The training is taking place in Hutchinson, MN

Yesterday was the first day of the RiderCoach Candidate (RCC) Basic Rider Course (BRC). The weather today was much nicer than yesterday. It started off cool and with gorgeously clear blue skies. There was a bit of a wind (15-25mph) too. It was a great day to be outside riding a motorcycle.

We started the day in the classroom again finishing the written material. The second half of the material focused on developing a mental and visual strategy to deal with the risks of riding. We finished up with a “Celebration of Knowledge” as one of our coaches put it. The rest of you may know this as a test. Since we are RCCs, we have to pass the test at a higher level than normal students. Each of us needed at least 40/50 to pass. Everyone passed, and five of the ten earned a 50/50, including me. All that studying paid off!

Then we went out on the range to work on the final eight range exercises with the motorcycles. It was nice to be outside without raingear! Most of the later exercises were focused on cornering and stopping. Which makes sense considering most motorcycle crashes happen in a corner with second place going to a car violating your right of way. We worked on swerving too.

My favorites today were the swerving and the figure eights. The swerving is making two quick turns by moving the motorcycle independent of your body. Fun stuff!

The figure eight is one of the skills on the Motorcycle endorsement test. It’s basically two u-turns back to back. I enjoy doing these and have practiced a lot. When I took my endorsement test, this was the hardest for me and nearly made me fail the test. I had fun seeing how tight I could make my turns. The tightest I was to do was about half of the full box. The keys to my success were turning my head to look where I want to go, weighting the outside peg, and steady throttle in second gear. Sliding off the seat a bit helps too. Fun stuff!

At the end of the day, it was time for the “Affirmation of Skill” also known as the riding test. Again, as RCCs, we have to pass the test at a higher level. Each mistake earns points. We were only allowed 11 points where a regular participant could earn 21 and still pass.

When I took my original test for my motorcycle endorsement, I barely passed. I think my score was 20. I’ve improved since then, and practice my skills regularly. All of the RCCs passed! Cheers all around as we received the news along with many sighs of relief.

According to our instructors, it was the first time in a while the entire RCC class passed the skills test on the first try. Four of the ten of us even had a perfect score, myself included. My practice paid off!

Thursday, we return to Hutchinson and begin the meat of the course – learning to coach the BRC and coaching the BRC. Lots of work ahead, and I’m excited!!


  1. Chris,

    Did you mean 40/50 on the written test? If so, that's no different than a passing/failing score for our students. If that's the case, I'm a little surprised. People who barely speak or read English regularly pass that test. In fact, I can't remember more than a couple of failures on the MSF written test in the last 10 years of teaching. Blowing that test is pretty much the same as failing an IQ test. It means you're unable to feed yourself.

    Actually, most crashes (in WI and MN) are still alcohol related. Right of Way violations are an arguable issue that, as far as I know, only the ABATE guys are convinced is an absolute motorcycle-innocent problem. In my experience, I am less convinced.

    Good to hear the riding test still has absolutely higher than student standards. There has been some coach questions about that in the past few years. I didn't realize it was possible for coaches to take the test multiple times to "pass," though. That's disappointing.

    How do you feel about the wussifying "test" terms? We're seeing the effects of "self-esteem sensitive" K-12 education in, even, the lowly for-profit college world and it makes me worry for the future of my country. Anyone who gets freaked out over taking (or failing) a "test" will have a terrible time in the real world of work, competition, or even heavy traffic.

    Watching our ERC students attempt to merge yesterday made me wish a lot more 1980's Californians would move here to weed out the timid and brain-dead. Whoever decided to put stop lights on freeway entrances ought to be hanging by their thumbs from a lamp post.

    My V-Strom was still fuel-pump-less yesterday, so I had to ride the WRX. There were a few resentful Harley riders who thought I was cheating, but I didn't pick their pig bikes for them. They made that irrational choice themselves.

    Good luck on the rest of the IPC.

  2. Tom: I must have the 40/50 wrong the required score for RCCs is higher than students.

    The testing on the skills is higher. I was surprised we got more than one chance too. It seemed like we'd get one more chance if we failed the first, but I'm not sure since it didn't happen.

    The test terms? We found them amusing. I think it's just Jay's style to poke fun the whole way through. Didn't think of them as wussifying things at the time, but I see your point.

    LOL! Minnesota "nice" strikes again. Throw in some texans with their gun racks for good measure too. ;)

    It'd be nice if more people cared more to improve their driving/riding skills. There is always something else to learn. Your sarcasm always makes me laugh!

    You HAD to ride the WRX? You mean you GOT to ride the WRX! LOL. Bringing some of those youtube vids of the cops whipping/riding those victories and fulldress HDs around the cones would be fun to see them watch.

    Thanks! I hope I don't need it, but I'll take it. I'm expecting a ton of work come Thursday at 8am.

  3. Yep, that's what I meant. The WRX is (or IS) my main motorcycle now. Unless I need giant luggage space, it's the only bike I've used this season.

    Texans don't merge, they just smash into each other until someone pops out at the other end. I loved riding in SoCal. I don't have the balls to ride in most Texas cities, especially Houston. It's like bumper cars on speed.

  4. Dear Chris:

    Somehow I missed your last three posts. I have no idea how this happened, but I must have been out on a tear or something. I think it is great that you are looking to pursue a parallel career as a motorcycle safety instructor. I can't think of a better qualified candidate. I was also surprised to read that you nearly failed your time as a student at the MSF course yourself. I think you are one of the most competent riders and wrenches I know (or at least read).

    By the way, I found your piece on fork seal service to be very interesting, but that is one mechanical adventure that I will not ry alone.

    I ook forward to future blogs where you are the instructor calling the shots.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • reep • Toad
    Twisted Roads

  5. Chris, congrats on maxing out the "celebration of knowledge" though that name kind of sticks in my craw as one of the "joyful" ways public education fails miserably at teaching some of the more basic tasks...

    Looking forward to hearing of your training on becoming an instructor.


    Redleg's Rides

    Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

  6. Tom: My SV is still my fave. I took the WR to work yesterday. It was fun as usual and easier to park. I've driven in TX, but not ridden yet. I remember it being very fast paced.

    Dear Jack: Now, that you are using google for your email, you should look at using google reader for reading blogs. It makes it really easy to keep track of other sites without missing anything.

    Thanks for the kind words. Yup, I nearly failed. When I took the course, it was my first time on a motorcycle ever. Since then, I've practiced a lot and become much, much better. :)

    Dom: The name was silly. Most of us found it funny. It didn't do anything to reduce the stress level in the group before the test though.

    Leaving tonight again for hutchinson, in 24 hours class will be starting again!!