Consider Rider Training!
So much more than just learning to ride!
by: Debbi Serafinchon
Whether you are a new driver or one that has been riding for years, motorcycle courses can help us all learn a thing or two. The confidence that can be gained by a new rider after having spent some time slowly learning the correct methods can be invaluable once on the open road. As a seasoned rider, we all have a tendency to develop habits that may not be the safest without even realizing these habits have been formed.
Chris Barnes with the SAIT Motorcycle Safety Course in Calgary explained that by teaching everyone the safest way to handle a motorcycle is from the ground up. Even a rider that has never been on a bike before will gain an appreciation for the fundamental skills. Taking the time to build the skills that a rider needs to be safe on the road, makes learning the basics, practice, and effort is what Trevor Dech with Too Cool Motorcycle Training believes.
Chris Bulger with TNT Motorcycling Rider Training in Edmonton echoes these thoughts. A good rider needs a solid foundation of skills to be a controlled, smooth rider. The instructors at TNT not only have a passion for riding themselves but want to share that with others looking to enter the riding world. They believe that the knowledge and skills they have learned through the motorcycle-training courses they are required to have to teach are beneficial to each new rider.
If investing in riding equipment BEFORE you obtain your license is a concern, don’t let it stop you from registering for a course. All the motorcycle training courses I talked with offer the essential equipment which can be rented for your time while at the course. Trevor Dech advises that a rider should budget at least 35% of their riding budget be spent on gear.
As you work your way through the Learn to Ride Courses offered throughout Alberta, you can expect to gain an understanding of pre-ride precautions, defensive riding techniques and safety considerations for the new rider, starting the motorcycle, right angle turns, controlled braking, shifting, slow speed, maneuvers, emergency maneuvers, braking and acceleration in curves and turns, and collision avoidance. Learners will have the opportunity to practice riding in a controlled and safe environment designed to instill confidence in the new rider.
There are also benefits that an experienced rider can gain by taking a course if they have been riding for years. Over time, we all tend to get a little lazy with the way we do things and while years of riding increases on experience, it also increases in the number of bad habits picked up, or skills dropped. It doesn’t matter the activity, we all tend to find a shortcut or what we feel is an easier way to do things. Over time, these can become ingrained, and we don’t ever realize how unsafe they can be.
Most motorcycle training courses now offer an advanced riding program or similar programs to improve their riding skills. For these courses, you bring your own motorcycle and can work on developing your skills and gain a better understanding of how your bike handles. As Chris Barnes with the SAIT Motorcycle Safety Course in Calgary said, “anyone can ride a bike going fast in a straight line, but it takes a lot of skill to learn how to ride a motorcycle at slow speeds.” As experienced riders, we often don’t think to slow it down and just concentrate on improving our corning ability, or advanced braking techniques. Chris Bulger with TNT Motorcycle Training pointed out that while Alberta is relatively flat and straight if you plan on doing riding elsewhere, a refresher or advanced training course can help you prepare for cornering and windy roads.
If you are thinking of getting into riding, rather than having a good friend pass on their habits, invest the motorcycling training courses. The instructors are certified and have been riding for years. They will work at your level to ensure that you gain an appreciation for riding a motorcycle. The valuable training you will receive by taking a course will give you the confidence and knowledge to keep you safe on the open road.
For more information on what to expect from a Learn to Ride course, please click here to see our video podcast filmed with CTEC in 2017. To see a list of courses offered in Alberta, please click here.