Motorcycle: Riders View - Learning To Ride
Date: Sunday, October 31 @ 15:42:23 UTC
Topic: Motorcycle, Motorcycles, Motor Cycle
Learning To Ride
For many motorcyclists, learning to ride a bike involved wobbling off on a two-wheeler for the first time, possibly on a private training-ground with a road-safety instructor on hand to impart the basics of throttle and brake control. But these days, with bikes ever-faster and roads increasingly crowded, more advanced forms of two-wheeled tuition have become popular.
Some of these take place on the road, in the form of expert-level instruction along the lines of that given to police motorcyclists. The course run by the London-based Metropolitan Police combines vital safety tuition with spirited road riding and is considerably more exciting — and probably more beneficial — than the more conventional advanced driving courses.
But it is the racetrack where the majority of motorcyclists go to learn how to ride fast and safely — or simply for an excuse to blast round at high speed with no fear of police radar traps, or of traffic coming in the opposite direction. Road-racing schools take place at circuits as far apart at Laguna Seca in California, Donington Park in England and Germany's Nurburgring, often with a fleet of identical, race-prepared bikes available for use by the students.
Best-known of the American set-ups is the California Superbike School run by Keith Code, a former national-level racer who counts among his former students Grand Prix stars Eddie Lawson, Wayne Rainey and Doug Chandler. Keith Code's analytical approach to controlling a motorcycle at speed, outlined in videos and books including A Twist of the Wrist, has helped many motorcyclists to ride at high speeds more safely.
Germany's famous old Nurburgring course, with its 72 bends in 13 miles (20 kilometres) of snaking, armco-lined tarmac, presents a very different challenge. For much of the year the Ring is a public road, which any vehicle can use on payment of a few Deutschmarks. But the circuit also hosts intensive riding courses, some lasting for several days, at which track experts pass on their hard-won knowledge.
The final part of a typical three-day course is a single assessment lap for each pupil, marked by a team of instructors who hide in the bushes at key points around the track. Pass that exam with a perfect score, and on Ring open days you might stand a chance of keeping up with the Porsche factory testers or even the locals who also make frequent use of the circuit.
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