ART and Art ( sort of )
I taught an ART ( Advanced Rider Training ) course this week. This class was organized for a HOG chapter. Their Safety Officer also happens to be one of our instructors. She put the whole thing together and recruited students. A tip of the helmet to her. A double tip to the members who signed up. One or two had been through ART previously. Some had taken basic training when they got their endorsements. Riding time varied between a couple of years and three decades. What was really interesting is that, for some of the long time riders, this was their first formal training session.
Classroom was fun. What a great group of folks! They were obviously there to learn. Egos got put aside in the interest of skill development. As you can imagine all the bikes but one were Harleys. We had 17 Harleys and 1 Goldwing.
I had stashed a camera on the bike as I always do. For some reason I think I'm going to have time to make all these cool photos. What happens in reality is that we're so darn busy there's barely time for a snapshot. Like this one. Oh, well.
Dean W was also teaching. There were four of us on duty. While I taught classroom the other three were busy playing outside with a group of instructors participating in a cornering clinic. Since we have the track for the day we offer our instructors a chance to come brush up on skills.
Please don't tell Dean this, but I really value working with him. ( Don't want to make him have to buy a bigger helmet ) Many of us make it our goal to strive for excellence. I like to think I'm pretty sharp but Dean can sometimes out think me. I tend to make intuitive leaps while it seems to me that Dean is more methodical in his approach. It's a blessing to work with someone who can help me grow and also hold me accountable. Ok, you can tell Dean. If you value someone you should really let them know while you can.
Dean shared with me something one of our students had written about an ART class he attended. I thought it was worth sharing. Especially since some of you will know exactly what he's writing about, having been there yourself. Dean and I were both teaching this one.
Before I do, though, I wanted to make a quick mention of the other "Art" in the post title. Or temporary lack thereof. I'm playing with the backgrounds color and stuff. The goal is to find a combination that will help showcase the photos better. Since I don't seem to have time all at once to see it through, it has to be a work in progress. Bear with me. Suggestions are even welcomed.
Anyway, here is what the student wrote.
Team Oregon's Advanced Rider Training
Team Oregon's Advanced Rider Training (ART) is held on a go-kart track, with dedicated classroom sessions in the morning and riding drills in the afternoon. The ART is held at Pat’s Acres in Canby, Oregon (and a location in Medford, Southern Oregon) and is a 2nd to 3rd (touched 4th once, but only with a clear straight in front of me) gear challenging and technical little circuit. The ART’s syllabus is designed after mishap studies of Oregon motorcyclists; they found that crashes were not on the first, but the second or third corner. A training plan was formulated to link corners while giving a little bit of risk in the form of if you get the corner wrong, you get to play in the grass! With no speed limits, no left-turning cars, and a lot of really great technically challenging corners and professional instructors, this was the perfect place to learn how to link corners, and then polish those new found skills. The bike is not required to be track-prepped (tape off lights, pull fuses, remove mirrors, etc.), and the rider is required to wear armored jacket and boots.
The classroom sessions in the morning covered the basics of what motorcycle mishaps have in common: lack of cornering effectiveness. The instructors are straightforward, and relate how the material in the classroom can combat those trends. Delivery method is very professional and straightforward, with each subject clearly defined and how it impacted those in attendance. The material covered was applicable to on-street riding awareness, and the classic quote before breaking for lunch set the tone for the remainder of the day, “We want to drive the road; not the let the road, drive us.”
The track allowed different circuits for each drill, this way one could not get too comfortable with a layout, and have to really work the skills being taught to stay off the grass! The drills allowed for emergency skill polishing in a real environment, with real grass and trees, and the resulting risks associated with a real environment. Ever try maximum braking on a cambered curve staring at a three-foot diameter Douglas Fir tree? Hopefully you never will, but doing it during the ART sure makes the skill set that much more important. Throughout the day, the instructors offered ride-along’s where they’d point out when and where to look, when and where to be on and off the brakes, all while you’re sitting on the pillion!
The culminating exercise was an instructor follow-behind. An instructor would ride behind and critique you for two laps. This gives me the ultimate respect for the instructors, I’ve done this before and it is harder then you’d think, but the TO instructors handled this extreme multi-tasking job with professionalism and knowledge.
I found the ART to be everything it advertised itself to be, and more, the more being the environment of a closed-course, street-based curriculum.
You can find the website this came from here.
It's pretty cool to be involved in this kind of training. Right now, though, the sun is out and I have work to do. Get ready, Elvira, 'cause we're headed out!
Miles and smiles,