Thursday, June 09, 2011

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,



Allen Madding said...

I am greatly encouraged to hear that many Harley riders took the class and took it seriously. I have met so many riders that say, "I don't ride hard, so I don't need training." To date, I have used every bit of the little training I have had. And I am ready for more when my schedule will allow.


Dean W said...

Note for Dan- I can't read the comments on the main page- the text is [nearly?] the same color as the background.

Actually, I didn't teach that class- it was the day after the BMWMOA Rally in Redmond last summer, and I was on my way to Monterey for USGP.

But I know the guy who wrote it, he's in the military and works in their programs for promoting safety for personnel. (ie., moto safety programs, etc.)

redlegsrides said...

That ART training sounds much better than the MSF's ERC training I underwent here. Still, training is training....though having an instructor ride behind you would definitely be something worth adding to the ERC in my opinion.


Redleg's Rides

Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

Unknown said...


I know nothing about training as I "don't ride hard . . ." so I'll make a comment re: Backgrounds. From examples I have seen on various photo forums they selective sharpen the subjects and then "blur" (Unsharpen) the background to make the subject "POP" more . This also gives the impression of a sharper photo by tricking your eyes.

In Bend last year all I could think of was "I hope Irondad" isn't behind me on our group ride back to the coast for then he will notice all my flaws and wonder how I ever made it there in one piece.

Riding the Wet Coast

Geoff James said...

Nice post Dan. I know all about the feeling of having an advanced instructor following, having had one follow me for 60 km in slippery, wet conditions this week. Nothing more intimidating!

You don't ride hard so you don't need training??????

Roger said...

Good to hear of some advanced riders getting some traing. Perhaps you should get one to right down there experonce of the course and share it, it would no doubt be an interesting read.

Bluekat said...

Classroom time, instead of playing on the track! I know you like both teaching and riding, but it must be distracting to hear those bikes playing out there...I mean practicing.

You wrote this today. I was so antsy at work waiting for the ride home in the warm sunshine! Yeah, it was good!

lol - the Bend ride, I thought the same thing! Instead I got the one guy who had a video camera ;)

Orygunner said...

I've ridden both of the Cornering Clinics up at Pat's Acres this year (the Cornering Clinic is training for Team Oregon Instructors the morning before the ART class takes over the track), and I have yet to notice ANY of the trees I've heard people referring to... at least while I'm riding the track. ;)


Jack Riepe said...

Dear IronDad (Dan):

Like a good first or second marriage, there is no substitute for thorough training. I have a pleasant time busting the chops of Harley riders, but I thoroughly enjoyed the entry-level Riders Edge class I took at the Harley Davidson dealership in Willow Street, Pa. (This class was essential to my getting a real motorcycle rider's license, unlike the comic book one I carried in my wallet fopr over 30 years.)

You can never be too smart nor too sure of yourself.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep
Twisted Roads

Unknown said...

Looks like everybody is about motorcycle training courses these days. It's a good idea. I should put it at the top of my list of things to do when I get back from Germany.

The bigger bike makes it a lot easier to get into bigger trouble. I'm old 550 wasn't capable of passing cars like signposts.

Behind Bars - Motorcycles and Life

The Snark said...

Hey, I'm back. Well, sorta. Broke my leg last September, and finally got back on track (again, sorta). Long story. You'll probably shake your head at the stupidity of the accident, and use it as an examplke of what not to do in one of your classes. Drop me a line at desmosedici(at) if you want the story.