Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Experienced Rider Course and broken plastic

Neil and I attended the Experience Rider Course that was held at Triton Community College Sunday. The broken plastic happened elsewhere. After teaching many 8-3 Saturday MC classes, midway during the morning I realized that we were going to be in the classroom until lunch and then ride for the afternoon. The ERC course is run from 8-6 with an hour lunch. We received a handbook for the course but it was not referred to during the classroom at all. The classroom used some older "RSS" curriculum videos. A pristine GMC Pacer gave the decade away. Browsing the handbook, I had hoped that we would have covered some of the "situations and solutions" particularly for Neil. Since that was not the case, I think that Neil and I will go through the handbook together.

I treated Neil to Subway (big spender that I am) for our 1 hour lunch break. We were back first and lined our bikes on the very familiar "T's" that are used in the basic classes. Of course the instructors moved us once they arrived back from lunch as they are not used in the ERC at all. I lost count of the total number of exercises that we did. Some were short link purposefully locking our rear tire for a stop. I didn't particularly enjoy the feeling of my rear tire skidding and coming out of line. Cornering exercises were as enjoyable as they could have been. TCC has the MC program use a terribly cracked and bumpy parking lot. So during the corning, leaning the bike over, having to negotiate dips and loose gravel didn't give me the confidence to lean the bike over as much. 18 year old Neil on the other hand is another story. He was at the edge of his tires limits and dragging pegs on that Ninja 250 like it was nothing. I was rather proud of his riding during the class and the instructors commented on how good his performance was during the exercises. That being said, our 40 mile ride home in traffic on the Chicago Expressways reminded me that I need to work with him on how to better position himself in traffic. I am not as concerned with his skill of handling the MC, but how he positions himself in traffic and his lack of maintaining a modest space cushion.

I did find myself wanting to performing the exercises more often next to one of the two instructors. He was the one who constantly offered suggestions for improvement. I am a sucker for that stuff. Like in all other settings, I thirst for feedback (and approval) and want to "make the coach" happy. I am extremely competitive, especially with myself. The other instructor simply let us ride the excercises with very little feedback. I noticed that Neil went to the one offering the feedback as well.

The majority of the riders had 1-3 years of riding experience. There was a Harley, two SV650's, another smaller but exceptionally painted cruiser, two M109's, Neil' 250, and my Connie.

As Neil and I pulled into our driveway at the end of the day, I had to park behind our of our cars because there was not enough space to get my Connie to the garage door. Neil ran an errand in the car and made it safely around my bike. He came home for a few minutes that wanted to go out again. I was on the computer and jumped up as I heard a loud noise. Yep, he forgot the Connie was there and backed right into it. We I got out my heart sank seeing the bike on it's side. After getting it upright (not the lightest bike in the world with a 7 1/2 gallon full tank), my heart sank further. The front fender was broke in half, the right mirror is crushed, and there are scratches on the main fairing from the bumper of the car. The rear tip over bars saved the rear end from any damage and I am made that I hadn't put on the front tip over bars (crash bars) as I had planned to before the ERC. I will ride it over to the shop and place the order for the replacement fender and mirror. They will have to do the fender and the wheel has to be removed and rivets drilled out of the fork brake that the fender is attached to. I may or may not have them replace the mirror.

Neil will be paying for the greater portion of the repair. However, I am also feeling bad having him spend his money that he has earned working with the MC program. Having the Connie with a few scars and needing some repairs doesn't make me happy either. It's only cosmetic, and it will be okay. It didn't impact anything necessary to ride.

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bobskoot said...


YIKES ! OH NO ! I just can't imagine anyone backing up without looking first. I have a rule "Can't see, can't go"

Hope you get your Connie repaired to your satisfaction. Make sure to mount your crash bars soon

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

Sojourner rides said...

Wow. I know that hurts. Still, it is hard stuff and can be fixed. That young man must feel really bad about this and that's sure punishment enough. I wouldn't have the heart to make him pay for all of it. Part of it gets the message across. He sounds like a terrific kid.

Jeffry said...

Yeah he is a great young man. Total repair will run $195 in parts and $120 for labor. There is no hiding how bad he feels. Another lesson to slow down. Parts will be in by the end of the week. Until then, I will ride my scarred beauty.

Singnals3 said...

This is a great man. the Experience Rider Course is really nice because I am also interesting in riding this is my useful information

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irondad said...

Ouch! At least you can blame it on someone else. I dropped mine all by myself. You know, the few scars don't look too bad. Since
Elvira is Raven Black, I just used a magic marker on some of the scratches.

After the horse left the barn, I ordered frame sliders.

Interesting feedback from the other side of the ERC. There's always lessons for us to use as instructors, aren't there?