Guest Author - Nancy Brotherton
I can't stress enough the importance of obtaining the proper riding skills and techniques and keeping them polished. I recently took the Experienced Riders Course (ERC), which is a motorcycle learning course geared to riders that have been riding for at least 3,000 miles who want to improve or refresh their skills. The ERC is sponsored by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF).
As some of you may recall from previous articles, I also took the Basic Rider Course provided by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) which is suitable for beginning riders or re-entry riders. For those of you who don't remember or haven't read my Basic Rider Course article, you can click on the link below to refresh your memory.
The ERC training is on your own motorcycle so that you can learn techniques and skills to control your own ride rather than an instructor owned 250cc.
The day began at 7:30 a.m. and ended early afternoon. There were six riders enrolled with two instructors. I was the only female rider. The instructors were supportive and enabling. They encouraged all of the participants to improve in specific riding techniques, but needless to say they were on the lookout for less than good riding habits. The small group made it go quickly and gave us plenty of time to build our riding skills. The Experienced Rider Course focused on specific skills, such as cornering, fast brake, and maneuvering in tight spaces that the majority of riders have difficulty with or that statistics show are the major cause of accidents.
The hardest part of the course for me was the figure eight in a confined space. My motorcycle is a Harley Davidson Heritage Softail, which was the larger motorcycle on the course that day. It takes a little more control and skill than a smaller, more agile motorcycle. I enjoyed the cornering and fast brake exercises and continue to practice all the skills that the instructors helped us practice at the Experienced Rider Course.
When I ask riders that have been riding for years if they have ever taken the Experienced Rider Course, they usually chuckle and say no, the road has been their trainer. While I agree that the more experience you have on the road on your motorcycle, the more likely you are to have built your skills. However, you don't know what you don't know. A rider I know that had been riding for years took the Experinced Rider Course and was glad that he did because of some of the tips he was able to pick up. When it comes to improving your riding skills on a somewhat "risky" form of transportation, the better the skills, the more likely you will be able to handle an emergency or difficult situation on the ride.
If building your skills isn't enough then an added incentive is that some insurance companies will give you a slight discount on your motorcycle insurance when you complete a certified motorcycle safe rider course. Information can be obtained on Motorcycle Safety Foundation training from www.msf-usa.org or by calling (800)-446-9227.
I recommend taking this course annually so you don't fall into any bad motorcycle riding habits that could result in lost reactiont time or forgetting to use the proper technique or skill in an emergency situation.
Until next week, ride safe and remember you are building your skills by doing what you love.