Civil War

Posted: November 20, 2016 in My Life

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Tomorrow I’m going to be drawn into a Civil War.  Two sides, each ideologically separated by a difference that will never be bridged.  And I fear it’s a war to the death.  And I need to choose sides, no middle ground, do I back the Empire or the Rebels?

I’m talking, of course, about the MSF vs Lee Parks.  Tomorrow night is a meeting sponsored by a local school.  The school is going to consider switching to the Lee Parks method instead of the MSF class.  Three instructors have been trained by Lee Parks and want to tell us about their experience.  The latest twist is the MSF is sending two chiefs to monitor the meeting.

Incase you aren’t up on the latest in the rider training world, there is a revolt afoot. MSF dominated the training  since the 70’s.  Then Washington and Oregon adopted a form of the old RSS.  Today we use the BRC and soon the BRC update.  You were likely training under the BRC program.  I understand the RSS was more “drill instructor” style were the BRC is new age, “how’s that make you feel?”.  The “update” is a little different but not tons.  My rough understanding of Lee Parks method is it’s a return to the RSS days.

Anyway, I’ll have to pick the method I teach with.  The truth, I don’t care.  Any training is good.  People learn, they respond to kindness, a calm voice, positive reinforcement, and repetition. I try to help new riders not die so they can become old riders, like me.

But it is exciting, will I throw in with the rebel forces or be seduced by the dark side?  Odds are I’ll make the self destructive choice, habit I guess! ha ha

Air Force Football

Posted: November 6, 2016 in My Life
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Cadets on the field before the game.

I took a ride a couple weeks to Colorado Springs and took in an Air Force football game.

I did not attend the Acadmey, one of my daughters is considering it, but right now there is no connection.  The stadium is beautiful and the personnel assigned to make sure you knew where things are were wonderful.

With all the turmoil around the upcoming US election I truly worry about the future of America.  But something became very clear to me, the members of our armed forces love this country and treat each other like a big family.  Everyone was so well behaved and polite.  And I think we really do have some of the finest young people in the world attending our military academies.  The government is not our country, you can love your country and hate what some people are trying to do to it.

I know all those attending were very patriotic and love their country but there was far more there than that.  They loved each other, they were a family, some you like, some you don’t but they respected each other.

I have no idea if my daughter will apply to the Acadmey, I’m sure it’s a top notch school.  But it’s the other part, the unseen part that is the real prize.  Not one cadet who played his heart out that afternoon was looking to the pros.  Win or lose, Monday morning the real work started.  Preparing to defend this country.

Think what you will of our politicians but the cadets of the Air Force Acadmey are not those people.  And frankly, I’m kinda glad about that.

Let’s dance

Posted: October 15, 2016 in My Life

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I actually get to ride this weekend, no teaching, visitors, work projects, or repair problems.  I’ve had TWO gas leaks that the dealer swears are fixed for good.  You have no idea how frustration it is to have the bike sit on a beautiful weekend because a problem you paid to have fixed is back!

I’ve been riding so long that if I don’t ride on a regular basis I get “out of balance”.  Edgy, irritable, restless, anxious, or plain grouchy.  It doesn’t have to be a long ride but I need to feel like the bike and I are working together.  You know the “zone” athletes talk about?  I’ve had that on the bike for years.  I could tell there was something wrong with the bike before the gas leak got bad, it wasn’t right, it wouldn’t do what I wanted it to do.  Same with me, if my hands are hurting or I’m not working as I should, I feel it.

Don’t you find it amazing how riding a motorcycle is so much about feel?  It’s really an emotional experience.  After a time you feel the connection more than you control the connection.  You can muscle the bike, sure, but it’s a different experience to work with the bike.  Every bike is different but not better or worse.

I was in training once and had had an accident months prior.  I wasn’t riding well and I felt it.  Very frustrating.  The instructor immediately saw I was stiff and wooden, I was trying to control every movement of the bike because I didn’t trust the bike.  Finally he yelled in frustration “dance with it”.  Well, I can’t dance, not to save my life, but for some odd reason that struck a nerve and I started relaxing.  Slowly my confidence returned and I let go.  “You’e like a completely different rider now”, he said.  And I was.

 

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Image  —  Posted: October 13, 2016 in My Life

He’s all ready for the cops!

Posted: October 7, 2016 in My Life
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Hands up!

A day in the life of a Rider Coach

Posted: October 5, 2016 in My Life

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Some of you know I teach the MSF Basic Rider Course (BRC).  I started in 2004 in Troy Ohio and have taught in Pennsylvania, Texas, North Carolina, and Colorado since.  It’s more of a hobby than a real money maker but it’s my way of giving back to the sport.

Many of you have taken the class but might not know our process or duties.  I thought I’d take a minute to describe the process.

I’m teaching a day one BRC near Denver.  Class room starts at 7am so it’s an early Sunday wake up call!  It’s about a 45 minute ride so I’ll get up at 4am, and leave around 5am.  I prep Saturday by packing my teaching cloths; a long sleeved shirt, light weight pants, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and my teaching materials.  Tonight I’ll pack food and load the bike so I can just take off in the AM.  We are expected to ride to every class.  We also sign an agreement to wear full gear overtime we ride a motorcycle.

It’s dark and cold at 5am but I’m lucky to have a kick ass bike with a heated seat, grips, and vest.  Once I arrive at the “range” I get the keys I need from a lock box, disarm two alarms, unlock a gate and unlock a trailer.  Inside the trailer which is about 150 yards from the range are 12 motorcycles and a cart with cones and a first aid kit.  Job #1 is cone off the range so no idiots park there and its safe for the students.  That takes 20 minutes and it’s the most fun you’ll ever have.  Once that’s done, and it’s still dark, you get to ride 9 motorcycles from the trailer to the range and walk back after each delivery.  I’ll run out of time because class room starts at 7am.

So, the classroom part runs about 4 hours finishing with a written test.  Most people are successful.  After the grades are recorded we head to the range.

Exercise 1 is simply getting to know the bike, the control, and starting it.  Many people have never sat on a motorcycle.  We go slow and make sure everyone gets each part before moving on.  Finally, we end with Exercise 9 around 5pm.  We walk about 8 miles in a class, enough to exhaust most people!  There’s an hour of putting away the bikes, picking up comes, paperwork, and finally the ride home.

Every weekend hundreds of Coaches do this and more to help new riders enter the sport.  10 years ago there was a glut of Coaches, so much so there’s been an effort to force some of the older coaches out.  And they did, and there’s a shortage of coaches in many states now.  Younger men choose to be with their families or go riding rather than teach the weekend.  Not sure I blame them.

I’m not asking for sympathy or encouragement.  We do get paid, a rather small amount, but it’s a job important to the sport.  If you ever thought of giving back to the sport consider coaching.

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Image  —  Posted: October 4, 2016 in My Life

AMA supports motorcyclists right to die

Posted: September 30, 2016 in My Life

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I ran across an article while researching the American Motorcycle Association’s position on helmets and motorcycle training.  Here the AMA’s Rob Dingman talks about helmet use and rider education.  Even I was shocked by what I read.  The AMA doesn’t support helmets because they promote the idea of safe crashing.  Fair enough, don’t wear a helmet and support unsafe crashing.  They want to avoid accidents, that means training, right?  Nope, mandatory training is not an option.  What?  You don’t support training or helmets?  Do you support mandatory health care because those riders will need it!

Basically, the AMA does not support ANYTHING mandatory.  What about insurance?  Against that?  Safety inspections?  Not if they are mandatory!  Special license to ride a motorcycle, better get rid of that too.  After all you can choose to ride drunk, better make riding sober optional.

How can people be so stupid?  If you want to reduce fatalities wear gear and educate cage driver or better yet just teach them to drive.  Outlaw all cell calls except to 911, retest driving skills every 5 years.  Please don’t preach safety to me when the real answers are ignored.  Why isn’t seat belt use optional?  Because it saves lives.  No, not ALL lives but some.

Motorcyclists, wake up.  Do not listen to these idiots; wear gear, support laws that save lives.  Our leaders support our right to die, our brothers right to die.  And they wonder why the sport isn’t growing.

Quotes from the article.

So why does AMA oppose helmet mandates? Where’s the harm?

 RD; Because mandates have unintended consequences. Proponents of mandatory helmet laws see these laws as a cure-all for motorcycle injuries and fatalities, when in fact they do nothing to prevent crashes from occurring in the first place. We want to prevent crashes, rather than simply deal with their consequences.

RD; Yes, we oppose mandatory rider training. Some states have gone so far as to mandate rider education, but we don’t agree with this strategy. While on the surface this argument may have a nice ring to it, the reality is that every state program is currently stretched to the breaking point just trying to meet the needs of motorcyclists who seek training. When states pass these unfunded mandates, they force riders to wait many more months for training.

Feb 12, 2009, AMA

Of motorcycles and women

Posted: September 29, 2016 in My Life
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This is why I feel motorcycles are all women!

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Image  —  Posted: September 27, 2016 in My Life