Always a proponent of continuous learning, it was with excitement tinged with apprehension that I attended Lee Park’s Total Control advanced riding program. I know there’s always much to learn, or maybe better put, much to correct when it comes to improving riding technique.
This day dawned a little more challenging than most. My Super Ténéré , a big, high bike, was still relatively new, it was cold and pouring buckets, and I’d be pushing my comfort zone. But there’s only one way to improve and that’s to practice and I knew Lee Park’s to be an excellent instructor.
The day started inside with understanding the theory behind the techniques we were about to learn. As it turned out, that was the methodical order of the day – inside to the classroom to understand the theory and explain what we were about to do, then outside for a demo and then doing it.
I need not have been concerned. The instructors were super, did a great job of assessing each rider’s skill and pushing us enough to improve but not beyond our limits.
Even more fundamental than the technical skills is riding with the right attitude and mental clarity. After that, it’s learning the correct techniques.
Much of the concept behind his techniques comes from Lee’s years in racing and his intricate knowledge of how rider choices with throttle and brakes affect suspension, which in turn affect traction, handling and outcome.
5 Top Lessons from Advanced Motorcycle Rider Training
- Getting the most out of the throttle. How you use it influences not only speed, but affects traction, suspension, weight transfer, steering, stability and ground clearance.
- Adjusting the suspension to be right for me. I don’t know many riders who do this, but it’s amazing how a few small adjustments can improve the stock position.
- Selecting the best line in corners. The Total Control perspective puts a whole new spin on how to do this, by understanding why riders make mistakes and using that knowledge to do it correctly.
- Trail braking. This was new to me and comes out of the racing world. It’s a method of coordination throttle and front brake for smoother deceleration and control in straight line stopping or control in entering turns.
- Body positioning. We learned a whole new approach to cornering that has made a remarkable difference in how I ride., again taught through theory, demonstration then doing – and adjusting for your own bike. Lee has developed a 10-step guide for proper cornering, which breaks down your moves into fine detail. They’re reinforced throughout the day and there’s a handy card to take home as a reminder.
In addition, we practiced super-tight low-speed turns in the parking lot, surprisingly easy when you know how! It’s just learning to trust your motorcycle, trust your self and do what you know you can do.
Suitable for all types of motorcycles and scooters, the program is taught in the GTA by Sharp Rider Training. Check out their website for dates and times. Students must provide their own motorcycle (in good working order) with proper tires and have at least one year of riding experience. Full protective gear is required.
Like any worry, I need not have been concerned with how I’d manage. There was a ton of theory and with the fast pace, it was almost overwhelming at times. However, the methodical and incremental learning approach, reinforced with repetition made techniques easy to understand, learn and implement under expert advice. As with any new skill, it requires repetition and practice to develop muscle memory and make it second nature.
And I’m only too happy to get out and practice!