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Today I went out to take part in a 3 hour, one on one course with Riderskills. Riderskills is a Auckland based company run by Philip McDaid who is a chief Institute of Advanced Motorcycle (IAM) instructor. He runs courses from basic handling skills to advanced courses for the more serious riders.

The course I chose was one subsidised by the Government for the month of June so I thought I had better get in quick. Since I don’t have a bike, well a road legal bike anyway, I managed to get a ride in with my flatmate. Unfortunately I was nearly 2 hours early so I had to potter around and eat some good old Wendys’ for lunch to pass the time. When they turned up at 3, Philip went and got his GT250 for me to ride on for the course which was really good of him to do.

We had a brief discussion of what I wanted to work on, which was more or less just a general overview of my riding to see if I had gotten a little rusty with my few months off. Set up the headphone and intercom and off I went with one of the other IAM instructors as Philip was taking out another rider.

Because I often practice my slow speed skills with progressing difficulty, we didn’t bother covering any of that and went straight onto the riding side of it. We started with some residential area stuff within the 50km/h zone and covering road positioning with traffic and other hazards on the road.

My residential stuff was fine minus one or two habits/rustiness I had picked up, from there we went out for a quick blat through some back roads out west through a varying road style and settings. Somehow my intercom turned into an extremely loud morse code device, so instead of hearing my instructor talking, I had to interpret a series of beeps and clicks and I gave up to focus on my riding as I saw one of those “Dickheads” behind me in a lowered Sylvia (I think) who wanted to practice some damn dodgy passing manoeuvres which left me wanting to kick his car but refrained from doing so.

We carried on through some more back roads and around the Riverhead area focussing on lines and procedures for setting up for a corner, which described in the Police Motorcycle Handbook, is named ‘IPSGA’ or Information, Position, Speed, Gear and Acceleration.

Information standing for what your senses take in as you are riding, in particular, as you are riding to a corner. What is the road surface like? Are there trees overhanging the road which could drop leaves on the outside of the corner? Are there any side streets around where drivers could pull out of? And so on and so forth.

Position describes as to where you are on the road, determined by the information that you have kept note of. So for example, tight left hand corner with gravel on the centre line, the road is not opening up so that tells us that the corner will most likely tighten up as we go around and as you come up closer you notice a dead possum on the inside of the corner before your turn in point. So you would position yourself just off the centreline so that your bike does not lose traction at all and you are able to keep to the outside of the corner to maintain visibility through the corner and also keep you in a good position for the decreasing radius corner that will be coming up.

Speed and gear are intertwined, what you are looking for there is a gear that will give you enough drive out of the corner with out giving you the need to change gears so that you can maintain a constant/positive throttle coming out of the corner. Obviously the speed will be matched with gear choice but determined by the information and position you can choose an appropriate gear and speed for the corner.

Last of all, acceleration. You want to be able to accelerate out of the corner to keep the suspension working and to aid in coming out of the turn and standing the bike back up to move onto the next corner.

After all of that we had a brief chat about my riding which the majority of was fine, and then made our way back to base camp where we dropped off my loan bike and I had some more Wendys’ and then waited for the bus which took it’s sweet time getting there.

So now here I am sitting on a bus, in my full motorcycle leathers and a helmet and getting curious looks from passengers and the bus driver himself.

Just chilling on the bus.

Off one bus and then on to the next, the driver once again giving me a smile like I had just lost my license, when in reality it was the opposite.  By the time I got off and had to catch my 3rd bus, I could not be bothered and cheated by getting a taxi.

So overall, I enjoyed the course held by Riderskills. They conduct themselves in a professional manner but also have a light side and have your best interests at heart. With a great range of courses from beginner to advanced and even scooter riders, they cater to everybody. A pleasure to train with and I look forward to the next course I get to take with them.

https://www.facebook.com/Riderskills.co.nz?sk=reviews

Matt

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