Spring is here, and the days are getting longer, which means new rides, new adventures and new dangers.
Occasionally, I like to find a class to refresh my mind and shake off any bad habits I may have developed. In the past few years, I have had a couple of incidents that made me think I was a little too close to wiping out.
A few weeks ago, I attended MotoMark’s Stayin’ Safe course in Burlington. Mark Brown has been teaching motorcyclist classes for years and is well-known throughout the motorcycle community. He offers many classes, one of which is titled “Stayin’ Safe.” Today, Stayin’ Safe is owned and operated by Eric Trow. Trow is a highly-respected instructor in the motorcycle community. He is an author for Rider magazine and the recipient of the American Motorcycle Association (AMA) Outstanding Road Rider Award for his work in motorcycle safety.
I was not sure what to expect when I arrived at class. One by one, bikes came pulling up. We were introduced to Mark and Eric. Then in came NASCAR’s Kyle Petty and his wife, Morgan.
After some introductions and paperwork, eight of us students headed to our bikes. Each rider (and passenger), was given a radio to hear the instructors. We lined up one by one, and we started doing a series of maneuvers. After a few minutes, we hit the road.
We were split into two groups; Mark took one group and Eric the other. In my group was Kyle on a Harley, a rider on a BMW and a rider on a trike. As soon as we twisted the throttle, Mark started mentoring us on safety, stability and sight. He pointed out things like road intersections, cars moving in and out of view and how to read the road.
We pulled into a parking lot for a discussion. Mark and Eric used chalk, toy cars and motorcycles to show which part of the lane is best to position yourself in for protection on the road. He also taught us about late entry in a curve and vanishing points.
As the day progressed, so did our speed and the curves we took. We switched instructors and took turns leading the group. After a 100 miles or so, we pulled back to MotoMark’s headquarters.
At the end of class, Mark asked us what we thought about the day. It was interesting that Kyle Petty, who leads the Kyle Petty Charity Ride across the country, said the class was good for him and he learned a lot. He also mentioned it was good for him to learn that a trike has different dynamics than a two-wheeled motorcycle.
The Kyle Petty Charity Ride raises money for the Victory Junction camp here in North Carolina. At Victory Junction, staff members help children with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses be able to just be children.
As I pulled away, I was happy about two things. I could say that I had Kyle Petty in my rearview mirror, and I was happy about what I had learned. Mark and his staff are truly dedicated professionals who care about the riders and the sport. Since the class, I have felt both smoother and steadier in my riding abilities, which means I feel safer. If you want to find out more about MotoMark’s classes, check out www.motomark1.com.
If there is a topic that you would like to discuss, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. RIDE SAFE!