American Skid Marks
Setting out on a great American motorcycle roadtrip.

Total Control. Indeed!

Ok seriously, I am not the kind of guy who says OMFG. But, OMFG! I had no idea I could ride like this. I have not even come close to mastering all of the techniques they taught us at the Total Control riding clinic this past weekend, but in just one day I feel like I’ve learned more about riding than in all of my five previous years combined. If you are a rider with a few years of solid riding experience go take this class!

This clas is not for beginners. This class demands sticking your ass out of your comfort zone a bit. If you’re not a competent rider and fairly comfortable on your bike you will not like this class. The first time I tried throwing my bike into a turn, I just about shat myself. Truly, by shat myself I mean I felt exhilirated beyond words, but had I taken this class when I was still a beginner I would have had to clean out my panties for sure.

This class is not even for folks who have been riding for a few years but never really wanted to push their machines to perform at a high level. You have to really want to master your riding for this class to make sense for you.

I wish I could explain in text what they taught us, but I am absolutely clear that without a riding coach to help illustrate the techiques and then guide you through the countelss mistakes you will make, applying the concepts is extremely challenging. Mind you, they’re not challenging to understand; they’re challenging to get just right. The moment you think you are doing it right, one of the instructors will point just how bad your form actually is. Just when you think you’ve got your bike leaning over as far as it will ever go, one of the instructors will show you a photo of your knee still two feet off the ground and your head sticking up in the air rather than tucked down into a turn.

In a word, I can tell you that this class is about “cornering”. That’s it. All of the braking, vision, line selection and body position drills taught revolve around helping you make tighter, faster and safer corners. The first time I tried to put all of the techniques into practice, I felt the difference. The bike turned tighter and more steady than I’d ever been able to achieve before.

Do I have “Total Control” of my bike? Hardly. As I’ve said already, I am far from having mastered these techniques; I’ll be working on them for years. But even at my amateurish level, I have completely transformed my riding abilities.

You know, there are reasons why the folks you find in rider training classes have probably taken some other rider training classes. Once you take one and realize just how much it has improved your riding, you’ll realize that good instruction is the single best way to advance as a rider. If you have bad technique, just one day of solid instruction will help you advance further than a dozen trips into the twisties. Just one day of in-person coaching on your weaknesses will help you more than reading half a dozen books. Take one class you’ll be hooked. I joked during the clinic that I knew a hell of a lot more about motorcycling before I ever started getting training. As Socrates once quipped, “The only real wisdom is knowing you know nothing.”

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