There has been a big shift in California motorcycle rider training. It affects the 500 plus MSF RiderCoaches and over 100 schools throughout California. Some will be left out of the new program for one reason or another. The “good ole boy buddy system” will weed out some of the past RiderCoaches, good or bad. Some schools might not survive for various reasons.
Some of my best friends are/were MSF RiderCoaches and therefore I do get to see a birds-eye view of what is going on out there. Plus I try to be very observant in my old age. (Remember, I retired almost 2 years ago)
As of January 1st, being an MSF RiderCoach doesn’t mean much in California. Lee Parks, the author of Total Control, won the state’s contract to provide CMSP rider training, using a Motorcycle Training Course (MTC) much like the one used in Idaho called the STAR (Skills Training Advantage for Riders). No longer are trainers called “coaches”, but now are “instructors”. And for the sum of $400 his people will re-train you making that conversion from RiderCoach to Instructor.
Reading around on the web, and sometimes reading between the lines, I see the MSF was falling out of favor with the CHP/CMSP because death rates were still going up, and the CHP wanted more control of the program. A drastic program change may shake things up and make a difference. Only time will tell. One of the reasons why the roads are more dangerous now, more than ever before, is because of the distracted drivers out there. It’s not getting any better. I will reserve my judgement that a motorcycle training change will really help.
From what I have heard, the new training is a little different than before. There has to be 2 separate classroom sessions, and the classes may not be combined to be done in one session. The instructors do not perform as many “demos” as the BRC. The instructors have certain positions on the range for each exercise and have certain scripts they have to use. Almost sounds like one of the earlier MSF courses from the 90’s.
My fondest memories as a RiderCoach was when the students showed their excitement after putting their feet up and riding for the 1st time, usually within the 45 minutes of the riding class. The good RiderCoaches interacted with their students and left them alone on their breaks so they could digest what they had just learned. Back then coaches could get a feel for each individual student and tailor their coaching to best help the student in their learning process. I do not know how or if this new curriculum will have the same effect on the learning process.
There are other riding programs out there. Joe Elliott’s National Motorcycle Institute, has always been a fine school and very organized. In California, if you are under 21, you must take a state sponsored training to get your permit, which precludes taking this, or other training. If you are 21 and over, you are not required to take the state sponsored training if you are willing to go to the DMV and take the riding test. Mr Elliott’s course will teach you enough that you can do the DMV riding test with no issues.
Another local San Diego trainer is Brian Murray of SoCal Supermoto. He offers training for new riders, plus he meets at a local DMV every Tuesday to rent out a tricked out Yamaha TW200 that many have used to pass the DMV riding test. He also has his advanced training on his supermoto bikes on a closed course which is the best money one can spend for a day of pure fun.
Lee Parks also has his advanced Total Control course (which I have taken and enjoyed immensely). He is also a suspension guru! Every rider should take advantage of advance training from a proven source such as those I have mentioned above.
Although the state is changing it’s training posture, one thing is universally known about motorcycling: You need to be properly trained and you will need to continue to ride and always practice. Let us hope the new training is good and our roads and motorcyclists become safer in the future. Be safe out there and watch out for those idiot distracted drivers!
This past Saturday, my wife and I went to the Del Mar Arena to watch some good old fashioned short track races. We had a blast watching the kids, the pros and the the old guy race. The speedway bike races were particularly fun. I wished my cell phone camera would of taken better pictures, but it did do some good videos, so I will try to post one on here via YouTube.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.
Here's an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 15,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
After a week of high temps and fires all over San Diego County, we finally have a nice day in the 70’s and clear blue skies!
Finally took the Tiger in for it’s 36k checkup and some new tires this past week. It is my 3rd new front tire and 4th new rear tire. The engine runs like brand new with the recent valve adjustment. All the other checkups, the valves were within specification, but this time, they all needed some adjustment. I guess sticking with Amsoil and changing every 3000 miles does an engine good! I never did write a 2 year report, and here in a couple weeks, I have had the Tiger for 3 years. That in itself sets some kind of record for me. I usually trade them off in a couple years. The one exception was my Superhawk, which I had for 12 years. The Tiger has been a true workhorse and trouble free and I see it staying with me a long time. My Bonneville is still new as ever. Almost have 900 miles on it. Real garage queen, but, that is what I wanted it for.
Wow, as I was writing this, a neighbor, who has a small ranch about 15 minutes away, called and needed my assistance with a calf. I hopped on the Tiger and went to go help. Such a nice day out. The ride was nice and helping a neighbor is always good. Even though I don’t know much about cows and calf, I was able to do what he needed. Nice ride home. Gonna clean up and get ready for a date night with my wife!
Time sure does fly by!
Been taking it pretty easy and have done a few BRC classes here and there. I do not miss racing like I thought I would. I actually enjoy watching now. Rode up to Apex Raceway a while ago with Wally and watched some fine Supermoto racing action.
Still ride almost everywhere I go. I just don’t go out that much anymore since I am not working and am happy being a homebody.
I find it more difficult to be sharing our roads with those who still think that it is okay to use their handheld devices while driving. Maybe they are not thinking because they are air-heads or complete asshats. I know there are more important things in life to deal with, but this has gotten way out of control. It may be a reflection on how our society has become, and I am saddened by it.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 22,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 8 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
Hard to believe I have not posted anything since April of this year. A lot of things have happened I could share:
In November, Mark McCaffrey was killed on his Tiger 800 as a San Diego Police Department (SDPD) car made a U-Turn in front of him. Mark was the owner of Rocket Motors, our local Triumph dealer. Mark was one of the most sincere people I have had the pleasure to know. He was well known for restoring old British motorcycles. He will be sorely missed by many.
In September, a good high school buddy of mine, Rodney Box, passed away in Texas. He and I had parallel interests all our lives, even though we had not seen each other for almost 40 years. He rode a modern Triumph Bonneville, was a Machinists Mate in the Navy, and was stationed on one of the ships I had also served on (USS Blue Ridge LCC19). I had just gone to Texas in August and visited him, so it came as a big shock to hear of his passing just a few weeks after our visit. I was really looking forward to riding with him.
I quit working in May to concentrate on my physical health and start my retirement. I sold my Suzuki SuperMoto bike and now all I have are my Triumphs (Tiger 800 and Bonneville). The Tiger has 35k miles and still performs as the workhorse it is. The Bonneville is my garage queen and only has 600 miles. I only take it out on special rides or occasions.
I am keeping my RiderCoach certification active for a couple more years and may help out at some of the local schools from time to time. It is a very enjoyable experience as every class is different. Since 2008 , I have done over 450 Basic Rider Courses and over 130 Advanced Rider Courses. That is almost 6000 riders. One of my good friends, Victor, finally became a RiderCoach and he is enjoying it tremendously.
This will probably be my last post for the year, so I will close with MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY NEW YEAR wishes for all!