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Parking Lot Practice


swfraley

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Having recently finished the ABATE basic rider course, my sons (17 and 16) are the proud owners of a 1986 VFR 700.

 

I'm coaching them in a school parking lot, having them repeat most of the ABATE curriculum on the bigger bike. They're doing a good job of maximum braking, swerving, and slow-speed maneuvering.

 

The question is this: What's the endpoint of this parking lot stuff? That is, what hoop do they need to clear before taking them on the road? Are there any "must do" exercises they need to accomplish first? They're doing a good job of handling the bike, but I'm not sure they're ready to face the idiots. I've been thinking of throwing rocks at them in the parking lot, teaching them to ignore distractions and control their anger grin.gif Give Dad the finger once and it's Cycle Trader time for the Viffer eek.gif

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Stan Walker

Give Dad the finger once and it's Cycle Trader time for the Viffer

 

I like it....

 

In light of recent the rock throwing thread I would suggest you not do that.... smile.gif

 

Stan

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ShovelStrokeEd

I might suggest braking drills. I don't know anything about the ABATE course amd what it covers nor do I know what your drills have encompassed but, being able to get a bike stopped in a big hurry is the place where most new riders come a cropper. Day before yesterday, my ride from Greensboro, NC to Tuscaloosa, AL started out with an idiot turning left in front of me with me doing about 40 mph on a four lane urban street. That I was able to bring the Blackbird, laden with my 220 lb butt and about 80 lbs of luggage to the point of lockup, and slightly beyond, turned this into a non-event.

 

If you feel they are ready, work on that. Like all good drills, start slowly, with moderate effort braking and in a straight line. Work up to being able to lock either wheel at will and recover to the point of being able to keep the wheel leaving a black mark but still rolling. Add in some hard braking while turning. You might even want to participate yourself. grin.gif

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Having recently finished the ABATE basic rider course, my sons (17 and 16) are the proud owners of a 1986 VFR 700.

 

I'm coaching them in a school parking lot, having them repeat most of the ABATE curriculum on the bigger bike. They're doing a good job of maximum braking, swerving, and slow-speed maneuvering.

 

The question is this: What's the endpoint of this parking lot stuff?

 

The thing about a basic MC course is...well, it's basic.

It's meant to give new riders an understanding of the basic knowledge and motor control skills need to operate a motorcycle. You've added to that with further reinforcment of those skills in a parking lot with their new, larger bike.

 

I'd say, if they appear to have learned those basis skills and your satisfied that they seem to apply them well to the larger bike, then let them hit the streets. Maybe keep them restricted to neighborhood streets at first, gradually building up to more congested, higher speed roads as they gain experience. It's training AND experience that make for safer riders IMHO.

Me and a buddy went through the same thing when our wives decided they wanted to ride their own bikes. We're proud of em, but nervous at the same time. wink.gif

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Hi!

It sounds like your sons are off to a great start.

I'm just slightly ahead of them, having taken the course last fall.

I've been struggling with the "Am I qualified to be out on the public roadways?" dilemma myself. I don't think anything you can do to get them to ignore distractions would be useful. I think once they are confident in their bike-handling skills, they'll be ready to start riding on the street. That is where the real-world experience IS and that is where real experience comes from. The parking lot is great for learning new skills, forming good habits and starting to acquire some muscle memory. Actually, I think adding distractions to parking lot practice sessions at this point would be detrimental. Let them learn in peace and they'll be more comfortable and confident in their ability to control the bike. Even empty parking lots have characteristics (tar snakes/painted lines/grease spots/gravel) that will keep them on their toes and give them a little taste of the street.

 

Does the lot you practice in have any slopes? I found that my first parking lot practice after the course was a real eye-opener as I came to a stop and realized that I was going to be making a pretty tight turn (due to medians) AND I was on a slope. I had to use one of the techniques for starting on a hill (I opted for the rear brake). THAT wasn't anything that was covered in the class. My first practice also had me realizing I needed to be careful where I parked the bike (again because of the slope... traction, etc.). I have 3 different parking lots that I use. Each has unique characteristics that I find to be valuable in the learning process. My favored lot also has a gravel portion which I find quite useful.

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My suggestion would be to vary the locations you practice in. Find a lot that is close to some lightly traveled roads and let them get out on the street.

Also, I highly recommend the "Ride Like A Pro IV" DVD. It focuses on slow-speed maneuvering and features many parking lot exercises. I was having trouble with turns from stops and I watched this video and had an amazing practice last night. I think that was money very well spent. I only wish I had it sooner!

Joel has been riding for awhile and he was out there doing the drills with me and he found it to be a great refresher and fun!

 

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Good luck to you and your sons. What fun!

Take care, be well and ride safely.

Heidi

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I'm liking this idea of graduated exposure. Experienced riders forget how much there is to learn about things like parking.

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How about some Awareness drills?

 

In the car/truck, work with each one, one at a time in the front seat next to you while you drive.

 

Practice alone for a while. Verbalize what you are seeing. Make it like stream of consciousness, but instead "Stream of Awareness".

 

"Car left, driveway... slow and watch from corner of eye. Intersection ahead, no stop, continue checking as far down either direction as visible. Check mirror. Car left passed now. On ahead a bus is approaching mid-block - no danger at intersection. Still noting visible at intersection. Man, right, walking from house toward car - will he emerge in stree? Car approaching left intersection; Bumper lowered so its slowing. Check mirror. Bus still approaching. Man to car and disappears -- SLOW, likely to step into roadway..."

 

 

Then, do that with your passenger. Then have her/him "read the scene for you". Let them go on for a while no matter how much you see them missing at first; Let them get the hang of it. Then tell them you'll point

out things they are missing and do so: I like to simply insert - quietly - things like "Truck left" in a way that doesn't stop thier own Flow. After a while, I get their agreement to go on for a minute, and then accept a critique. Have them retry and inprove. This can be turned into a fun, fun, fun, game.

 

After a while tell them about your SCAN: How is it YOU are are using your attention.

 

Personally, I pick a point way ahead, usually The Vanishing Point, whether on a city street, a highway or interstate, or even a winding road (where my sense of Vanishing Point is really about as far ahead as I can see, over THERE in the hills ahead, not just at the end of the visible pavement). I look AT that for a moment and then expand my view to include everything from there to me, and as far wide as is visible. I will usually also see (but not clearly) a car's rear view mirror and what's in it.

 

From time to time, I turn my head a little to one side or the other and do look briefly AT something about traffic or the road that's caught my attention, not FOCUSED on that item, by looking "over that way", and still seeing casually well what's still ahead. When I straighten my view forward, I get a compaison of what I saw last.

 

I will also do a concerted scan of the pavement from me to Infinity, something more important to Riding than Driving. And, I will turn my head as intersections are approached, as on ramps are adjacent, and up them when passeed.

 

Some folks turn their heads and do a "Boy Scout Scan", Left-to-right near, right-to-left middle, and left-to-right far.

 

Other folks don't turn their heads much and only move their eyes.

 

Like I said, I'm just kind of "staring blankly at the movie screen" and moving my attention to different parts of the picture as they either move, or take on a significance (shade on the roadway on a Winter morning). As I pass vehicles, I'm also aware, but less so, of where they are and what they are doing. I confirm this by looking directly or in mirrors until they no longer are active players in the scene.

 

I'm certain there are many other kinds of things you'd like to highlight for your young riders to attain and maintain awareness of. And, other ways than mine of doing that that you'd like to impart.

 

 

Best wishes.

 

 

BTW: I do this with parents of kids who've ask me to take them for a ride or go riding. It impresses the heck out of them, for they themselves seldom see half of what's mentioned - they never see "sand from driveway" as anything important. They come to understand how "serious" I take maintaining my own wellbeing out there on a bike, and thus the care their child will receive. So far, none of them has refused permission to their child.

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How about some Awareness drills?

 

 

This sounds like an excellent idea. Maybe I need to ride with you before I take them out!

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I'm 100% in favor of all the above suggestions but eventually they have got to face the public. I like the idea of gradual exposure, say an early Sunday morning before the traffic gets busy, then an early Saturday with the heavier shopping traffic and such. Something like that sounds quite beneficial to me. Oh yeah, don't forget to include some twilight time too! My .02

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How about some Awareness drills?

 

 

This sounds like an excellent idea. Maybe I need to ride with you before I take them out!

Well, like I suggested, ride with yourself first. You don't need me as a model.

 

It's not like you yourself can't learn something, or improve something here. In fact, I find that one of the most powerful and ever-present benefit of instructing - students, their experiences shared, and my own preparation, provide lots new or deeper realizations.

 

Bring what you learn about creating and maintaining awareness to your students.

 

That's one reason I also insist that students "instruct" in the role of Coach to a paired student. After initial familiarization, they swap back and forth alternately filling roles of student and coach. At that point Instructors become Supervisors of that process.

 

And that also brings on regard in the students for Instruction itself. Wouldn't it be grand if your kids came to want to follow a stream of Instruction to greater and greater heights of understanding and skill?

 

 

Best wishes.

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Francois_Dumas

The way people are taught to ride (in traffic) here is with an instructor riding behind them, seeing what they do wrong, warning them of impeding danger if need be, and de-briefing them (on the bike and afterwards) in order to teach. All schools use bike-to-bike communication these days. Only experienced traffic participants can see what people are struggling with, or ignoring, and correct it... on the spot !

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