Newbie training

#1
Hi,
I am new to the idea of adventure riding. I like doing trails in my JGC diesel, but have wanted a bike again after 25+ years(kids are grown now). I will be taking a MSF course soon. I have a few questions. I am adventurous, but not stupid. For me having fun is challenging myself, but not needlessly endangering my life. WE have recently moved to the front range from the east coast. My last bike was a 500cc road bike.

How does one reassure the wife that I won't kill myself.

after the basic MSF course, are the BMW moto course(s) worth taking. I still need offroad skills.

What else do I need to know?

I am 5'10", 270(not all fat) and reasonably strong. Thousands on road bicycle miles under me. Fortunately I am almost spitting distance from the Rampart Range and 100+ miles of motorcycle trails.

Kevin
 
#2
I just started riding last autumn, and this also describes my riding style.
"I am adventurous, but not stupid. For me having fun is challenging myself, but not needlessly endangering my life."
The MSF course was great, for road riding. But most all of my riding is on dirt roads, and they will not teach anything about driving off pavement. I am still glad that I took the safety course.

RawHyde seems to be the best off road/dual sport/ adventure riding school. I have watched some youtube footage of a BMW course they were doing, and I learned a lot. It would be great to take one of their full courses, but that is way, way out of my budget.

I found the pdf book "How to Ride Off Road" from BestRestProducts.com to be helpful, but I learn easily from reading.

I would be interested to know if anybody has watched the DVD'a that DualSpotRiding.com offers, and found them helpful?
 

Christophe Noel

Expedition Leader
#3
Having spent 25+ years as a licensed moto rider, I've only been riding on the dirt with any regularity in the last several years, and on rather big bikes at that. As for reassuring your wife of your safety, I think it's worth being aware that your most likely chance of major injury is not in the dirt. In the dirt you get to manage the bulk of your potential hazards and frame them within your own skill sets. In short - you get to decide how to frame your safety parameters. The road however, is rife with uncontrollable variables, many of which have severe consequences. Chief amongst those hazards is the SMIDSY, or "Sorry Mate, I Didn't See You." Not being seen is a killer. There are ways to mitigate such hazards, and they are worth learning.

I took a motorcycle safety course when I was 18 and it consumed all of a couple weekends with not much pressure, and I'll admit, modest amounts of learning achieved. When I was 25, I moved to France and had to take their advanced courses to be able to ride my 900cc Ducati. It must have been 40-50 hours of classroom and on-road instruction with maybe another 8 hours of really intense written, oral, and riding exams. Plus, I think I probably paid about $2000. I am a better rider because of that French process. The more you learn about riding safely, the better.

The MSC course in the US are a good start, but barely scratch the surface of safe road-riding in my opinion.
 
#4
Me too

I would have to say that I am very much a Noob at any type of motorbike riding. I got my MSF certificate, went to MVD and got my motorbike licence and a year later bought a 850 pound street bike (2005 Yamaha Royal Star Venture). Bought the bike in Phoenix and had to ride it 220 miles home. That was my training ride. Shortly after that, I blew out my knee and had trouble holding up the bike and ended up selling it.
Got the knee fixed, bought a Victory XCT and I thought I was happy but the desire to travel back country roads and trails got to me and I bought a KLR. I am not doing too bad on the KLR but I too would like to get some more experience and skill.

I have been told that dirt riding is safer than road and I see the logic in that but I still feel more accomplished on the road and thereby feel safer on the road. I should note that I have over 40 years of bicycling experience and have over 150,000 miles of riding in. I would really like to get a lot more experience/training in all aspects of off road. I do believe that getting the chance to ride with more experienced riders would do the trick though.

I do have and watch the two videos "Dual Sport Riding" They both seem very informative. I watch a part of a video and then practice that routine. So far. so good.

In fact my son and I are going to make a two day, back country trip from Kingman to the Expo in Mormon Lake and then two days back by a different route. By that time I should be fairly well versed in trail riding or kill myself trying.
Mikey
 
#5
after the basic MSF course, are the BMW moto course(s) worth taking. I still need offroad skills.
Depends on what you are intending on riding. Big adventure bikes, take a Rawhyde class. Smaller dual purpose or dirtbike, go see Jimmy Lewis. The best part about taking a class is that you will get real time evaluation, hopefully correcting technique before it becomes bad behavior. I think that is worth the price. After that, you watch videos and practice regularly to keep your skills sharp. Riding with buddies or learning as you go works, but targeted training provides quicker results typically.
 

Christophe Noel

Expedition Leader
#6
I can't stress enough how little instruction Americans get with regard to on-road safety. For every one safety tip taught in the US, European riders, particularly in France, learn an additional half dozen. Not advocating you fly to France, just pointing out that while an MSF course is ideal, in my opinion it's woefully lacking in total skills to be taught and learned.
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
#7
Kevin hope you post about your adventures! I'm in the inbetween zone no bike due to kids sold my bike till the kids are grown up etc. You'll like this this!!! Warning you'll probably end up reading the whole damn trip report in one sitting.

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=845500
Tony Huegel has written some great books for remote trips etc.

Get a spot device so the wife can track your movement and see that your still moving. Find a group to ride with and take it slow. Seems like for a long time the trend was pack every possible gadget one could find and purchase on their bike and now it seems the trend is to get light because well its more fun and your less likely to dump the bike etc. The riding courses are great! I took two the advanced course was impressive and a good reminder that practice and method and repetitive conditioning is REALLY important to your safety. The riders only riding a couple months a year who after a long period jump on the bike and take off on a trip are the one's that tend to get into trouble rusty muscle memory on functional operational stuff or bad habits etc can really get you into trouble fast.

Go slow make sure you ride on a regular basis to keep up your muscle memory for the basics work on any bad operational bad habits to get those handled some good friends who ride alot keep telling me the biggest issues they see are riders with operational habits that cause them to get into trouble or worse. Outside of that the ride in groups and do some fantastic trips!
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
#8
I can't stress enough how little instruction Americans get with regard to on-road safety. For every one safety tip taught in the US, European riders, particularly in France, learn an additional half dozen. Not advocating you fly to France, just pointing out that while an MSF course is ideal, in my opinion it's woefully lacking in total skills to be taught and learned.
Christophe thats changing here in the US has been for some time now. The top riding course instructors typically are guys from over the pond. I took two courses both were taught by a British Lawyer who worked in the US part time and while he was here he would run Motorcycle courses on the weekends. The first course I took with him he flunked over 60% of the 24 riders out of the course by day two! Actually kicked them out of the class!!! The few of us remaining became whipping boys and all received some serious tongue lashing for various typical operational errors you see American Riders doing ALOT! There were a couple of folks who took offense to this but most of us ate it up knowing that this guy was serious business and riding a bike is as serious as your life! I really admired his balls to kick people out of the course and drive the rest of us very hard on repetitive operational behaviors and to sit and talk through situational awareness and how to handle the bike in different situations! I put 65,000 miles on my bike between 2002 and 2007 year around every day riding it almost as my primary vehicle. Not once did I have a close call and I was not afraid of wailing on the brakes while at speed which is a very big American Biker fear and bad habit not knowing how to use the brakes!!

Today I can't ride two young kids in the house. Wife and I even parked our Road bicycles we don't want our young kids being orphans if we get taken out by a texting idiot etc. We do however mountain bike on trails still to stay sharp and in shape. Hard to get hit by a car when your on single track ;-). When the day comes I'm going light Duel sport so I can enjoy some of the great back road trail trips we have in the US.
 

Christophe Noel

Expedition Leader
#10
Wife and I even parked our Road bicycles we don't want our young kids being orphans if we get taken out by a texting idiot etc. We do however mountain bike on trails still to stay sharp and in shape. Hard to get hit by a car when your on single track ;-). When the day comes I'm going light Duel sport so I can enjoy some of the great back road trail trips we have in the US.
This is a sad, but salient point. I started road racing at age 13. Won my first state championship the next year, was on the US National development team by 17, and podiumed at my last state championship road race as recent as 2006, two decades after my first podium. I currently - do not have a road bike. It was bizarre to sell it having owned a road bike since 1985. But, I've lost four friends to the road.

And, just two weeks ago, a young woman was hit and killed just half a mile from my house at an intersection I cross on my mountain bike - four days a week.

This does apply to the motorcycle rider, for sure. Just last spring I rode 2500 miles from Prescott, all the way to and through the rugged deserts of Baja, then home. One mile from my house, some twit kid pulled in front of me and I damn near t-boned him. Closest call in 20 years. Inches. I do think my advanced motorcycle road training saved me.
 
#11
I would highly recommend dual dualsportriding.com DVD, I watched it after going to Raw Hyde intro course and it would have helped me out substantially and I learned a lot. I would recommend the Jimmy Lewis off-road school for training, it is half the price of Raw Hyde and they claim to combine both beginner and advance training at that price. I would also highly recommend getting proper off-road tires, wider foot pegs and bar risers if needed, that helped me substantially.
 
#14
Thats unfortunate. I placed an order several months ago and never received the DVD, I emailed them and didnt get a response till about a month later.
It seems they were winding down sales but he sent me a DVD at no charge.

In the DVD its all the little pointers they give to you, where as ti is challenging for an instructor can give to you in a group class setting, and some of the coaches out there really have no business teaching ADV riding.

I will email the owner of the sight and give him a suggestion to put it on Amazon as a rental or some other format. I read alot of books, watched alot of you tube vids but this lays it out for you so well.