Sunday, March 14, 2010

ERC - Experienced Rider Class

Yesterday I took the Experienced Rider Class (ERC). It's the second time I've taken it. It gives me a discount on my motorcycle insurance and for that purpose is good for 3 years. It's not just the insurance discount I'm after, but a reality check on my motoring skills. Things like fast stops in a curve, tight u-turns, and reaction times to roadway obstacles.

The class was scheduled to start at 8:00 AM sharp and since I live on the complete opposite side of Houston as the Harley dealership where this was being held, I got up at 6:00 AM, ate a light breakfast, packed some fruit, water, and crackers, and was on the road by 7:00 AM.

The weather couldn't have been more perfect if we had ordered it up! Clear blue skies, low humidity, mid-60's temperatures!

It was an interesting mix of motorcycles in our little class of 5 students: BMW K1300GT, Kawasaki Concours, Suzuki GSX-R, Harley Davidson Dyna-Glide, and my Yamaha FZ6. All participants but me were there for only one reason: traffic ticket dismissal.

All I can say is that I was one tired puppy when I got home! The last time I took this course, it ran from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM with a lunch break in the middle. This time the instructor pushed us through the entire program, getting us off the range course before 1:00 PM to make way for the Beginning Rider Course that would be moving outside after a morning of classroom work. For us this meant only minimal short breaks, and nearly continuous range work. There also seemed to be one or two exercises that I don't recall from the first time I took it.

My conclusions? First of all, I got high praise from the instructor. He stopped each of us as we completed one of the last exercises and talked to us each individually. He said I was a very skilled rider. :-) My personal observations:
  • Bringing the bike upright and to a rapid stop in a curve is scary. I know I've done this a number of times in real-world situations without thinking about it but on the practice range it was nervewracking.
  • I can do a good, tight U-turn to the left, but not as tight to the right; I need to work on this. My front tire consistently went outside the line when doing this to the right.
  • I was praised for my rapid braking skills. Actually much of the credit goes to the predictable and strong brakes on the FZ6. No skidding, no lock-up, she just delivers smooth and quick stops consistently without drama.
  • By the time we got to the slow, swerve, and go exercise, I knew I was getting tired. it was the second to last exercise of the day and my "swerves" were more like "steers," not quick and snappy.
A good day, though, and good self-assessment. Now I know what I do well and what I need to brush up on.

No comments:

Post a Comment