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Is it important to get formal training for riding motorcycles? What kinds of training have you had and how did it help your overall riding?
Unlike many people on the forum, I am fairly new to riding. I only started in 2018. In the UK, the process of getting a full licence is done incrementally in stages. I won't bore you with all the intricacies, however, I will say that the training you do for the full motorcycle test covers a lot of skills that you will use in day to day riding: emergency stop without skidding, u-turn without putting your foot down, slow speed control etc. And that is just the first module. The second module is not conducted at a test centre, but on road, to see how you cope with being around traffic, assess your decision making and generally making sure you are a safe road user.

I was riding my 125cc for 2 years and found the test for a my full licence a doddle. Probably because I rode everyday for 2 years, so was completely used to being on the road around traffic, making safe and sensible decisions.

Reading through some comments on the forum from riders who have been on bikes since the 60s/70s/80s it seems a lot of what is currently taught to get the licence is stuff they just figured out themselves. Personally, I like the fact that I had formal training and learned to control the throttle at low speeds to filter through London traffic or whatever.

The way I view it, you take lessons to drive a car, you get taught how to ride a bicycle, it should be mandatory to take lessons to learn how to ride a motorbike safely.
 
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I wanted to add my recent experience training with Greg/Motojitsu. Greg is a great proponent for rider training (like Misti) by constantly improving riding skills thru focused practice. The goal is to make your skills a natural part of your riding tool box, available at anytime especially for street survival. By practicing and mastering riding techniques will build the confidence and control for more safety, enjoyment and speed. But practice is key to develop these skills and make them seamless in your riding repertoire, ready for any riding situation/emergency. Greg says just "Shut up and practice"!
On my session with Greg (my son and I), we rode on Otay Lakes. In this session, he critiqued my riding and gave some things to work on. He also demonstrated you can go real fast without any drama IF you use your vision waay forward, be extremely smooth/ deliberate on your control inputs and proper usage of the brakes; The brakes are your friend and using trail braking gives you much more control/options in any situation, with more control mid-turn for emergencies.
Greg has incredible control of bikes, he demonstrated a variety of trail braking techniques (situational) by trail braking going into a turn, applying braking mid-turn, stopping in the middle of a turn and even using braking throughout a turn. His ability to smoothly/deliberately apply the brakes anytime and his seamless, throttle control was remarkable and proved how to be smooth, in total control and be deceivingly fast. Riding without the drama of moving all over the bike, without excessive motion (less lower body motion needed for street riding), maintaining a safer (edge to mid lane) turning arc and use deeper vision/sight-line . Of course on a race track, everything will be pushed accordingly, but he limits of available traction still applies. On the street, Greg rides with safety margin as a matter of survival, but note that he can ride extremely fast pretty much anywhere. Greg/Motojitsu is the real deal, a great teacher, promoting safety by wearing gear and improving skills; and he does it with insight, pragmatism, humor and humility.
I'm in my mid 60s and this quote from Greg applies to me, "Just because you have a lot of experience, doesn't mean you're a good rider". But fortunately I can change that by practicing my skills, there's always room for improvement.
Stay safe and ride well.
 

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For midwesterners this Wisconsin course is excellent. They have a track on hills and you practice uphill turning starts from a stop, downhill turning starts from a stop, braking and swerving exercises, and of course some cone work. couple hours of safety classroom work. I thought it was excellent.


 

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Been riding almost a year. With a break over the winter.
Did a new rider course, which included the Basic Skill Test. Bought a bike and hit the road.
Getting a MC license here requires a specific MC road test. So I focused my practicing on passing road test. I also had a road test prep lesson with an instructor. Which was well worth the time, effort and cost.
So I passed the road test last December.
Insured again in March, little rusty, back to a parking lot by myself and some road practice.
watched some of the usual suspects on YouTube and bought a video.
Did an advanced class with my original school a couple of days ago. About a dozen riders on assorted bikes, and one big ass scooter.
My bike ( street Twin) was one of the smaller bikes. I was probably the one of the least experienced riders. Having practiced before hand I was able to keep up.
I learned a lot, I recommend doing a similar class.
Mostly because it was fun, A nice way to spend a day, with some other riders. Got some good expierience on my own bike.
Now, what’s next?
 

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Discussion Starter #27
I wanted to add my recent experience training with Greg/Motojitsu. Greg is a great proponent for rider training (like Misti) by constantly improving riding skills thru focused practice. The goal is to make your skills a natural part of your riding tool box, available at anytime especially for street survival. By practicing and mastering riding techniques will build the confidence and control for more safety, enjoyment and speed. But practice is key to develop these skills and make them seamless in your riding repertoire, ready for any riding situation/emergency. Greg says just "Shut up and practice"!
On my session with Greg (my son and I), we rode on Otay Lakes. In this session, he critiqued my riding and gave some things to work on. He also demonstrated you can go real fast without any drama IF you use your vision waay forward, be extremely smooth/ deliberate on your control inputs and proper usage of the brakes; The brakes are your friend and using trail braking gives you much more control/options in any situation, with more control mid-turn for emergencies.
Greg has incredible control of bikes, he demonstrated a variety of trail braking techniques (situational) by trail braking going into a turn, applying braking mid-turn, stopping in the middle of a turn and even using braking throughout a turn. His ability to smoothly/deliberately apply the brakes anytime and his seamless, throttle control was remarkable and proved how to be smooth, in total control and be deceivingly fast. Riding without the drama of moving all over the bike, without excessive motion (less lower body motion needed for street riding), maintaining a safer (edge to mid lane) turning arc and use deeper vision/sight-line . Of course on a race track, everything will be pushed accordingly, but he limits of available traction still applies. On the street, Greg rides with safety margin as a matter of survival, but note that he can ride extremely fast pretty much anywhere. Greg/Motojitsu is the real deal, a great teacher, promoting safety by wearing gear and improving skills; and he does it with insight, pragmatism, humor and humility.
I'm in my mid 60s and this quote from Greg applies to me, "Just because you have a lot of experience, doesn't mean you're a good rider". But fortunately I can change that by practicing my skills, there's always room for improvement.
Stay safe and ride well.
Great write up! (And great quote at the end about having experience doesn't always equal having skill!) Ha. I've said that a lot, that you can have a rider with 40 years of experience who isn't very skilled vs a rider of only a few months or years who is much more skilled.

I think this has to do a lot with purposeful practice. I wrote an article a while back called, 'Are you gaining experience or just logging miles?' And the premise was that even if you ride a ton, if you aren't activly working on improving your skillset, then you aren't likely to be getting better as a rider.

When I ride, I usually try and pick one or two things to actively work on. Usually, it has to do with visual skills, pressing myself to look into the turn sooner or to the exit earlier, or (a lot lately as I'm riding in the dirt much more) "don't look at the rock! Don't look at the tree!" LOL.

What are the most common techniques you find yourself working on over and over again?
 

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Great write up! (And great quote at the end about having experience doesn't always equal having skill!) Ha. I've said that a lot, that you can have a rider with 40 years of experience who isn't very skilled vs a rider of only a few months or years who is much more skilled.

I think this has to do a lot with purposeful practice. I wrote an article a while back called, 'Are you gaining experience or just logging miles?' And the premise was that even if you ride a ton, if you aren't activly working on improving your skillset, then you aren't likely to be getting better as a rider.

When I ride, I usually try and pick one or two things to actively work on. Usually, it has to do with visual skills, pressing myself to look into the turn sooner or to the exit earlier, or (a lot lately as I'm riding in the dirt much more) "don't look at the rock! Don't look at the tree!" LOL.

What are the most common techniques you find yourself working on over and over again?
As silly (and embarrassing) as it sounds, I still need to work on looking further ahead. This is especially true when I'm sport riding on unfamiliar, twisty new roads where I tend reverting back to the bad habit of looking down on the road's surface, This is a very bad habit and might be a natural survival instinct of looking at the closest, immediate dangers/obstacles, but of course does not help preparing further ahead. With the short sight line, I unfortunately end up making small, unconscious motions/corrections riding thru an unfamiliar turn; my line become jerkier and not as smooth as it should be. I eliminate most of this if/when I look much further ahead and my inputs naturally follows my deeper/safer vision.

I'll also mention that being older, my physical flexibility is more limited and my head pivot is limited to about 45 degrees each side, and my neck cracks whenever I pivot my head. I need to improve on my overall flexibility range (head, back, arms, legs, etc.), it will improve both my riding and overall health. I really should be doing the stretching exercise routines that my wife and kids have been encouraging me to do. Still lots of things to work on!

Take care, be healthy and stay safe!
 
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