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Thread: The Road to H---- is paved...

  1. #1
    Registered User amiles's Avatar
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    Angry The Road to H---- is paved...

    I know it's not wise to post when angry, but.......

    My very good friend decided that he wanted to take up motorcycling this spring. He bought a Kawasaki voyager (I know not a good first choice) and has spent countless hours working on it particularly with 20 years of prior owner problems. It is now ready to go and while not like new. it's as close as he could make it.

    I spoke with him about the need for training prior to going on the road, he was in complete agreement. He signed up for the MSF basic course at the Horry Tech college here in South Carolina. He was accepted and scheduled for the class in about three weeks. Lo and behold he was phoned shortly before the class & told it was cancelled. He asked as to when he would next be able to take the class & was told that he would get a refund & to apply later. When asked about the NEXT class, he was told that it was all filled & he would have to re-register at an as to yet to be determined later date if any. This was my same experience with the ERC at that school several years ago. I more easily tolerated this as obviously I was still riding regardless.

    My friend then suggested that we go riding and forget the class. I was able to convince him that the class would be greatly to his advantage & that I was totally opposed to his starting without taking the class. I bought him Mr Hough's book $25.00 ouch but well worth it. He read & enjoyed the book & bought a flip up helmet and a first-gear protective riding jacket.

    My friend then called Trident Tech College in Charleston & was able to register for a class this weekend. He warily asked as to the possibility of cancellation. He was told "we NEVER cancel these classes".... Work schedule for Friday cancelled $$$...

    Friday (yesterday) afternoon while stuck in traffic on Rt 526 in Charleston (85 miles from home) en route to the Friday PM session he gets a call that the class has been cancelled... It seems as though a construction crew drove pieces of rebar into the range surface with parts of the bars extending above the pavement obviously making the range unusable. The bars could have been pulled & replaced after the class, but this was not to happen. Once again re-scheduling appears to be weeks off if at all. From the sound of his good cheer this morning I doubt that he will ever darken the door of a Tech College or an MSF class again.

    As of this coming week we will begin basic motorcycle operation 101 just like it was done 40 years ago, go riding with a friend & hope to survive.

    I can't blame him for giving up I am really frustrated that the folks that run the colleges have so little regard for their students & thus with all of our good intentions it all goes for naught. I have heard that in this area few motorcyclists have taken the MSF classes, I had thought it was the "biker lifestyle" thing, now
    I can see other factors coming into play.

    And no I don't see any way to blame the MSF program. Apparently the Colleges look at this type of class and the students of same as beneath their dignity.

  2. #2
    It is what it is. Bud's Avatar
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    What a sad story. Trying to do the right thing by your friend only to have this happen.

    Hope that he will be able to find a class sometime. Even if he has ridden for a while. It will do him good.

  3. #3
    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
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    While I wasn't there...perhaps these were not the best run and you will now have a chance to get some input on a "better run" course.
    I've been riding for a long time and would like to take a few courses as I think it would help. Before I sign up to spend my money, I like to audit the course (teacher) and when I don't, it is usually disappointing.
    Finding a teacher that understands how to get the information across in a way that is not bragging, snarky, demeaning, and suited to the student seems to becoming more rare. Some of the problems can be as simple as, if it a hi-priced course, bombarding the student with so much info, it can't be absorbed in an effort to justify the cost.
    In the mean time, you have done well to provide some reading material which will help your friend on a lot of the theory. Good luck, ride safe. OM
    "You can do good or you can do well. Sooner or later they make you choose." MI5
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  4. #4
    Rally Rat
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    Sorry for your friends poor experiance. Here in PA, the state (well, we the riders, through hidden fees) pay for the MSF courses, so it is "free" for participants. I have taken the Advanced Rider Course 3 times and never has a bad experiance. The coaches all have been great and will take time for individuals who need extra help on a specific skill. I don't remember hearing of a class ever being cancelled, but I suppose it is possible.

    Glad you are able to spend some time helping your friend be a safer rider. Of course something light weight and low powered would be better for him to learn on, but you can only do so much. Wouldn't hurt to have him read some books on basic riding skills as well. Good luck!

  5. #5
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    Any recommndatios for good books? I'm signed up for a course but would like to get as much input as I can. Thanks...

  6. #6
    MOA #24991 Pauls1150's Avatar
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    Total Control, by Lee Parks

    Smooth Riding the Pridmore Way, by Reg Pridmore

    Sport Riding Techniques, by Nick Ienatsch

    While some of these may appear to be oriented to a more "sporting" rider, everything in them applies to safe street riding as well.

  7. #7
    Intermediate Adventurer Newstar's Avatar
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    Did anyone say WHY it was cancelled the first time? Was it due to a lack of registrations? I kow in DE, there have been classes cancelled down state for that reason, however, in the northern county, classes are never cancelled short of a hurricane.

    I'm sorry for your friend's experience. Has he contacted the local Harley dealership to see if Rider's Edge is offered?

  8. #8
    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
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    Kent Christensen
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  9. #9
    Registered User Bmandiego's Avatar
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    My beginning-level MSF classes here in San Diego were good. The instructors were patient and communicative.
    $250.00 though, I wish it were free.

  10. #10
    Registered User David13's Avatar
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    I don't think an 8 hour course is the be all and end all of motorcycle riding.
    Maybe an 80 hour course would be a good start.
    But maybe the best course would be a personal tutor or mentor to ride with over a period of months or more.
    dc

  11. #11
    James.A
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    I would point out that there are some among us who have NEVER taken a class of any kind.

    A good friend took the class when he wanted to get into riding about 5 years ago. after a year on the road, he said that the class was "....very good for learning how to ride in a parking lot."

    Don't mis-understand... I'm all for educating riders and cagers alike. If a motorcycle endorsement were mandatory to get a drivers liscense, the highways would be much safer for all of us.

  12. #12
    Registered User Bmandiego's Avatar
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    When I first began, decades ago, I was self-taught, did ok.
    I took the class as a refresher to help me get a sense of riding back. I thought the class did a fantastic job. I saw newbies who, when the class began, could not shift or balance on the bike. By the end of the weekend (Friday night, Saturday, Sunday half-day), they were scooting along pretty well. It is true, though, that you never exceed 2nd gear. We had all levels in the class, everyone seemed to be having a nice time. There were all types of riders, dirt, street, scooter, experienced, new..... the instructors made a huge difference. One class had a 'grumpy santa' yelling at the guys in the other group.
    We did pretty well.
    Last edited by Bmandiego; 06-24-2012 at 05:29 PM.

  13. #13
    Dum vivimus vivamus ted's Avatar
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    I have run into this before as well with MSF, either solidly booked way far out or cancelled. I recently had luck with of all places the Harley Davidson sponsored "Riders Edge" riding class, the one specifically for new women riders seemed quite good. It is a bit more expensive but they always have immediate openings.
    Ted
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  14. #14
    Registered User mccodavj's Avatar
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    When my son wanted to start riding at 15, he had to attend an MSF course to get his license. Once he had that, we only allowed out on the road while riding with me or my ex-wife. He practised enough on his Ninja 250, that we were able to let him ride his bike on the trips that we took. However we had bike-to-bike radios, and would have him following me, and my ex riding behind him. If he did something wrong, he would hear about it straight away, and if it was serious enough we would pull over and talk about it.

    To me, even if an MSF course is unavailable, riding with a few friends on quiet roads is a valuable way to gain experience - especially if the ride is discussed and honest feedback given. My daughter learned the same way although we didn't use the radios.

    After their MSF courses, my kids spent months riding with me before they were allowed to ride on their "own".
    Dave
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    2004 K1200 RS

  15. #15
    It's a way of life! oldnslow's Avatar
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    I learned to ride motorbikes in the woods. My kids (23 and 15) learned in the woods. We raced the Missouri hare scramble scene pretty seriously for about 5 years. Dirt bike racing teaches you an amazing amount of bike skills; clutch control, body shifting, front brake, rear brake, emergency turns, emergency stops, close contact riding, full speed starts, finesse riding, surrounded by other vehicles passing you and you passing them...and thats just to get past the first turn!

    In all seriousness, I would have no problem turning my 23 year old loose on a bike today if he wanted one. I would like to think he would be responsible, because he has had some serious get offs in his day. (as have I!) And he knows the asphalt and the cars hurt worse than the trees and dirt. I guess I was lucky to have been involved in off road competition. I couldnt imagine trying to learn to control a motorcycle, then trying to ride it on the street if I had never rode the dirt.
    Mike Davis
    "Old n Slow" It's a way of life!
    1985 K100RT

    1998 R1100RT

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