The Sandman, Trevor Dech
THINK ABOUT IT
Since my motorcycle coaching career began in 1991 I have been afforded ample opportunity to reflect on the amazing experiences that I have enjoyed. From meeting and coaching fantastic people to working with some gifted instructors, it has truly been one most rewarding careers I have ever had.
Coaching is also one of the hardest things I have ever done, which pushes me to continually improve my skill as a rider and coach. That being said, many years ago I made a commitment to my instructors as well as to myself. During the off season we seek new ways of understanding this sport we love so much. Courses like Freddie Spencer and Keith Code Superbike School, give us new insight and knowledge that we bring to our students at all levels. This helps them not only with two wheels, but four wheels as well.
I feel that we as drivers think that it is a right to ride and drive when in reality it comes with great responsibility. If we were all to lose our license for a little while, we would then realize what a privilege driving turly is. We all know we make mistakes out there, those little mistakes add up and cause the accidents that we have been in and read about. Things like not texting while driving, or pulling over if you need to talk on the phone, just to name a few.
In our course we talk about five reasons why riders/drivers have accidents. (C.R.A.S.H.)
- Concentration (the lack there of)
- Repeating the same mistakes over and over (the luck bag runs out)
- Abrupt use of controls (hitting the brakes to hard)
- Speed Just going to fast (60 km/h in a 50 km/h)
- Hesitation Second guessing a decision (stop or avoid…..)
- Finally, if we avoid these ingredients we avoid the C.R.A.S.H
I remember my dad always telling me. “It’s not you I am worried about it is everyone else” Some time after that conversation I was hit from behind by a car on 68thSt. I was at a stop sign. Problem was the car behind did not stop…
We, all of us, are the ‘everyone else‘ my dad warned me about, and that your parents warned you about.
We all would be S.A.F.E.R. riders and drivers out there if we all would just think about it.
PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!!!
I’ve ridden bikes since I was small but never really knew how much riding was a part of a person. When I suit up in my leathers, back protector, boots, gloves, and my incredible Arai helmet I feel like I am a superhero. Like Superman, my senses become more tuned to my surroundings. I feel much more aware of events, and the littlest factors that could lead to disaster. It takes more than wearing the proper gear and having a motorcycle for you to call yourself a rider. It takes an understanding of how your motorcycle is able to move and how you as the rider are there to bridge the gap between brains (you) and brawn (motorcycle).
I have known a few people who just picked up a bike and started to ride. Unfortunately, those are few and far between. I really believe that a rider who wants to be a great rider needs to have a solid foundation of skills under them, equal to the capabilities of their motorcycle. What is a solid rider foundation? PRACTICE, it starts down here with basic training. A lot of people who come through courses such as ours think once they pass their test they do not need to practice. But as you can see from the rider foundation chart, practice is the mortar it takes to keep the foundation strong, so higher skills can be developed. Think about any sport you”ve played. When was your greatest opportunity to learn and perfect that sport? Was it the game? Or was it when your coach was beside you explaining the basics and analyzing not only what you were doing wrong but what you were doing right? For me, it was practice.
I strongly believe that all the years of being an instructor and for being lucky enough to practice, play and ride has increased my chances of survival in the ever-increasing traffic of our roads. So when you get your bike out to ride this season, take it to a lot and practice the basics that you learned in your motorcycle course. Even if you have a license, but haven’t ridden for some time, the Basic Course is an eye-opener. Practice, practice, and more practice will make you solid.