by Ed Quayle
I asked club members a while ago if any of them fancied doing a slow riding fun day and explained it would be a chance to build up confidence on your bike and have fun at the same time. Quite a few were interested, which led to some of us meeting at a Hospital car park (how convenient) in Chester which I had arranged to use.
I started the day off with a simple talk about being comfortable on the bike – simple things like adjusting screens and lever positions. etc. If you’re not happy from the start it will reflect in your riding. Next was what we have all had to do and that is practising picking up your bike when it decides it wants a rest on the floor.
First thing is not to panic, as they don’t normally damage and it will get no worse on the floor as long as it is not running (they should cut out automatically). When and not if this happens, it is not about strength but technique – straight back and arms with your bum in the seat, walk backwards and up it comes.
One of our our most senior members who rides a Trike picked this up first go and when Chandra did it as well it encouraged more members to have a go as their prides were a little dented as “a girl done it!!” Well done Chandra!
I challenge you to look at this picture and not have the music from Magic Roundabout going in your head? Oh, just me then.
The course to start with was simply a small car park and a line of cones and I wanted people to just ride around them and I watched how they did it. We did start off one bike at a time and some were more confident than others.
What I started with was first gear only, no throttle – only tickover – and the clutch fully out. They won’t stall thanks to a little man inside the bike’s computer who alters all the gizmos and gubbins.
The faces on some of the members were quite funny as that “IT’S GOING TO STALL” look came across their faces – but they all did it. Then I got them to ride one handed, which builds your confidence and shows you just how your arms input on the way the bike turns and reacts.
Confidence grew with other things we did such as standing on the pegs, sitting on one hand or putting it behind your back – it stops you trying to use it so you feel the bike more.
As the morning went on, I could see members gaining in confidence and I used certain techniques that make you do what you should be doing without you knowing I am making you do it.
The biggest improvement was when you get people to actually turn their heads and look were they want to be going and not at the cones or the kerb, but sometimes it is easier said than done but everybody managed it and seemed to enjoy it all.
You can see Carl here is quite relaxed and his bike – a Honda Shadow – was hard to use on this course due to the fork angle. Saying that, he ALWAYS looks relaxed – so it is hard to say if he finds it easy or not!!
Gary however does not look relaxed in this picture, but by the end of the day he was much happier and he managed all this with a back injury so I think he did really well.
It is believed he got the back injury when he picked up Dave Turvey’s wallet when he dropped it – I will be running another lifting course for that if it happens again!
Jim and Chandra have done this sort of thing before and there is a rumour that they both worked on the wall of death many years ago as she likes going around in circles and Jim tries to catch her. They both looked good on Blue bikes and matching clothing – watch this space for a drill team in Stockport!!
We did however have to put the lifting lesson into practice as one of them dropped their bike while going around in circles. Now it would be mean of me to say who it was – but Jim I hope your foot is feeling better!! Mind you, I think it’s fair to say that Jim was pushing himself the hardest of anyone.
ONLY THE DAY WENT FAST
U-turns seem to be a problem for a lot of bike owners – never mind GoldWings – so we had a good practise of those and it was great when some members thought they could not do it and eventually they did.
A 25 foot wide opening was used and it is important that you turn your head to see where you need to be. Chandra was stood in the middle and dared lifted her top to make people look round – bet we could do it in 10 foot opening then!!
These big bikes look great when you do a feet up U turn and with practise you can get them nearly falling over to turn.
I have some ideas for the next Funday that will involve the pillion riders and it should be a laugh for all of us and learn something as well. I will also cater for those that want to still practise the basics and any newcomers to GoldWinging.
I have had no formal training in any of this stuff – I just REALLY enjoy it and seem to have picked it up quite quickly. Lots of pictures were taken on the day so I am sure when Webmaster Nigel has time they will appear on this great website.
I am more nervous than any of you on the training day typing this report as it has been a while since i wrote a Blog article and computers are not my thing – it will be going to Nigel for a proof read.
Big thank you to all of you who turned up and I was so pleased with the progress I could see some of you making and I hope you carry it on.