Originally posted by lemosley01
I understand. I though you were talking about 'normal' freeway speeds.
Anyway, the cone weave is actually easier to learn than the U-turns (I am assuming you are referring to the U-turns). Because you are basically going straight and don't have to worry about cranking your head around and balancing, the cone weave gets you into the area of beginning to turn. Turning a motorcycle at low speeds is not an easy thing, not for me and most riders I have met anyway.
Well that makes sense. It just seemed quite difficult for me at first. I would always either get too narrow or too wide of a turn. On the first cone weave, I eventually figured out that it was easier to do if you used more speed. But on the second, between going more slowly on the more difficult weave and attempting to use clutch control while turning, I was a complete mess.
As an aside, why do they have you use the clutch during a turning exercise? I distinctly remember being told during other portions of the course to NEVER use the clutch while turning. I had no problem finding the friction zone when going straight, but while doing a weave, I found it distracting and difficult.
I agree here that motorcycle operation is not very complicated, but when you throw in all of the other factors it is MUCH more demanding than operating a car. The fact is that, even though they teach you to in driver's ed to be aware of your surroundings, it is nowhere NEAR as important to do so as it is on a motorcycle. The only similarities to riding a bike in traffic is that you have obey the same laws as all other motorists. Other than that, it is entirely different as you have to constantly and aggressively scan your surroundings, worry about falling over, etc. There are also the little things that you don't worry about in a car - for example, crossing over railroad tracks in the rain. If you were never told this information you would be unaware that railroad tracks, metal grates, etc, pose a hazard to a motorcylcist, until you found out the hard way (or watched someone else find out). That is the true purpose of the classroom portion of the MSF - all of this information is not something that is intuitive to a new rider.
Don't get me wrong, the classroom portion wasn't entirely useless, however, surprisingly enough, I already knew almost everything. I had read up on motorcycling quite a bit beforehand and talked to a few friends. The classroom portion just seemed incredibly drawn out and slow to me. Again, I'm probably quicker than the average bear on the uptake, though, so that's probably just a personal problem.
Other examples - to continue rolling on the throttle through a turn, knowing that you are supposed to rider out a locked rear tire, etc - all of this is stuff you cannot know without having been told or experienced it.
Unfortunately, reading or hearing about things like that did/does absolutely nothing for me. Unless I can actually physically execute something, it's not going to happen. And I can't physically execute without some practice, more often than not.
As I recall, driver's ed classes don't start by putting the student into the car and saying 'drive' - there is classroom instruction to familiarize the student with the rules and laws of the road as well as with the control of the car.
Also a problem for me. During Driver's Ed., like MSF, I was bored to tears during the classes. While driving came to me faster and more naturally than riding, (at least it seemed that way, perhaps this had something to do with spending an entire day on a really simple concept), the classes didn't help me at all. In my case, at least, knowing was not half the battle.
I agree with you, but reading about the experiences of other good (and bad motorcyclists) helps you out. That is what the MSF is based on. Reading Twist of the Wrist II has helped me understand the mechanics of the motorcyle and taught me MANY things I didn't 'know' (at least know in the sense that I conciously knew them). Reading other books will hopefully make me aware of situations other riders have encountered that I have never come across or never considered.
I definitely agree that knowledge helps. I've read a number of books on auto racing despite my attitude towards printed materials related to physical activities. I've also read quite a bit on motorcycling already. But reading hasn't, and likely never will, made me a better rider.
Once again, I agree, however, if no one had ever imparted that knowledge to you, would you have known it? Probably not. It requires both being 'taught' and practice, and the MSF course never stated they would make you an expert and you would be able to handle all situations - they even tell you to go out and practice. Good motorcyclists are constantly practicing swerves, emergency braking, tight turns, etc.
True enough, but the knowledge on its own isn't the most valuable thing. Without the ability to actually execute, it's mostly worthless.
I think you must have had bad instructors. I certainly don't agree with the analysis that everyone was expected to have the natural ability of Nicky Hayden. I'm not even close to that level and still consider myself a novice rider due to the fact I only recently picked up riding again after a 5 year layoff, yet I found the exercises most useful and doable as an introduction to controlling a motorcycle. I just think you got hit with bad instructors this time around.
No, I was definitely exagerrating with that analogy. But it did seem as though the classroom portion was designed for below-average intellects while the riding portion was designed for people with above-average kinesthetic skills. Again, I'm probably just not the most coordinated person in the world.
I remember looking at the u-turn box thinking 'crap, I don't know if I can do the bigger box, let alone the smaller one'. By the end of the day, I was able to do it (not 100% confidently, but I KNEW I could do it).
I actually really enjoyed that exercise. At least up until the point where they kept making me slow down to the point where I felt I was going to fall.
I'm still learning things when I drive everyday. It's a constant learning experience because the stupidity of those surrounding you is boundless
Why not grab a friend and perform the exercises from the MSF in a parking lot? That may be just what you needed.
Your driving test for the Motorcycle Endorsement is probably similar (if not identical) to what is taught in the MSF - just keep this in mind. The state doesn't care how good you are at normal speeds. If you can't pass their test (no matter how irrelevant it seems), you can't have the endorsement.
True enough, but I'm not sure that's a good plan. While I definitely like the idea of learning with a friend in a parking lot, I'm not sure they know any more about low-speed cone weaves than I do, and if I was having trouble in the course, I definitely don't think my friends want me tooling around on their bikes. Besides, if I can't do the stuff on a 250, am I really going to be able to on a TL1000R, which is probably the lowest-end bike any of them owns?
In Ohio, the MSF course was only $25.00. Had it been as expensive as yours I might not have taken it. As was pointed out earlier, it's the luck of the draw with instructors. I happened to have to very good ones. Sounds like you got some 'not so good ones'.
I'm jealous. But I guess everything's more expensive and less friendly in NY, no?
Don't give up and be careful out there.
Ah, some encouragement. I wish I'd gotten some of that at MSF. Instead, after I got kicked out of the class, I got these kind words:
"Don't worry, you were one of the weaker riders all day."
"Don't worry, it took a friend of mine's wife five years to learn how to ride."
I was feeling just spectacular after that crap. I felt like decking the guy.
Anyway, thanks for the response, we'll see how it progresses from here.