recently traveled from Central New York to Charlotte, NC for Mark Brown's Strategic Riding Course. www.motomark1.com
Rode down on Friday for the Saturday Course and returned on Sunday. If I were going to do it again I would arrive a day earlier to rest up. By the middle of the afternoon I was bushed. The course looked easy. a few cones set in a row some others set for some sharp serpentine turns and an iron cross configuration for 8's, U's and O's. The practice was intense. There were five in the class, with 3 BMWs R100, 1100 GS my LT, one HD, large that came with SO, and a Kow-HD knockoff. The slow speed issues of the LT showed up right away. All other bikes PUTTed through with only small issues. Not so me and my LT. Hit and dragged just about every cone in the weave section. Dropped her on both sides, in the serpentine section, total of three times in the first hour and a half. (Learned I can pick her back up with very little help) By the time we added the Iron Cross section I had learned that while it takes more input at slow speeds to steer, Mark
Had it drilled into my head to look where you want to go, and the bike will do it. When I looked down to try and shave the cones it is as if the bike said you are looking down, you must want to go there, so here we go. down it is. When I learned to hold my head UP, and look where I wanted to go, It became a smooth and beautiful thing. The bike stayed up through the lock-to-lock turns referred to above. This at idle speeds, while trying to find the Sweet spot on the clutch.
I learned to begin to trust my bike, and by the end of the day i had the beginning's of the skill to take with me to do circles in two parking spaces. 8's took a little more. I wore down the "chicken stripes" on my tires and did several Lock-to-Lock turns. I learned that when I looked down and almost dropped her by lifting my head It was as if i pulled the bike up with my head and avoided another fall. Smile from ear to ear
I say the beginnings of the skill because now I have to practice, practice, practice. This was brought home to me by one of the instructors who drives an LT and had ridden much more then I. At lunch he admitted to the Director he had not ridden much in the last three months and he was concerned he might not be able to handle the course. He spent some time in the parking lot spaces on the directors r1100 Police bike. Before he rode the course
The instructors allowed that the LT is (in their opinion) the hardest bike for slow speed handling. Also that this was more intense then an ERC.
But with practice it is possible. and worth the price.
The Director is planning to retire from Police riding in the near future and do more civilian training, and to even offer a multi day instruction class to learn the driving side of police motormen skills and standards. He has a 69 acre plot for this as well as off road and ATV skills