Author Topic: A review of the Illinois Advanced Rider Course  (Read 1595 times)

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Offline Thud300

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A review of the Illinois Advanced Rider Course
« on: June 14, 2016, 02:05:23 am »
Note: posted today and copied from, a social forum for RiderCoaches and newer riders.

Quote from: thud300
Just found out the nearby community college is having "Intermediate Rider Course" on Saturday and "Experienced Rider Course" on Sunday. Website shows walk-in spots are available for both days, think I'm gonna do 'em both!

Went to the range on Saturday morning for the IRC, but I was one of only four students who showed up, so that class got canceled. Just as well, because the instructor said I was definitely in for Sunday's class  ;D

Enter Sunday morning's class, which turns out to be the ARC. Eleven students including yesterday's instructor plus two more, so three RiderCoaches in the group, which was led by a rather entertaining husband-and-wife team of instructors on their Gold Wings. I was by far the least experienced in the group, most students had many years up to decades of riding experience. The average age was around 50, just guessing. 3 women, 8 men. 3 RiderCoaches, a banker, an iron worker, a couple university employees. Most traveled at least 40 miles to get there, only two locals including me.

The morning classroom session was spent with instructors checking our helmets and gear, gathering our license, registration, bike and insurance information; intros, and then a self assessment on 'sensation seeking', exploring how we perceive ourselves as riders and the risks involved in riding, and risk taking vs. skill set. Some crash scenarios were created and discussed, and time was spent analyzing the best line through various types of curves. Some time was then spent on the 'chin over wrist' or COW technique (kissing the mirror?) to enhance negotiating curves. The topic of trailbraking was grazed upon but not discussed in depth.

During the classroom session one of the instructors was out inspecting our bikes. Without any issues reported, we headed out to a HOT range for the exercises.

We performed a T-CLOCS inspection on our bikes, filled out a form and turned that in.

Bike count: Five GL1800 Gold Wings, two of which were the instructors'; the RiderCoach students had a V-Strom, a Ducati Streetfighter, and a KTM Duke 390. The rest had a Honda VTX 1800, a  Yamaha Star cruiser, a Street Glide, a Road King, and me on the oldest bike by far, but not quite the smallest, my Kawi 454 LTD, because the warranty battery for my Connie did not arrive in time  :( but considering the heat, probably just as well.

On to the exercises! A couple warm-up laps, then offset cone weaves, one much wider than the other. Then hard stops, followed by a hard stop with an escape swerve and stop to simulate avoiding a rear-ender. Then cornering, followed by a swerve to a quick stop. Then decreasing radius curve with swerving to miss an obstacle, followed by braking then swerving to avoid the obstacle.

Then, mercifully, lunch came so we could get out of the heat. Thankfully, the RiderCoaches brought a cooler full of iced bottled water out for breaks.

After lunch the heat moderated a bit as the humidity burned off. We continued with "The Peanut!" an oval with a big swerve (yes it was fun!) and another decreasing radius curve (more like a tightening spiral) with an accelerating exit and swerve into a hard stop. Then came "Gap analysis and safety margin" which has everyone on the course at once negotiating an inside oval then switching to an outside oval. This one was more like chaos, but we got it done without incident. During all exercises, the COW technique and braking without lockup are emphasized.

Funny stuff, the male instructor had a brake issue during a demo with his Wing so he rides his wife's, without adjusting the air suspension so he's scraping pegs everywhere  :o in fact, a couple of the Wing riders were scraping pegs and taking out cones with them quite often. One of them showed me a 'trophy peg' he saved, literally ground to a stub.   

A return to the classroom, with some perceptive exercises like flashing a street sign for a tenth of a second and identifying it, and more examination of personal risk offset.

Kudos to the instructors, who found that the range had not been painted with appropriate markings, so they had to put out a lot of cones, many of which sacrificed their little cone lives so that we may become better riders. Those poor cones died as heroes.

In all, a great and fun riding day with a great group of riders. I'll retake this one someday. It made me aware that my bike is more capable than I was. It was fun throwing that bike around. The best part was there wasn't the pressure of the BRC where you're trying to get your endorsement, and the whole atmosphere was much more relaxed and lighter.

Returning old Kawis to riding glory since 2014
1998 Concours "Connimus Prime"  CDA #555
1991 Voyager XII "Xaviera"
1989 454 LTD "Merlin"

Offline Diz

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Re: A review of the Illinois Advanced Rider Course
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2016, 09:37:54 am »
Looks like a wonderful time was had by all. Last pic has everyone looking where they want the bike to go! Heat was obvious in 1 pic as instructors were in short sleeves and students in full riding gear. Bet you wanted to shift into 3rd gear if just to get a breeze.  :great:

Offline S Smith

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Re: A review of the Illinois Advanced Rider Course
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2016, 03:12:14 pm »
The MSF ARC is a great intermediate experience rider course to participate in. IIRC it is derived from the Military Sport Bike Ridercourse, modified to be ridden with any street bike. Here in CT it hardly shows on a site schedule due to lack of demand, even at a cost of $50.

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Offline Ranger Jim

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Re: A review of the Illinois Advanced Rider Course
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2016, 03:57:30 pm »
Same here in South Carolina. Too bad. It's probably the best course MSF has ever produced for someone who already has several thousand miles under their wheels.
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