Many years ago I had a conversation with an M.S.F. instructor friend of mine. I told him I was planning on opening an advanced rider course that would be several steps above the M.S.F. Experienced Rider Course and would be based on the motor officer techniques. He told me I’d be wasting my time trying to convince bikers they needed advanced training. Unless, he stated, you hold the training class in their driveway, the course lasts less than a half hour and, it’s free.
Thankfully, he was wrong. In fact, I now have 10 Ride Like a Pro training locations in nine states. I will admit though, getting the first course here in Florida started was quite a challenge. What I discovered was the main reason men won’t take an advanced rider course is fear. Not fear of crashing or dropping their pride and joy, but fear of looking foolish in front of other riders. While most men will say something to the effect of “I’ve been riding for years I don’t need training”, or, “I ride just fine, I don’t need to take a course, I’m a great rider.” (As an aside, women riders rarely say these things). Deep inside, they know they could use some help.
Since the people who shout the loudest about their wonderful riding abilities are usually the people who need my advanced training the most, I had to figure out how to reach them. That’s when I came up with my Ride Like a Pro instructional video. With the step by step approach I show in the DVD, riders can train themselves without anyone watching them and seeing how bad their skills really are. When they make a mistake, there won’t be anyone there to see it but themselves. In my DVD I not only demonstrate the correct way to maneuver a heavyweight motorcycle, I also show the common mistakes people make while learning to ride properly. That way, the rider knows exactly what they did wrong and can correct the mistake.
To say that my idea worked would be a huge understatement. I’ve now sold hundreds of thousands of my Ride Like a Pro DVDs. I now find that more than half the students who come to my course bought my DVD and practiced the techniques and improved their skills greatly. Some now come to the class to not only sharpen their skills even further, they also want to show off their skills to the other riders. In other words, rather than being insecure about their riding abilities, they now have complete confidence in their riding skills and actually want to show them off.
One of the riders that purchased my DVD had a great story. His name is Ken Melhado. Ken told me he had been riding for many years but mainly on Sport bikes. Ken decided he wanted to do some long distance touring so he traded his Sport bike for a Honda Gold Wing. After riding this heavy beast for a few weeks, Ken said despite his years of experience, the Wing felt too heavy and clumsy for him and he was ready to sell the bike. When he told a friend about his plans to get rid of the Gold Wing, his friend loaned him one of my Ride Like a Pro DVDs.
After watching my video and seeing tiny women whipping big Harley’s around like toys, Ken got online and ordered all three of my videos. He then went out and practiced the techniques and exercises and was amazed at how fast his skills improved. He soon became addicted to practicing and all thoughts of selling his bike disappeared.
I met Ken at the Leesburg Bike Fest a couple of years ago while myself and my Ride Like a Pro team were performing my rider skills show. Ken asked if he could ride in the show with us. During the show, the team and I perform some very tight maneuvers with four bikes riding in unison, fender to fender. Nothing is planned in the show as in drill team type riding. All the tight turns and maneuvers are spur of the moment, off the top of my head. The riders behind must follow my every move very closely and exactly. Since I didn’t know Ken, I was reluctant to let him join in, as you could imagine. While I don’t recall the brief conversation I had with him, Ken said after one of my team members vouched for his abilities, I said something like, “ok, but you’ll have to stay in back and bring up the rear and you better not drop your bike or hit any of us”.
The show went perfectly and Ken rode like a pro. Ken now joins my show whenever possible and even appears in my New Ride Like a Pro DVD. Not only that, last year, Ken competed in several Top Gun rider competitions and won the Top Gun rider award in North Carolina in 2013 where riders from all over the country come to compete.
The point is, even if you think you’re a good rider, you can still get a lot better. The better you get, the more you’ll enjoy riding.
Copyright 2014 – Jerry “Motorman” Palladino