Well, I've been toying with the Super Tenere off road for a bit now and was very aware I really didn't have much of a clue about riding it (or anything else) off road. So it's tim to develop some skills. I left home about 5.45am this morning and headed south along the freeway taking the Somersby exit for a ride down a favourite, Wisemans Ferry Road. It's fun that early in the morning and I arrived at the Ferry a bit ahead of time.
I fueled up at the Shell and walked across the road to the general store for a quick double shot and a quite marvelous breakfast pie. I then rode River Road to Dargle Farm, the site of today's Adventure Motorcycle Course. The course was being conducted by the Academy of Off Road Riding and one of our two instructors for the day was Mr Motorcross legend Stephen Gall. There were about 20 on all sorts of bikes from WR250's, DR650's, quite a few MP 950,990 or 1190 Adventures, Tenere's and a couple of BMW's (but no 1200GS/A's). Here's a pic of some of the bikes.
After a briefing it was time to hit the grass paddock to learn some skills, but first of all "Turn off the traction control and the ABS". I think it's the second time ever I've used my sneaky ABS disable switch. So, a quick run down of the exercises in as close to the order as I can remember.
- Standing on pegs and riding around, weight transfer for acceleration and braking.
- Emergency braking
- First locking back wheel up
- Then not locking back wheel up
- Then locking the front wheel up while accelerating to push the locked wheel forward, release the brake when you think you are going to fall over. A number of the bikes went over on this one
- Then putting it all together without locking up – emergency stop
- Flat cornering 180 degree corner- braking into entry holding throttle steady around corner and accelerating out. A couple went down there as well.
- Slow riding, clutch, brake and throttle control
- Clutch and brake control, tight circles on full lock right and left (a couple went down on this as well.
- Then riding over waves/whoops or whatever you call them
No-one got hurt, an old Tenere lost a blinker and thankfully I remained upright for the day.
The big ticket items for me were getting used to tipping the bike in and standing upright (undoing the road lean in) and getting confidence in using the front brake on dirt with much more gusto than I'd been game to so far.
The exercises were explained clearly and there was plenty of opportunities for feedback despite there being more bikes in the course than the literature would have you believe about class size.
The other noteable thing, I was buggered. It was hard work wrestling the Super Tenere around like that.
With that skills day over, tomorrow will be an organised ride with more skills tuition, demonstration and tips organised with with Ride ADV. Putting the skills into practice. Can't wait.
Off to Windsor to the Windsor Terrace Hotel. Not bad for the price and a nice view of the river from my room.