Now that I have your attention...I was asked to provide a female perspective of my experience riding with LCR for other women (whether they be board members or significant others of board members) in hopes of getting more women riding.
My motorcycle riding background is very limited. I bought a 2002 Honda VTR 1000 in April 2004. It is alot of bike for a new rider but because of its narrower frame and weight distribution, I felt more comfortable on it. I also took the MSF course in April 2004 and learning to ride on a 250 Rebel was confidence inspiring. At first I was afraid to ride my bike because I did not want to wreck or drop it. Therefore, I rented a Harley sportster and my boyfriend and I went out for an all day ride totaling 400+ miles. Although that increased my confidence, I was still afraid to get on my bike. My first ride on my bike was to Kenís CLSB suspension day. We met at a gas station. After filling up with gas I pulled my bike to the side and I stopped too hard and was unable to hold the bike up and dropped it. Any confidence I had quickly went out the door.
I am what most would consider a slow sport bike rider. On group rides I am always at the back of the group and others have to constantly wait for me. At first I felt bad but I am riding within my comfort zone. Things that frighten me the most include corners, riding in the rain and high speeds.
While looking for a school to help me become a better rider, I came across Learning Curves Ladies Only Classes. I e-mailed Kim Olsen (CLSB member) and asked her opinion of the school. She gave great reviews. I then called and spoke to the instructor and he told me that he has had students who ride 200-500 miles a year and do not like going over 40 mph complete his class. He reiterated that the class was being held at a track to avoid the other obstacles of people, cars, etc. Between the fact that the class included women only and all the positive feedback, I decided to sign up.
There were 3 women and 2 instructors. One of the women had done track days while the other had been riding for a much longer period of time and wanted to improve her skills. My first session on the track consisted of two laps in 15 minutes and I was lapped by the other two women. I did not enjoy myself and I was petrified of wrecking my bike. The instructors talked with me, evaluated where my concerns were and discussed things to do to alleviate them. The next session was 100% better and after each session I continued to improve. Each session, I would choose different things to work on. The first was getting to know the track and not riding white-knuckled. In session two, I got my butt off the seat and looked through the corners. It is amazing how much easier it is to turn with your weight to one side and how slow it seems you are going when you are not looking right in front of you. In session three I increased my speed, worked on braking with the front brakes only, looked through the corners and got off the seat in a smoother fashion. Session four and five I continued to practice all the aforementioned skills. Initially, I felt intimidated because of the other two more experienced riders but by the end of the day, our lap times were close and they stayed within my site.
The classroom sessions gave us different things each session to work on. For example, breaking down the corner and knowing when to engine brake, brake and downshift; maintenance throttle; getting the body off the bike and when. We were not only told what to do but also explained why it works. Rick and Jason also adjusted our bikes to ďfitĒ us. I had my brake and shift lever adjusted and took the play out of my throttle all of which helped me feel more comfortable on my bike.
The low student to instructor ratio was wonderful. The fact that it was all females was also an added bonus. Motovid was taping our sessions so we could see what we looked like (because we are never leaning as much as we think we are) and why we made the mistakes we did. Everyone was very supportive and was willing to answer any question. I left the class with a wealth of knowledge that I feel years of riding may not have taught me. I now feel more confident and at ease when riding. I rode my bike home that night and because of the class, I enjoyed the ride much more.
I would strongly recommend this class to any women who wants to improve her skills whether she be a novice or a veteran rider. The fact that it is on a track is just so you can sharpen your skills in a safe environment.
Enjoy and safe riding,