On April 12th, 2009 the Sandollar Motorcycle club attended the Military SportBike RiderCourse "The Super ERC" at Navy Pensacola. The following are some of their thoughts, comments and photos:
Personally, I really enjoyed the class today, Mike's teaching approach was great, I was dog-tired and he kept it entertaining. I don't know much about the class, how it came to be, or why it's called "The military sportbike class" Although he did say its name will be changed and will be offered all around, I don't know why it hasn't been offered before. From what I saw today, with the difference in people, their skill levels, and the various types of motorcycles present, I don't know why this class hasn't been offered to the public before (unless it has?) I caught myself applying some of the techniques taught today while riding home, and honestly felt good about them, and felt it made me a little bit better of a rider. I hope we can get to do some more of these in skills (now if I can just make it to more skills). To put it one way, now that I've been through it, but if I hadn't and were just some regular Joe on the street, if I would happen to find out about this class, I definitely would pay whatever the cost to take the class. Mike and Wanda are both great instructors, and I am grateful of them for taking the time to give us this class. I hope that I didn't ramble on too much, but if you could, pass on the thanks to Michael and Wanda, I personally learned a lot today.
George please tell Michael that I thought the course was well organized. That the course really challenged your motorcycle skills. I really had a good time and wish the rain hadn't shortened our time there. Not much more to say. Except this was not a course for beginners.
I really appreciate and enjoyed this class that Michael and Wanda put together for us. The instruction that we received was outstanding, I thought the way it started with the “be honest about your riding” (form 2 and the Zuckerman inventory) was a great way to set the tone for the class for the rest of the day. The classroom instruction was good, it showed what you were going to learn before you got out on the pavement. The course exercises were fun and challenging. To paraphrase Michael “you know how to ride, we’re going to get you to challenge yourself to be a better rider through these skills” and that’s exactly what all of us did. Excellent course, I think it should also be open to cruisers, not just sportbikes.
Fred ( Wheet )
Mike, Wanda and George
First, let me say thank you for letting me participate – Thanks!
12 people are hard to manage on a course, I cannot even think about trying to manage 19 bikes. Mike and Wanda made the classroom and riding on the range look like it was easy. Very smooth transitions between four groups of riders – I am truly amazed how you two managed that many bikes.
Mike did an outstanding job of managing so many people in the classroom and keeping us focused on the task (of learning). Not only keeping us focused, but also explaining the braking, riding on the curves, and advance skill riding, “COW”. At first I was thinking, this is really going to be hard for me, as a MSF instructor, I have been telling everyone to Slow, Look, Press and Roll; and now I am being told, “there is a better way”, trail braking and COW. The card trick was also great, a picture is worth a thousand words – you made your point in less than five minutes.
Because Mike took the time starting with introductions and then moving smoothly into cornering, braking, COW, and trail braking; it all came together on the range – the way it is suppose to. Taking the time to fully explain all of the above was the key step for our understanding.
At the range, Mike’s and Wanda’s demo rides showed us the correct technique, which obviously helped in us practicing the correct way for braking, cornering, COW and trail braking.
It is obvious to me, having “mentored” sport bike riders and seeing three bikes going down in one year, the cause were: too fast of an entry speed and the lack of experience. I have also experience that car making the left hand turn in front of me and I definitely know the importance of MAX braking and/or the option to swerve.
I was happy with the current braking part of this course – I think MSF nailed it with this course. This is the first time I have truly had the opportunity to perform max braking with this HD in a safe environment. Mike’s constant coaching was terrific and kept reinforcing me to improve my MAX braking with the front brake. Also the comment on just setting your foot on that back brake; I believe this is also important especially with Harley’s, with that big old pedal and leverage arm, my foot was being forced down harder during stops (i.e., me pressing down and my body weight pressing down at the same time); I now understand a little why and how to mitigate some of that unwanted rear braking.
Using the COW and trail braking was new, but the pictures and descriptions in class and then actually getting in the curves, I could feel I was leaning less but still making an aggressive move, I liked it.
I really enjoyed this class and I know, it has helped me in being a better Rider.
Mike and Wanda (you too George)
Editor's note: COW stands for the Chin Over Wrist technique taught in the class.
GREAT WAY TO SPEND THE DAY!
Getting to spend a day learning new techniques, relearning older ones and getting rid of old habits is hard to beat. When you have the quality of instruction we did for the sport bike class, it makes it even better! The classroom full of friends and fellow riders was very interesting. At times there were puzzled looks on everyone’s face as new techniques were shown and then explained. Sometimes the visual aid is necessary for us lowly peons to understand what is being talked about. The class with video and slides went a long ways toward showing us the basic technique for some maneuvers. The "quick slide show" with quiz, demonstrated how things could flash past us if we don’t constantly update ourselves and scan effectively. All questions were answered satisfactorily in the classroom. Anyone that had a question was given the time from the instructor to fully answer it. Out on the range, maneuvers were explained, demonstrated and then performed by all students. Some were more difficult at first but the higher speed of the course compared to past courses helped demonstrate how we can handle the techniques we covered in class. I do not think anyone came away without learning something. Including the instructors. At the end of the day we all were somewhat sore from manhandling our cruisers around a sportbike course, but we all left with a smile on our faces. Spending the day like that is unbeatable. Well, not totally unbeatable, there is at least one thing that could top that. However, I won’t go into that. (Get your mind out of the gutter! I'm talking about fishing!)
On 12 April 2009, I attended the MSF Military Sport Bike Rider Course at Corry Station, Pensacola, FL. This all day course proved to be the most comprehensive, helpful course that I have ever taken. This includes both BRC and ERC MSF programs. The academic instructor Michael McMillan’s presentation was concise, detailed and all encompassing. His unique demonstrations kept the full attention of the entire class for the whole time. The riding phase conducted by Michael and the other rider coach, Wanda Brocade, was also outstanding in every aspect. Their sharing of responsibility with one briefing and the other demonstrating the maneuvers desired, left no question in anybody’s mind of what was required. On a scale of 1 to 10, this entire program rates a 10+.
Sand Dollars Lead the Way
I wasn’t sure if Mary Ann and I would make it out to Pensacola for the Military Sports Bike course. Woke up Sunday morning with a pounding headache. Decided that I could tough it out, so we headed out to meet everyone at Joe’s. On the way out to the base, I kept telling myself that I could do this. When we got to the base and met up with Michael, I was still feeling rough. Michael is a fantastic teacher. He made the classroom portion of the class very interesting. Once the classroom instruction was over, we headed out to grab some lunch. After lunch, we headed to the range for the fun part. Learned some great techniques from Michael and Honda Wanda. Once again, they did a fantastic job. I tip my hat for a job well done. At least the rain held off and we had a great time.
BH (Cris B)
Mary Ann & Chris B
Sunday April 12, Super ERC motorcycle class was fabulous! Although we have our own Skills Sunday once a month, it never hurts to have professional training updates. This Sunday I found especially useful the COW maneuver during turns and placing the foot on the rear brake and letting weight transfer during braking apply the rear brake without lock up amazing. No more rear brake lock up! Thanks M2 for the professional classroom, great teaching, I actually learned new things, see above.
Amazed Munchkin (David B)
Sport Bike Class-----My Thoughts
Since I’m not overly confident in my ability to ride my current bike well enough for this class, I asked M2 if he thought I could handle the class before starting. I’m really glad he said yes and I believed him. The classroom was a real eye opener and I think the way it was presented really made you think about your surroundings and what you think and how to react. I really got into the C.O.W. I did not think I could make really tight corners but I kept taking out the cones on the inside. After the class, I think I might be ready for the dreaded BOX, my all time nemesis. Thanks to M2 and Wanda, I’m like the little train that said “I think I can, I think I can and now I know I can. Thanks to both M2 and Honda Wanda. You’re the best.
The course.....big enough to feel safe to do maneuvers. I really enjoyed doing them! Thorough explanations on all the maneuvers from the teachers. No question was too big or too small to give an answer to an individual. Made anyone feel at ease Also..the little helpful hints really made a difference.... from the way to hold your hand on the throttle and still cover the brake to using the Chin Over Wrist.
Had a great time attending this course! This class should be the complete replacement for the Experienced Riders Course(ERC). I believe the ERC never should have been called "Experienced" anything because it is still too basic for any rider that has any real experience riding a motorcycle. With the increased speeds and the improved breaking and swerving exercises/techniques in the new course, it is now actually tailored for a more "Experienced" rider. I've been hoping that the MSF would come up with a class of this type for years. Joejoe (29 years of daily riding experience)
Joe I am humbled that an experienced and knowledgeable motorcycle instructor such as your self thinks we did a good job. That's a strong compliment and I appreciate it. Wanda and I have worked together for years and I love working with her. I've learned some neat things from the Honda woman. She's a dear friend and a wonderful coach who helps me be a better coach myself. I agree with you completely that the MSF got it right with this one, especially the braking, turning and swerving. I look forward to getting it out to the general population and hopefully saving some lives there like it's doing for the military. Did you know that George scraped a peg? A Gold Wing will lean 40 degrees and George was scraping! I think that's a result of a well thought out and constructed curriculum. (Well, that and George was a Wildman out there. Reg Pridmore won't recognize him ;>) It was a real pleasure to teach a class where every single rider was above average. That made the 'job' much easier for Wanda & me. M2
Editor's note: M2 was the lead instructor this day
You definitely summed it all up for me too M2 :) George was wild wasn't he ...lol...lol......he was so enjoying himself ! I still can't git Squirrel's "Cow" girl moves outa my head Honda Wanda
Editor's note: Honda Wanda was one of the instructors this day