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Gold Coast SMART Rider Training Review (Level 1, 2, 2a Masterclass & Level 3)

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mister:
I'm currently booked in for all four levels of the SMART (Safer Motorcycle Advanced Rider Training) course held on the Gold Coast. The levels are 1, 2a, 2b and level 3. And what I'll do here is do a write up of each level as I complete them. So we start with Level One...


Gold Coast SMART (Safer Motorcycle Advanced Rider Training)

Level 1

Being the first to arrive I had the pick of the seats at the oval shaped table. As others arrived we self-introduced ourselves and engaged in some small talk and then the Classroom Component began. We ran through Obstacle Identification, Road Positioning in relation to traffic, Road Positioning for corners, stopping and reaction times, anticipation of other drivers, Safety Gear, etc. We then headed outside.

Once outside we had some more talk about what the day would entail, the route we would take (see the route here), counter-balancing for slow speed sharp turns with demonstration, and we were sectioned off into smaller groups where we had another brief chat. Then we were off to our first stop - B on the route - and encouraged to watch the instructor's road positioning and cornering etc. along the way.

At B we had a discussion about braking distances with a demonstration, as well as chat about other safety related things. One notable point raised here was one of Speed Expectations. That is, if you're in a 60 zone You Expect others to be doing 60 and they likewise. So if you're doing 80 on a bike and they pull out in front of you, remember, they were Expecting you to be doing 60 not 80.

It was here where the instructor followed someone in our smaller groups. In this case I was the only one who knew the way to our next stop so I was leading and followed by the instructor. The idea is to slowly begin implementing the small tips they have given you - eg, lane positioning, cornering, setting up the brakes on approach to intersections and traffic lights, etc.

Upon arrival at point C the instructor would then tell you his observations of your riding. In my case he said I used a narrow section of the road not going too far either side of my lane. Which was odd considering I had come within inches of white lines on both side of my lane during the ride. But, it was only later, after following him, I knew what he Meant but didn't say. After the individual chats we have another group discussion about other riding aspects.

From this point another rider takes the lead with instructor following until we reach the the next stop, D. I chose to sit at the very back this time so I could assess the other riders in my group. I quickly discovered the fellow on the fastest bike was the worst rider. Oh, what were we all riding? I was on the Honda 919, one fellow on a Ducati Monster 800ie, another on a CBR250R and another on the MV Brutale - the worst / slowest / least-capable rider.

The instructor was following the CBR guy and we were just doing speed limit. But the fellow on the Brutale could not keep up in the bends. It was driving the Ducati fellow and me quite nuts. BUT, even though he was slow at least he was SAFE and did not try to exceed his current abilities. But as we came towards our lunch stop the MV guy nearly ran over someone at a pedestrian crossing. I mean, there were mere inches in it as he failed to stop prior to the crossing and stopped mid crossing and bumping their plastic shopping bag with the front of his bike! Again the rider feedback for the CBR fellow was "not using the whole road". Hmmm.... what he said to me. Ok. Let's see.

After we had more group chat about routine maintenance like checking oil and lubing chains we were off. The instructor followed the Ducati and I followed him, leaving Snailman to fall behind further and further at each bend. Even though we were only going slow and there was no Need to use the entire lane, the instructor was using the entire lane as if it was the preferred racing Line regarding corner approach and whatnot. He was even getting his ass off from one side to the other, even though it was not needed. It was rather interesting to watch from behind. All the way to stop E. Where the feedback was again, not using the entire road. And he asked if I could see the difference in lines between the rider up front and him. I acknowledged it and told him I now knew what he meant by "not using the entire road". He iterated about bending the elbow that is on the inside of bends and that what he was actually doing by sliding around was not getting his bum off the seat but getting his inside leg forward, the bum half off was a side effect of that, which gave him better elbow bend and thus handlebar control in addition to changing the center of gravity to more inside so the bike could be more upright. And he said he did it, even though he did not Need to cause the corners and speed did not require it, as a form of practice to keep it fresh in his mind.

Another group discussion and we were off to stop F. Snailman was leading our group. And again the feedback at point F was.... not using the whole road. I think it was unfortunate for snailman that he could not keep up and get to See what the instructor was doing when he was following. Otherwise he may have used the entire road. And this last bit was kinda funny as snailman used his line and the rest followed the instructor through the racing lines. And it reminded me of one time I went skiing. The balcony of the ski lodge overlooked the training area. So over breakfast we watched a group of beginners arrive for their free lesson - a lesson which taught them to Snowplough. After the lesson they were offered an additional lesson for a few bucks. Most took it but some didn't. The additional lesson included Slope time to implement the new Parallel Turns skill just taught in the training area. After brekky we headed off to the slopes. And we came across the training group who had opted to learn parallel turns and they were doing well. While we also encountered a couple of those who had chosen no extra lesson - still struggling to get snowploughing down pat. Here they were, started skiing for the first time, at the same time, but a few hours later some were no better while others had taken advice onboard and were doing well. I thought, snailman has heard nothing and is implementing nothing and is doing his own thing still - including constantly forgetting to turn off his indicator.

Anyway. Arriving at G we had more chat about additional riding aspects and were given a small certificate to say we had passed Level 1.

I felt the day was a tad long for what it entailed. Don't get me wrong, there is some quite useful stuff presented. But we really didn't get on the road until maybe two hours after it began. And in the end you could see people were getting antsy to just be done with. I also understand, the instructors do not know everyone's abilities or riding stamina so need to structure it in small doses. Be interesting to see how the next levels progress. I'll update this thread as I do them.

Michael

Twisted:
Level one sounds like the Q ride course. One quick question....do you have to complete level one to go on and do level 2 or can you request to do level 2 straight up?

mister:
You can do level 2 straight up. But you cannot do 2b unless you have done 2a and cannot do level 3 unless you have done 2b.

Michael

slipperymongoose:
I did transition a few weeks ago and my opinion pretty much mirror your final thoughts Michael. Though my group looked like they just passed their q ride which most did and we also had a couple snails one of which on a 650gs and played the high n mighty safety riding card while name dropping her secretary of the BMW rider club husband. And another girl on a 250 intruder who left her indicators on and scooted her bike at slow speed with woobly handlebars. But I can only do level one and wait a couple years to do levels 2 and up.

mister:
Upcoming dates for levels...

July 21   Level 1   (final day to book - July 13)
July 22   Level 2   (final day to book - July 13)
August 4   Level 2a   (final day to book - July 27)
August 5   Level 3   (final day to book - July 27)
August 18   Level 1   (final day to book - August 10)
August 19   Level 2   (final day to book - August 10)
September 8   Level 2a   (final day to book - August 31)
September 9   Level 3   (final day to book - August 31)

I'm doing Level 2 on July 22, Level 2a on Aug 4 and Level 3 on Sep 9

To make a booking call them on (07) 5667 3624 - they cannot take credit card over the phone but can do a credit card thing via fax. Also, they post (not email) the info and forms to fill out. If time is of the essence you may convince them to email a single date's paperwork to you. All payment must be made to the council, you cannot pay on the day.

Michael

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