When Misfortune Strikes: The Crash Aftermath

Craig Smith Hospital Bed

It’s never a good day when you end up in a hospital bed. Craig was happy his riding gear did its job and that the outcome wasn’t worse.

TEAM Arizona RiderCoach and staff member, Craig Smith, suffered a crash at an intersection in early July.  The SUV driver claimed she didn’t see Craig before plowing into him.  She didn’t even attempt to slow or stop her vehicle.  Sound unusual?  We didn’t think so.

We’ll spare you the gruesome pictures but just know our man Craig is feeling better and is already back at work a short three weeks after the incident.  A chipped bone in his leg and wrist, and some scraped up legs were the net result.  Upon reflection, Craig admitted he did some things very well and some things he could have done a bit better.

We all agreed his incident should not be wasted as a learning experience for TEAM Arizona newsletter readers.  Thankfully, Craig is a reasonable, humble person and didn’t mind setting aside his ego to help all of us gain from his experience.  In this piece, we wanted to share with you the highlights and low lights of the gear Craig was wearing.


motorcycle crash helmet

The jaw line and rear of the helmet have been scraped down to the bare outer shell. Could you imagine if Craig was wearing a baseball cap or nothing at all?

Simply, it did its job.  It is pretty obvious from the pictures that if Craig had not been wearing a helmet, he probably wouldn’t be with us today.  Maybe even more importantly, if he had not been wearing a full face helmet, the jaw would have been smashed to bits.  Craig avoided a concussion even though the external damage to the shell and internal, impact absorbing liner may suggest otherwise.  The outer shell, impact absorbing liner, and attachment system worked flawlessly to prevent Craig from having any head or neck injuries.


Motorcycle Jacket Crash Fulmer

The jacket shows how well the abrasion resistance material worked.  Craig slid down the hot asphalt at close to 45mph. The armor in the jacket at the elbow worked brilliantly as no injury to the elbow was suffered.

We want our readers to know up front that Fulmer Helmets and Riding Apparel sponsor TEAM Arizona.  With that said, it is undeniable that the Fulmer riding apparel did its job to spare Craig abrasion and impact injury.


motorcycle gloves crashes

Do these look unscathed? A closer look shows how the knuckle protective areas suffered major impact and yet no injury to the hands occurred. The padding and stitching were designed in such a way to resist tearing. Job done!

We often tell riders to imagine what life would be like if you couldn’t use your hands on a daily basis.  Sounds horrible, right?  Motorcycle gloves are that important.  Notice we’re using the term MOTORCYCLE GLOVES.  Not just any gloves will do.   The Fulmer gloves used by Craig were intelligently designed by engineers to protect riders from impacts and injuries due to abrasion from an incident.  Inspection of the motorcycle gloves shows that the mix of materials used by the manufacturer, including leather, carbon fiber, and poly-carbonate performed their jobs well enough to prevent injury.


motorcycle boots crash

Despite being impacted by a SUV and sliding on the hot Phoenix asphalt, these motorcycle boots look no worse for wear. Aside from the white scuffs left from the paint of the vehicle, these boots don’t even look like they were involved in a serious crash. Yet they were.

Often an afterthought for most motorcyclists, motorcycle specific boots are critical to preventing ankle and foot injury.  Good motorcycle boots are lightweight, impact resistant, provide a solid heel and foot shank area, and can resist abrasion.  Why lightweight?  The foot is at the end of your legs (duh!), but in physics terms, it is a weight at the end of a pendulum.  The lighter the weight at the end of the pendulum, the less force at impact.  Thus, here again, boots designed specifically for the motorcycling application are preferred.  The MAIDS report shows that our lower body, especially the extremities, are exposed to just as much risk for injury as our upper body.


Notice the absence of a picture?  Yeah, well, perfection doesn’t exist.  In this case, Craig decided to wear jeans instead of his usual textile pants due to the Arizona summer heat.  The medical professionals cut Craig’s jeans, well, what was left of them, off of his body.  We won’t post the pictures of the road rash, but it was substantial.

A simple decision to go for “comfort” over protection ended up leading to some serious road rash on Craig’s legs.  He’ll manage, but the pain could have been avoided just by wearing the protection he already owns; a fact Craig humbly accepts.  His hope is that you will learn from his mistake.


Riding a motorcycle means you are willing to accept an elevated amount of risk.  However, it doesn’t mean we can’t make conscious decisions to mitigate the risks of riding.  It’s up to you how much risk you want to accept.  Safe to say, as Craig shops for his new motorcycle and new gear, he’ll be going with what worked for him in this incident…and maybe a bit more.

Have fun…be safe.

motorcyclist injury without gear

For the Entire TEAM Arizona Newsletter Content, CLICK HERE

TEAM Arizona Riding Tip: See Like a Superhero?

eyes helmetVision is critical to our success as riders.  Most importantly, when we corner a motorcycle, we should be using our eyes to find key elements to the corner which include locating the turn point, the apex, and the exit of the corner.  Did you know that you can use different eye training exercises to:

  • Enhance Depth Perception
  • Increase focusing speed
  • Increase speed of processing information
  • Increase visual concentration for extended periods of times (necessary when riding through curvy mountain passes)
  • Decrease reaction time

Athletes from various sports, including Major League Baseball, the NFL, PGA, and NBA employ various eye training exercises to gain an edge.  Are you ready to increase your skill on a motorcycle and start using the same exercises racing champions use?

motorcycle eye chartFIRST THINGS FIRST

When it comes to vision, it helps if we have a good foundation.  When was the last time  you had your eyes checked?  If it has been more than three years, you may want to start there.  A thorough eye exam will determine if you’ve experienced any changes in vision.  A comprehensive eye exam will include:

  • Eye health review (test for glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration)
  • Near and Far Distance evaluation
  • Tests to determine how well the eyes are working together


Do eye exercises actually work?  In a phone conversation Rich Oliver, owner of Rich Oliver’s Mystery School and Five-time AMA 250 Grand Prix National Champion, he was gracious enough to provide us with some insight about how he trained his eyes to become a champion.  First, he stated he’s just “paying it forward” as it was an eye doctor in Los Angeles who generously shared eye training exercises with him several decades ago.  Rich immediately found several eye exercises to be a valuable way to track objects as he moved quickly through time and space.

In this blog, we’ve pieced together a few exercises recommended from various professional and academic sources.  Some exercises and “training programs” found on the web often include expensive contraptions and have been debunked as methods to improve our vision.  We’ve done our best to sift through the noise to provide a few exercises that will directly enhance how we see on a motorcycle.  Will it give you superhuman vision?  No.  Will it improve your visual acuity?  The science indicates yes but that more research is needed.  In the meantime, give these exercises a shot.  NOTE:  These exercises will not help if your eyes are suffering from medical issues (glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration).  We recommend these exercises merely as a supplement to becoming a better motorcyclist.

The Warm Up

eye stretchesTo get the eyes (including the muscles around the eyeball) warmed up, we’ll begin with some simple eye movements.  This exercise is from a portion of the Bates Method.  While some exercises from the Bates Method are widely disregarded as pseudoscience,  this particular exercise is accepted by eye specialists as beneficial for the eyes.  Until recently it was believed that the adult brain and vision processing pathways could not be retrained. This is not the case. There is now compelling evidence that it is almost as trainable as a child’s.  This is exciting because it means that with the correct eye exercises, or “training” environment and activities, you can actually retrain your eye (really your brain).

With the exercise below, you’ll want to move your eyes as far as they’ll go without straining.

  1. Move your eyes all the way to the left and then back to the right (repeat 10 times)
  2. Move your eyes up and down (repeat 10 times)
  3. Move eyes tracing diagonals from upper left to bottom right; upper right to bottom left (repeat 10 times)
  4. Move eyes in circular motion (repeat 10 times)
  5. Move eyes in figure “8” motion (repeat 10 times)

Convergence/Divergence/Accommodation Eye Exercise

thumb focus exerciseAcquiring a reference point close to us and then selecting one far away is a necessary part of cornering.  Being able to rapidly shift our focus from near to far quickly and accurately determines how quickly we steer our motorcycles and whether or not we’ll be able to precisely hit our turn, apex, and exit points.  Practice this simple exercise 20-40 times each day:

  1. Extend your arm fully and hold your thumb up
  2. Focus on your thumb until you can see it clearly and it is sharply in focus
  3. Change your focus to an object in the distance (we recommend starting out selecting something 50 feet away; see if you can work up to 300 feet)
  4. Once the object in the distance is clearly in focus, change your focus back to your thumb


See Like Prey

see like preyEven though we’re trying to find key reference points when we’re cornering, we also need to learn how to see in a way similar to the manner in which prey see when being chased by a predator.  They are using their peripheral vision to help them select alternative escape routes.  Like prey,  motorcyclists often need to select escape routes that may differ from our originally chosen path.  How do we develop this larger “in-focus” picture?  By performing this exercise:

  1. While focusing on an object in the distance (start at 30 feet and gradually increase), bring your awareness to the environment around the object without moving your eyes.
  2. What kind of detail around the central object can you obtain?
  3. Practice this for 30 seconds per day

The expectation with this exercise is that we’ll be able to expand our vision to reduce the sensation of speed when riding.


If you’re like this author, you find yourself in front of a computer screen for up to 10 hours per day.  Our eyes didn’t evolve to have this type of strain placed upon it.  To reduce the strain, we need to help our eyes.  It is suggested that every 10 or so minutes of computer work you take a minute to rest your eyes. This includes blinking rapidly for 10 to 15 seconds and then keeping your eyes closed for approximately 45 seconds. This break gives your eyes a chance to recover and reduce the strain, thus helping to prevent a loss of vision acuity.

Want to practice using your enhanced vision?  Why not check out an Advanced Riding Techniques course or Total Control Advanced Riding Clinic this fall?  It’s right around the corner and the courses fill up fast, so don’t delay!

If you choose to give these exercises a shot, we want to hear from you.  Send us an email to bill@motorcycletraining.com  

Kelly’s Korner: Heart Your Ride With These Maintenance Tips

Kelly's KornerGiving Your Bike Some Love: Basic Maintenance Tips

As riders, and, presumably, motorcycle owners, it’s important that we know our bikes like we know our four-wheeled vehicles, our houses, or any other possessions we want to last. This means taking care of them, of course. And since we’re in the doldrums of August, with fewer people out and about on two wheels in the heat and humidity, now seems the opportune time for getting down and dirty with your ride, especially if you’re new to the experience. With that in mind, here are some suggestions for basic bike maintenance.

I-Love-My-Bike-Patch-300x240Love the chain. A chain that’s too loose or too tight, too wet or too dry, is bad news. Best case scenario if you don’t maintain your chain is that it flies off while you’re on the road, ruining your engine and damaging you. I don’t even want to contemplate the worst-case scenario. So keep the chain at optimal tension and keep it lubricated; your owner’s manual and the all-knowing Internet will have specific information about your make and model. Check the chain every 500 or 700 miles or so, and replace it, and the sprockets, as needed. For an in-depth look at caring for your chain and sprockets, read this Sport Rider column.
Check the oil. I actually kind of enjoy changing my bikes’ oil. There’s something satisfying about getting my hands dirty and giving my trusty steeds a thorough going-over. And am I glad I now have naked bikes. Removing fairings for an oil change is a pain in the butt. Anyway, here are some thoughts on oil-changing basics:
  •      Keep track of the myriad nuts, washers and bolts you have to remove; it’s no fun when you’ve put the bike back together and there’s an extra nut/washer/bolt just hanging around.
  •      Always replace the filter when changing the oil. There’s no point running clean oil through a dirty filter.
  •      Look at the old oil under a close, sharp light. A lot of metal shavings point to bigger problems, the intricacies of which I’m not qualified to discuss. That’s why we have mechanics.

Check the brake fluid, too. While you’re changing oil, now’s a good time to also inspect brake fluid levels. Top them up if they’re low. 

woman inspect motorcyclePay attention to tires.  Check your tire pressure often. A blowout simply is not worth forgoing the few minutes required to apply a gauge and an air compressor nozzle. And please, please be sure to check pressure if you haven’t ridden in a while. Air is sneaky; it can leak without your realizing it and, boom, unnecessary wear on the wheel or, worse, a blown tire. When it comes to changing a tire, that’s not a few-minutes task. Expect this to take several hours, if not more. Timing depends on factors including your level of expertise and the tools you have on hand. Once again, though, changing tires is not part of my expertise. I’ve watched bike tires changed in a garage and it’s a tedious, unlovely process. Consult the web gods, friends who know what they’re doing or your favorite mechanic for more help here.

Remember the cables. Clutch and throttle cables wear out, like any other part on a bike. Look them over every now and then for any fraying or breaking. You don’t want to end up on the side of the I-10 outside of Tucson inventing a throttle cable so you can ride back home to the Valley. (He knows who he is.)

So there’s a short list for basic bike maintenance. And the basics are crucial.  For a longer list, check out the T-CLOCS sheet for a more in-depth review of your motorcycle.  For more in-depth service, we recommend seeing your local dealership or qualified mechanic.   Tell me your must-dos and, in the meantime, stay safe and have fun.

Ted Amrine: TEAM Arizona Rider of the Month August 2015!

Ted Armine Rider of the MonthThere are a lot of reasons why folks decide to take the Basic RiderCourse.  To fulfill a dream.  To earn a motorcycle license.  And for seventy-nine (79) year old Ted Amrine, it was to see if he had the physical ability to get back on two wheels again.  Part of the beauty of the Basic RiderCourse is that it gives a participant, in a safe environment, the opportunity to see if motorcycling is for them.  For some folks, the answer may be no.  For some folks, an emphatic YES!  For Ted, it helped him reach the decision that three wheels will be best for him.  For his pragmatic, considerate, serious approach to motorcycling, we named Ted our Rider of the Month for August 2015.

Ted is no stranger to motorcycling.  He rode trail bikes for almost eighteen (18) years.  He hasn’t been on a motorcycle since 1978 but he missed the fresh air and the opportunity to travel to different places on a motorcycle, so he took the course.  He was unsure if his reflexes and balance were sufficient enough to be on two wheels.  His conclusion?  His balance and reflexes are better than expected but he thinks three wheels will be just the ticket.

His advice?  Why live in doubt?  Take the course and take it seriously.  You’ll be happy you did.

Ted, we wish you a happy return to motorcycling.  We’re glad we could be there for you on your journey.  Safe travels!

Riders, we want to honor YOU!  Do you know someone who should be TEAM Arizona’s Rider of the Month?  Entering their name is SIMPLE.

  • Email Bill (bill@motorcycletraining.com )
  • In the subject line, type “Rider of the Month”
  • In one paragraph, tell us why this rider deserves the title TEAM Arizona Rider of the Month!

Let’s have some serious FUN with this gang!  There are some great stories out there and we don’t want to miss them, so tell us about yourselves!

For the Entire TEAM Arizona Newsletter Content, CLICK HERE


Joining Is For Suckers…Or So We Once Thought (AMA)

riding soloAdmitting our mistakes and learning from them are part of the growing up process.  As motorcyclists, we’ve proven that we’re willing to take more risks than the average person.  But if we have the choice to easily reduce risks, shouldn’t we?  As the line goes, “There are bold riders and there are old riders, but it is doubtful you’ll find an old, bold rider.”

At the tender age of nineteen I was told by a riding mentor to pick up an American Motorcyclist Association membership.  I found that information odd as I wasn’t going to be racing.  Didn’t they just handle the domestic racing series and do stuff in Washington DC that doesn’t apply to me?  I ignored the recommendation and told myself, “Why join?  Joining is for suckers.  I don’t ride in groups because I’m independent.  The last thing I want to do is join a group and get mired in political shenanigans.”  Ahhh to be young and idealistic.

motorcycle-towingFrom the time I was told about the AMA,  I was stranded on the side of the road three different times.  Once it was for a blown rear tire.  Another time it was for a broken clutch cable.  And another time it was for rider error (we won’t get into that here!).  Each time I was left to figure out how to get myself and motorcycle home.  Without my gracious friends, I may have been stranded permanently.  The last time my riding mentor said to me, “Ya know, you could have called the AMA and they would have towed the bike home for free.”

Free?  They would do that for me?  I just had to listen to my mentor this time.  With a big cross country motorcycle trip coming up and a lot of unknowns in the mix, a free tow just might come in handy, so I joined the AMA.  A mere five years AFTER the initial recommendation.

Sure enough, two months later and 2,000 miles from home, I found myself at Daytona Bike Week and learned firsthand what it meant to be an AMA member.  I lost my key in a field of motorcycles.  I called the AMA, they arranged to pick me and the bike up, took us to a local dealership, and two hours after the dealership was supposed to have closed, I was sent on my way with a new key.   That was the power of the AMA.  They won me over.  I thought about the Daytona Bike Week incident when I renewed my AMA membership in June for a 17th time.

2014-01-AMA_Cards_WomenAs the world’s largest motorcycling organization, the AMA advocates for motorcyclists’ interests in the halls of local, state and federal government, the committees of international governing organizations, and the court of public opinion.  They also make available to us discounts from several key suppliers in the motorcycle industry.

Meaning, they work to support us.

What that 19 year old “independent” rider didn’t fully understand is that we’re all in this together.  We represent such a small percentage of the motoring public and if we collectively fail to join together to retain our rights to ride, we have the potential to lose or greatly diminish this activity we so dearly love.

So here’s the rub.  Join me.  Join TEAM Arizona.  Join thousands of American Motorcyclists across this land.  Sign up today, because together, we’re better.

Join AMA

For the Entire TEAM Arizona Newsletter Content, CLICK HERE

TEAM Arizona Riding Tip: Training with Motorcycling’s Elite

American Supercamp

Fifty seven year old TEAM Arizona owner, Ron Arieli, working on his one-handed cornering skills while at Danny Walker’s American Supercamp.

This June, TEAM Arizona owner Ron Arieli, his son, and two of his Total Control Advanced Riding Clinic Instructors headed to Ft. Collins, Colorado, to attend Danny Walker’s American Supercamp.  Collectively, the riders represented more than 100 years of riding experience and nearly fifty years of rider coaching experience.  What did they have to gain by attending the camp?  Everything.


When participants attend a TEAM Arizona training course, we make it known that riding a motorcycle well requires a life-long dedication to maintaining and increasing skill level.  Practice is important, but how do you know if you’re doing it properly?  That’s where coaches come into play.  Even the best athletes in the world acknowledge the importance of a good coach.  That is exactly why we invested time, money, and risked bodily harm to attend the American Supercamp.  We knew their coaches would help us improve our riding and be the best we can be.  Simply:  You can’t be your best if we’re not our best.

Steve PaladiniEvery RiderCoach and Instructor at TEAM Arizona understands the importance of checking our egos at the door and occasionally placing ourselves in the role of student.  It helps us empathize with our course participants.  It helps us identify areas where we as coaches can improve.  The bi-product of this additional training also means we’re  better motorcyclists with more tools in our tool box.  With so many advantages, why wouldn’t we seek training?

At this stage, not just any training course or coach will do, so who do we look to when we want to improve our riding skills?


Funny enough, when RiderCoaches seek training, they start right here at home.  TEAM Arizona offers more than just the Basic RiderCourse.  In our coaching stable we have plenty of experienced folks who can raise the level of most, if not all, motorcyclists.  We encourage our coaches to learn from each other and use our training facilities for their self improvement.

Externally, we have a few gurus who have upped the game for all of us.  We seek out these particular rider training specialists because we know we’ll learn a thing or three about riding AND coaching.  If you want to improve your riding skills, we encourage you to check out these individuals.


Lee Parks Total Control Track Clinic

Lee Parks provides coaching to help Ron Arieli overcome a challenge on the track

Lee is the creator of the Total Control Advanced Riding Clinic curriculum.  Lee has been racing for more than 25 years, and won the 2001 G.M.D. Computrack National Endurance Series Championship in the Lightweight class. He also finished 2nd in the 1994 AMA 125GP national championship in its exhibition year. He spent five years as the editor and chief test rider of Motorcycle Consumer News where he road tested every new street motorcycle available in the U.S. and became one of the top performance-testing journalists in the world.  Lee wrote the Total Control Advanced Riding Clinic book.  TEAM Arizona is the sole provider in Arizona of Lee’s Total Control Advanced Riding Clinic.  It is the highest level of training offered at TEAM Arizona.



Nick Ienatsch instructor

Nick providing some insight at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah.

Nick is a former American Motorcyclist Association race competitor.  Ienatsch was the lead instructor for twelve years at Freddie Spencer Riding School.  He later created and is lead instructor at Yamaha Champions Riding School.  Nick wrote Sport Riding Techniques: How To Develop Real World Skills for Speed, Safety, and Confidence on the Street and Track.  This book is the foundation for the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s Advanced Riding Techniques course.  The course is a superb introduction to more advanced riding techniques for the street and an excellent primer for taking the Total Control Advanced Riding Clinic.



Danny Walker American Supercamp

Danny is all smiles when he’s around motorcycles.

American Supercamp is the brainchild of former AMA racer Danny Walker.  Danny is the master of teaching motorcyclists how to push the limits on a motorcycle.  Danny and his crew can help you learn how to master the art of the motorcycle slide and take your riding to the next level.  His training started with putting road racers on lower displacement dirt bikes and letting them learn the limits on dirt (American Supercamp) and now he has expanded his offering to include a similar concept on road courses (Road Race Factory). When he is not teaching racers and riders he is managing the RoadRace Factory Red Bull race team.







Keith Code

Eagle eyed Keith Code catches everything when a rider is in motion.

Quite possibly there is no other motorcycle rider instructor who has left his mark on rider training than Keith.  In 1961 he started racing.  In 1976 he started a rider training improvement program.  Code founded the California Superbike School in 1980. The school taught numerous championship winning riders such as Wayne Rainey.  His California Superbike Schools have operated at over 90 tracks worldwide in 15 countries and have trained 150,000 riders.  In 1982, he wrote the instant best seller, A Twist of the Wrist book.  If you have a subscription to Motorcyclist magazine then you already know about his thought provoking articles under the “Code Break” heading.





This is the short list folks.  There are many other individuals who write books and offer forms of training, but if we had to tick a “Most Wanted” box, these four guys get their boxes ticked first.  Fortunately for you, training curriculum developed by half of these guys can be found right here at TEAM Arizona.  When will you take advantage of such a great opportunity?

For the Entire TEAM Arizona Newsletter Content, CLICK HERE

Kelly’s Korner: Five Tips For Battling Traffic In AZ Heat

Kelly's KornerHandling traffic on a bike is not the easiest task. It gets especially irritating when working against factors such as scorching heat and insane drivers. Here in the Phoenix area, both remain in plentiful supply. (Some studies correlate hotter weather to more aggressive driving … as if that surprises anyone.) And that leads to my point: As riders, the more distractions we face, the more we need to be prepared to deal with those obstacles so we can stay safe on two wheels. Having a strategy to defeat the blistering hot weather is crucial.  So, as July kicks in and brings with it dust storms and monsoon rains—which, in turn, lead to unpredictable, overly cautious drivers—it’s an opportune time to talk about how to deal with traffic and all its attendant annoyances. After all, I think we all enjoy reaching our destinations in one piece.

  1. Woman MotorcyclistStay cool, literally. I’ve said this before but it bears repeating: Wear a cool vest or some other cooling clothing under regular riding gear (because all the gear all the time, people. All the time.). The more comfortable my body feels on the bike, the more likely I am to ride happy and at ease. The more overheated I am, the quicker my temper flares. No bueno.
  2. Stay hydrated. Drink water throughout the day even when you’re not riding. Add organic lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to help the body. On the bike, have ice water at the ready via a CamelBak or similar hydration system. Drink it. The idea is not for it to slosh around in there and make hot-water stew.
  3. Stay aware. I swear the full moon makes nutty drivers out of regular nice people. So do dust and rain. What I’m saying is, know your surroundings and the elements. When things get out of whack, the people do, too. So, if I set out expecting crazy on the road, I ride more aware and ready to act. full moon ArizonaThat does not mean I go looking for crazy. (I don’t have to—it finds me.) I just mean being as ready for it as possible. Think defense vs. offense. And I’m more able to do that if I’m cool and hydrated.
  4. Stay skilled. Use the tools you have accumulated, even if you’re a beginning rider. Vision, hard stops, swerving and braking rank as my top go-to skills for handling traffic. Stay abreast of these and gather more through ongoing training. You can always take part in a class at TEAM Arizona. I like how the Skills Under the Lights courses break down one key technique each month. And of course you can—arguably, should—practice what you learn every time you ride. I know someone who works on his swerves (yes, safely) when commuting.
  5. Stay cool, figuratively. Meditation and yoga don’t have to be woo-woo spiritual. Find a practice you like, at home or out with other people, and engage in it at least once a week. The mere acts of breathing, stretching and relaxing will help you tune in to your self. When that happens, you’ll feel better equipped to gauge your mental, emotional and physical states, judge how those might play into your riding frame of mind, and help you to first react with calm rather than with anger. Sure, we all rely on motorcycling to blow off steam. But if we ride enraged or even just smoldering, we’re adding a dangerous distraction to all of the others, one that could result in us being scraped off the road.

What methods do you use to handle traffic, summer or not? Let me know. And stay safe out there.

Kelly Teal Signature

For the Entire TEAM Arizona Newsletter Content, CLICK HERE

Shawnda Williams: TEAM Arizona Rider of the Month July 2015!

Shawnda Williams Baby Pic

Check out that million dollar smile! This kid was born to ride. :-)

The fire to ride.  It burns within all of us who choose motorcycling (or does it choose us?!).  For some of us it burns longer without the necessary oxygen to make it grow.  In Shawnda’s case, she waited decades before she took the first step towards riding.  Once she took the handlebars she started clickin’ through the gears and hasn’t looked back.  Shawnda is on a mission to bring more female riders into the mix.  For her willingness to share, her unbridled fire, and pure enjoyment of life, how could we resist making her our Rider of the Month for July 2015?

Here is her story, in her own words:

Shawnda WilliamsI have always had a fondness toward motorcycles. The bug bit me early in life and I can actually recall the precise moment in time when it struck. It was my fourth Christmas and my parents purchased me a power wheels style motorized bright yellow chopper with lots of chrome and flame emblems. You could not have convinced my four-year-old self that it was not real. I tried to ride it everywhere, and from that point on, I have always wanted a motorcycle. The biggest obstacle that inevitably stopped me from riding sooner was not realizing there were places available to teach you how to ride. Throughout the years, I have had many friends offer to teach me, but I was always terrified about the prospect of accidentally damaging their bike or worst myself. Motorcycles were seemingly an unrequited dream in the corner of my mind until I happened to randomly notice the TEAM Arizona training location in Gilbert. It is in a fairly obscure location but fortunately my sister was working at the Dillard’s office down the road. So in one of my many trips to lunch with her I finally noticed the sign and subsequently realized what it was. I pretty quickly enrolled in an intro class and the rest is history from there.

It’s hard for me to not be excited about riding a motorcycle, because I spent so much time on the outside looking in. I didn’t know of many female riders and spent a very long time being intimidated by the motorcycle scene. However, that air of intimidation quickly dissipated the second I enrolled in my first class, I soon realized I wasn’t alone in feeling this way. The first class truly ignited a fire that can’t be contained in regards to motorcycles. I love learning and sharing my experiences with others and now that I am a more experienced rider, I try to encourage anyone male or female who has an interest to take the class.

I consider myself truly fortunate that as I was taking those fledgling steps toward learning to ride so many people were willing to assist and impart knowledge to me. I feel obligated to do the same, as my education hasn’t ended and continues to grow with each experience and new rider I assist.

Even though Shawnda is eager to bring new riders into the mix, she is quite level-headed about the process and has some great advice for riders entering the sport of motorcycling:

Shawnda's Cafe Racer TriumphDon’t be in a rush.  I’m guilty of it myself, being over eager to have a new rider friend join the ranks. But don’t let the pressure of riding longer distances; highways and etc. deter you from riding within your comfort zone. It’s not a race and ideally motorcycles are long-term fixtures in your life, so take your time and ride at the pace and distance you are comfortable with.

When asked about one of her favorite things about motorcycling, she quickly responded:

“The wave”…to me it symbolizes a mixture of camaraderie and personal achievement. This simple gesture embodies an overwhelming sense of belonging, and also signified my ascension as a rider.  I progressed from being scared to remove my hand from the bars to having a sense of control over the bike to be in a position to wave comfortably when the opportunity arises.

This is us giving you “the wave” Shawnda.  We love your desire to “pay it forward” and to be part of the fastest growing segment in motorcycle:  female riders.  Have fun…ride safe!

Riders, we want to honor YOU!  Do you know someone who should be TEAM Arizona’s Rider of the Month?  Entering their name is SIMPLE.

  • Email Bill (bill@motorcycletraining.com )
  • In the subject line, type “Rider of the Month”
  • In one paragraph, tell us why this rider deserves the title TEAM Arizona Rider of the Month!

Let’s have some serious FUN with this gang!  There are some great stories out there and we don’t want to miss them, so tell us about yourselves!

For the Entire TEAM Arizona Newsletter Content, CLICK HERE


Fulmer Helmets and Apparel Offers You MORE!

Fulmer Helmets LogoFulmer Helmets and Rider Apparel is back with TEAM Arizona for a third year in a row!  They will be providing specific TEAM Arizona training sites with 120 new training helmets and will be providing riding gear as giveaways for some of our luckiest participants.

Fulmer will also be providing riding pants for use at our advanced training courses.

TEAM Arizona customers will also receive a 15% off discount for Fulmer Helmets and Riding Apparel at all participating RideNow locations.  One more reason to choose TEAM Arizona as your preferred rider training organization!

Fulmer RideNow Riding Gear Discount


Fulmer is a well respected brand in the motorcycle industry. In 1969, Fulmer Helmets was founded on a simple philosophy: value for riders and service to dealers.

Fulmer continues to deliver new products that push the extremes of function and fun.  Riders can choose from more styles and innovative features than ever before.

Fulmer is dealer-centric.  From the very beginning, they’ve held to the belief that the local dealership is the best place for a rider to get properly fitted. Fulmer’s success depends on riders finding exceptional value at an authorized Fulmer Helmets dealer. For this very reason, they will be providing discount certificates for RideNow dealership locations only.

We are excited to be working with a reputable helmet and riding gear company.  The fact that Fulmer understands the value in working with a rider training organization such as TEAM Arizona shows they get the bigger picture:  rider safety.

For Fulmer’s catalog and information, visit http://www.fulmerhelmets.com/

For the Entire TEAM Arizona Newsletter Content, CLICK HERE

Kelly’s Korner: Bad Battery Blues

Ride your own ride and who knows where you’ll end up. (The author by the Pacific Ocean, July 2012)

There could be worse places to be stranded by a dead battery.
(The author by the Pacific Ocean, July 2012)

Ah, the joys of a dead motorcycle battery. And if you have little luck, like me, this particular situation will occur anywhere but in the comfort of your garage. Now, as the Arizona weather jumps from delightful to ridiculous, it’s time to think about back-up plans in case your bike’s battery goes flat.  Not that YOU’D ever leave your key in the on position because you know the proper shut down procedure (Thumb-Key-Valve)!

I know of what I speak. The first time my Triumph died on me – and, sadly, not the last, since we are talking British engineering here – happened at the intersection of Alma School and the 202; the temperature had just hit 108 degrees. (While I stood in the skinny shade of the corner light pole waiting for my husband and the trailer, a woman in an air-conditioned BMW handed me a cold bottle of water and a cop, less attentive, stopped just to chat about the fun of riding. Uh huh.) The second time happened at Horse Thief Mile at Willow Springs International Raceway. Fortunately, Rev Moto’s Mikey Nagy (get a load of that lean angle starting at 6:40) came to my rescue at the last minute with a fresh battery and saved my track weekend.

In both instances, my Plan B tactics amounted to desperate phone calls. That’s not the best way to approach motorcycling, so here are some potentially more effective suggestions for dealing with a dead battery:

Push Start MotorcycleBump-start. There’s little point in my trying to explain what Cycle World already has done so well; thus, for pointers about bump-starting your bike, check out this link. Keep in mind, though, that the battery on a fuel-injected bike needs to have a little amperage for this method to work. If it doesn’t, move on down this list.

Friends, spouses or acquaintances with trailers. Self-explanatory, I believe. Of course, it’s smart to invest in thank-you beer or dinner or gas money or whatnot. Make yourself known as the appreciative and thoughtful rider because, inevitably, you will need help again.

Insurance. Some policies cover motorcycle towing. Feel free to ask Rusty Creed, the coolest insurance agent ever who also happens to sponsor TEAM Arizona, for advice. (He also saved my husband and me $1,700 a year, I believe it was, so just giving him a call could save you money, regardless.)

Motorcycle Battery TerminalAmerican Motorcyclist Association. All but three of the organization’s memberships feature roadside assistance and cover incidents such as dead batteries. The AMA comes in handy when you’re far from home and/or anyone with a trailer. Plans with roadside assistance start at $49 per year if you sign up for automatic renewal.  Join the AMA here.

Those are just a few ideas. What would you add? And how are you planning to combat the wretched Arizona heat on your bike? I’d love to hear from you; EMAIL ME HERE.

Kelly Teal Signature

For the Entire TEAM Arizona Newsletter Content, CLICK HERE