Kelly’s Korner: SERENDIPITY- On The Road To Happy Discoveries

Kelly's KornerSerendipity. A friend was describing some of his happiest accidents, for lack of a better term, on his various riding adventures, and he asked if I could write about mine. Well, I’ve spent this whole week leading up to deadline thinking about this topic and I’m afraid I’m going to disappoint. I’ve not met someone who wanted to buy my valuable vintage bike or found unexpected roads thanks to a conversation with a stranger (ed: Do I sense jealousy?). Instead, I think my serendipitous moments have, so far, been more general — or maybe “overarching.” You see, that I ever decided to ride was, in itself, serendipity. My serendipity isn’t that riding changed the course of an event; rather, it changed the course of my life.

colorado rideThat’s true on small and large levels. By small, I mean, for example, that Tealdo and I have shared one car for eight years now because we both ride. I like saving on a car payment and maintenance (until I look at the seven bikes in the garage and stop myself from making the obvious calculations). By large, I mean that I have had experiences I never imagined for myself, like riding Colorado and the Grand Canyon; riding solo to and from Boise; doing track events with far more capable and very fun riders; laughing myself silly on a dirt bike; and being part of a group (you know who you are) that accepts me just because I enjoy two wheels and likes me for more than that. Without a doubt, what means the most to me as a result of riding is the friends I have made and the experiences I have amassed. Unlike most motorcycles, the people and the memories are irreplaceable.

Take a weekend this past March as just one example of bike-induced serendipity. A friend set up a track day for 10 of us at the Inde facility outside of Willcox. The track day was scheduled forMonday, so Tealdo and I decided a mini-road trip was in order. That Saturday, Ninja, Suzuki and Honda in tow, we hit Benson. And came away with a very disappointed impression of the monastery (yes, I was expecting robed monks and an open gift shop with whimsical memorabilia. I got a dusty, uninhabited, dull campus, although interior of the chapel was quite beautiful.); a humorous taste of laid-back country life via the Horseshoe Restaurant (a nearby birthday boy ordered a piece of lemon cake, which turned out the size of a brake rotor, I swear); and more fudge than necessary, courtesy of Nettie packing up her stand for the day in the museum. High on sugar, we moved on to the outskirts of St. David, where our B&B room awaited. For two people who are not fans of forced B&B mingling, this was a great call. The other guests were in Bisbee for the night and our hosts graciously left us to our own devices — reading, walking the grounds, playing pool and, best of all, grilling ribeye and veggies by the full moon.

bisbee-az-april-07-2012-img_4052The next morning, we had to endure the Loud Cell Phone Talker During Sunrise And Coffee When All Anyone Wanted to Hear Was The Many Birds Native To The San Pedro River, plus his two compatriots regaling us with stories of divorce and Mississippi (I’m still not clear on whether one begets the other. Separate thought: Why are B&B enthusiasts so weird?). But hey, the house-made breakfast was worth it. And then came our turn for Bisbee. Neither T nor I had ever been. So we parked the car in the $5 lot, told the bikes to stay unstolen, and walked around. Until we got bored not long afterward. Bisbee is very cute but there’s little to do besides eat and shop, at least on a Sunday morning. And, sorry, coffee hippie handing out free espresso in the alley — a 10-second pour does not a god shot make.

One expensive and forgettable lunch later, we beat feet. To Douglas. Because who doesn’t like a historic small city you’re not likely to seek out again? No one. Which is what makes Douglas so sad now. Ain’t nothing happening. We drove through a veritable ghost town, where the only sign of life came from the twittering snowbirds gathered in the Gadsden Hotel bar. The hotel is interesting for about 15 minutes, since it’s been through a fire, boasts some unique architecture, houses the Tiffany stained-glass windows and whose marble stairs bear the marks of Pancho Villa’s boisterous horse ride. Still, those factoids and sights failed to hold our attention for long, and we took off for Willcox to meet our friends, via the back roads.

Tomahawk2After driving past much tall, dried grass and off-the-grid housing, we made it to Willcox and our motel, where our friends soon joined. Everyone was hungry. And may I set your expectations now — the dining options for Sunday evening in Willcox all rank at about one star, if you’re lucky. Zagat’s and Michelin have no place here. Which is why we landed at a grill-your-own-meat tavern complete with drunken locals and a harried bartender who thaws your steak and cooks your potatoes in the microwave. And where one regular has to hand over his tomahawk to said bartender for safekeeping while he’s drinking, and where another likes to dance with out of towners to Kenny Rogers on the jukebox. Oh, the stories. That night will live in infamy. Never go to a predictable place when you can choose the local hangout. And that’s the joy of going on bike-related adventures with friends. You never know what you’re going to get yourself into and thus need help getting out of (like Nancy’s grip). Once we realized the hour and impending early morning, we zipped back to the hotel, ending the evening with the season opener of MotoGP in the hotel dining room and somehow managing not to tick off the raucous family that had already claimed the area. Because Marquez is unbelievable.

Then, early the next day, with some Holiday Inn breakfast for those who could stomach it, we left for the piece de resistance, the whole reason for the whole weekend: Inde.

What. A. Track.

kelly_inde

I got off to a slow start but by early afternoon, I remained in the saddle with little exception.  At the end of the day, I did not want to stop. I was loving every second, thanks in large part to some tips from William Russell, who teaches for Desert Road Racing. He encouraged me to take the track with no brakes or body positioning, just to get the feel of the lines and the track through engine braking and normal posture. It worked. Once I relaxed and let myself do my own thing, no longer worried that my fellow riders would stuff me in a corner, and once the caffeine finally seeped into my blood stream (God bless you and your growler of horchata cold brew, Crate Coffee), I cut loose. Inde features tight corners, changing elevation and a fast straightaway (not that my supermoto’d CRF 230 goes any kind of fast, but it’s such a blast). All of that sensory input, with the Dos Cabezas mountains in the background making for distracting scenery, wore me out in the best way. Riding home that night in the car, lulled by In ‘n Out goodness and the purple sunset skies, I felt more happy-tired than I remembered feeling in a long time.

That, dear readers, is an excellent way to end an excellent weekend that would not have happened without the riding impetus. Serendipity? I think so. And just one of the many stories I’ve collected — and just one of the many more I hope to have — because of motorcycles and friends. What are your stories of riding serendipity? I’d love to hear them.

Kelly Teal Signature

For the Entire TEAM Arizona Newsletter Content, CLICK HERE

TEAM Arizona Riding Tip: Doing the Footpeg – Floorboard Foxtrot

cruiser foot positionFoot position.  Many riders don’t give much thought to *HOW* they place their feet on their foot pegs or floorboards.  Generally, we find a place that works for us and that’s that.  Typically, that means mid-arch on a foot peg or with our heel predominately taking the weight on a floorboard.  In this piece we want to offer up a different perspective to how we use our feet as motorcyclists.  It requires us to establish some assumptions.  They are:

  • Riding well and safely means being active in the saddle
  • Motorcycling is a sport; like athletes we will use athletic stances to be able to maximize our effectiveness on the motorcycle
  • What we do with our feet is determined by what we want to accomplish
  • We are trying to maximize our effectiveness on a motorcycle

Do you accept these assumptions?  Good!  Let’s get down to business!

WHAT IS THE MOST ATHLETIC POSITION?

ball-of-footThink of a basketball, football, tennis, or baseball player.  Really, think of just about any athlete in any sport.  When they are preparing for action, on what part of their feet do they position themselves?  The heel?  Mid-arch?  The balls?  Correct, typically the balls of their feet.

To make sure we’re all on the same page, let’s define what constitutes the ball of the foot.  The ball of the foot is where the toes join with the rest of the foot. It comprises the heads of the metatarsals together as a unit.  In the image to the left, it is denoted by the red shaded areas of the foot.

Why do we want to be on the balls of our feet?

Our feet are the foundation for balance, strength, and agility.  Using the balls of our feet puts us in the greatest position of power.

Why do we need to put us in this position of maximum leverage, especially if we’re just cruising or touring on a motorcycle?

PROPER PREPARATION PREVENTS POOR PERFORMANCE

You’ve probably heard about the 5 P’s before, haven’t you?  Yes, proper preparation prevents poor performance.  By riding with our balls of our feet on our foot peg or floorboard, we are better able to handle these types of situations:

  • Swerving to avoid a hazard- The bike will move easier beneath you
  • Obstacle crossing- Standing up to cross over an obstacle (can be something as simple as a speed bump or as serious as a ladder in the middle of your lane)
  • Low speed maneuvering- Getting into a counterweight position is easier when your feet are positioned properly
  • High speed cornering (above 18mph)- As we discuss at length in our 10 Steps to Proper Cornering from our Total Control Advanced Riding Clinic, Step #1 is making sure we’re on the balls of our feet.  We also tuck the foot up and away to prevent any chance of the foot coming into contact with the road surface

I guess the question becomes, when do we know in advance that hazard avoidance maneuvers are necessary?  You’re right, we don’t.  So why not be ready all the time?  The benefits to riding on the balls of the feet are immense.  Which means that once we’re done shifting or braking, we want to return our balls of the feet to the foot peg or floorboard position.

IT DOESN’T FEEL RIGHT

motorcycle ergonomicsOften times we hear that it doesn’t feel right to ride on the balls of the foot.  Maybe the cockpit feels too cramped, the legs get tired sooner, or it doesn’t feel right on a floor board.  Admittedly, balls of the feet riding with floor boards isn’t always easy.  There are a few instances where other parts of the foot may be used (like high performance braking).  As we always say, motorcycles aren’t a one size fits all proposition.  Making sure your motorcycle fits your properly is crucial.

To the above mentioned concerns we say there may be fitment issues.  Seat alterations, foot peg adjustments, or boot changes may just be the difference that makes riding on the balls of your feet more comfortable.

Ultimately, it is up to us to make the necessary adjustments that accommodate the best riding position for our vehicle.  Are you ready to join us in doing the Foot peg – Floorboard Foxtrot?

For the Entire TEAM Arizona Newsletter Content, CLICK HERE

 

James Fraze: TEAM Arizona Rider of the Month May 2015!

James Fraze Rider of the MonthThe richness of motorcycling doesn’t come without its peaks and valleys.  James Fraze, TEAM Arizona’s May 2015 Rider of the Month, wouldn’t change that fact.  Yes there have been tip overs and crashes as part of the experience.  These moments don’t deter him from motorcycling as he understands perfection doesn’t exist and happiness is found within discovery.  For him, INSTANT ZEN is the reward for his efforts.  The benefits of riding far outweigh the risks he accepts on two wheels.  We love this spirit and are happy to share his perspective.

James visited us in November of 2011 and since then has packed 27,000 miles on various well-considered motorcycles.  He started sensibly with a Kawasaki Ninja 250; a bike that permitted him to acquire skills in a low threat manner.  After accepting 1-on-1 private instruction from TEAM Arizona, he progressed to a Ninja 650.  It was perfectly acceptable as a commuter and James learned even more about motorcycling.  Eventually, James wanted a taste of liter-bike performance so he moved up to Kawasaki’s top performing 1000cc motorcycles.  The key here is that he chose not to rush his motorcycling experience.  James wrote about his active decision to progress through the brand’s lineup rather than going right to the biggest, baddest motorcycle they offered:

Start small if you are new. Gain confidence and skills without relying on a huge motor. Practice realistic skills like parking lot drills, clutch control, slow drags, fast stops, figure 8s, at least 2x a year. Keep mentally alert at all times – pretend like everyone is trying to kill you and make it look like an accident. Wear gear (worked for me all three times)!  Buy insurance.  Join a meetup that does track days and if you ride with others, find people who encourage you to be safe. Read books, watch training, attend classes.

Suzuki GSXR 750What’s next for James?  With the recent purchase of a Suzuki GSXR-750, it seems track time may be in order.  In his never ending pursuit to enjoy the Zen moments of motorcycling, he finds those moments are increasingly accessible as he increases his speed.  That means taking it off the street and onto the track; an idea that he embraces.

I have yet to actually track a bike yet (for my shame). I had plans and tickets but real life stuff happened and now I’m waiting for the next group track day I can afford near me.  I really look forward to it.  When I’m on a bike my mind is in a different world and every other thing that I don’t like about life is forgotten. I’m at peace. The harder I push, the more peace I find.

That sentiment definitely resonates with us.  Have fun at your first track day James!

 

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

 

NEW TEAM ARIZONA TRAINING LOCATION – PEORIA SPORTS COMPLEX

Peoria_Sports_Complex-Coming-Soon

Peoria Sports Complex and TEAM Arizona Partner to Provide Motorcycle Rider Training

TEAM Arizona and Peoria Sports Complex team up to reduce motorcycle crashes

(PEORIA, AZ) – Rider training is taking a major step forward in Northwest Phoenix Metro Area this year as Peoria Sports Complex will partner with TEAM Arizona Motorcyclist Training Centers to provide motorcycle rider training at its facility.  The first training course to start Mid April 2015.

TEAM Arizona RiderCoach Nick F.Initially, the riding portion of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s (MSF) Basic RiderCourse will be provided at Peoria Sports Complex.  The course is a learn-to-ride class.  All participants will be exposed to safe riding strategies and will have an opportunity to refine the gross motor skills necessary for riding a motorcycle.  Successful completion of the written and riding evaluations during the course will provide a participant with a certificate they can use at the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division to obtain their motorcycle endorsement to ride legally on the road.

The classroom portion will be held at one of three locations:  RideNow PowerSports – Peoria, Ridenow Powersports – Goodyear, and Arrowhead Harley Davidson.  Each dealer will be providing classroom space for TEAM Arizona to conduct review of the MSF Rider Handbook and perform the written evaluation necessary to obtain a motorcycle license.   Additionally, the RideNow Peoria and Goodyear stores will be providing brand new training motorcycles for the participants to ride.

ABOUT PEORIA SPORTS COMPLEX

Peoria Sports Complex is a 145 acre, multi-use facility where two Major League Baseball teams, the San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners, perform Spring Training and player development.  The facility is in use year round and hosts a variety of events including concerts, car shows, RV shows, charity fundraisers and more.  For additional information, visit www.peoriasportscomplex.com

ABOUT RIDENOW POWERSPORTS

RideNow Powersports has been touted by industry leaders as the largest and most professionally operated Powersports dealer group in the country.  Currently, RideNow has 30 dealerships in Arizona, California, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Nevada, North Carolina, Texas and Washington employing over 1,200 people.  To locate a dealer near you, visit www.ridenow.com

For the Entire TEAM Arizona Newsletter Content, CLICK HERE

Total Control Advanced Riding Track Clinic – May 2015

Willow Springs Total Control Track Clinic

READY TO IMPLEMENT TOTAL CONTROL TECHNIQUES AT A REAL WORLD PACE? THIS EVENT IS FOR YOU!

Are you ready for the ride of your life? Do you want to take your Total Control training onto an exclusive road course designed to mimic a twisty canyon road? Sign up for the Lee Parks Total Control Track Clinic. It is a guaranteed weekend full of fun. Even though it is a track, just consider it a typical road where you get to ride the corners over and over again with instruction immediately available.

There is no other track experience like it; you will receive:

  • Total Control drills and practice in the pits to immediately prepare you for the next track riding session (one session every hour)
  • Total Control Instructors with radios positioned at various corners around the track to provide riders with real-time feedback upon returning to the hot pits several times within a single session for immediate riding improvement
  • Professional on-track suspension setup to maximize your motorcycle’s handling
  • Instructors available for one-on-one track laps to assist riders with line selection, body position, braking points, throttle application points and more!
  • Specific, measurable gains in your riding ability
  • Do something fun, like lap your instructor!
  • Did we mention…FUN, FUN, and more FUN!!!

TRACK CLINIC INFORMATION

WHAT: Total Control Advanced Riding Track Clinic (**includes lunch trackside**)
WHO: Riders who have completed Total Control Advanced Riding Clinic Level 1 are eligible
WHERE: Willow Springs Horse Thief Mile Track <click here for map>
WHEN: Saturday/Sunday; May 16-17, 2015

NOTE:  The Saturday is a track clinic.  The Sunday is a track practice day.  To attend both days, you’ll have to register for each day individually.

Total Control Track Clinic Registration

For Total Control Track Clinic, Register Here.

Total Control Track Practice Day

FOR SUNDAY’S TRACK PRACTICE, REGISTER HERE.

LODGING INFORMATION

Holiday Inn Express (CLICK HERE FOR MAP)
***Make sure to ask for Willow Springs Discount Rate

For those on a budget, Willow Springs Race Track does permit camping. Contact them for more information (CLICK HERE)

TRAVELING INFORMATION

Typically, a caravan of riders attending the track clinic will leave the TEAM Arizona Gilbert Training facility (CLICK HERE FOR MAP) a day before the track event (Friday, May 15, 2015).

Riders will meet at the Gilbert facility on Friday at 7am and wheels will be up by 8am.

The caravan will depart the Willow Springs Track and head towards Phoenix Monday after the Exclusive Track Practice Session. We expect to arrive in Phoenix early Monday evening.

If you have any questions regarding this information, or would like to make arrangements to be part of the caravan, or would like to trailer your motorcycle on one of our trailers, please contact Bill Seltzer at 602.908.3269 or via email at bill@motorcycletraining.com

For the Entire TEAM Arizona Newsletter Content, CLICK HERE

Kelly’s Korner: Four Tips for Identifying a Motorcycle Riding Mentor

Kelly's KornerThere’s an axiom that applies to many areas of life: If someone has what you want, do what they do. Same goes for riding. Especially when we’re new to the motorcycling lifestyle, it’s hard to know how to start building the experience that will turn us into the riders (and, arguably, the people) we want to be. Here are four tips for connecting with a mentor:

  1. Go somewhere where people passionate about riding tend to gather. One of the best examples I can think of is TEAM Arizona’s Bike Night, held every second Wednesday of the month at Sidewinder’s in Gilbert. It’s been a long time since I’ve had the chance to attend but each time I go, it’s been a blast. I guarantee you’ll meet someone from whom you can learn, sometimes for years, often just for an evening’s worth of tips to store in your riding toolbox.
  2. Yoda Mentor QuoteIdentify the depth and breadth of riding experience you want in a mentor. This may mean cajoling more than one person to mentor you. (Of course, I don’t know many riders who have to be overly pressured when it comes to helping another motorcyclist.) What I mean is, if you want to learn the techniques unique to one of the many forms of riding – street, dirt, track/racing, commuting, touring – you may need to enlist the help of at least a couple of people. While there are riders well versed in two or three forms, few are masters at all of them. Find out how this person/these people reached the level they have and then, you guessed it, do what they do. Go for long rides. Practice high-speed swerves as if a driver is crossing into your path of travel. Take courses that advance skills such as cornering and throttle control.
  3. Seek riders who walk the walk. In other words, does he or she always wear gear, even in the scorching Arizona summers? If so, find out how this person stays safe while also trying to stay cool. (CamelBaks and fillable vests, anyone?) Next, does this person continue his or her riding education, no matter the number of years on two wheels? People who value ongoing training are people who remain open to growth and new ideas, not just on the road but in life. The master never considers himself a master. Finally, does this person set a good example by waiting to drink until side stands are down? I don’t care who you are or how long you’ve been riding, alcohol and motorcycles do not mix well. The latest CDC stats show that 29 percent of motorcyclists in fatal crashes in 2012 had blood alcohol levels of .08 percent or greater – that’s generally around four drinks in one hour. The agency also says that almost half of drunk or buzzed riders killed each year are 40 or older – a big motorcycle demographic here in Arizona. Find someone who models responsible and sane behavior when it comes to drinking and riding.
  4. Leadership with educationBuild a community of riders around you who are willing to consider your personal welfare as they take you under their wing. It’s important to ride with someone who understands your riding capabilities now, not what they will be next year. In other words, a good mentor is not going to put you in a high-risk situation you can’t handle. Someone pushing you to take the 89A’s tight, blind corners at 60 mph is not someone considering your capacity (or appetite for high-dollar tickets). A true mentor will prod you just enough to help you improve your riding, not endanger your life. A true mentor will set aside ego and allow you to ride your own ride while giving you feedback on what you can do to keep getting better. And, a true mentor will help you stay safe while not taking yourself too seriously. After all, what fun is riding if we’re over thinking it?

Now get going! Implement the tips and tricks your mentor teaches you. There’s no experience like experience. Before you know it, another rider will be asking you to serve as a mentor. Pay it forward, folks.

Kelly Teal Signature

 

 

 

For the Entire TEAM Arizona Newsletter Content, CLICK HERE

TEAM Arizona Riding Tip: I AM THE NIGHT RIDER; THE ROCKER, THE ROLLER!

Arizona Motorcycle Crashes Time of DayWe start this article off with a little bit of fun by having a parsed quote from the cult motorcycle movie Mad Max.  Even though we’re having fun with the topic of riding at night, research shows that riding at night presents a slightly increased risk for motorcyclists, especially around the dusk time of day during the week (rush hour) and around from 9pm to 2am at all times (bar traffic?).

This month we want to explore ways to reduce our risk as the summer heat creeps in and night riding becomes more appealing due to the beautiful nights we experience in Arizona for most of the state.  In specific, we want to explore what you can do to reduce your risk before you even mount the motorcycle to take the ride.

IS YOUR BIKE READY?

Motorcycle Lighting Giveaway

You have a chance to win a LED Motorcycle Lighting Package thanks to Law Tigers. Prize Drawing ends April 30, 2015, so HURRY!

Our ol friend T-CLOCS stands at attention waiting to be used like a trusty friend.  Yep, we’ll want to make sure we give our motorcycle some attention before we head out under the star-freckled sky.  In particular, we want to give some attention to the “L” in T-CLOCS (Lights and Electrics).  Here are some things to investigate:

  • Does our headlight work properly?  Is it aimed correctly to spread the beam of light effectively when we’re seated on the motorcycle?  How strong is the beam of light and is it unobstructed?  Is the surface area of the headlight area clean and haze-free?  Corrective action may be necessary.  Some upgrades, like replacing the head lamp bulb for a LED unit or a more intense headlamp, might do the trick for increasing your safety.
  • Does our brake light work properly?  Is it highly visible to motorists behind us?  Does the light actuate when either brake control is used?  Do the turn signals work properly?  Would an accessory brake light increase the chance of you being seen from motorists behind you?
  • Is your battery maintained accordingly and operating at proper levels?  Is it older than two years?  If so, consider replacement.
  • Have you considered auxiliary lighting to throw additional light down the roadway?  The aftermarket is replete with upgrades or even replacement lighting systems.

Beyond lighting, conspicuity (retro-reflective) tape for your motorcycle or reflectors can increase your chance of being seen.

IS YOUR GEAR READY?

All Black Leather Riding At NightWe’ll want to make sure we’re seen as best as possible.  Do you have bright, reflective clothing?  Vibrant colored gear can get other motorist’s attention.  Black looks cool, but can and should be enhanced with some reflective material. Many black items made for motorcycle use now come with reflective panels and material already built into them. Look for these features when buying any new riding gear.  What a great way to keep the cool factor AND increase your safety!

Do you have the correct visor?  Being able to see without the handicap of a tinted visor is critical.  Make sure your helmet and eye protection is bug free, clean, and ready for use at night.

ARE YOU READY?

Preparing for a night ride includes asking yourself some serious questions.  Self analysis is important if we’re going to reduce our risk.  Preparing for the motorist who represents the lowest common denominator (e.g. tired driver, impaired driver, distracted driver) when driving means we’ll need to consider our current physical and mental state.

  • When was the last time you visited the eye doctor?  How old are your glasses?  Have you noticed any degradation in your night vision?
  • Do you understand and accept the added risk with riding at night due to impaired riders, increased animal activity at dusk, and more?
  • Are you well rested and ready to perform hazard avoidance techniques?

CLEAR FOR TAKE OFF NIGHT RIDER

Night Desert RoadNight riding can be an enjoyable and safe experience.  A common mistake riders can make at night is overriding their headlight.  This is a situation where the road speed is greater than the visibility provided by headlight.  For example, if traveling at 60mph, we’ll need see almost 400 feet ahead to provide us enough stopping distance to perceive, react, and avoid a hazard by braking.   If a rider can’t see that far ahead, the simple solution would be to slow down.

Once a motorcyclist has considered the items above, and is willing to accept the additional risk, it is easily possible to have an experience equivalent to riding in the daytime.  Enjoy the ride folks!

Join the discussion on our Facebook page; happy riding!

For the Entire TEAM Arizona Newsletter Content, CLICK HERE

Bob Moellman: TEAM Arizona Rider of the Month April 2015!

Bob Moellman Law Tigers

The big, wide grin.  The firm handshake.  The welcoming pat on the shoulder.  If you’ve met Bob Moellman at an Arizona motorcycling event, then you know our writing is on point.  Bob is an icon in the Arizona motorcycling scene.  He’s out there spreading the word about how motorcyclists can better protect themselves in case of an incident on behalf of Law Tigers.  He’s attended courses and supported TEAM Arizona for nearly two decades.  For these reasons and many more, we are excited to have Bob as TEAM Arizona’s Rider of the Month for April 2015.

If someone were to suggest they’ve been riding since 1959, when he first mounted a Cushman Eagle, suspicion might creep into the conversation.  Not when Bob says it.  The cut of his US Marine Corps jib prevents anyone from questioning his credentials.  Yep, 56 years in the saddle, with limited interruptions, means Bob has seen most, if not everything, motorcycling has to offer.  Yet, his outlook is refreshing and optimistic.  He’s just as interested in cruiser stuff as he is the sport bikers hurling themselves around the Isle of Man.  Truly, he is a man for all motorcycling.

In his own words:

I love motorcycling because of the sense of freedom.  I also enjoy the constant awareness and focus required when riding.  I don’t take for granted one moment that we’re not bulletproof and yet every other vehicle on the road seems to be shooting at us.  Time erodes our skills and delays our reactions so I recommend taking rider training courses frequently.

Bob Moellman Law TigersKeen insight from a guy with plenty of miles behind the handlebars and all the opportunity to let the fundamentals of motorcycling lapse.  At the end of 2013, along with fellow Law Tiger employees who ride, he participated in TEAM Arizona’s Confident RiderCourse to keep his skills sharp.  Not the first time he’s taken that course either.  He wants to make sure he’s dialed in before he rides the twisties.

Bob’s biggest challenge is being able to find time to head north out of Phoenix to escape the urban clutter because his work schedule is so hectic.  He will attend more than 100 motorcycling events throughout the year and some of those will be out of Arizona at places like Sturgis.  Bob gets our respect for the obscene amount of time he dedicates to supporting motorcyclists.

So, we have a big ask for you TEAM Arizona newsletter readers.  The next time you see Bob at an event, put on a huge smile, shake his hand, ask for a Law Tigers document protector, and join us in thanking him for being an integral part of the Arizona motorcycling scene!

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

 

C.J. Lileikis: From Total Control to Track Champ

CJ LileikisMeet Mr. Mild Mannered.  By night he uses his photography background in his professional life, and by weekend he’s winning racing championships.  Not bad for a motorcyclist born as a cruiser rider!  C.J.’s story is unique, and yet we think you’ll find some relevance in his experience even if you’ve never won a motorcycle racing championship.  He is one of us and the story below is our story.  

Birth of a Rebel

I should start by saying that as a youth, motorcycles were firmly forbidden by my parents.  Not negotiable.  But strict orders like that, to the budding young rebel I was becoming, just became a challenge.  To be fair, my mother was an RN for many years.  She had seen the results of vehicular misfortunes, and wanted to keep that out of the family.  So I had to go undercover with my pursuit.

It was 1976 and I was 15 when I first got on a motorcycle.  It was among a group of other under-aged suburban kids whose parents actually promoted motorcycling – what, are you kidding me?  I could hardly believe it!  It looked like so much fun! I asked if I could try and ride one of theirs, and one guy said “sure, just do this to go, and do this to stop”.  Hmmm… not exactly your Basic RiderCourse, but man, the opportunity was ripe. 

I straddled the bike, a mid-70’s Yamaha 125 Enduro, and I was ready to go.  All of the controls were new to me and my right hand gripped the throttle as if I were going to rev it to the moon.  I’m sure it was amusing to that group of kids to see me wheelie and stop, wheelie and stop, over and over down the street, trying to figure out how to control the damn thing.  It was through sheer will and dumb luck that I didn’t end up in a heap on the ground, or worse. 

After that circus show was over, one of them offered to show me how to ride.  His name was Rick, and he is still to this day a great friend and accomplished dirt bike rider.  He was patient and gave me what I would call backyard basic training.  Not knowing any other kind, I was game and learned to function on a bike with those second hand skills.  I loved the feeling of freedom it gave me, and I was hooked.

Rekindling the Fire

Along the way C.J. had dalliances with motorcycles here and there and even attended the Motorcycle Safety Foundation Basic RiderCourse.  It wasn’t until a sign (actually a bumper sticker) opened the flood gates.

Honda VTX 1800It was in Portland, OR, in 2010 when my inner rider demanded another bike.  You know the bumper sticker, “Some people go to therapy, I ride a motorcycle”?  Yeah, that.  I started looking for bikes and right away found the prettiest, beefiest cruiser I had ever seen – a 2006 Honda VTX 1800N, with the drag-style tire-hugging fenders.  It was clean and mean and knew how to get up and go.  A couple of test rides and few signatures later, I had a new ride!   The therapist is “in”! 

The VTX was by far the biggest bike I’d had, and because of that, I felt the need for more proficient riding skills. So I looked up some local riding classes and took them. They were good, solid – basic “plus” I would call them, and progressed through them for a couple years. During this time, I would ride often through the canyon twisties and sweepers that led to higher elevations, surrounding the Valley of the Sun. I was glad for my move here, it was fantastic riding! Constantly pushing myself to get better, tighter, and faster through the corners. However, after a couple of near-misses and some dragging parts of the bike that weren’t meant for that sort of thing, I knew I had plateaued with my skills and reached the limits of my bike. I wanted more. More knowledge, more skills, more “oneness” with my machine. I look at it like each bike is a teacher of sorts – and this big cruiser had taught me all it could about itself and what I could do with it. I was in search of a more technical bike and teacher.

Advancing His Skills

C.J. acknowledges his inner desire for a more sporting motorcycling experience.  His path to knee dragging stardom begins here:

cj_concoursIn 2013, I broke my streak of cruiser styles and picked up a 2010 Kawasaki Concours in great shape.  Right away I wanted more advanced training to bring me up to speed with my new steed. This bike was built to do way more than I knew how to do with it, and I wasn’t going to pretend otherwise. So, I talked with the dealer at Kelly’s Kawasaki and they suggested TEAM Arizona as some of the best local motorcycle training available. I also looked through the library and bookstores and picked up a few books on skills improvement. One of the books stood out and really resonated with me – the title was “Total Control” by Lee Parks. I had no idea then, that these connections I had been making would lead me to train with Lee personally in a few short months.

Right away I contacted TEAM Arizona, and because of the previous training I had, they recommended the Total Control Advanced Riding Clinic Level 1. That clinic was a game-changer for me. Bill and Kevin were two of my coaches, and they were amazing! They were able to explain exactly what goes on during the act of riding proficiently, and then showed us students how to do it. The drills were specific and repetitive to drive the concepts into muscle memory, creating new habits.  I wanted more and went on to do their Skills Practice Series on the third Tuesday of every month. Counter steering, counter weighting, cornering, head turn, hazard avoidance, emergency braking, slow-speed maneuvering, friction zone, and many other techniques helped bring me closer to that “oneness” with the bike I was yearning for.  I also learned the important lesson that motorcycling skills are perishable – if you don’t use ‘em, you lose ‘em.  To this day, I practice a medley of these drills at some point during every ride I take.

 Total Control Advanced Riding Clinic Track Day

The Total Control Track Day is not just for racers.  Essentially, it is for anyone who wants to ride a mountain road better, with more skill, and more safety.  Tracks offer the unique environment where all traffic is going in the same direction, the roadway is groomed and surface hazards are eliminated, and feedback from professional instructors is immediate.

CJ_Lee

Lee Parks (left) with C.J. Lileikis at Horsethief Mile

Later that year, still pumped from the Total Control Advanced Riding Clinic (TCARC), I think it was Coach Bill who suggested that I sign up for the Lee Parks Total Control Track Clinic at Horsethief Mile in California.  TEAM Arizona bases their curriculum on lessons from Lee Parks, and this clinic was yet another catapult of consciousness for me.  Along with Lee, many of the TEAM Arizona coaches were there helping to make it all happen; Tealdo, Bill, Ron, and several other coaches from different parts of the country.  It’s kind of a big deal!  We explored all the skills from TCARC in a track environment, which takes everything to another level.  You are not limited by the distractions, obstacles, and many of the hazards of street riding, which allowed me to really stretch what I had learned to new limits.  By the end of the first day, I was even getting a knee down on that 670 lb. Kawasaki Concours!  Wow – thoughts of doing that, or even being on a track were not on my radar just a few months prior! 

This whole time, it feels like I am on a personal treasure hunt, and each new experience with my bike brings me closer and closer to the buried treasure within.  

After that first track clinic with Lee, I knew I needed a track dedicated bike for my next goal – track days.  Just as life presents opportunities when we seem to be ready for them, a little bit of research turned up a used bike within my limited budget, allowing me to keep the Concours 14 for daily riding.  It was a craigslist special – a 2003 Kawasaki zx-6RR – somewhat neglected, but just what I was seeking.

Now that I had the bike, I signed up for another track clinic with Lee and the gang, to get the proper training on the same bike that I’d be taking to the track on a regular basis.  Again, the coaching was outstanding – I was able to progress readily with some of the more track specific drills; picking a line through the corner, advanced body positioning, where to look, where to be on each section of track.  All of it invaluable training, not to mention the solid camaraderie – I’m really looking forward to the next one.

Desert Road Racing

TEAM Arizona used to run its own track day organization.  Due to a change of focus within the business, the school no longer runs a track day, but has aligned itself with the preeminent track day/ motorcycle racing organization in Arizona.  Desert Road Racing is an organization run by TEAM Arizona friend Jayson Citron.  C.J. and Desert Road Racing happen to make a match!

CJ_track

C.J. leads the way on his new track bike

While I was logistically and emotionally working out the details for a track day experience, something pleasantly unexpected happened.  A new track day organization emerged – Desert Road Racing.  Apparently they had worked out a deal with Firebird Raceway (now called Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park), and were starting up with their 2014 series.

Here I was, on the verge of another paradigm shift with my riding goals.  Desert Road Racing did track days and racing!  I had no previous intentions to actually race, but this was another opportunity to take my current skills to the next level – and ideally learn some new ones.  The excitement within me was pumping!  I signed up, went to their race school, got my racing license, and began my amateur race career.  (No, I didn’t quit my day job – ha!) 

As an amateur, I entered every race in the Middleweight and Open categories in 2014, and while I wasn’t coming in 1st yet, I wasn’t coming in last either.  It was incredible learning and ultimate fun!  As it turns out, consistency pays off as I took the Championship for Amateur Middleweight 2014!  I think I was as surprised as anyone, and because of that win, I was bumped up to Expert Class for 2015.

My goals for 2015 have been to get on the podium in the Expert Class, which I did in January, with a 3rd place in each of the Middleweight and Vintage categories.  On a commitment level, I’m enrolled in Keith Code’s race school to sharpen my skill set, leading into my third big goal of getting into the top 3 for the 2015 Championship Expert Middleweight Class.  Long term – thoughts of becoming a rider coach as a way to pass along the importance of pursuing total control on a bike, is a strong possibility… stay tuned!

C.J. Lileikis Racing Champ

 For the Entire TEAM Arizona Newsletter Content, CLICK HERE

 

AMSAF EVENT: Riding For The Long Haul

AMSAF Riding For The Long HaulTEAM Arizona will have a booth at this year’s “Riding For The Long Haul” event produced by the Arizona Motorcycle Safety and Awareness Foundation.  Proceeds from Riding for the Long Haul will help underwrite the cost of motorcycle training scholarships for anyone needing training and certification. Riding for the Long Haul is an interactive educational event designed to help our community reduce motorcycle accidents and fatalities.  Please join us and help us meet our goals for the betterment of the motorcycle riding community!

Here are the event details:

  • When:  Saturday, March 7, 2015; 10am to 5pm
  • Where:  Community Church of Joy,  21000 N 75th Ave, Glendale, AZ 85308
  • Who:  Everyone is invited!
  • What:  Motorcycle Rider Training Scholarships will be given away, raffle prizes, special guest speakers, live music will be performed, precision riding demonstrations, food trucks, and much more!

 For the Entire TEAM Arizona Newsletter Content, CLICK HERE