Another student, 52-year-old Curt Johnson, has a dream to ride the Trans-America Trail. Not long after buying his BMW R1200GS, he signed up for the school, and tells me; “It was fantastic. We were methodically introduced to basic off-road skills and then more advanced techniques that continued to build on each other, and after two days we were able to participate in very advanced riding drills.”
During the emergency stopping drill, it was eye-opening to see how poorly a motorcycle stops in the dirt with the ABS engaged. Conversely, we were also shown how quickly the bike can stop with the rear wheel locked and the front on the edge of traction. To prepare, we first learned to lock up the rear brake, leaving it locked as we came to a halt. More nerve-wracking, however, was learning to lock the front wheel and letting it plow momentarily through the dirt before releasing the brake lever. It’s a completely alien feeling to have the front end pushing, so I found it interesting, when performing emergency stops later, how much more confidence I had in the front brake.
We ended the school tired but happy. My riding skill set had just taken a huge step forward, and my classmates were all on the same page. Where we are going or what we are riding is irrelevant; we are better, safer motorcycle riders, on-or off-road, for attending the BMW riding school.
The off-road training program is offered in a one-day version for $595 or as a two-day class for $1095; the price includes the use of the motorcycle.