Helping a Novice Rider
Have a question about riding techniques? Ask a coach!
We’re launching Riding Academy, a series of short articles where all your riding questions will be answered by professional instructors.
This week, your coach will be Dusty Wessels, adventure motorcycle off-road instructor and guide of West 38 Moto.
In a group of mixed ability riders, what is the best way to encourage and assist the more novice rider?
First of all, it’s important to make sure the less experienced rider doesn’t feel pressured to keep up, and that they aren’t overwhelmed. It’s good to challenge yourself, but ride your own ride.
If you see someone falling back, get behind them so you can see if you can assist them with being more comfortable. First off, look at their body position. If you are riding off road they should be standing, knees bent a bit, back as straight as possible, hips forward, arms loose and eyes up. If they are not, this is tip #1.
If you are on the pavement, also look at their body position but more importantly, their lane position when cornering and where they are looking when cornering. In both instances you should be able to notice if they are too tense, if so that is tip #2: Relax.
The next thing is how their bike is set up. If they are mostly a pavement rider and they transition off road, you might notice they are not in a good position when standing and a lot of this may have to do with bike ergonomics. If you can adjust their handlebars to make it a bit more comfortable for them while standing (making it so they are not so hunched over to operate the controls) do so. If not explain to them the benefit of bar risers. Also, now that they are standing and will be a lot more, the foot pegs may need to be switched out to something more comfortable. This will prevent the smaller stock foot pegs from digging into the bottom of their feet as much which is both painful and tiring. Wider pegs also improve control and make it easier to operate foot controls.