How to Create a Structured Plan to Develop Your Motorcycle Riding Skills
Structured Planned Approach to Riding a Motorcycle
Congratulations, if you are reading this you’ve decided to do work on a structured planned approach to riding a motorcycle! This is a great place to start for any rider on their motorcycling journey.
However, mastering the art of riding requires continuous learning in the form of Training, Education, Practice and Experience. There are a number of ways you can learn, watch training videos, undergo practical training, read articles and books. But the very best way to learn is to understand and then practise the changes that are necessary to improve.
Developing a structured planned approach to riding can help you build on the skills learned during your initial training. However, using the mnemonic IPSGA will help you become a more proficient and confident rider.
Appreciate the Journey of Learning
Understand that each ride presents a unique learning opportunity. Riding a motorcycle is a rewarding journey, not just a destination. Passing the motorcycle test is like reaching base camp when climbing Everest, this is just the start for riders who want to improve.
Riders who are on the path to developing a better way of riding should embrace new techniques and experiences. They must also maintain an open mind and a willingness to learn and change. A structured planned approach to riding a motorcycle is the only way you can develop your skills.
Don’t Rush the Process
Don’t rush the process, it takes time to understand and apply new techniques. Learning and implementing are key factors to making changes for the biggest outcomes.
Even the most skilled riders continuously work on refining their technique. Take police riders as an example, their training is continuous, they don’t just partake in one course and never do anything else. They undergo intensive training to hone the new skills and then they develop over a long period of time.
They undertake Continuous Professional Development as part of their improvement plan, this keeps their skills sharp and current. The only way they develop properly is to have a structured planned approach to riding a motorcycle at the highest level.
Identify Key Areas for Development
The first step in creating your riding improvement plan is to identify key areas you want to work on. Without a plan of what you want to learn, training or education can be aimless and not very conducive.
These could include the most common areas that riders want to improve, such as cornering and overtaking. These skills take time to learn and master, they won’t improve in an hour or two of training, the principles can be taught but the process of changing how you ride takes a long time and many miles during practice sessions.
Other areas of development could include braking techniques or becoming more comfortable with countersteering. Identifying these areas gives your plan focus and direction.
Creating a structured plan isn’t just about knowing what you want to improve. It’s about learning and applying new skills to transform into an advanced rider.
The mnemonic that is sometimes used is SMART, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time. Using this as a structured planned approach to riding a motorcycle and making changes will help.
You must clearly define and identify exactly what you want to work on and improve. Without being specific or accurate in exactly what you want to achieve leaves you wanting to work on everything.
Take a look at your current riding and think about what needs changing. If you don’t know, take some further training with a professional Motorcycle Instructor and work out what the important changes are that you need to address.
Measurable goals and outcomes
A goal should be measurable, which means you should be able to track your progress. Sometimes it is difficult to remember how you rode before compared to how the changes you make improve your riding skills.
You could keep a diary to help you quantify the progress you are making. Ride the same route each time you practise and write down how you feel each time you ride it while you are practising the new skills.
By having a structured planned approach to riding a motorcycle, this helps you stay focused and on track with reaching objectives.
Is it Achievable?
Your goals must be realistic for your ability and they must be achievable. The example here is running a marathon, if you have never run before and want to run a full marathon within the next two weeks, you are setting yourself up to fail.
You must have a target that can be achieved and know that setting your sights too high might be demoralising if you cannot elevate to that level. You’re more likely to complete the goals you set in smaller bite sized chunks, using the stepping stone method of learning.
Inch by inch is sinch, yard by yard is hard! With each step forward, you’ll get a sense of achievement that will motivate you to do even more.
Is it Relevant?
The training and practise that you undergo must be relevant to your riding ability. There is no point trying to ride at the speed limit on bends if you are not capable of doing it. Or going straight into overtaking on country roads before you have understood and can apply The System of Motorcycle Control into your riding.
Learning skills that will help develop your riding is key, to do this you must stay focused on the task. Don’t get distracted by how others ride and what they are doing, this is your journey to improve your skills.
Give it Time
Have a time frame, there is nothing better than being accountable to yourself to do a task and to work on it. But take your time to learn and make the necessary changes to the skills that need to be altered.
Your goal could be “I want to confidently navigate bends and link them together in the next three months” However, if it is the middle of winter and you don’t ride in the bad weather, this is not realistic!
Incorporate Regular Practice into Your Routine
The key to mastering any skill is consistent practice. Incorporate regular riding into your routine on your identified areas for improvement. A set route between 20-30 miles will ensure you can see development in your skills. You’ll start to see more and be much better in your planning and awareness.
Remember, practice doesn’t necessarily mean going on long rides. The set route will help you to hone your skills, practise on a set route and make notes on development and areas that still require attention. You can go back over your notes to help keep track of improved areas.
Make every ride from now on a practice ride. Short rides also give ample opportunity to refine your skills and make small changes that give maximum results. It is a proven system to enhance your ability and once you get into a structured planned approach to riding a motorcycle, you will improve quickly.
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Seek Feedback from Trusted Sources
Feedback is essential for improvement. Consider finding a mentor that you trust, a professional motorcycle trainer who is advanced qualified should be your starting point, especially if you are undertaking the Enhanced Rider Scheme.
Do your homework though, not everyone is good enough to develop your skills to a high standard. Research who is best in your area or travel for guidance. There is little point going to the closest if they are not qualified and do not have a lot of experience.
Fellow riders can offer insights into your riding technique but they do not have the necessary skills and ability to tell you what to do to change. Constructive criticism is good for your development as long as it is qualified tuition, there are many amateurs who boast about being instructors but they lack the fine tuning skills that will make you into a great rider.
Additionally, consider advanced rider training courses that offer personalised feedback. This will be the best starting point to really make changes to the structured planned approach to riding that is required to change how you view the road and make decisions.
Use Online and Offline Resources
There are a wealth of resources available to assist in your learning journey. But be very careful where you search for advice and information. YouTube is a prime source for information but in many cases it is unqualified and usually put up to help other people without giving all the information that is necessary for your development.
The common mistake riders make is to blindly follow information that is not correct and because it is an opinion rather than training, riders sometimes get into trouble following poor advice.
Books written by professionals give good advice and knowledge, bespoke instructor-led training videos and tutorials, motorcycle forums can also be a help but beware of the keyboard warriors. Blog and articles can also provide tips, advice, and techniques to help refine your riding skills.
Supplementing your practical riding experience with theoretical knowledge can expedite your learning process. Especially if it is from a professional source, knowing what to do before you attempt something is half the battle, it makes it easier to understand and apply during practical training.
Revisit Your Motorcycle Theory
While you may have passed your initial theory test, revisiting this material can reinforce essential principles, rules, and best practices. An advanced rider must know the rules of the road, all the road signs and have a better understanding about more vulnerable road users.
The Highway Code is updated regularly, as a result you should update yourself with any changes that have been made with the current publication.This continuous learning helps keep crucial information fresh in your mind, ultimately contributing to yours and others safety on the road.
Regardless of what specific skills you’re working on, safety should always be your number one priority. Never ride faster than your ability can cope with and as a general rule you should stay within 80% of your natural ability. Riding any faster than this will mean you do not have much in reserve to make changes to your riding plan if required.
Regularly check your bike’s condition, make sure that you are aware of what and how to check the bike thoroughly. It doesn’t matter if you cannot fix it personally as long as you can identify problems and then get them repaired.
Always wear appropriate safety gear, this includes thinking about the weather conditions. Sometimes riders sacrifice safety for comfort by wearing lighter motorcycle clothing in hot weather. Never compromise safety by not wearing motorcycle clothing.
A structured planned approach to riding a motorcycle should not only enhance your riding skills but also your safety awareness too.
Adopt a Reflective Approach
Adopting a reflective approach to your learning process allows you to learn from your mistakes and successes. This is why keeping a log of your riding is so important, it allows you to read previous comments, and self analysis is a great way to think about the changes you need to make.
After each ride, spend a few moments reflecting. This can be done when you go over the route you have ridden and think about anything that stands out, good or bad. Then make notes to help you cement good practices that will help develop your future riding.
Always take a long look at what you did well and what you could have done better. This is self awareness of what needs to be improved and what is getting better. The set route we discussed earlier is so important to compare different riding days.
This conscious reflection helps you identify patterns, understand your progress, and plan future learning strategies. Having a quality Instructor will help develop your skills quickly and effectively.
Regularly Review and Adjust Your Plan
Your structured plan is not set in stone. As you develop you will need to revisit your plan to improve because as you get better you will need to add new criteria into the elevated plan as you develop.
This is why having a regular coaching session with a qualified trainer is so important. You have to stay focused and be aware of the subtle changes that occur in your own improvement. This can sometimes be difficult because you don’t see yourself getting better but an onlooker will.
As you improve, your goals and focus areas will evolve and change. Regularly reviewing and adjusting your plan ensures it continues to align with your current skill level and learning objectives.
A golfer takes regular training sessions with their coach to stay on top of their game. Unfortunately riders do not see the necessity or benefit of doing the same.
A Good Structure is Necessary
Creating a structured planned approach to improve your riding skills is a must. After your initial training sessions to develop a bespoke plan just for you can accelerate your progress exponentially.
It will give your riding purpose and make your learning process more focused and enjoyable. Not only will you be a better rider but you will start to enjoy your riding so much more when you can go out and practise whenever you want to.
This also means no more aimless riding around just for the sake of it. Changing your structured planned approach to riding a motorcycle is only the start of a great riding in the future. By setting clear goals, practising regularly, seeking feedback, and adopting a reflective approach, will pay dividends in the long run.