"A Beginner's Perspective of the Doc Wong Riding Clinics"
I'm new to this motorbike thing. I've been riding only 4 months since June, yes...1999.
My first group ride experience was with a large group of experience riders headed to Hollister on July 4th weekend. Sounded like a good idea until I found myself sweating and swearing in my helmet as I tried to keep up. I was in over my head, but fortunately I held my own. No disasters!
In August, a rider friend suggested I attend a free DocWong clinic. I wasn't sure what to expect. I now had about 1,500 miles under my belt, had successfully negotiated the local mountain roads (albeit slowly) and was hooked on this motorcycle thing....the more I rode, the more I wanted to ride better......this free clinic idea was a good one!
I attended my first clinic in August...with much trepidation I might add. I was sure I would be the newest, slowest rider at the clinic. The topic that day was: "Smooth Riding - Body English and Weight Transfer" and I was excited to learn all I could.
I parked my bike, swallowed all the courage I could muster and joined the group in Doc's clinic room.
The whole idea of this clinic was to focus on one technique and practice it during the day's ride. Doc talked about his motorcycle riding experience....and several other "experienced" riders added their own experiences....During the hour long lecture I was relieved to find out that these other riders also swore and sweated in their own helmets at one time or another! I was starting to relax.
When it came time to set out for the day's ride, the entire group was asked to split themselves into groups of riding ability, each group leader identifying him/herself. I joined the newest group of riders. Our group leader met with us before taking off for the day and we talked about the route and addressed questions.
We were off! The leader stopped at each intersection to keep the group together. Before the ascent down Tunitas Creek Road, the first challenging road...twisty, dark, potholes, FUN, the group gathered and the leader reminded us of the safe way to ride this road.
After a ride up Highway 1, my personal favorite, we stopped for lunch. The entire group gathers here, eats, talks and relaxes. A good time to reflect on how you were able to practice the technique discussed in the morning lecture.
With a full belly we were off again....riding through more amazingly beautiful backroads until the end of the ride. Here we gathered and wrapped up the day's ride with questions and comments about how the ride went and how the new technique has helped.
I was glad to ride in an atmosphere where riding at your own pace is highly encouraged.
The nice thing was, that this was a place where everyone, experienced to beginner, had one thing in common....the love of riding a bike and the desire to practice riding safely.