Learning to ride a motorcycle doesn't have to stop with obtaining your full bike licence. In fact, passing your test is usually just the start of your motorcycle journey!
It's been 5 years since I passed mine and I still feel like a beginner when it comes to riding bikes, especially compared to some of my friends who have been riding half their lives. But even these old dogs can still learn some new tricks and there is no such thing as having too much knowledge when it comes to riding and staying safe on a motorcycle.
That's where training comes in. There is a whole range of courses a motorcyclist can enlist on to increase their skills or even just to have some fun and try something new.
In this blog, we are going to look at some of the most common and beneficial training courses a rider can embark on after obtaining their full licence.
Advanced Motorcycle Safety
Okay, let's start with perhaps the most practical and important course on the list, Advanced Motorcycle Training. So what is it and why would you want to sign up?
The word 'advanced' can sometimes be a bit intimidating, perhaps it seems like the training is only for the best and most skilled riders out there, and is all about going as fast as possible. This is actually not the case - Advanced Rider Training is about safety, learning new skills, and boosting your confidence. Not to mention, that if you do obtain one of the recognised Advanced Rider certificates you might even save money on your insurance!
These courses are suitable for anyone that has a bike licence. If you have newly passed your test and want to increase your knowledge, or perhaps you've had your bike in the garage during the pandemic and want to brush up on your riding skills. Maybe you are upgrading to a more powerful machine and want to learn to ride it as safely as possible. Even if you're a seasoned veteran, having a professional instructor cast their eye over your riding could point out bad habits you may not even know you have. Riding and traffic conditions are constantly changing so staying up to date with all the latest ideas can't be a bad thing.
When it comes to Advanced Motorcycle Training, there are 3 main schemes that offer the training as well as recognised qualifications. These are the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), The Institute for Advanced Motoring (IAM), and the UK Government's Enhanced Rider Scheme (ERS) supported by the DVSA.
Which one you choose will depend on your own preference and what is available in your area, so I would recommend checking them all out to see which one you like the sound of most.
The focus and basic principles will be the same - an expert instructor will take a look at your riding and give advice about things you could work on to become a better and safer rider. You can then embark on your 1 to 1 training course and receive a certificate when you have attained the required standard.
Riding a motorcycle may be the most fun way to get around but statistically speaking we are more at risk than other road users. Keeping your skills up to date and learning more ways to spot and deal with potential hazards can only be a good idea no matter what kind of rider you are.
Off Road Adventure Training
Adventure bikes have become incredibly popular in recent times with models like the BMW GS sitting at the top of the UK bestseller lists for years and a whole host of excellent rivals emerging to match it (check out our top 10 adventure bikes for more awesome models!).
One of the factors that have made these bikes so popular is their versatility, with most riders using them as excellent tourers and commuters, but the fact they can take you adventuring off the beaten track is a nice bonus! As a result, off-road adventure training courses are also becoming increasingly popular.
There are a variety of off-road schools all over the UK that specialise in teaching you the skills you need to go on off-road adventures with your motorcycle in a friendly and fun environment.
Here in East Anglia, we have Adventure Bike Training, a school that offers a variety of courses either 1 to 1 or as part of a small group. They offer training on all aspects of adventure bike riding, from practical riding skills to maintenance and dealing with breakdowns to how to navigate using GPS and maps more efficiently.
Over in Wales, you can find the Yamaha Off-road Experience, run by former British Enduro champion Geraint Jones. Based on a huge 600-acre farm with nearby forest areas to explore, they offer courses for all experience levels. There is also the new Tenere Experience - a chance to try out the excellent Yamaha Tenere 700 in a fun, safe, and practical off-road environment and with a 10% discount for existing Yamaha owners!
Track Racing Training
Track days are a popular pastime for a wide range of riders but receiving specialised training on the track can help with every aspect of riding, not just racing. The British Superbike School was originally set up back in 2010 with the aim of reducing traffic collisions! You might ask how zooming around a racecourse can help with road traffic collisions and the answer is due to the advanced riding techniques you will learn on the course.
One of the most common causes of road collisions is 'loss of control' so increasing a rider's level of control over their bike with advanced skills and training can only be a good thing. I've spoken to lots of riders who assure me their track training has made them better, more confident, and safer riders on the road. It's also a whole lot of fun!
Speaking of fun, have you ever wanted to learn how to pop impressive wheelies on your bike? Pulling a wheelie is certainly not recommended on public roads and learning to do it on your own is downright dangerous. That's where schools like Extreme Wheelie come in, you can learn to wheelie in a safe environment with expert instructors and have a great time doing it!
How is it possible to make learning to wheelie safe you may ask, well that comes down to the state-of-the-art wheelie machines the school utilises. These machines can let you get used to the technique and control required to pull a giant wheelie without any risk of flipping the bike or dropping it. It also keeps you and other road users safe!
Extreme Wheelie is officially sponsored by Yamaha and you can even rent out an awesome MT model to practice with. Sounds like a good day out to me!
Similar to track race training, motocross training can give a different experience than you are used to and help develop skills that you can take back to the road. It's a fun and exhilarating experience that makes for a great day out and can make you a better rider!
Schools like LDR Lee Dunham Racing offer taster sessions as well as half and full-day sessions, either 1 to 1 or in small groups. They provide all the gear you will need as well as the bikes and the very best tuition from former British and European champion Lee Dunham and his team. You will learn safety and control techniques as well as how to read the circuit and choose proper positioning - all handy skills to pick up!
Before you go
As you can see, training doesn't have to stop the moment you obtain your licence, there are always new skills to learn to become a safer rider. There is also a lot of fun to be had out there!
If you are still considering whether further training is for you, why not check this blog out too!