Atlanta Motorcycle Schools—Stayin Safe Tour

Neo-Alpine Tour: Switzerland of Ohio—May 15-16, 2004

Obviously, Ken and I are both big proponents of continuing motorcycle education. This year, one of our elected training activities was a Stayin' Safe tour with the renown trainer “Mr. Safety” Lawrence Grodsky. Larry has Neo-Alpine tours in six different areas—including our own back yard—North Georgia. We elected a different experience—riding the twists and turns in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Our tour began Saturday morning in Pittsburgh. The weather cooperated during breakfast and our parking lot drills. However, as soon as we were a couple of miles out of Pittsburgh, we all pulled over to don our rain gear—which we kept on the rest of the day…

Water tower in Monroe County, Ohio
West Virginia./Switzerland of Ohio Tour

(L-R) Eric, Larry, Chuck, Bob, Brian, and John
Most of the group taking a break.

The weather could not dampen our spirits nor the quality of the tour. There were six students and two instructors—Larry and Eric. We were divided into two groups; three students per instructor. Ken and I were paired with John from Buffalo. Bob (Philadelphia), Brain (Cincinnati), and Chuck (Cleveland) made up the second group. Both groups alternated between instructors. One way communication allows the students to be coached “real time”. In addition to “coaching”, the instructors shared their thought processes with you, allowing you to “see” the terrain through their eyes. It is amazing the clues that untrained eyes miss!

The Stayin' Safe Mantra:

360° awareness

Put the motorcycle where they can’t touch you

No surprises

Focus is placed on reading the verge—natural and man-made structures that often line the sides of the road—to help predict the direction of the road ahead.

Chalk Talk—Reading the “Verge”

Staying safe when riding is all about having a mental strategy and constantly applying this strategy. Some use the Smith System, some use SIPDE, some use SEE, etc… The Stayin' Safe Mantra assures that you are continually evaluating all conditions and consistently placing your motorcycle in the path of least potential risk. Sometimes the greatest threat to your safety is the approaching turn, sometimes it is the blind hill/turn, sometimes it is the hidden—or not so hidden— driveway. All strategies evolve around recognizing and prioritizing hazards. Stayin' Safe goes a step further by reading the verge. You really can begin to predict the road ahead—making riding unfamiliar roads much safer!

If you have an opportunity to participate in tours presented by “Mr. Safety”, we definitely recommend it. The goal for each ride should be: “Don’t hit anything and don’t let anything hit you.” The more training that you receive, the greater the chance you have in attaining this goal. The training and experience of certified instructors can save countless hours and agony of “trial and error” through personal experience!

Ride smart, ride safe!

JoAnna, Larry, and Ken

JoAnna and Larry

Ken receiving his diploma from Larry
Larry presenting Ken’s diploma.

Click here for more photos from the trip.

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