Jimmy Lewis Off-Road Riding School

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February / March Newsletter: Look Ahead!

JLR’s February / March newsletter is available with our new class dates for April and May plus a riding tip on looking ahead.

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Class Dates
February 15-16 Series 1 Essentials Skills Course, Pahrump, NV
(Spots open)

February 28-March 2 2014 Alt Rider Taste Of Dakar, Pahrump, NV
(Event sold out, some spots in Sunday One-Day Training)

March 22,23 Series 1 Essential Skills Course, Pahrump, NV
(Class Full)

April 5,6 Series 1 Essential Skills Course, Pahrump, NV

May 17,18 Series 1 Essential Skills Course, Pahrump, NV

We have rental bikes available for the April and May classes but these go quick.

Proper Tires Or A Trip To The Doctor?

We are often questioned why we require knobby-type tires on all bikes for our training? For us it is a simple answer, “For your safety.” Other schools may allow you to ride with whatever you ride up on, but we have learned from experience that trying to ride with “round-type” tires in traction compromised situations is risky, even for the most skilled rider. And the tires make a difference when you need them the most. You would not go to a road riding school with knobby tires, why try the opposite in the dirt?

The performance and confidence you gain with the proper tires cannot be overstated. Where a knobby-type tire really works is under heavy braking and when the tire gets up on its sidewall. Even a heavily worn knobby, almost flat along the centerline will grip and save you way better than a tire without the aggressive sidewall block spacing.

We understand that many riders are concerned with the wear when compared to a so-called “50/50” tire as the life may be more than double. When was the last time you went 3000 good miles without the opportunity to get your tire or tires changed? Yet we like to put this one thought in your head. How fast do your tires wear when you have a cast on your leg?

JLR Off-Road uses and endorses Kenda Big Blocks for use on Adventure Touring Bikes. We can offer students a big discount on a set of tires when attending our school.
Newsletter Riding Tip:

Look where you want to go, not at what you don’t want to hit.

One of the most simple things to teach is to look where you want to go. It sounds so simple that sometimes it goes without saying. But there is a lot more a rider must do to make this work than just hearing the phrase.

Our vision is both in our control and sometimes out of our control. The eyes look at what you want them too and sometimes they spot things you may not want them to. The example of a shapely man or woman, depending on your preference, would be a good example to use. You may want to look at this and you do. The sexy figure may “catch your eye” and then you can’t take your eyes off of it, even if you are told not to look. And while you are perplexed with the eye candy, if a tiger jumped in from the sidelines I’d bet my last dollar your eyes would jump straight to the cat, totally without a conscious thought. It would be an instinctive reaction that is also followed by a shot of adrenalin and more than likely a reaction to turn and run or protect depending on the situation.
I hate to say it but many riders ride through the same story all day long. You are looking at the perfect trail or road, no obstructions. It flows and you follow the path. Until your eyes spot the dreaded sand, mud, rocks, ice or log that grabs your eyesight like a magnet and then the internal reactions start, uncontrolled, at least for the first precocious milliseconds.

A high-level rider, trained and comfortable with the condition approaching would realize what his or her eyes just communicated and though excited about the condition a reaction would occur, often instinctive. Slowing or accelerating, anticipating needing a burst of power, making sure balance is adequate, rethinking traction will all take place in some way. And as quickly as the eyes were out of the rider’s control to warn him or her about something, they get refocused to continue on the trail ahead and amazingly the body will follow where the eyes are looking. It takes confidence and experience to keep looking forward where you want to go.

More novice riders have a much different reaction to the same sight. Instead of a proper instinctive reaction, they often have an improper instinctive reaction (this all goes back to what you’ve practiced and what you know.) Let’s say for example they slam on only the rear brake while entering the sandy turn because they are going in too fast. Now, still looking at the sandy spot, they are sliding out of line and out of balance when the brain finally commands the next improper technique of “get over the back and gas it!” Still going too fast and too locked on the bike to really react, some form of the above command takes place, all while still looking at the sandy spot in the turn (don’t take your eyes off the tiger!). If luck prevails and somehow the rider passes through the turn upright, when his or her eyes finally look up they see a log lying right across the trail in front of them. Ouch.

So as easy as it is to say, “look where you want to go and you’ll ride right past it,” you still need to know how to ride right past whatever it is your eyes are attracted to. And also do it without much thinking. There are two things we see a lot of in teaching and it boils down to this. If you feel unsafe or unsure it comes from the simple fact that most of the time you are/were going too fast and need to slow down or stop. And if you continue riding at this speed it won’t be the first scary thing that you see that gets you, it is the second thing right behind the first thing, a bump, a rock, a sandy patch or slippery root, that bites you because you really never saw it. Or saw it when it was too late.

Partner Spotlight:

Trail Tech

We like to explore and have fun on our bikes and at the same time know where we are and where we’ve been. Any GPS can tell us that. But how about having your GPS unit also tell you how your bike was doing at each point in the ride. More than that having a good light on your bike so getting back in after dark isn’t an issue and a strong electrical system powering the whole setup. Trail Tech has innovative products to help with all of the above scenarios. From Kickstands to GPS units, Hour Meters to Odometers, the Washington State based company has a catalogue full of cool stuff for your bike. You’ll see Trail Tech parts on all of our bikes, especially the lighting products which are some of the best looking and functioning on the market. Trail Tech also offers discounts to students enrolled in JLR classes.