Lee Parks Total Control Advanced Rider Clinic

Discussion in 'General' started by MotoMalia, May 4, 2009.

  1. MotoMalia

    MotoMalia Well-Known Member

    Name:
    Mary
    Hi Everyone,

    On Saturday & Sunday I attended Lee Parks' Total Control Advanced Riding Clinic that was held at the San Mateo fairgrounds. The class is intended for experienced riders looking to refine their skills.

    I had met Lee and a few of his instructors at the December Moto Show and after scanning through his book (which I later purchased) and talking with them at length, I took the plunge. Wow! This so exceeded my expectations!

    Saturday the class was full with 24 riders & 4 instructors. The day was made up of classroom and range time. Several topics would be covered by Lee in the classroom setting, then we'd all gear up and go out to work on the range to put into practice what had just been covered.

    During the exercises, each student get's repeated instant feedback following each exercise with is then again repeated 3 to 4 more times.

    To a person, both he and his staff offered constructive feedback, 'props' for when a skill was completed well, support for the frustrated, and appeared quite skilled at modifying their teaching style to each individual - these guys were really tremendous + a ton of fun!

    It seemed to me that the majority of the students were those who had been riding for many years and ranged in age from I'd guess mid-30s to a youthful 72 year old! We had two couples in the group and pillions participated fully in all classroom & range activities. As for bikes we had sportbikes, Harleys Sportster & Electraglide, big Beemers, Ducati Monsters & a Multistrada, & a Goldwing. (It was quite something to see Lee dragging knee while putting an HD Electraglide through it's paces! :bow )

    Day #1 began at 8 a.m. and went until @ 6:30 p.m. Topics covered include most covered in his book (which I also recommend reading :thumbup ) :


    Traction, Throttle Control, Fear, Concentration, Right Attitude, Body Positioning (for which each student is evaluated on their own bike to determine the ideal position), 10 Steps to Proper Cornering, Vision, Selecting Turning Points & Line Selection. As if that's not enough, day one ends with a several hour discussion and demo on suspension including performing sag measurements.
    vision, line selection, throttle control, shifting, braking, body positioning (specific to YOUR bike)


    Day #2 covered:

    Riding Psychology, Speed Shifting, Trail braking (a lot of time was spend on this), Panic Braking, Decreasing Radius Turns, high performance downshifting (this was a tough one for me!), Throttle Effects, ways to tighten your line while in a turn, and ergonomics/chassis setup. Day two provided even more time on the range practicing progressively harder exercises and the most fun was the last when they set up a 'moto course' and ran each student through it multiples times in a staggered fashion.

    I was a bit concerned this would be a big stretch for me -- I did fairly decently on Day 1 and Day 2 was quite a bit more challenging for me --- there were parts I really struggled with but I was repeatedly reassured that that was due to my lack of experience & it would come in time. On one hand I really wished I had done better - I couldn't help but compare myself to my classmates, but what I was told was I was trying to ride like folks who'd been riding for many years.

    (One my way home I was already practicing some of what I learned and today I went out and ran up & down 84 so I could reinforce what I'd just learned --- wow, never rode 84 like that before!)


    So what do I think? I'm very glad I took these classes - I was more ready for them than I expected (I would be at this point) and also learned a lot about what I need to really work on: throttle control, trail braking, selecting turning points and accelerating gradually while cornering! (Whew!). In many respects this was pretty frustrating for me, but on the other hand I now have specifics to focus on and expect I will continue with additional courses as they are added (a level 3 is in the works and they also plan to add track day training, on the road training, and skills course training -- where do I sign up?:bounce)

    I even got a few thrills myself getting to be pillion with Lee on my SV while he dragged his knee - that was the E ticket for sure!...:cool


    Anyway, if you're considering pursuing additional training I very much reocmmend this! It's definitely NOT a rehash of the MSF, doesn't require the bike prep necessary for a trackday, and it appeared ithat all students were challenged regardless of the # of riding years....

    Below is a link to Lee's site --- he's planning more classes in the bay area and in the process of getting them scheduled.

    http://www.totalcontroltraining.net/

    I believe you can also contact him directly with any questions via email at:

    leemparks@gmail.com

    PS: Did I mention that when we left we were given a discount coupon from Race Tech?? :biggrin

    PPS: I also meant to mention that in response to the 3 of motorcycle injuries/fatalities being seen in the troops returning from the mid-East, the US Marine Corp had the Total Control Advance Riding Clinic put on for 400 marines - these guys had just come in from Camp Pendleton after spending 2 weeks with the Marines!

    Mary

    kneedragginglparks1.jpg
     
  2. Podi

    Podi n00b

    Location:
    Cupertino
    Name:
    Podi
    Congratulations.

    A few questions for you:

    1. "...Never rode 84 like that."
    Can you elaborate please?
    2. Cost of the 2-day course?
    3. What do you mean by "high-performance down-shifting"?
    4. Was dragging knee something you were looking to learn? [Just curious.]

    Thanks.
     
  3. MotoMalia

    MotoMalia Well-Known Member

    Name:
    Mary

    1. Carving the corners & really leaning the bikethrough the turns.
    2. I think it was $600 but you don't have to take both days - you can do one at a time.
    3. "His phrase" - invloves 4 coordinated actions - brake, throttle, pull in clutch and downshift (I believe if it's done correctly the ideal is that there will be little change in the suspension - minimal diving - RPMs will NOT plunge, and the engine will not lug (after downshifting) [I'm sure there are others here that can better explain it]
    4. No that wasn't my goal, nor the purpose of the course. The technique we learned involves moving your butt partially off the bike (in the same direction of any upcoming turn) so that once you release the outside grip (when initiating a turn) the bike will lean & turn quickly. The instructor exaggerated his body position (by dragging knee) to demostrate the technique and show that it can be done even in a slow speed situation.

    Mary
     
  4. ZoomSplat

    ZoomSplat Refridgerator Magnet User

    Location:
    Pacifica
    Name:
    Pat
    Mary, I'm glad you had a good time and learned a lot.

    I want to do one of the dirt schools like this :drool
     
  5. 3stripes

    3stripes Still learning, still leaning

    Location:
    San Jose
    I have Lee's book:thumbup Wouldn't mind joining his class as well. Good stuff Mary:thumbup
     
  6. mnb

    mnb Obliterates Stereotypes

    Location:
    San Jose
    Name:
    Curt
    It's widely considered one of the "must have on your shelf" books on motorcycling basics.
     
  7. VaderSS

    VaderSS Skill Seeker

    Location:
    Cordelia
    Name:
    Wayne
    I too took the Total Control Level I and II clinics this weekend. It was nice meeting Bay Area riders, and I enjoyed meeting every one.

    I am originally from Lake Charles, LA, and spent the past 8 years in Houston. I've been riding for over 20 years, but was not used to twisty roads. I am 39 years old. I moved here in December, and, at first, was getting passed by cruiser riders who were not trying. I was trying very hard and stressed out...

    I have discovered that I love riding a motorcycle more than I have ever loved any other hobby. I am riding more than I ever imagined I would, and am getting more pleasure from it than I ever thought possible.

    It is my desire to be able to ride through the twisties with the skill that I see very few riders display. It is also my desire to be able to slow down to my current pace and have a level of safety reserve far beyond what I ever dreamed is possible. I want to be able to maintain a fast pace on twisty roads but be able to easily deal with suprises in mid-turn.

    I am fully aware of the risks involved in riding a motorcycle, and fully understand that increasing my annual mileage and hours increases my odds of getting injured or killed, vs driving my car the same hours and miles.

    Because of this, I am taking riding more seriously than I ever have, and am educating myself in order to increase my skills. I am doing this by reading and by taking riding clinics.

    The first book I read, on the subject of high-performance riding was Lee Park's Total Control, and it opened my eyes to the possibility of safer and faster riding. It helped to change my mild pleasure at riding to a strong passion for it.

    I decided that I wanted to take a skills clinic, and chose Lee Parks Total Control Advanced Riding Clinics, Level I and II.

    I am extremely happy with the clinics. Honestly, I don't think you could put more high-performance street riding education in a single day(one day per level). One of many great things about the class is that it also teaches passengers the art of high-performance riding, giving them the education they need to make two-up riding as enjoyable and safe as one-up.

    Total Control ARCs are meant to fill in the gap between MSF ERC and track schools. You take them using your own bike, whether it is a open-class race replica, a lowered cruiser, or anything in-between.

    Most of the time is spent on the riding range, which is located in a parking lot. The basic tool is a 40' circle. This keeps the speeds low enough for parking lots, but gives the same "g" forces encountered at higher speeds. Believe me, running around a 40' circle at full lean is a thrill.

    Gear is required in the form of a helmet, riding jacket and pants(kevlar jeans are allowed), over the ankle boots, and gloves.

    After an hour or so spent in class, the instruction moves to the range. One of the instructors makes a demonstration and the class of 24 breaks up into 4 groups, with one instructor each. The students then do the exercises with immediate feedback from the instructor. What you are doing right is emphasized as much as what you are doing wrong. If a student is having problems, an instructor will get in the circle and call out feedback in real-time.

    After an exercise or 3 is completed, it is back inside for more classroom. I enjoyed how this broke up the day and, just about the time I was feeling a bit overloaded, we would switch gears.

    The instructors emphasize that the clinic is meant to be fun and that mistakes are not only expected, but the exercises are designed to be difficult enough to ensure mistakes, because we learn best from mistakes. It was emphasized that we should not get down on ourselves over our mistakes, and not be afraid of them. Without fail, the instructors were up-beat and enthusiastic. The mental aspects of riding were well covered. Getting over fear was addressed. The importance of attitude was discussed.

    Each exercise built on the other, and each exercise introduced techniques that can be put to use in everyday riding. Each exercise was repeated until the student was proficient, and if a student had difficulty, then the student would get additional chances. I saw no one unable to achieve the goals. Everyone made noticeable gains in skill.

    There was a very broad mix of bikes and riders, from young men and women with sport-bikes to retired couples on cruisers. Every type and popular brand of bike was represented, even a lowered Harley whose rider was soon hanging off like the rest of us.

    The book Total Control gives all of the material that is covered in the book, but I still feel that the clinic is invaluable due to the feedback, and some practical demonstrations are made that make things very clear.
    For the Level I clinic, we learned the importance of smooth throttle and brake inputs, were introduced to trail-braking, and were taught the importance of body position. Suspension theory was also discussed, and some practical suspension demonstrations were made. Before each skills session, an instructor would get on one of the student's bikes and demonstrate the skill. Lee Parks rode my Wing through one of the the demos. It is humbling to see your own bike perform so flawlessly, after a few minutes of acclimating to it by the instructor, a skill you find yourself having trouble with. However, it also shows that it can be done on YOUR bike. It gives you a tremendous dose of confidence.

    At the end of the day, the long-time Harley rider said, "My buddies are all gonna' be laughing, but I'll be laughing as I pass them!" He had wound up displaying perfect body position, and was able to take the turns at speeds he had not imagined at the beginning of the day, without dragging hard parts, as he had been doing before.

    The Level II clinic was much less formal, but more intense at the same time. More time was spent on the riding range. Clutchless speed-up-shifting and rapid "bumpless" downshifting was discussed and practiced on the range. Next, threshold braking was discussed, demoed and practiced. We learned to trail-brake in a turn, both with front and rear brake. Then we learned how to deal with surprises in the road, such as the rare and dangerous "mantelope" and my biggest fear, the surprise decreasing radius turn. With the right tools, it is a non-issue.

    After that, we discussed ergonomics, and talked about changing grips, bars, seats, pegs, windshields and other items to improve comfort. We discussed tires, and found that several of the bikes had tires made for wider rims on them.

    The finale for the day was a series of interconnected circles with fast transitions, decreasing radius turns, off-camber turns, and other fun stuff. The high I felt after completing this proficiently was amazing. The rush was similar to the one I get racing a car in SCCA Solo II "AutoCross."

    I can say that I am much more confident in myself and my bike. I feel that this level of confidence would have taken quite a while without the clinic, years even, and I don't know that I would have ever tried some of these skills on my own. I can now do things on a bike that I never would have dreamed possible, just last week.

    I am far from being able to ride with the skill and ease that I desire, in the twisties, but I believe that I now have the tools to do it someday. The tools are dull and I don't know how to use them well. Now is the time for practice and honing. Thankfully, I now know how each of these skills feels to do correctly, and the book has each one described with the exercises laid out.

    Lee is in the process of providing Total Control Level I and II training to 400 US Marines. The Marine Corps is considering making it mandatory training to reduce the tragic losses of Marines on motorcycles.

    If you are interested, email Lee at leemparks@yahoo.com and let him know so that he can gauge interest. He said he is intending to do 3 clinics in San Mateo, this summer.

    Lee on my bike;

    LeeParksGL1800sm.jpg
     
  8. VaderSS

    VaderSS Skill Seeker

    Location:
    Cordelia
    Name:
    Wayne
    Oh, and Mary, I felt like I had taken a "stupid pill" Sunday after lunch. Don't feel bad...
     
  9. MotoMalia

    MotoMalia Well-Known Member

    Name:
    Mary


    Oh Wayne - thanks! :lol :lol I was surprised how intense it all was - and I'm so grateful I got to do it. Your descriptions of the days are spot-on! :thumbup
     
  10. DixieGirl

    DixieGirl I brake for goats

    Location:
    Los Gatos
    Name:
    Leslie
    Hey Mary, I kept meaning to ask if you had taken this class or not. SOunds like it was well worth it. I REALLY would like to take the course next time he rolls around (Looking at schedule, its no time soon). Glad you got so much out of it! :thumbup
     
  11. VaderSS

    VaderSS Skill Seeker

    Location:
    Cordelia
    Name:
    Wayne
    If you are interested, email Lee at leemparks@yahoo.com and let him know so that he can gauge interest. He said he is intending to do 3 clinics in San Mateo, this summer. If you email him, he'll put you on the mailing list so you'll know sooner.
     
  12. kell

    kell Stranger Here Myself

    Location:
    London
    Name:
    James
    Nice write ups :)
     
  13. DixieGirl

    DixieGirl I brake for goats

    Location:
    Los Gatos
    Name:
    Leslie
    Awesome! Thanks Wayne...gonna do that right now! :thumbup
     
  14. Tyler

    Tyler Miss Demeanor

    Location:
    Santa Clara
    Name:
    Tyler (Ms.)
    Great write ups, Mary & Wayne... not sure I can add much more! Wayne was in my group and it was really cool not only to feel progress for myself but to see every rider improve... and Wayne was really whipping that big 'ole Wing around by the end of the day (and I only took the first day!).

    It really helped boost my skill set and confidence in myself and the bike... "faith." If anyone is interested, definitely email Lee that you would be interested in more classes at the San Mateo site. I think it is money well spent. :thumbup
     
  15. antipathy

    antipathy omg a girl

    Location:
    Skyline @ 280
    Name:
    alicia
    Wow, I will be on the lookout for future clinics. The photos are VERY impressive and I'm a big fan of the book! :bow
     
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