Disclaimer: The cost of the course was sponsored by Colorado
State Patrol’s MOST program and I am compensated for this article as well.
Recently, I was contacted by the Colorado State Patrol’s
Motorcycle Operator Safety Training (MOST) program. They asked if I’d like to take one of the
several training courses offered under MOST by several of the area’s motorcycle
Training is always a good thing, even though I had already
gone through and passed both the two-wheel and three-wheeled courses with T3RG
and Abate’s training programs; refresher training in my favorite mode of transportation
was of course a good idea.
It’s not sufficient, you see, to take a basic course and
just leave it at that.
the need to practice what you learn at said courses, practice until action
becomes “muscle memory” and is something automatic.
When the traffic situation arises calling for
the training given at these courses, there’s no time to think of what to do -
your body and mind must know and act decisively to avoid a problem.
I chose to take my MOST training at the Iron Buffalo Motorcycle School
, but there
are plenty of options to choose from on MOST’s website
so you can find a class that’s in your area and right for you. There were nine
students total including yours truly and two very good instructors for this 3
Wheel Motorcycle training course: Richard (Wiff) and Kent.
A short word on the instructors: Superb. Both Wiff and Kent are
very knowledgeable, and patient, always making sure the material was understood
before moving on.
Their use of humor
interspersed with the material, along with examples from their riding
experiences helped reinforce the key concepts and kept things moving along
We met at 8:00 AM this past Saturday morning at the Dick’s Sporting
Goods Stadium in Commerce City and spent I think a couple of hours going
through the initial modules published by the Evergreen Safety Council for Motorcycle
Training in one of the stadium’s viewing suites.
Day one topics ranged from what to look for in protective
gear, pros and cons of three-wheeled vehicles, risk awareness, basic
identification and use of controls along with related safety checks.
This was then reinforced out on the “range”;
one of the parking lots for the stadium, on the vehicles we’d be using to
Each exercise was first briefed by one of the instructors.
Iron Buffalo provided the use of three Can-Am Spyders, two
of which were the touring model and one that was the F3 model which is
There was also a 2013 Ural
Patrol Sidecar rig that belonged to Wiff. One of the students opted to ride his
own 2014 Harley-Davidson Tri-Glide and yours truly rode Scarlett, my 2014 Ural
Scarlett on the left, the Can-AM F3 next to her, Wiff’s 2013
and the two RT models of Can-AM Spyders.
We would spend the rest of the day riding, ending at around
2:30 PM on the first day. We got
familiar with the motorcycles (for those not riding one’s own ride) and doing
basic maneuvers such as right and left turns, stopping safely both in a
straight line and within painted curve lines on the parking lot and most
importantly, becoming familiar with the
handling characteristics of three-wheeled motorcycles.
They are, after all,
entirely different beasts than two-wheeled motorcycles. This course will teach you to be safe on such
a conveyance. The instructors took turns both briefing us before each exercise
and then demonstrating the exercise to make it clear what was expected of each
Day two we moved into more advanced subjects such as how to
drive defensively, especially making sure we understood safe driving concepts
such as good following distance, scanning ahead and using SLADE (Scan, Locate, Assess,
Decide, Execute) to prioritize oncoming threats and possible issues before it’s
Defensive driving techniques were discussed and key points
emphasized and stability issues related to three-wheeled motorcycles are
highlighted along with techniques to deal with same. Finally, advanced topics such as driving on
steep, tight turning roads with perhaps loose traction were brought up and
techniques discussed, which would later be reinforced on the range.
Of course, no motorcycle training course is complete without
a reminder of the hazards and perils of driving while impaired by alcohol,
drugs or other dangerous factors.
On the range, we had fun going through the several exercises
which taught us proper body positioning on turns and how to swerve safely on
three wheels in case of unexpected obstacles. Safe stopping within curves was
further emphasized with more complex exercises requiring one to think and
multi-task successfully while moving. It
was challenging at times, but fun as things begin to “click” within everyone’s
Dave learns “the feel” of when the sidecar wheel leaves the
and how to deal with it properly.
Wiff taking his rig through one of the curve
exercises, showing us how it’s done.
Note his body position to offset the forces
sidecar to lift during the turn.
Ken, above and John, below shifting their bodies to compensate
for the forces induced by the curve exercises.
Both are under the watchful eye of Wiff.
The Can-Am Spyders proved themselves to be very safe and
stable three-wheeled motorcycles. They
and the HD Trike were very hard to cause a wheel to come off the ground, but
the students learned to ride properly to prevent such occurrences anyways.
Dave, flying the chair, on purpose for the first time.
Yours truly, thinking about the new things learned and
Finally, there came the last two exercises involving just
Dave and I, the two sidecar rig riders.
The objective was to learn to “fly the chair” intentionally. All previous training had been designed to
help us keep the sidecar’s wheel down on the ground during tight right hand
turns; now it was time to get a feel for maneuvering a sidecar rig with the
sidecar wheel in the air! Dave, by the way, on these his first days of riding a
sidecar rig, turned out to be a natural at flying the chair.
It was quite satisfying to me, as I am sure it was to the
instructors, watching students go from tentatively making a turn on three
wheels to confidently negotiating much more complex exercises!
Both Wiff and Kent did an outstanding job making sure we
learned the concepts and correcting us when we didn’t quite get things
right. Their clear instructions rounded
out the material and usually by the second attempt, we’d get it right!
I’ve been riding since 2006, with my first day on a
motorcycle being the day I took the Basic Rider Course with T3RG Motorcycle
School. Since then, I’ve taken and
learned so much with the Experienced Rider Course, Civilian Top Gun Riding
course and of course the Three- Wheel Riding course that I heartily endorse
such training courses.
You cannot get too much training. You cannot practice too much. Take one of these courses under Colorado StatePatrol’s MOST program
: You’ll be a safer rider and enjoy this sport much more.
If you want to take a MOST class, you can sign up for one here