WAKEFIELD - With Bike Week coming up on June 11, many motorcyclists are looking forward to showing of their bikes when they head up to Laconia.
But last Sunday at the Paul School in Wakefield, about a dozen riders were looking to spiff up their riding skills before spiffing up their machines.
Jason Mckenna, who co-owns Prorider 603 with his wife, Michele Cole, teaches an eight-hour class that is designed to improve slow speed maneuvers, teach proper braking techniques and accident avoidance.
|603 Prorider instructor Jason Mckenna points out particulars of completing a double intersection maneuver during Sunday's class at the Paul School in Wakefield.
While the class was having lunch Mckenna gave The Rochester Voice a personal demonstration of his riding prowess on a course laid out in the Paul School parking lot.
Among the maneuvers, a slalom cone course that reduces from 18- to 12-feet, 90-degree turns out of a stop and a full circle at two or three mph inside 24 feet.
One of the keys to successfully making these maneuvers is to keep your eyes on where you're going, Mckenna noted. He said many riders will naturally keep their eyes on the front
|Riders get ready for the afternoon portion of the class after a quick lunch break.
Mckenna had to pass a 40-hour course approved by police-level motorcycle riding standards to be Prorider certified, he said, adding that many of the techniques taught are anti-intuitive and have to be learned.
The course also teaches proper braking techniques like threshold braking
so you don't lock up your wheels.
"At slow speeds use the rear brake only," he said, "but if you're braking at high speeds squeeze the front brake like an orange, first to 50 percent, then 60 percent, then 70 and 80." He noted that when you apply the front brake firmly
|Prorider 603 instructor Jason Mckenna leans into a turn during a class on Sunday.
the rider's rear brake will be naturally engaged by the rider's body weight pushing forward.
Mckenna said students say they can safely stop their machines 10-15 feet more quickly after taking the course.
A byproduct of taking a class also helps riders avoid the embarrassing "duck walk" in biker bar parking lots, Mckenna jokes.
One of the riders taking the course on Sunday was Clint Strong of Epsom, who said he took his first class with Mckenna after getting his first Harley Street Glide last year.
"I came back to learn more skills," he said.
Michael Amoroso of Wakefield, an experienced rider with 20 years under his belt who rides a Harley Davidson Road Glide, said he came specifically to "learn to get better at slow speeds."
Another rider, Marc Poirier, of Derry, said he'd been riding Enduro style dirt bikes all his life, but was on his second road bike, a KTM 1290 that's much heavier than previous bikes he's been on.
Meanwhile, Corey Sylvester of Wolfeboro said he was there looking to get a better feel for what his 2020 Street Glide can do.
"I've always had an inclination to get more familiar with my bike and trust what it can do rather than what I think it can do," he said.
Upcoming Prorider 603 classes include:
Sunday June 5 level 1, six spots available, Roger Allen School, Rochester
Sunday June 26 level 1, six spots available, Paul School Wakefield
Both classes run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For more info and to watch a riding demo click here.