I was finally able to attend Ken Anderson’s instruction in the first ProRider Advanced Skills Course of 2019 after shooting images of the final ProRider Atlanta course last fall, and man, I’m so happy I invested the time. Three members from my Athens, GA HOG chapter and I had committed to attending, so we met for breakfast and all arrived as Ken and his wife were setting up the course and instructional areas. Having taken the state sponsored two-day course prior to getting the “M” on my license, I was eager to increase my knowledge and skill set.
Ken brings over 30 years of experience as a motorcycle cop and motorcade veteran to the masses with his up-to-date, common sense training and instruction. I say common sense, but in reality, his instruction is born out of years of local and national motorcycle law enforcement, constantly learning and implementing these best practices through on-the-job training and experience. Right out of the gate you can tell Ken is serious about safety and helping people improve through repetitive retraining muscle memory for new habits. Once our slow speed courses were set up (those of us on baggers had removed the luggage) we received some basic instruction on how to properly mount our bikes (hint – throttle side) maintain a clutch “Friction Zone” and where to place your toe on the rear brake – we were off to ride. This course runs from 9AM to 5 PM and you are on your bike for all but two hours of that time, with one hour for lunch.
You immediately feel at ease as Ken begins to coach and encourage you after watching your riding & clutch / throttle / rear brake techniques. We had 7 students that day with 5 on Harley baggers, one on a dual sport, and one on a metric cruiser. Regardless of the rider or bike, Ken was able to instinctively coach around their particular weaknesses and had us all navigating cones quickly. If attending this course, I recommend resting the day prior as you will be riding (slowly) a lot – and your clutch hand will be tested big time! Training muscle memory takes time and Ken will be the first to tell you that the course is just the beginning. After taking the full day course you are welcome to return to any subsequent monthly class (within the year of your initial course) to stay fresh and keep working on your skills – at no additional cost above the initial fee. Ken is committed to your safety long term.
While I enjoyed learning proper techniques for navigating my near 1000 pound Harley at super slow speeds, I found myself really glued to the dialogue the group shared during our periodic breaks and lunch. This is where Ken holds class and offers up several concepts around how serious safe riders act and respond to various situations while riding. Terms like “S.I.P.D.E” (You’ll need to attend the class to find out the meaning) riding the “Zipper” and where best to position myself as a solo rider or within a large group made sense and even more importantly, provided clarity around how to be safer on my bike.
Late in the day we graduated from slow speed maneuvering skills to high speed braking and on-road situational awareness at stop lights and in traffic. Ken would direct us as a solo rider or with a riding partner so we had a better sense of high speed stopping distance and rear end collision avoidance while stopped. Again, much was common sense instruction but unless you know the background and reasoning behind why he recommends certain moves & concepts you may never really understand why people do certain things (or don’t).
Get in the “Friction Zone”
After a few more stories Ken and his wife provide each student with a course completion certificate (which when submitted to my insurance company saved me 10% on my annual bike coverage) and we wrapped up for the day. I also picked up a killer patch and one of their ProRider instructional DVD’s to share with friends.
Ken practices what he preaches, and during the day takes time on his own Police bagger to show the possibilities of slow speed maneuvering with ease. It really comes down to getting a feeling within yourself of how your hands control the clutch & throttle while your right foot works the rear brake. If you can get in that “Friction Zone” metaphysically you will amaze yourself when it comes to a simple U Turn in the road.
Let’s face it, anyone can ride a motorcycle fast; the real skill is in navigating slow turns and unfamiliar situations with confidence and ease, and Ken can help you be more confident on your own motorcycle. My colleague Rob Brooks took this course last fall and we have discussed how much more confident we feel when on the road after completing this course. Ken can even show you the safest and easiest way to pick up a heavy bagger if you’ve dropped it – but that’s a story for another day. To sign up for an upcoming course go to the Pro Rider Atlanta Web Site or call Ken at 678-549-1359 – you will be glad you invested the time and money.