Off Road Riding School
by Brian Robinson
All of us here at MotorWeek have been through plenty of driving schools. Because as the saying goes, if you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse. So, with that constant state of improvement mindset, our two-wheelin’ Brian Robinson heads way off to school.
BRIAN ROBINSON: With Adventure Bikes, the SUVs of motorcycles, becoming more and more popular, it stands to reason that more riders are getting off the pavement to explore roads and trails even less traveled.
Well, if you’re like many riders, who haven’t hit the trail in earnest since boyhood dirt bike days, it might be a good idea to get some training before you set out on that journey.
“And so we’re here at the BMW Performance Center in Greer, South Carolina, for their U.S. Rider Academy 2-day off-road course. Prepare to have fun. Prepare to get dirty. But most importantly, prepare to learn something.”
And you will definitely learn something, regardless of your two-wheeled experience.
Unlike most driving and riding schools, you won’t spend too much of your days sitting in a classroom. Rather, you’ll be out on the course, getting instruction and demonstrations, followed by hands on the grips, feet on the pegs, experience; to put what you’ve just been taught into action.
This is not a racing school, and you won’t be hitting triple jumps or riding wheelies. You’ll be learning real world skills that will help you tackle whatever may come across your path on your backroad travels.
Like riding in gravel, sand, and mud; through ditches, and over hills both big and small; as well as proper braking, steering, and balancing techniques to help you get through it all. And you’ll even learn recovery techniques for when things go wrong.
HARALD SCHMIDT: “Many of our GS riders stick mainly to the road. However, after training – the way we provide it – they are very encouraged to take these wonderful motorcycles off-road, and experience a completely different riding style. What we teach here is…
BRIAN ROBINSON: The first think you’ll have to do, will be unlearn years of street riding habits.
But, since BMW has more adventure bikes on the road than any other manufacturer; they take this instruction very seriously.
HARALD SCHMIDT: “All of the instructors here are very well selected individuals with tremendous motorcycle background. They are enthusiasts all the way. We make very much sure that all the instructors are informed on the product and answer just about any question there is in regards to the program that we have…”
BRIAN ROBINSON: You can ride your own motorcycle if you choose, as long as it’s a BMW; but a better option is to rent one right at the facility, so you can focus on your riding, instead of worrying about banging up your bike.
Art George did just that, after riding up from Atlanta.
ART GEORGE: “So I have a BMW Enduro motorcycle. I’ve never done off-roading and I always wanted to experience it…it’s been a great experience; I love the rain and weather. It’s perfect for this. So you get a lot of mud.”
BRIAN ROBINSON: The school is located right near the Greenville/Spartanburg airport, so it’s easy to get to. And of course there are a multitude of automobile driving classes as well as street riding classes to choose from here as well. The 2-day off road school will cost you $1,590 with a bike rental, $1,270 without.
Regardless of what grand adventure you have planned, the ultimate goals are to have fun and arrive back home safely. Taking an off-road class like this, will certainly help you achieve both those goals.