Thursday, April 29, 2021

Controlling the Machine.

 The following post is adapted from an article published in the PEMC magazine.

Controlling the Machine: Two days of i2i training.



We meet Tom the instructor at the airfield cafeteria for early morning craic.


I completed my Advanced Motorcycling test with a local IAM group some years ago and became confident that in the cases of shoulder checks, road positioning and frequent debriefing stops for coffee I had mastered this motorcycling thing. However lingering doubts remained that I was actually in full control of the machine, these doubts being fuelled by almost obsessional interest in internet self help with such topics as push steering, U turning a Harley on a dime, counter weighting, trail braking and necessary knee down techniques. It was therefore with much relief that I stumbled across the i2i Motorcycle Academy with promises such as the transformation of my riding and the mastering of U turns even two up.

Rufforth airfield is an active microlight and gyrocopter centre.


I booked on two consecutive events held over a weekend at Rufforth Airfield near York last August, Machine Control 1 and 2 (MC1 and MC2). Other venues were available.

Admission to the airfield is through the crash gate....


On a sunny Saturday in August a diverse group of riders on machines ranging from Sports bikes through to Pan Europeans bikes gatherered at the Gyrocopter Experience control tower cafe at Rufforth Airfield. Tom, our instructor greeted us, invited us for a free coffee, told us to preorder lunch and took us through the crash gate (aviation jargon, sorry) on a ride across the airfield to the training area where his van was set up.

Tom explains gyroscopes and stability and how the average rider messes it all up.


The day was broken up with a series of progressive sections comprising a briefing by Tom, followed by a demonstration given on his Street Triple and then our exercises. Tom, an Irishman whose craic is characteristicly and variously stimulating and witty, explains the neccessary physics simply, and majors on debunking common misconceptions and has us all in stitches. He then hops on his Street Triple and shows us that the bike is steered neither by looking where you want to go, nor by weighting a peg or pushing down on the bars.

Tom travels past at 30mph and demos that you cannot steer by looking.


Many of the exercises were carried out one handed, a key point being to engage the „core“, Pilates fashion. Tom points out that the bike has at least two gyroscopes built in and without rider intervention performs brilliantly straight and in banked turns and does not fall over.


The Man on two gyroscopes not precessing at all at all.


It´s not all about Tom...We are given exercises to perform, and here we are waiting our turn.

The day of MC1 is completed when we U turn at full lock without touching the brakes, throttle or clutch. We do however look where we want to go.

Pee break.


I elected to do MC 2 directly after MC1, but on Sunday quite a few new riders appeared having completed MC1 some time previously.

Demonstration of how useless the rear brake can be.


The emphasis in MC2 was on braking without drama including in bends, including back braking with power on....good for pillions apparently because the rear jacks up. Bad for the brakes which could catch fire.

Another cosy chat and a view of the practice area.


The Sunday contained more drama: One of the sports bikes ended up in the adjacent corn field and Tom rides the (rather elderly) Pan European at extreme angles because the rider complained about the handling. Shot front wheel bearings and uneven tyre wear were diagnosed. The Pan had never been ridden like that before...

The mobile office and the end of the weekend. I´m on my way the ferry port.


All in all a worthwhile and confidence giving weekend for all levels of experience. The next step is MC3 Knee Down , but as I have difficuty in getting my leg over I´ll pass on that one. The i2i academy is owned managed and run by the husband and wife team of Tom and Emma Killeen. Tom is developing some YouTube material this year and this should give you some idea of his style. Check it out!


Action scene! 

Braking and cornering:







4 comments:

  1. Hi Nikos, back in the blogosphere or just posted accidentally? How are you? All well in the house of keftedes?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hello Sonja, thanks for looking in. Back in the blogospere....on and off!
    Everything as well as can be expected for an Englander trying to assert his rights in Germany under the Withdrawal Agreement.
    How are you?

    ReplyDelete
  3. All good, all healthy. Living at the Bergstraße now, near Mannheim/Heidelberg. I picked up hiking, Roland goes e-biking. Our motorcycle days are over, we live the van life now (well, during vacation that is).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I find my e bike awesome, especially with my wonky knee!

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