Total Control

Rode up to Northern VA this past weekend for a little motorcycle skills practice at Lee Parks’ Total Control Advanced Riding Course (TCARC).

I figure “you can never know too much” is a pretty good attitude to have about most everything, and it really rings true for me and motorcycling.  The better I get, the more fun I have, and the safer I am.


While I don’t think I’m a bad rider, I don’t feel like my skill level on a motorcycle is anywhere near where it should be for the amount of time I’ve been riding. Sometime last year, I decided improvement wasn’t going to happen on its own, and that I should actively work on riding skills. Thus, I decided to start taking some skills classes.


Knowing what to do, and actually being able to do it are two different things. Then there is the difference between what you think you are doing, and what you are actually doing. Paying a knowledgeable instructor to point out the difference and help you actually change your bad habits is worth the price of admission for me. Aside from being fun, the TCARC gave me some specific skills to work on.

Plus, this was a nice weekend to take a little solo moto trip to visit the folks. Good company, good food, and several hundred miles of motorcycle riding are a pretty great way to spend a holiday weekend.

5/24- 27/2013 – 648 mi. The most improvement in my riding came from the 10 miles I spent riding around in a parking lot.

This entry was posted in 2012 Ducati Monster 696, Moto Classes, Motorcycles. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Total Control

  1. says:

    Hi Amy,
    What a great way to spend a weekend. Can I ask you in what area of riding you felt your skills needed a boost? Here in California I’ve found splitting lanes in stand still traffic uncomfortable.
    Even after all the time I’ve been riding in such conditions regularly. We have to ride an hour through it, in order to enjoy an extended time out in the open.

    Ride on,
    Natalie in nor cal

    • amytracker says:

      Hi Natalie,
      Heh, I think lane splitting should be pretty uncomfortable, although I wish it were legal in other states besides CA (but that’s another discussion).

      Follow the link to the total control website and watch the video on the homepage. That will give you a pretty good idea of what the class is about. We worked on smooth throttle to brake transitions (focusing on not upsetting the suspension), body position, line selection though a corner, and vision. Over time, and due to the reach to the bars on the monster, I had developed some poor upper body positioning through a corner, and had been stiff-arming the inside bar a bit. In class, I was corrected to drop the inside shoulder and keep the inside elbow bent much more than I had been. It felt awkward at first, but is clearly correct.

      Most streetbikes are much more capable than I’ll ever be, but my goal is to be able to access more of that capability. I felt like with just a bit more practice, I could have been dragging knee in class. Not that I advocate riding like that on the street, but understanding how, and how that reduces lean angle and provides more traction is a useful skill, and increases overall comfort on the bike. The corners are the fun part, and I want to do them better. TCARC helped quite a bit. I definitely want to take the level 2 class, as well as an on-track class at some point.

      • Natalie in ca says:

        Thank you for the specifics on the class content. I’ve added myself to the mailing list. Hopefully a class comes through my state. I also have to work on breaking the stiff arm habit I have the same reach challenge on my Monster. I’ll always be trying to improve my skills until I’m too old ride. ;)

  2. Dave says:

    Amy, I found your blog from a search on how to better strap down gear to a Ducati Monster. Where in Northern VA was the class held? I didn’t see it on the web site. I live near Manassas and after years of riding a Sportster I am interesting in improving my skills with my Monster. Thanks!

    • amytracker says:

      Just go to the total control website and click on “schedule” on the left. There is a list of when and where the classes are.

      I took the class in Woodbridge, VA (right near Manassas, I rode through there on my way to class actually), with Apex Cycle Education, which I thought held a great event.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s