Hey guys - just did a one-day course with Stay Upright near Sydney, and thought I'd drop you all a line to tell you how it went. I ride a KTM SM950, mostly road of course, but am gradually doing more adventurous rides and a bit of dirt road riding. Its been 20 years since I rode a dirtbike, so I signed up for the course to see what my bike & I were capable of, and to get more confidence riding on dirt roads. There is some basic info here http://www.stayupright.com.au/nsw-adventure-bike-course-0, but basically it was sold to me as a great way to learn some skills, find out what your bike and you can do, and get more confidence off the tar. I asked about my very road oriented bike and semi-slick tyres, and was told most attendees are in the same boat, it is aimed at us. Sold - so paid my $300-odd dollars, and booked in for a Wednesday session. The venue is a place called Dargle, about 100 kms out of (my part of) Sydney past Windsor, near the base of the Blue Mountains, in a very pretty rural setting near the river. It used to be a dirtbike training & racing centre, and still has dirt roads, a little MX track, and lots of single track and quite gnarly hills into the bush. Chief instructor for the day was Wayne Clarke, a bit of a legend in the Australian road racing scene, and Andrew (missed his surname) who is currently competing at top level nationally in MX, Enduro etc - two seriously handy riders, and Wayne has some 20+ years teaching experience on top of that. There were only 3 students, so you could hardly ask for better teacher/student ratio, and throughout the day, we had the best attention and focus we could have hoped for. The day started with a little ride and simple drills - made less simple by the fact that we were standing up. In fact, we stood up for the next 5 hours - the course could have been called Stand Upright - and for me, it was really the focus of the day, learning to ride my bike standing up, slowly & in control, over terrain I wouldn't have believed possible for me or my bike to ride over. I found it incredibly awkward at first - I'm 6'4" which doesn't help, and while the SM is long legged and roomy, I still felt desperately awkward standing up, and was constantly rolling on & off the throttle, grabby on the brakes, crap on the clutch, and kicking the bike into neutral at every opportunity. We practised turns, braking, clutch control, all on grass, and despite my ham fistedness, the bike felt more planted than I'd thought, and gradually the simple, repetitive instructions started sinking in. Light-bulb moment was the instruction to switch to 2-finger clutching, and all of a sardine the grabbiness was gone, I could modulate the power, and everything smoothed out enough for me to start focussing on precision rather than just taming the bucking beast. It was hot, and the sweat was soon pouring off. We took lots of breaks, had plenty of demos from both instructors, and then back into it. Next thing was some single track through the forest - not the natural home of a SM 950, but took it slow and easy - and hey - we got through it just fine! Some fun sliding the rear on grass to feel how it feels and control the slide - and then on to a much more challenging exercise - deliberately sliding the front! Jeez, talk about counter-intuitive. But soon we were deliberately locking up the front wheel with throttle on and weight back, ploughing lines with the locked front wheel - and you know what? We didn't instantly crash! In fact we didn't crash at all, just learned that you can lock the front, what it feels like, and how to unlock and re-apply brakes. So much more over the day, including quite steep dirt hill climbs and descents, a great fun play on the MX track, and then the most challenging one of the day for me - steep hill ascent, and deliberately stall the bike on the steepest part. Then, control it, dismount, and fabulous technique for turning the bike around to the point where you can re-mount and ride off down the hill. I was seriously not keen to try this - 220kg of road bike on a 50 degree dirt slope is not easy to muscle around, and I was sure I'd drop it all the way down the hill. But in truth, it IS easy - like so many things, if you know how. Finally, exhausted, one more ride through the forest, around the single track, and back to the cheerful little Yamaha pavilion for re-hydration before heading out home. The day was 9-4:30, I reckon we spend a good 5 hours standing up on those bikes (plus 2 hrs each way getting there and back) and I learned more than I have since doing Superbike School 10 years ago. I rode on far harder terrain than I'd ever intended doing, doing far more serious stuff than I'd expected, and walked away super impressed with the capacity of my (almost stock) bike, and having learned loads. I'm no enduro rider by any means - but have a new-found confidence in my ability to ride my bike just about anywhere there is a road of any description to ride on. Best $300 I didn't spend (my wife bought it for me a present) any time I reckon that for any complete beginner through to someone with rusty skills this course is perfect - and Wayne & crew could cook up an expert level course for a group wanting that too. Highly recommended.