Stay Upright - Adventure Riding course

Discussion in 'Australia' started by technogeekery, Oct 20, 2013.

  1. technogeekery

    technogeekery Adventurer

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    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.
    #1
  2. Canary

    Canary Long timer

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    It is a shame that there is no course like that available thru Stayupright in Victoria. :(:

    I did a Stayupright course about 2 years ago that was sold to me as beginners dirt which was anything but and fell and hurt myself and lost my $250.00 :waysad

    Sounds like the course that you did though was excellent :clap

    I had done other Stayupright courses prior to that one and they were great. :D
    #2
  3. Kimi

    Kimi Been here awhile

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    sounds a really good course, I saw they have one in Vic in November but it clashes with other family commitments.

    They don't run this particular course in SA so I emailed them this afternoon asking if they would run one here and how many would they need..... gee, 3 people, how great would that be ?
    Will post what their response is.
    #3
  4. Canary

    Canary Long timer

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    Just checked the site and could not see one being ran in November. :eek1 Can you please give a link to it or provide more details? :ear
    #4
  5. farqhuar

    farqhuar Human guinea pig

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    Here you go Canary - http://www.stayupright.com.au/course-calendar-VIC 24th of November at Hoppers Crossing.
    #5
  6. Fulldeck

    Fulldeck noob

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    #6
  7. boneman660

    boneman660 Try Hard

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    Guys, I did a 2-day course earlier this year. Awesome. Who would have thought intentionally locking your front wheel, doing 1000 emergency stops, stoppies & not sitting on your seat for an hour at a time could be so much fun. Picked up so many skills transferable to ADV riding, highly recommended!:freaky

    http://www.academyofoffroadriding.com.au/
    #7
  8. gsd4me

    gsd4me 90% bluff Supporter

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    I did a BMW Xchallenge course at Dargle; it was run my Stay Upright. Dargle is a good location, but not as good a the 4WD proving ground in Werribee.
    #8
  9. Canary

    Canary Long timer

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    Thanks peoples. :D

    Not sure if that is the same course as the original poster did though as it is titled trail bikes. :hmmmmm

    I originally did an absolute beginner to dirt riding course at Hoppers Crossing which was held in a paddock and had a ball. I was contacted for apparently the "next" level which turned out to be more suitable for people that had at the least ridden trail bikes before, which I was not one of with pretty much no instruction, just follow the leader. :eek1 All of the other participants except for one were on full on dirt bikes and had been riding dirt for years and capable of sliding around corners etc.

    Anyway that is ancient history :D, but would be interested to see the interpretation of adventure riding suitable on DR650 type bikes and riding forestry roads not gnarly single trail, to trail bike suitable on full on dirt bikes. :ear

    Not available on the 24th though as hope to be on another trip on the bike. :nod
    #9
  10. technogeekery

    technogeekery Adventurer

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    Canary, sounds like this course is exctly what you are after - give Stay Upright a call and ask them about what their intentions are for Vic. This is a fairly new offering from them, and they will be led by demand - so demand!
    #10
  11. Moyston

    Moyston oh oo too fast!

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    There is one in vic towards end of nov on a sunday at hoppers crossing.

    i sent an email while ago and herd from the organizer on the phone. He said this course is not for trail bike riders, it is for people who have the adventure type bikes and the instructor teaches all about body possie, standing up and slow riding etc..

    there are no jumps and its not done an mx style track..mostly out on a grassy field...also includes setting up the bike with clutch and brake controls and were to set them etc

    very much thinking of doing it..starts at 9.00am
    #11
  12. Dirty3

    Dirty3 Just add sauce

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    I also have contacted them on this course. It sounds like it would suit me being a bit of a newbie to this type of bike and riding. Just got to see if i can cough up the dough to pay for it. Still places left.
    #12
  13. Moyston

    Moyston oh oo too fast!

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    not sure but ill give em a shout to see if they are available in next few days
    #13
  14. Baiazid

    Baiazid Been here awhile

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    I've done offroad course @ dargle farm and 2 @ corser motorcycle school in Albion Park.

    They are different:

    Corser Concept: you practice on their bikes, ~TTR150. Super fun there.

    StayUpright: you practice on heavy bike (yours). Good course as well.

    For a n00b I will start with Corser then StayUpright
    #14
  15. itsgunnahurt

    itsgunnahurt Gravity Enhanced!

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  16. Kimi

    Kimi Been here awhile

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    So who's going to this Stay Upright course ?

    Can you please let us know what it was like ?

    I can't get to this one on the weekend but want to do one of their courses.

    thanks in advance

    K
    #16
  17. Moyston

    Moyston oh oo too fast!

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    Just on that...i rang and left a message..didnt hear...so then i rang and left another message....then they rang me the next day and took down my email and said..ill send the info right away...didnt get it. i waited and waited..then i rang again the following day and left a message saying my email address again just n case it was wrong, phone number etc...nothing...i then rang and left another message...nothing....i then thought...fuk u...not worth it.
    #17
  18. itsgunnahurt

    itsgunnahurt Gravity Enhanced!

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    Ah I see touratech aus is still running their same business model.shame really, they have some good products (both TT and safari tanks) but not a clue as how to run a business and keep paying customers happy.
    #18
  19. Fulldeck

    Fulldeck noob

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    Hi Kimi,

    My mate and I are booked in for the Stay Upright Course this Sunday (24/11). We are both old :gergfarts (+50) on DR650's set up for dirt more so than road.
    Hopefully there wont be too much of this :muuttand plenty of this :D:D
    I'll happily provide some feedback regarding the course content.

    Cheers
    #19
  20. Kimi

    Kimi Been here awhile

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    We are old farts too (50 + ) hubby and wifey riders, old Tenere for him, old BMW 650 for me, we have a family wedding in Gippsland to attend on the Saturday so will be caging it over from SA and will be probably suffering from (slight) alcoholic poisoning :1drink and in no state to ride 2 wheels on the Sunday.

    I hope you have a great time and its worth your effort and $$'s
    Look forward to your "review" :clap
    Kim





    #20