Rider Education

Jamuary 2018 Article

Posted: 01 Jan 2018 10:27 PM

Happy New Year!
We flipped the page of the calendar to January and, wham!  Winter was here!  The signs of winter are everywhere: frigid temperatures, snow flurries, freezing rain, and ice.  In winter we see the most accidents/spin outs when conditions include light snow, freezing rain and/or black ice.  When the road surface is icy, traction is greatly reduced so the best thing to do is to stay home – if you can.  If you must drive in icy conditions, slow down and, similar to riding in the rain, be smooth with braking or acceleration.
When we lose traction, we lose the braking and steering control of our vehicle.  Even with four tires on the ground and ABS, it is easy to lose control of a vehicle on ice. To increase traction in icy conditions, look for “roughed” surfaces – perhaps an unplowed or unpaved gravel shoulder or snow that may be present where tires haven’t packed it down. Almost any surface provides better traction than ice!  If you find yourself in such a situation, try to move your vehicle smoothly onto the other surface.
Keep in mind that accelerating, braking and steering should all be done smoothly to maintain traction and control of your vehicle. Use a light touch on the accelerator.  With the limited traction available on ice, stepping on the gas will cause the tires to spin. Give yourself plenty of time and slow down before entering curves.
Increase your following distance behind other cars to allow for additional stopping time and distance.  You will need it when ice or snow on the ground limits your traction. The additional space will also give you a cushion if the vehicle in front of you loses control and spins out.  That space can, hopefully, provide enough room to maneuver and time to react to avoid a collision.  Also, stay alert for other drivers who might lose control.  Think about your best escape route or your how you would react to various situations that might arise. Be mindful of your options.
If, like me, you have a new vehicle, it’s important to see and feel how it reacts when you are traveling at low speed and step on the brake or turn the wheel. By learning how it behaves, you are better prepared to take the right action in a surprise situation on the road.  And remember, it’s all about the traction!
Joy & Scott Mattson
MN District Educators

December Article

Posted: 30 Nov 2017 07:56 PM

Season’s Greeting and Happy Holidays!

The bikes are put away for Scott and me.  But, we did have to make room for a new car – couldn’t have either one sitting outside all the time so we had to make room.  That meant it was time to put the bikes away for the season.  Scott’s just waiting for the snow to fly now so he can get out on his other set of handlebars! 

I know there are still a lot of riders out there due to the mild temperatures we’ve been experiencing so far.  We’ve seen many, many bikes in our recent weekend travels.  Please use extra caution as motorists aren’t used to seeing motorcycles out there at this time of the year.  Plus, the road surface is cold and not the best for the grip of motorcycle tires.

Scott and I wish you all a Joyous Holiday Season.  May all your dreams come true and may there be all motorcycle related items you wish for under your tree!  Be safe out there!

Joy & Scott Mattson
MN District Educators


November Article

Posted: 01 Nov 2017 06:18 PM

I’M ON A MISSION!!  If you’re a Level IV, and have been for 5, 10 or 15 years, I want to talk to you!  I’m trying to upgrade the Masters to their appropriate level based on years of continuous certifications in Medic First Aid; Experienced Rider Courses; and Safe Miles.  I’ve already reached out to many of you, but I know there are still a few I’m missing.

Within the Rider Education Program (REP) is a program called the Levels Program (AKA Safe Miles).  There are four steps to this program, each requiring a higher level of commitment.  The Levels are explained below.

Level I – Safety by Commitment
  This is a basic commitment of the Rider and/or the Co-Rider to practice safe motorcycling
whenever and where ever they ride.  Though there is no mileage requirement to enter Level I,
the commitment to safe riding is tracked by the number of accident free miles since joining
GWRRA. Accident free miles are accumulated in 5,000 mile increments and may be updated
annually.  There is no cost for this level unless you want patches or pins.

Level II – Safety by Education
  Now we’re getting into a commitment.  You’ve already committed to riding safely.  This takes it
one step up the ladder by taking an approved rider course at regular intervals – one every three
years.  You’ll also need to have accrued 5,000 safe miles since joining GWRRA.  Again, there is
no cost for this level unless you want patches or pins.

Level III – Safety by Preparedness
  Another step up the ladder you go.  You committed to riding safely; you’ve taken your
approved rider course; you’ve got your 5,000 safe miles.  This next step will help prepare you for the possibility of rendering aid in the event of an accident.  It’s time for a Medic First Aid course (First Aid/CPR/AED) and agreeing to carry a first aid kit on your bike.  And guess what?  There’s still no cost to get to this level unless you want patches or pins!

Level IV – Safety by Enhanced Commitment and Preparedness.
  One final step up the ladder.  This is the most prestigious level and is referred to as the
“Master” level.  This is for those that have the highest commitment to safe riding and
preparedness.  There is a $35.00 fee per person for this Level and includes the triangle patch with your individual Master Number embroidered on it.  The requirements for this level are:
Being current in Level III for one year
25,000 safe miles
Riding with ATGATT (All the Gear; All the time)

Now, it is realized that this level is not for everyone – but for those individuals that want to be all they can, Level IV is a worthy goal. 

I would love to see all Members at a Level I minimum and participating in the Levels Program.  It’s a great program.  If you’re interested in participating, please feel free to contact me.  My contact information is below.

Wishing you all a safe and Happy Turkey Day!!

Joy & Scott Mattson - MN District Educators - jsmattson@usfamily.net

October Article

Posted: 02 Oct 2017 08:10 PM

GWRRA Rider Education 10/2017

It’s October and things are starting to slow down a little bit.  The leaves are starting to change but the temperatures didn’t seem to realize that it was September!  It was unusually hot for the last half of September. 

High temperatures are a segway into my topic for this month; Hydration.  Now, I’m sure most of us realize and understand that up to 60% of the human body is made up of water.  That in itself should explain the high need for hydration.  Even when the temperatures are normal or lower than normal, the body still needs to be hydrated.  Some more noticeable signs of dehydration are:
  Increased thirst; dry mouth; feeling tired/sleepy/confused; decreased/dark urine output;   headache/muscle cramps; dry skin; dizziness

Good sources of hydration include:
  Gatorade/Powderade/Propel (aka Sports Drinks)
  A half & half combination of water and sport drink
Note to self……BAI is NOT a good source of hydration.  It may taste good, but it doesn’t do for you what water can do. 

We were in Illinois Mid-September (the weekend of the WI District Rally) and I was participating in the ALS Walk for Life in downtown Chicago.  Some of you may know that I lost my oldest brother to this horrible disease so this is something personal that I do with his kids and grandkids who all live in Chicago suburbs.  The temperature at start time was 88 degrees and still climbing so, needless to say, it was HOT!!   And later that afternoon, my 13 year old Nephew was playing in a football game.

I know I didn’t drink nearly enough water and neither did the rest in our group.  Towards the end of the walk, my legs started to cramp.  I knew I needed water so I grabbed one of the last bottles of water from the cooler and drank all of it which, thankfully, relieved my leg cramps and allowed me to finish.

Now, remember that 13 year old Nephew that was going to be playing football in a couple of hours?  Well, on the way home, he said he had a headache.  His mom and I, in unison, told him to drink a bottle of water then relax and cool off – maybe even take a nap (it took over an hour to get close enough to home to have lunch).  He did as was told and, I’m happy to brag, did very well at his football game!  His coach required water breaks every 15 minutes during his game.

Of course, when we came home that Monday, it was about 25 degrees colder, cloudy and raining.  But the difference in the leaves between going down Friday and coming back Monday was simply amazing.  I’m afraid we’re in for an early and long winter season.  That will make Scott happy having that second set of handlebars!

Till next time, stay hydrated and stay safe!

Joy & Scott Mattson

MN District Educators

August Article

Posted: 03 Jul 2017 08:25 PM

I just returned from a necessary trip to Arizona…..in July…during the heat of the summer and, not to forget, monsoon season!  For those that believe it’s better than Minnesota because it’s a “dry heat”; let me just say When it’s hot, it’s hot.  BUT, the interesting part is that, during monsoon season, there’s humidity in Arizona, too!  On the one day I was able to watch the news, it was reported that the dew point was 69 degrees!  No wonder it felt muggy – it was!  It was one of those trips where you couldn’t get enough water.  It felt like the heat just sucked the moisture out of your body as quickly as you could drink it.  That wasn’t really true, but it sure felt like it.  The moral of this paragraph…..stay hydrated!

When I returned from Arizona, I went from one extreme to the other.  The morning after I returned, the weather was a cool 50 something degrees and rainy.  You know, that didn’t bother me at all!  I kind of enjoyed it after the triple digit highs in Arizona.  From a climate where you couldn’t wear a jacket to home where the jacket was comfy!

August brings the Region Rally – this year in Williamsburg, Iowa.  Our Region Educator, Greg Hayes, is presenting a Road Captain Course.  We were able to present one at the MN District Rally last month and had a good turnout.  After our classroom session, we had 9 two wheelers and 5 trikes that did the riding portion of the seminar.  Congratulations to all on completing the course.  We do have completion cards and they will be mailed to you……as soon as I find them again!

That’s about it for now.  Stay cool; stay warm – whatever the weather predicates!  But always stay hydrated!

Till next time.

Joy Mattson
MN District Educator