Conestoga news

March 21, 2014 1:22 PM

A family of riders

Brittany Bell has always had a passion for motorcycle riding. When she’s not busy catering weddings , parties and other special events for her family business Bellzy’s Catering, or working in her other job at John Bear GMC Dealership, she can often be found riding her 2008 Suzuki GSX-R 600. Brittany turned to Conestoga’s Motorcycle Driver Training program to help build the skills and techniques that would improve her riding experience and keep her safe as she pursued her favourite hobby, whether she was off on an adventure to Grand Bend, or just travelling around town.

She sat down with us recently to discuss her experience with the program and describe how it improved her riding skills.

Could you describe what initially led you to Conestoga, and what inspired you to further your Motorcycle riding education through Conestoga?

Growing up with a family of riders, I’ve always been mindful of the importance of proper training to ensure a safer riding experience. Not only was I looking at improving my riding skills for a full-riding experience, I also wanted to get my M2 licence. In addition, having a Canada Safety Council-approved rider training course under my belt could help to reduce my insurance costs. It was important to me to take a course through a reputable source at a fair price so when my uncle explained he was “very impressed” by Conestoga’s Motorcycle Driver Training course he had taken a few years ago, I decided to give it shot.

What would you describe as some of the strengths you found in the course?

Conestoga has a large open area to conduct the riding course. As a result, I wasn’t distracted by other motorists and could focus on building and reinforcing my riding skills. Our instructor had years of riding experience and was committed to ensuring that each one of us was comfortable with the exercises. He created an environment where I felt comfortable practicing, making mistakes and trying again. It was apparent that our instructor had lots of riding experience because he offered helpful tips and suggestions that came from real-life experiences. I truly went from being a basic to an intermediate rider with this course. It was also pretty cool to have brand new bikes to practice on!

What’s been your best experience at Conestoga to date?

Our course instructors made me feel welcome and really set the stage for a fun weekend that I was looking forward to. The other people taking the course were friendly, and because we were all there for the same reason, it was easy to share stories and make new contacts.

Was it important for it to be a Canada Safety Council (CSC)-approved program?

This was important to me because if I was going to spend my weekend training I wanted it to be a quality experience. The key comfort was taking a program at a public college that uses the most widely recognized curriculum from the CSC, thus ensuring a quality program.

How has your experience at Conestoga benefited your approach to safe riding?

Overall, it has reminded and instilled in me the importance of always being aware of my surroundings, to be mindful of the other drivers on the road and to expect the unexpected at all times. More specifically, I had an experience after I took the course that had an impact on my appreciation for the different skills I learned. I was approaching a red light and my motorcycle started to skid. Instead of panicking and the scenario turning ugly, I used the techniques that I learned in the motorcycle training course and I was able to successfully come to a complete stop. This experience confirmed yet again why investing the time to get proper motorcycle training is so important.

How did the program prepare you for the licencing test at the end of your course?

I would have never been able to do the test if it weren’t for the awesome instruction. The instructors made me feel like they were doing everything they could to ensure I was confident in the exercises to successfully complete the test. Fun obstacles were set up to practice on throughout the weekend, giving me lots of opportunity to practice and feel good about the M2 test. If I had a question or was having difficulty, the instructor was very accessible. The groups weren’t large (1 instructor per 5 students), so if you needed help the instructor could work with you one-on-one.

If you could share advice with others considering taking this course, what would it be?

Those of us that ride recognize that it’s a passion, an adventurous thrill that we look forward to every spring. It’s a fun course that can be completed in just one weekend that will equip you with additional skills and techniques that will improve your riding experience. Even if you think there isn’t any more you could learn, the experienced instructors at Conestoga will highlight specific scenarios that stick with you and could help you down the road.

Will you return to do the M2 exit with us to get your full M license?

Yes, I intend to come back to Conestoga College to take my M2 Exit course because I’ve heard nothing but good things about it. The refresher would be helpful and it makes for a great weekend of riding. I’m also looking forward to the on-road training with my own bike.