Any thoughts about including Sidecar/Trike training at next years National Rally?
The last (and I think only) time we tried a sidecar course was at the Redmond rally many years ago. I'd like to think it was partially successful, although due to the time constraints the course was truncated a bit.
One of the big problems with offering a sidecar/trike course is that the history of training within the MOA has been almost exclusively MSF curricula, and the MSF has until recently been antagonistic against three wheelers. So, it would take some convincing of those now managing The Foundation to think about alternative courses.
Over the years I've pondered the offering of training at a rally. My conclusion is that the majority of rally attendees are there to socialize, kick tires, sip some suds, peruse the vendors, etc. Essentially, an MOA International is three days. So a one-day course takes up a third of the rally. That may be why a relatively small percentage of rally-goers register for training courses.
Whenever I have been involved in presenting a formal sidecar course at a rally, it has always been touch and go getting enough people registered to make it viable. People say they want a course--until they find out it's going to cost money and time. That's not to say it can't be done, but the numbers aren't in our favor. Remember, it was only this year we finally got a sidecar/trike forum.
What we have done over the past several years is offer one or two sidecar seminars--intended as a way to introduce potential sidecarists to the game. But we've always had some intense interest by experienced hackers wanting questions to be addressed. At the 2010 rally in Redmond, Jay Giese od DMC did a fine job of explaining sidecars, and I also did a separate seminar. Seminars don't cost much to produce, and don't require any advance registration. So, seminars are very do-able.
Perhaps there should be a seminar involving skills, with an accompanying demonstration ride--but not including participants actually practicing skills, which would involve liability, certified instructors, etc. Or, maybe we should be thinking of a short, informal course (2-3 hrs) like the ones Ramey Stroud did for Camp GEARS this year, with participants doing a bit of riding--after signing waivers..
Note that the original Sidecar course was designed to be taught as either a two-day novice course, or a one-day advanced course. The current Sidecar/Trike Education Program is (I believe) offered in both versions. Still, the minimum would be an 8-hour course, with a certified instructor, for a fee. It's possible that the Motorcycle Safety League of Virginia, Inc. could be talked into doing a remote Advanced S/TEP in PA. They have a trailer that not only transports outfits, but serves as a mobile classroom. The guy in the know would be Cundiff Simmons. He's not a BMW owner, but is certainly a three-wheeler enthusiast and S/TEP certified chief instructor.
If anyone would like this to go forward, I suggest you talk with Eric Simon of the MOA Foundation, Ray Zimmerman (MOA exec Director), or e-mail the MOA Board of Directors; Board@bmwmoa.org.