Have you ever done a trackday on your motorcycle? How about a riding school? Wouldn’t it be awesome to combine both, in a fun and non-competitive environment?

I first met Reg and Gigi Pridmore in 2016, when I decided to take their one-day CLASS riding school at the Streets of Willow race track. Even though I was a 19-year street riding veteran and have ridden dozens of different motorcycles in my life—nowadays it can be several different models per week—I’d only ever been to one track day, so I’ll admit it, I was a little nervous.

You can read about my experience here.

Even though I had a wonderful time and had zero issues with overly competitive guys passing me too close (which was my main concern), I figured there must be tons of women out there who would love to attend the school on a day when it’s “no boys allowed,” surrounded by like-minded women who are also there to have fun and learn.

So I reached out to Gigi and asked if she and Reg would be interested in hosting a women-only CLASS. Of course she said yes.

CLASS motorcycle school
Some chose to trailer their bike to the track–wise, considering tech inspection was at 7:30 a.m.
CLASS motorcycle school
21-year-old Sienna has been riding for two years, and her dad encouraged her to take CLASS. Needless to say, she had a blast.

Wednesday, April 11, was the day, and as everyone settled into their chairs for the morning riders’ meeting I could definitely pick out the nervous ones—the ones who felt exactly the way I did. Words of reassurance from me, Reg and Gigi, and others who have taken the CLASS (two of the other women who were in my October 2016 CLASS had returned to do it again—that should tell you something) did little to assuage their fears, and I knew they would only get worse before they got better.

CLASS motorcycle school
In order to be able to use your bike at CLASS, it must have fresh tires and good brakes, and the mirrors and tail light must be taped up. Your first order of business is to sign in, the second is to report to tech inspection with your bike.

As usual, the class was split up into two groups: “A,” which was for those with plenty of track experience, CLASS or other track school experience, or those who just wanted to go faster than the “B” group. B was for everyone else—that was my group when I was a student.

The relaxed A’s headed out onto the track for slow warm-up laps, while the B’s nervously climbed on their bikes to follow Reg out to various locations trackside, where he could show them what the track looked like before they actually had to ride on it.

CLASS motorcycle school
The A group is salty and ready to go, as the instructors give each rider instruction on how the first session will proceed.
CLASS motorcycle school
Each instructor leads a group of two or three students around the track at an easy pace, showing them the best lines through each corner and allowing everyone to get familiar with the layout.
CLASS motorcycle school
As A group finishes, B group prepares for their first laps. Nerves are tight, so the instructors encourage laughter–remember, we’re here to have fun!

Just like at my CLASS, there were a variety of bike types, ages and experience levels in the B group. There was a Triumph Bonneville, a big Victory cruiser, numerous sporty bikes ranging from 390 to 1000cc and even a couple of BMW F 700 or 800 GS adventure bikes. The lady on the Victory confided that she was afraid she’d be going too slowly, and I reassured her that she’d be surprised, and anyway if anyone did want to go faster they’d just pass her when it was safe.

CLASS motorcycle school
Any street-legal bike is welcome at CLASS, so long as it’s yours! The whole purpose is to get you more familiar with your moto so you and it can work together as one.
CLASS motorcycle school
Brittany Morrow accelerates out of turn 13, with an instructor watching carefully behind her.
CLASS motorcycle school
From time to time, an instructor would signal for a rider to exit the track. There they would offer helpful feedback, after which they would both re-enter the track and the student would work on her technique under the instructor’s watchful eyes.

As the day went on, from my trackside view I could see everyone improving, even though they couldn’t tell from their seats. The photographer hired by CLASS made everyone’s photos available throughout the day, and more than once I overheard someone exclaim, “Wow, I guess I was improving,” as they flipped through their photos.

The best part of all, though, was watching a group of women riders pushing themselves in a safe environment, especially as they began to realize that no one was there to compete with them or make them feel small. We were all there to learn!

CLASS motorcycle school
During off-track time, I often watched as the students helped each other out with feedback and suggestions.
CLASS motorcycle school
Gigi demonstrates the importance of body positioning and looking through the corner.
CLASS motorcycle school
It may appear as though Gigi is simply watching the students lap the track, but in fact she is carefully looking for anyone who might benefit from some feedback or help.

I should point out, however, that what makes Reg and Gigi’s CLASS so special is that it’s like this all the time, not just on a women-only day. Their focus is on making you and your bike work together as one, so you’re a safer and smarter street rider. They aren’t teaching you how to race or improve your lap times. There are plenty of other schools for that.

If you’re interested in seeing what CLASS is all about, check out their website at classrides.com. PLUS, awesome news: if you’re a member of the Women’s Coalition of Motorcyclists (and for $12 a year, you totally should be), you are eligible to apply for a scholarship that pays for your day at CLASS!

CLASS motorcycle school


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