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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!