We live in the era of the ‘personal.’ Personal fitness instructors, personal chefs, personal coaches. Little surprise then that we now have personal motorcycle riding instructors.
At least we do in British Columbia, where Noah Nitikman and Desmond Rodenbour – together they form High Gear Motorcycle Training – will come to your home (or work, school or even your favourite coffee shop) to teach you how to ride a motorcycle.
While traditional motorcycle instruction has always involved large groups and just a few instructors, Nitikman and Rodenbour will provide one-one-one riding instruction, both theoretical and practical, for both novice and advanced motorcyclists. And like all “personal” coaches, they work to your schedule, offering sessions as short as 15 minutes – for the theoretical portion of the instruction – to all-day instruction, all specifically tailored to fit into your schedule and timetable. Want to convene at your favourite Starbucks? No problem, says Nitikman, noting that in their five years of personal instruction, they have yet to fail to find a timetable and location that was convenient to their clients, even offering organic snacks and beverages – it is, after all, British Columbia.
Nor do they fail in providing proper instruction, Nitikman claiming that 98 per cent of their clients pass the ICBC (that’s the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, for those not living on the Left Coast) riding test. That includes their oldest client — Nitikman bursts with pride — an 83-year-old with absolutely no previous riding experience that took weekly one-hour courses over a two-year period before piloting his Honda Shadow 750 through the test (and, yes, I know you’re wondering, he’s been riding safely ever since).
Part of that success is no doubt part of High Gear’s personal service. Nitikman or Rodenbour will accompany you to the test for last-minute tips if requested. They will even help you book the test. You can borrow one of their fleet of motorcycles – ranging from a Honda CBR125 tiddler to a high-tech Zero S electric bike – for the evaluation at no extra charge. They will even help you shop for riding gear – they claim to be able to squeeze up to a 15 per cent discount from local retailers – and a used bike if you are unfamiliar with the mechanicals. There are even advanced programs ranging for those moving up from their first bike to a larger displacement machine (called the Confidence Building program) to those returning to the sport after a long lay off (appropriately named the Rusty Rider course).
High Gear charges $125 per hour for its personal service and though the service varies widely from client to client, Nitikman says that typical students need between eight and 25 hours of instruction to be able to confidently pass their licensing test, with 12 hours being the mean. That’s not cheap, but then personalized instruction never is. We recommend High Gear for those looking for safe entry into motorcycling.