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Since 1999, the #1 Motorcycling Magazine for Women and the Men Who Ride with Them









REVIEW: Ride Like A Pro IV DVD

Will it really help you ride better?

By Genevieve Schmitt
7/6/2006

When I first received the DVD of Ride Like A Pro IV, I wondered how I could learn to ride a motorcycle better from watching a DVD. Don't I have to be on the bike watching, then practicing the maneuver right after I see it? I'm used to instructional videos, like exercise tapes where you work out along with the video while watching it on TV. You can't ride a motorcycle and watch a TV at the same time.

However, I was very interested, nonetheless to see what Ride Like A Pro was all about particularly because the series of DVDs is now in its fourth edition. I figured the company producing the videos must be doing something right. Indeed it is!

Ride Like A Pro IV teaches riding exercises designed to improve one's control of a motorcycle. When you're in control, you have confidence, and with confidence comes improved skill.

Shot of DVD cover: Jerry and Maryanne show it's done.
Shot of DVD cover: Jerry and Maryanne show it's done.

Most every rider can use a little more improvement on their riding skills. If you don't feel like taking an advanced riding class, then this is the next best thing.

The riding exercises on the DVD are easy to learn. Through a series of these performed in a parking lot using cones to outline the courses, you will learn the "look where you want to go" technique, how to overcome the fear of leaning the bike in slow speeds, how to make tight U-turns, the concept of countersteering, controlled braking, starting on a hill, proper use of the friction zone, turning from a stop, and a whole lot more. The key to mastering these exercises is practice, practice, practice -- something repeated over and over in the DVD.

Circle of trust: this drill shows how four riders (on big bikes no less) can ride in a tight circle if the riders do what they're supposed to do.
Circle of trust: this drill shows how four riders (on big bikes no less) can ride in a tight circle if the riders do what they're supposed to do.

The riding coach is Jerry Palladino, otherwise known as "Motorman" because of his years working as a motorcycle police officer. He's the personality and expert rider behind the making of the Ride Like A Pro DVDs. He's a likable guy, very knowlegdable, has good camera presence and speaks articulately even with his thick New York accent -- "mota-cycle" -- which endeared me to him even more.

This fourth iteration of Ride Like A Pro is the best yet, I'm told, (I never saw the other versions) because it encompasses all the best parts of the previous versions and goes one step further by adding a balance of male and female riders to demostrate the exercises. Using women allowed the producers to eliminate the women's version of the from the series. Good thing. I don't see how riding exercises differentiate between gender.

Donna making a tight U-turn using the "look where you want to go" technique.
Donna making a tight U-turn using the "look where you want to go" technique.

With that said, there is a section at the beginning where Jerry talks about the importance of a bike fitting its rider. He uses a woman rider in his demonstration. Also, throughout the entire video, expert rider Maryanne shows how these exercises are performed on her bright yellow Harley-Davidson Screamin' Eagle Electra Glide. What a pleasure watching a woman breeze through these sometimes difficult maneuvers on such a big bike. Jerry's wife, Donna, on her Harley-Davidson Road King, is also a highly proficient rider; she, too, takes turns showing the right way to ride through the series of cones that make up a particular exercise.

Jerry takes his turn on his own Road King showing how it's done, as do a few beginner riders on various other bikes. Sometimes these novices make beginner mistakes which Jerry points out helping viewers understand what not to do.

Christina, one of the riders in the DVD, practices slow cone maneuvering.
Christina, one of the riders in the DVD, practices slow cone maneuvering.

A variety of motorcycles are used -- from sportbikes to cruisers -- to demonstrate the exercises. Jerry wants riders to know that any style of bike, even those with the long wheelbases like the Honda Rune, can maneuver through the often tight spaces between the cones if ridden correctly.

Near the end of the DVD is a section where Jerry demonstrates the skills needed to past most states' motorcycle licensing tests. He runs through the various exercises riders are required to execute proficiently to pass the motorcycle riding test. In addition, he shows how to master the tough motor officer course, the skills motorcycle policemen must pass before heading out the road. This is for riders who want to take their skills to the next level.

After watching the 1-hour 50-minute DVD, I felt like calling my riding buddy, getting on our motorcycles, and cruising over to our local high school parking lot to practice these maneuvers. If you're serious about improving your riding skills, buy this DVD. The $34.95 is well worth the price. Grab a notepad while watching the DVD so you can jot down the layout of the courses. Jerry explains how to do it. Then buy some small traffic cones (available at places like Wal-Mart) or Jerry says you can use tennis balls cut in half, head out to a parking lot and have some fun.

Tony on a Honda VTX1800 shows even large wheelbase bikes can ride in a tight circle.
Tony on a Honda VTX1800 shows even large wheelbase bikes can ride in a tight circle.

Ride Like A Pro IV is a great purchase for motorcycle clubs that want to organize a day where members can gather to practice these riding exercises. Make a whole event out of it by bringing in lunch for the club.

For more information and to order, visit www.ridelikeapro.com, or call 866.868.RIDE.12

UPDATE 7/21/06: There is a printed brochure-style notecard that explains all the exercises that is supposed to accompany the DVD. Mine was missing. The Ride Like A Pro folks saw my review and realized I must not have received the exercise guide.

The guide has a description and diagram of all the exercises in the video so you know how to set up the cones on the range and what you're supposed to do. You can still take notes while watching the DVD, but you don't have to scramble to write down the layout of each exercise because that's all explained on this printed guide. Make sure you get one with your DVD.

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