Q & A with Robert Jack from Humber Motorcycle Training

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After a successful turn out for our New Rider's Q&A meet up at Town Moto this February, we thought it would be good to have Robert Jack, an instructor from The Humber Colleg Motorcycle Training Course answer a few of the re-occurring questions we heard that night here on the blog.

Meet Robert Jack, he's a instructor from Humber Motorcycle training, and has been showing up to our Ride-Ins and Tech Nights for about a year now - chatting with riders, answering questions and providing plenty of info to both new & seasoned riders about the training courses offered by Humber College. This post will focus on New Riders, but you can check out their website to find out more information about the other courses they offer outside your basic M1 & M2 exit courses - including basic & advance motorcycle maintenance courses.

So without further ado, here's what we asked Robert on behalf of the new riders out there in Ontario. Hope this helps! And feel free to email Humber College with any other course related questions, or contact us here at Town Moto ([email protected]) with any gear related questions, or help on getting you set for the course!  

Town Moto: What is your role with Humber's Riding School?

Robert: I have been an Instructor (coach and cheerleader) with Humber Motorcycle Rider Training for the past few years, and have been riding since…way too long ago. Ever since I took a Learn to Ride course I have wanted to teach others how to get started riding, to ride safely, and improve their riding skills.  

Town Moto: What is the goal of Humber's Riding School and why should an aspiring motorcyclist take the course the M2 Course?

Robert: Since 1982, the goal of Humber’s Motorcycle Rider Training program has always been to prepare new and existing riders with the skills, knowledge, and coaching on how to become a safe motorcycle rider. Motorcycling is a skill. When you are out on the street you want to be able to rely on those skills to keep you out of, and avoid trouble.

Humber’s Learn to Ride course uses a consistent and proven method of training that builds the riding skills needed for success in a progressive manner. All of the Instructors are certified for the Canada Safety Council’s “Gearing Up” program.

The course includes the M1 Skills test (M.O.S.T.), on-site, to upgrade your M1 Permit to an M2 Licence, so the Instructors that have been teaching you throughout the course will also be there for your testing in a familiar environment.

At the end of the course you’ll have a new set of skills, and if you are successful at the skills test you’ll receive a Canada Safety Council “Gearing-Up” certificate that could provide savings on insurance.  

Town Moto: How soon do the M2 courses get booked & what are the busiest times?

Robert: The busiest time is in the spring - Spring (riding) fever - the first few months of the riding season. Our courses on the weekend start up the first week in April and run right through to October. Whenever the weather starts get nice, and the snow banks start to melt people start to think about riding. There is also a Weekday Learn to Ride course option for those that are not able to make it on a weekend. The course runs Tuesday through Thursday and covers the exact same lessons and skills.  

Town Moto: What bikes are available for attendees to try at the course?

Robert: We have a consistent fleet at both of our locations because they are great to learn on and the skills that you learn are transferable to any motorcycle. For the Learn to Ride course, Humber uses a fleet of Honda CBR 125s. They are lightweight, easy to maneuver, nimble (great for taking the test), powerful brakes, and have enough get up and go to have fun. The benefit of having all the motorcycles the same is that if one of the bikes needs to be sidelined then the student can get a replacement without having to deal with the dynamics of a different bike - they spend the most time learning the skills, not the personality of a different motorcycle.  

Town Moto: What gear do attendees need to bring for the course? What are common examples of insufficient coverage or safety gear?

Robert: For the Learn to Ride course (Basic) Humber supplies the motorcycle. Because the focus of the course in on safety every student needs to supply their own riding gear. We like to work with the folks at Town Moto as they can help you get the proper gear, but as a guide you’ll need:

  • Proper fitting DOT/Snell approved helmet – it can be full-face or open face
  • Jacket – a jacket specifically designed for motorcycling is ideal, but sturdy leather jacket, or minimum, a denim jacket will also work
  • Gloves – leather or leather palm that covers the wrist
  • Pants – sturdy denim jeans are good, no rips or tears
  • Boots – have to cover the ankle bone, riding boots or sturdy boots with a bit of a heel (not too much)
  • Eye protection – recommended, but not required.

You want to protect what you’ve got…so, no exposed skin is a good guideline. Although it is not part of ‘the gear’ we stress to students taking the course to bring water, lots of it…and not just when it’s warm out. You want to stay hydrated.

TM Side note: if you haven't already checked it out, take a look at our 'Affordable Gear for New Riders' blog post - where we outfit both men/women riders with gear that holds up in both the style and safety department.  

Town Moto: What is your advice for someone who may feel nervous?

Robert: There could be a number of reasons why someone might feel nervous, all unique to that student, and everyone will learn differently. Instructors not only use a proven and consistent method of training, but provide the coaching needed to each student to build up that skill level. Not only will someone gain new riding skills, but we help everyone taking the course to build their confidence in those skills.

One of the biggest benefits, and why a lot of people get into the sport, is the feeling that you get from the experience of riding. Learning the skills and techniques to safely enjoy riding is an investment in you …and it can be incredibly fun!  

Town Moto: What happens if you don't pass the M2 test at the end of the course?

Robert: Just saying “test” causes some people to get nervous. They have the skills, but they may need a second opportunity at the test. Humber does offer a Retest option for those that need another try at the M1 Skills test (M.O.S.T.). The Retest that we offer, in a subsequent week, includes additional coaching and some practice time to work on the skills that will be needed. For the Retest, the same thing applies, Proper Riding gear is required and we supply the motorcycles.  

Town Moto: Do you need any experience before arriving day 1, is there anything you suggest an attendee do to prepare?

Robert: No experience required. Desire and passion is always good to bring along. If you have some experience riding a bicycle then you are already ahead of the game. We start everyone from the basics for a good foundation of skills and progressively add to those skills over the weekend. You’ll also need to have your M1 permit (written test from the MTO) when you take the course.  

Town Moto: Is there anything you wish you could tell attendees before they sign up, or before they arrive?

Robert: Bring realistic expectations. It will take time and practice to become more proficient with any new skill. Being prepared also applies to the weather. The course runs rain or shine. TM Side note: check out the rain gear section of the store  for some good rain gear options if your weekend happens to call for rain. Take it from us - riding a full day in wet gear ain't fun.  

Town Moto:What about a motorcyclist that is due to take their M2, why do you believe in investing in a course (instead of the ministry test)?

Robert: You’re right; it is an investment…an investment in yourself. Being prepared with the proper skills and techniques by taking a course not only prepares you for the test (included in the course), but it can prepare you for riding on the street. If you take a Canada Safety Council approved course, like what Humber offers, you could also save on insurance. Never a bad thing.

Thanks so much to Robert Jack and Humber Motorcycle Training for taking the time to answer all of our questions!

For anyone looking to take a Humber Motorcycle Training Course, here is some additional information for you:

How do I register for the course?

To get some additional information and/or register for the course you can do so on their website or call 416-675-5005.

When does the Humber course run? How far in advance do I need to book?

The Humber Learn to Ride (M1 to M2) program runs every weekend from April 2 through to the end of October. Naturally, when we start to get the nicer weather everyone wants to get out and ride...Spring Fever. To get the dates that work best for your schedule, registering (call the number above or sign up online) with as much notice as possible is good. That being said, there could be availabilities closer, so call and inquire.

Where does the course run? What locations? How long is the course?

Humber Motorcycle Training has 2 locations in the GTA. The Humber College north campus (205 Humber College Blvd.) is located north of Woodbine race track in the Highway 27 and Finch area. The Mississauga location is run at the Hershey Centre (5500 Rose Cherry Place) in the Matheson Rd. and Hwy. 403 (between Dixie Rd. and Hurontario Rd.) area.

Does Humber have other motorcycle courses?

Humber Motorcycle Rider Training also has an M2 Exit course for those that are ready to upgrade their M2 licence to the full-class M licence. We also have a Basic and Advanced Motorcycle Maintenance course for those that want to get an understanding on how to maintain their motorcycle.

What should I know about insurance?

In order to get the best rate that is affordable to you, your best bet is to call around and get quotes from a number of companies.   There are a lot of factors that go into determining the cost of your insurance, like:

  • Type of motorcycle (sport bike, cruiser, etc.)
  • Engine displacement (size) – the bigger the engine the more expensive it can be
  • How long you’ve been riding – graduates of Humber’s motorcycle training course can qualify for discounts, which can be significant. Discounts vary by insurer.
  • Driving record – any infractions in the past 3-6 years
  • Where you live
  • Do you already have insurance with that company, i.e. home, auto to get a multi-policy discount