I’ve done quite a bit of PLP, or Parking Lot Practice, in my time. I did more as a new rider than I do now. It’s not that routine PLP wouldn’t continue to improve my skills. But as with most endeavors, it’s the recent convert who has the most zeal. I dropped my bikes several times in the first year. fewer in the second year, and no drops in the last several years. While I still realize in my head that I need practice, the lack of drops makes me less aware of that necessity in my gut.
I can handle my bike fairly well and have little trouble getting into or out of tight places. But lest I get too proud of myself, somebody posted a video online of a Police Motorcycle Rodeo held in Grand Prairie, Texas. The video identifies the contestant as Donnie Williams. Officer Williams takes his big Police Harley Davidson motorcycle around a course I’m not sure I could walk through with out knocking over cones. And he does it with rapid assurance. There are no timid starts, no uncertain wobbles. Just complete control of a large, powerful machine.
It would be tempting to think I’m watching a video special effect. But checking into it, I find these contests between police motorcycle officers is common, and while Officer Williams is at the top of his game, there are many other skilled police riders nipping at his heals. And to me, that is amazing. Apparently this level of almost superhuman skill is simply required of motor officers. I’ll tip my hat or helmet to any rider with those skills, police or civilian.
The skills demonstrated in these contests are far more impressive to me than the wheelies, stoppies and drifting I see from some in the sport bike crowd. They require far finer control of a larger machine, performing in the worst end of its operating envelope. These skills also come from real-world maneuvering conditions, and have practical application to safe riding.
Yep. It’s time for me to get in a little PLP.
－ Guy Wheatley