Ride to Live January 14th 2017

I had the pleasure of taking the Ride to Live Class sponsored by the Hawthorne Police Department. I would consider myself an experienced rider. I am a former motorcycle road racer. I raced 600 Supersport, 600 Superstock, GTU and 250 GP. I competed in events sanctioned by, American Federation of Motorcyclist (AFM), Willow Springs Motorcycle Club (WSMC), Championship Cup Series (CCS) and American Motorcyclist Association ( AMA Pro Racing).

I retired from racing in 2004. A few months ago I started riding again for the first time in over ten years. I purchased a Harley Davidson Soft tail Heritage. I quickly realized this is not the race type bike I was used to. Another thing I was not used to was maneuvering this behemoth in close quarters. I saw a flyer for “Ride to Live” on the Hawthorne Police Department’s Facebook Page. I emailed Lieutenant Ti Goetz and expressed my interest in the class. Lucky for me there was a cancellation that allowed me to attend.


I arrived at the class location. There was “Ride to Live” sign on the street marking the class location. Pulling into the parking area, I was greeted with a cornucopia of motorcycles. There were cruisers, sport bikes & touring bikes of every shape and size. After I parked, I walked over to the registration area. I signed the waiver and provided the staff with my Class M1 License and proof of insurance. Upon completion of registration I grabbed some water and a doughnut that was provided for the students and staff.


Lt. Goetz explained the syllabus for the day. The initial setup for day was three courses or “pads”. Each pad was set up to teach a different aspect of close quarters maneuvering. The class was divided into three groups with each group reporting to a different pad.

Pad of Tears

My group reported to the pad dedicated to U-Turns. Our instructor gave a demonstration and then instruction. The first evolution was a 26 foot U-Turn. How hard could that be? I quickly found out. The student before me dropped his bike. Brimming with confidence, I attempted the maneuver. Clutch, check……Throttle, Check …. Look where you want to go, Oops didn’t turn my head around far enough….. I ran a bit wide. Before long Lt. Goetz had me doing U-Turns in 26, 22 and 19 foot circles.

The Rest of the Pads

The remainder of the morning consisted of evolutions on the other pads. Each pad built on the skills learned from the prior evolution.


We were treated to a catered Tri-Tip sandwich lunch with soda, water or ice tea. The lunch was served by the helpful staff of cadets.
Afternoon Evolutions
The afternoon evolutions dealt with

  • Emergency Braking
  • Emergency swerving
  • Real life U-Turn situations.


The Finale

The final evolution was an exercise in cornering. A course was set-up with a little of everything.

  • Increasing Radius Turns
  • Closing Radius Turns
  • Slow Speed Turns

The day ends

Everyone had a great time. My confidence with low speed turning has greatly increased. A great day of riding with lunch and drinks provided. I would recommend this class to anybody that rides. Executing just one of the skills learned in the class could save your life.
I would like to thank LT. Goetz his staff and the Hawthorne Police Department for hosting “Ride to Live”.

David Hawks
AMA 250 GP 155

Good afternoon Officer Ti!

Thank you again for the Ride to Live course training. It was extremely fun and wonderfully beneficial!

Your team was professional, entertaining, and exceedingly knowledgeable.

I really appreciate what you all are doing for the motorcycle community and I hope this continues to grow!
Please add me to the upcoming Canyon Ride if you can and any other upcoming events that you may have 

Thank you again!

Lt Goetz,

This is probably the wrong place to post this but hope that it is instructive to all my classmates. I'm the rider of the bat-outta-hell, floorboard scraping, black Victory Cross Country Tour in Ride To Live X.

Just 2 days after our class, I was commuting to work on the 210 westbound, splitting lanes as usual between the carpool and #1 lane. The sun is at my back at that hour so it makes rearview mirrors all but useless. Having gone without my commuter cup of coffee so I could ride, I'm trying to keep my head in the game, and sure enough a red Nissan 300Z decides he didn't want to be in the carpool lane anymore and started coming across the double yellow into the #1 lane. I saw him as soon as his front wheels started turning and slammed on the brakes. Now, riding on painted lines and Bott's Dots is not recommended in practice and emergency braking on them should be avoided at all costs. However, thanks to the skills practiced in the hard braking exercise, I knew I could trust the ABS to bring my speed down quickly and in a straight line. I was able to maneuver to the right into the #1 lane following the Z's bumper and came to a stop directly behind him with 6" to spare. 

I know that the skills taught and repetition of practice saved me from an expensive and likely painful incident. Regardless who is at fault, the rider always gets the short end of the stick.

Thank you again for such an excellent program.

Patriot Guard Rider Inland Empire