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Lowveld – Hone your skills at Sabie Valley Rider Academy


BUYING and owning a reasonably expensive digital camera does not make you a professional photographer. The same principle applies to many other areas of life – motorcycling being the subject of this article. Becoming a proficient, skilled and safe rider requires professional training and lots of riding.

Although there are always many teachers on hand, the advice may in fact not suit you as an individual rider. But then, there is Sabie Valley Rider Academy, an official motorcycle training facility for BMW Motorrad South Africa, which is fast becoming the ideal venue for off-road training and under instruction of the passionate and fully accredited Thomas Böhm.

Böhm said, “One of the most important things I learnt from the training in Germany, and a typically German thing, is that as an instructor, you have to do it right the first time or you will lose credibility with your students – particularly when you instruct the advanced courses. We offer Levels One, Three and the Advanced Course - the latter being quite a tough and demanding one, suited to those riders who want to emulate their serious adventure counterparts.

“I sold my two 650GSs in 2004 to upgrade to the Adventure GS and although it is a heavy bike, it is superb for what we do and teach. Important though, is to know that we teach the various courses, irrespective of the bike the student owns or rides,” he explained.

Böhm completed his accredited training in Germany in 2010 and has facilitated many local courses since then and said, “Every level course that we offer, adds value, skills and knowledge that will enable riders to not just explore their own abilities, but as they become more competent, they will also extract much more enjoyment from the technology at their disposal as well as their mobility to explore the outdoors.”

The Level One course offers riders an introduction into adventure riding focusing on skills like clutch and brake control, trail riding on gravel and slow-speed balancing, to name some skills. Level Two includes skills like jumping obstacles, sand riding, riding ruts and more. The Advanced Course, for already seriously competent riders, will teach you pivot turning, riding extreme up and down slopes, power sliding, spin turnings and complex off-camber riding.

Böhm described what is called, "The elephant-turn" technique, which he says, "Is as cool as it is practical." These courses are always well attended so booking is essential.

“I love the art of biking, and teaching it offers wonderful opportunities for interaction with a variety of people from all walks of life. Enabling and improving their riding skills and in a beautiful environment such as ours, is the cherry on top. Riding breaks all barriers,” explained Böhm.

Photo Source: Benno Stander and Rider Academy website

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Article written by Matthys Ferreira
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