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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Another Tick Off The Bucket List

So anyway... I decided years ago that I wanted to learn to ride a motorcycle.  So I got a motorcycle and this weekend, after years of dealing with my frozen shoulders and worries I could not pick up a bike I had to lay down, I too the Harley Davidson Rider's Edge class.  I have never before in my life ridden a motorcycle.  So this was like teaching a dog to rake the yard. Yeah, I'd seen leaves, rolled in them, but I'd never gotten them into bags for the compost.

Class started Thursday night and we had a full compliment of folks, six female, six male, ages were all over the map as were socio-economic factors.  A true Liberal's dream of unity through diversity kinda thing.  Too bad none of them were in the class to see how something like that actually works without federally mandated quotas.  We spent a lot of time in the dealership looking at their phat lewts.  No, other than paying for the class I desperately need, I still refuse to spend one penny in any HD store because of one salesman and his inability to recognize the fact that a woman just might want to buy a motorcycle and not want to ride bitch.

We spent the first two nights and Saturday morning learning the rules for riding a bike and how to handle situations, blah blah blah.  I took the written exam and managed to pass it.  I know, it surprised all who know me.  So after a lunch break, we show up at Waco Stadium to learn how to ride these bad boys.  I will not talk about swagger or braggadocio because frankly, I was scared stiff at the very thought of sitting on one of their little machines.  Turn one on?  Are you mad?  But the instructors went over everything with us and we managed to get them running and I even managed, by the end of the day, to get mine into second gear without having a heart attack, but I did nearly vomit from nerves.  The entire time we were working one of the instructors got tired of giving me the signal to speed up.  I'm a speed demon in a four wheel vehicle, but get me on a motorcycle and evidently I turn into a granny with bona fides. 

I did manage to get a 9.8 out of 10 from a Marine who was taking the course to be legal.  Evidently, and I did not know this, motorcycles riders have to take a course like this to get their M stamp on their license in Texas.  I was taking it because I desperately needed the Complete Idiot's Guide to Motorcycles.  The added bonus of getting the M stamps was really just icing on my cake.  But I drive too slow for some folks, and that's OK by me.  Right now, that's my comfort zone.  I imagine some very pissed off neighbors in the coming weeks as I practice the skills I'm learning now.  When I get more comfortable, I may, one day in the nebulous future, venture into Waco and drive down Austin in the big Downtown we enjoy here.  In several years I may ride all the way to Houston.  Who knows?  I'm crazy like that.

So, my critique of the class so far?  I have had more fun in public with other people that I can remember.  This has really been a high point for me.  I don't even care if I don't pass the final riding test.  I've learned so much and just had a ball doing it.  It was easily worth every penny I spent just to have this experience.  Because it's something I wanted to do since I was about 13 years old and finally, 33 years later worked up the courage to actually do. I can already tell that I am going to love riding my Kow-bike and now wish I had not spent so many years fearing motorcycles and had just gotten on one.  No more wasting time for this Chica.  No, I will ride, even if I have to go back and take another course until I get it right.

Now, before you think I've gone against my principles, we did have two folks drop out on the course this afternoon.  I was very sorry in each case and can attest that both of the instructors spent time with them, giving them some time to get off their bikes and take a step back, but they did leave the course and I sincerely hope that both of them get to go back and take it again. If only because one of them has just spent tens of thousands of dollars on a bike and gear because they were so enthusiastic.  Hopefully it was just a bad day and they will return. 

The biggest complaint I have about the whole course is the time spent looking at the dealership and gear.  I honestly feel that they could have explained the riding gear to us without having spent time trying on gloves and helmets.  Yeah, I understand the reason behind it, but I did not shell out my money for a 2 nights long Harley Davidson commercial. We could have spent more time on the riding course if not for that.  I had way too much fun on that course, in the event you couldn't tell earlier.

I was intimidated by the folks in there who could already ride.  I figured I'd be the one constantly stalling out.  Thanks to the bikes we were riding, that was so not the case.  I've seen less sensitive clutches on Lambourghinis.  But I think they are made that way so we can learn to ride the clutch and control the bike better in slow maneuvering positions.  I'll probably be corrected by someone for that, but that was my take.  It was nice to see that everyone was just as confused with the descriptions of how to deal with situations as everyone else.  Honestly, they spell everything out for people such as myself who have no knowledge of those machines whatsoever.  However, they don't do it well.  When we were going over obstructions in the road and stuff of that nature, I just blurted out, "Oh, it's like jumping a horse!" and "Oh, that's just posting."  I have experience riding horses whereas I have none on motorcycles and so my brain ran home to momma and a light clicked on.

And to continue my horsey analogies, when I finally got off the bike around 5 PM, I felt like I'd been riding fence all day long.  And because it was raining and a cold front moved in, my ass and my hands were frozen solid.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Rodney Harrison, a retired defensive back of the New England Patriots, after having to retire past the age of 35 said, "at 25 you are made of steel. At 35 you made of glass." This has proven true in my life.

You are not a kid anymore Sev. Knock it off.