Archive for October, 2007

Motorcycle School

Sunday, October 14th, 2007

The first day started off pretty good. It was a small class, less then 10 of us and no one under 30. We introduced ourselves and then started going through the BRC training book. Then we took a break for lunch and met at the riding course. The riding course was at the end of one of the runways at Orange airport, right near Jumptown. 🙂

We all got to pick out the bike we wanted to use. I chose a blue Suzuki GS250. Then we all got used to sitting on the bike and feeling it’s weight. Then while sitting we walked it over and got in line next to each other. We would walk the bike slowly releasing the clutch to the opposite side and back again. As we got comfortable we would lift our feet off the ground, continue to release the clutch and coast while balancing the bike. I picked up pretty quickly, even one of the instructors asked if I had rode a bike before, which I haven’t. The exercises progressed as we rode in a big circle getting used to riding more. Then we would ride from one spot to another and stop. Now you really should use both brakes, I know this, I’ve read it plenty of times during my week of studying. So I’m riding towards the rider coach and for some reason I panicked and squeezed the front brake and locked it up which caused me to fall off the bike. Landing on my right hand, shoulder and head. Thankfully I was wearing gloves, a jacket and a helmet. I scrapped up the gloves and my jacket, but mostly felt bad/stupid for falling off. They were super cool about it and had me take a break. My crash broke the front fender off which they gave me to take home as a souvenir. After I had a break it was back on the bike and ride some more. I was now very good at using both brakes. They even pointed that out the next day. That night when I got home I was wiped out and laid on the couch and went to bed. My wrist was killing me since that was what I landed on first.

The next day I went back and my wrist was killing me, I wondered how I was going to ride the bike for five hours and pass the test. When I went into the class one of the other students thanked me for being the first one to fall, he thought he would be the first. 🙂 The class started and we finished going through the workbook and then took the test. After turning in the test I grabbed some food and headed over to the riding course where we all waited to hear what the results were. If you didn’t pass the written test then there was no point in continuing. They showed up and told us that everyone had passed and one person got a 100%, ME. 🙂 It made me feel good since I had studied the workbook (that you can get online) during the week before the class started. In the end I was the one who crashed though. You may know to use both brakes and can answer that on a test, but the real test is when you are on the bike. There isn’t as much time to consider your options. Now it’s time to ride some more. We do some more tricky riding exercises including the figure eight within a relatively small rectangle. We also ride down a straight line, shifting up and the rider coach is in front of us and tells us which direction to turn, we put our blinker on and turn in that direction, but with the speed we are up to you don’t just turn the wheel, you use countersteering. Sounds kind of weird, but it works. After we finish the exercises we have a break then line up for the testing. One guy, the one that said he was glad I crashed first decided to leave the course early. He wasn’t ready and he was smart enough to do the right thing. After we finish our testing they told us that we all passed and gave us our certificates. Yeah! I passed! Time to go home and give my wrist a break.

Motorcycle School Signup

Thursday, October 11th, 2007

Signed up for the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s Basic Rider Course at SM Motorcycle School in Gardner, MA for this weekend. Five hours of classroom training and ten hours of riding time. The classroom training is in the morning and the riding is in the afternoon. I’ve been a passenger on a motorcycle, but never the driver. There is a written test you have to pass before you can take the riding test. Time to study.

Motorcycle Permit

Friday, October 5th, 2007

After skydiving a couple times I decided that I wanted to learn how to ride a motorcycle. So I went to the Registry of Motor Vehicles and picked up the motorcycle permit book. I studied that for a while then went back to take the permit test. The first few questions were on the Junior Operator License and I didn’t really study that stuff. I skipped the first question, then got the next 3 wrong. Not good, but I answered the remaining questions correctly and past! Now it’s time to sign up for the motorcycle training course.