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Unusual Weekend - cellophane
the story of an invisible girl
renniekins
renniekins
Unusual Weekend
I did something a little different this weekend....



I learned to ride a motorcycle!

Last week I noticed that the there was an MSF course (Motorcycle Safety Foundation, I think) taking place right near my house this weekend. The class was full, but I somewhat spontaneously decided to show up early in the hopes that there would be a no-show and they'd let me drop in.

It was very stressful waiting! There were 6 of us drop-ins. At first it looked like we'd get in for certain. Then more and more people came at the last minute, and it began to look completely hopeless. At one point, the guy said there were only 48 slots and the room had 49 people in it. I had just given up entirely, when they took attendance and discovered that they had 6 people missing. So we all got in -- perfect!

So it was long and tiring, but I passed the class! My scores were: 98% written, 6 MSF (under 15 is passing), and 6 Michigan MOST (under 12 is passing). Now I just have to take my pretty blue card to the Secretary of State, pass their written test, and I'll get a motorcycle endorsement on my license.

Does this mean I'll actually buy a motorcycle? I dunno. I have no current plans to do so. I also still really like bicycling. But at least now I know how to drive a motorcycle, and how to do it properly and safely. It was really cool, actually learning to be a Motorcyclist! I drove a motorcycle -- for hours, all over a parking lot! It wasn't a highway, but I got good at turning, stopping, switching gears, etc. I especially enjoyed the turning. I'm definitely happy and proud of myself for that. Okay, it was also really intimidating. But fun. More stories later... I really must shower and begin my sunday.

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Comments
hannunvaakuna From: hannunvaakuna Date: April 30th, 2006 04:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
ROCK ON lady! that's *so* awesome! and congrats on passing, too - i've heard that most people have to take the course more than once, unless they have a LOT of previous riding experience. you're a superstar!
renniekins From: renniekins Date: May 2nd, 2006 02:46 am (UTC) (Link)
That's so cool, thanks for telling me that! :D Woohoo, thanks!
jeffreyab From: jeffreyab Date: April 30th, 2006 05:21 pm (UTC) (Link)

Biker Babe!

Way to go on passing!

How come you are not wearing your chaps?

renniekins From: renniekins Date: May 2nd, 2006 02:45 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Biker Babe!

Thank you! The classes/drills were all in a parking lot, and I didn't think I'd achieve speeds high enough that chaps would be necessary.
encorecrazay From: encorecrazay Date: April 30th, 2006 06:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
Congratulations. Something I'll never do, many years ago, doctor told me never to ride a motorcycle because my basal skull fracture.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: May 2nd, 2006 02:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Oy, that's too bad. But thanks....
shadowriderhope From: shadowriderhope Date: April 30th, 2006 06:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Congrats! Welcome to the gang... er, club. :)
renniekins From: renniekins Date: May 2nd, 2006 02:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks!
simplykimberly From: simplykimberly Date: April 30th, 2006 06:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
wow ... is it just that easy? Find a class and go, and in a day/weekend, you're ready?!

I wonder if Aidon would let me ride one of his bikes after only that much time ;)
renniekins From: renniekins Date: May 2nd, 2006 02:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, "ready" is a strong word. Ready for the freeway? No, I'm definitely not ready yet. Ready to practice more on side roads and parking lots, without needing an instructor present? Yes.

I know the basics, and I can do it pretty well, but it is still all very mental. Meaning I have to think through what hand/foot goes where, and when. Some of it is starting to become muscle memory, but I need to practice a lot to feel confident. I still find these machines rather intimidating! But a lot of fun too. (:

If you're interested, you should look into the MSF class. It was at my local community college. I think at least for me it's a lot easier taking a class, reading a book, and going through lots of drills with an instructor than just having a friend (or husband) try to tell you what to do.
From: natashasikorsky Date: April 30th, 2006 06:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've been wanting to do that...
renniekins From: renniekins Date: May 2nd, 2006 02:36 am (UTC) (Link)
You should! It's only $25, and they provide the bikes to learn on.
From: natashasikorsky Date: May 2nd, 2006 02:47 am (UTC) (Link)
The cost of the class and gear? Not a problem. The time for the class? Okay, I can come up with that. The temptation to add another expense and another time-consuming activity and another object that needs care and feeding and a home? I gotta clear up some room in the budget, schedule and garage for that :-) Maybe next year, which is what I said last year...
renniekins From: renniekins Date: May 2nd, 2006 02:50 am (UTC) (Link)
Ah yes, now that I TOTALLY understand! I'm still mentally debating those issues myself.
jer_ From: jer_ Date: April 30th, 2006 08:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Rock On! I'm glad you got in... and is it safe to assume that the sharp looking jacket in the pic is the new leather? Very nice. :)
renniekins From: renniekins Date: May 2nd, 2006 02:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Why yes, yes it is! I'm glad you like it...I'm very pleased with it also.
pi3832 From: pi3832 Date: April 30th, 2006 09:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ummm, one does not "drive" a motorcycle. You "ride" it.

I suspect that you were trying to distinguish between being a passenger and being the rider, but, still, it's one of those things.

But enough criticism. Cool! I'm impressed by your willingness to just go for it.

Even if you don't get a bike right away, it's nice to have the endorsement and the option to get a bike should you want to. Or borrow one.

I'd offer to let you take the Evil Bandit for a spin, but it's not a good bike for short people, and it's REALLY not a good bike for beginners. Nor is Chuck's V65, or Katherine's V-Strom, or Phil's V65, or Erik's V65... Lord is there ANYONE in Michigan that doesn't ride a monster bike?

Maybe Chris in Kitchner still has a Babyceptor that runs. It is a lot easier to "do the ton" in Canada, ya know. Well, a metric ton. Hell, it's the speed limit in places.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: May 2nd, 2006 02:35 am (UTC) (Link)
You're correct, there is a distinct lack of appropriate verbs here. I've been riding on the back of Chuck's for awhile, but now I'm learning to ride the front. There's no simple way of saying that. I know that "ride" is correct, but it sounds too passive since passengers "ride" also.

Yeah, I'm very glad I took the course! I'm really pleased that I know how to ride, even if I don't have a bike. Now I can get one whenever the fancy strikes me.

What's "do the ton"?
kevinnickerson From: kevinnickerson Date: April 30th, 2006 10:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
You have to pass the MSF class to get an OCY these days? Hmmph. Glad I never let mine lapse. Although I see it just says CY now on the license. I'm showing my age again. Granted, I did have to take a 'driving test' back in the day. I had to go to the end of the block, turn around, and return while the DMV (ok, SOS) person wateched.

In the same vein, I found out a few years ago that I'll never get a hunting license. I'm just young enough that they require either an old license (not sure I ever had one), or the NRA classes. Sorry, done that 2-3 times, never doing it again. A) It's a total joke, and B) well there isn't really a B. Yeah, it's only a couple evenings (or used to be), and all you have to do is look properly attentive while some guy with one and half brain cells tells you that guns are dangerous, but I have less and less ability to stroke these types egos anymore.
johnridley From: johnridley Date: May 1st, 2006 12:47 am (UTC) (Link)
I got my CY on my license in Houghton. We had to take a practical; they set up cones in the big lot behind the SDC, and we had to run a slalom, then run down a straightaway at 35 MPH, brake when we passed one set of cones, and stop before we got to another set. It was pretty easy.

The funny bit was that we had to provide our own motorcycles to take the test, and all of us rode them into the lot from the street. Obviously we were riding illegally, every one of us, and the examiner didn't blink.

My "training" involved getting on the back of the old beat up motorbike I was about to buy and riding on the back with the owner driving, back to his house, which took about 10 minutes. When I got there, he said "here's the shifter, here's the brake, clutch, rear brake, starter. The battery's shot, so you'll have to kick start or push start." I handed over $300 and rode off (it was also nighttime, what fun). That was the first time I'd ever even ridden on a motorcycle, but I'd driven about everything else and ridden bicycles at least hundreds of miles by then. I took the test about 5 days later (next time they gave it) and had no trouble.

I rode it the 550 miles home the next spring break, when it was friggin' cold and I didn't have leathers. I stopped at every rest area starting at the bridge and stuffed the electric hand driers down my jacket, shivering like crazy.
kevinnickerson From: kevinnickerson Date: May 1st, 2006 12:59 am (UTC) (Link)
I had a bit more training: 4+ years in the back fields on minibikes and motorcycles. I think my brother brought my bike to the test. It was my initial license, and I needed a car as well.

It's really time to get a new bike. I haven't had one since college. I think about getting one every spring, and then I don't. Sigh.
johnridley From: johnridley Date: May 1st, 2006 01:22 am (UTC) (Link)
I thought briefly about getting a motorcycle about 3 years ago, but have absolutely no interest now that I'm bicycling every day. If someone gave me a motorcycle right now, I'd sell it and maybe buy a nicer bicycle.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: May 2nd, 2006 02:29 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow, talk about COLD! That's an advantage of bicycling: you generate your own heat.
bwittig From: bwittig Date: May 1st, 2006 01:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
In the same vein, I found out a few years ago that I'll never get a hunting license.

Actually, you when you go to buy your license, they ask you if you have taken a Hunters Safety Course. You say "Yes" then give you a license. (OK, you may have to sign something that says you said "Yes".)

After that, your old license is your proof.
kevinnickerson From: kevinnickerson Date: May 1st, 2006 01:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
They don't demand proof? Interesting. I may have to get a license next hunting season, just so I have the paperwork.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: May 2nd, 2006 02:27 am (UTC) (Link)
You don't have to take it, but passing it excuses you from the riding portion of SOS's test.

I took it because I wanted to learn how to ride, and it was recommended to me as a great way to get a full understanding and lots of practice of the basics. Plus -- rennie-sized bikes were provided, and it was only $25! Great way to learn and decide if I want a bike of my own someday.
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 1st, 2006 01:26 am (UTC) (Link)

Goncratulations!

(or something like that.)

--Bill
dagibbs From: dagibbs Date: May 1st, 2006 03:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
It was only a one day class?

When I took a motorcycle course, here in Ottawa, lo those many years ago it was two evenings of classroom/written stuff, and two 8-hour days on the motorcycle. (Tues, Thurs evening, Sat & Sun on bike in parking lot.) Of course, mine wasn't an MSF course. I wonder if the course here has changed, or if the MSF version has always been different from what I did.

Oh, and congratulations... now you need to get a bike. I hear that thatguychuck has a free one...
renniekins From: renniekins Date: May 2nd, 2006 02:24 am (UTC) (Link)
It was a 3-day class. Thurs evening was classroom, friday evening was range, and all-day saturday was range work followed by tests.

They offer different classes of different lengths, depending on your skill level and how much time you have available.
egon010 From: egon010 Date: May 2nd, 2006 05:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Congrats! Everyone is getting new skills this year!
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