One weekend. Fifteen Hours. Loads of information. Two falls. Whole lotta fun!
The first time I rode on the back of a motorcycle, my Uncle took me for a little ride up and down his long driveway. Thrilling for a little girl!
While living in Arizona, we needed a second vehicle and it seemed like a motorcycle was a good idea. My husband, Sir Megabyte (or Megs), went through a course on base and got a motorcycle.
I enjoyed riding on the back of it with him, but never tried to ride it by myself. Oh, I wanted to! I have to admit I was a bit afraid because of the size and well… everything else!
I finally decided to just go for it. I signed up and headed off for the course this weekend.
Going into the class I was nervous. I hate tests. They stress me out. No matter how much I know the stuff, I get lost. My brain thinks of too much, all those choices, and the fill in bubbles? Forget it. Write an essay? Now you know I could totally do that! Also, bikes are heavy and I’ll flat out admit now that I’m a weakling! The size of even small motorcycles freaked me out a bit!
The benefit of the class is that they teach you what you need to know, they also walk you through the steps of riding, you get to practice a load of fancy maneuvers that teaches you ways to be safe, and if you pass the course you are street legal by the DMV!
It just makes sense!
No one told me how physically grueling the class would be on me. Whew. I’m exhausted. I mean physically exhausted! Ten hours of riding is a lot. Especially since you aren’t just cruising. You are going around cones, making tight turns, all that kind of stuff.
The good news is I scored 100% on my written test! Huzzah! I’m so proud of myself for that alone!
After this weekend, I have a lot of confidence in myself. This was HARD work! I feel like I can actually ride a bike, I have a load of knowledge to keep myself safe, and I had a lot of fun. Stressful fun, but fun none the less.
Unfortunately, I dropped the bike during the exam. Dropped bike = failed test. I technically failed, but I feel like a success. Conquering fears, accomplishing hard things, and learning loads equals win in my book!
Top top it off, my rider coach even said so. She told me that basically how much I accomplished in this class in the short 15 hours was AMAZING! She thinks I can totally do it and recommended I come again later in the fall when the temperature might be a little kinder to me. She sees me as a rider and that makes me feel good!
Just a shout out to my rider coaches: While they shouted at me constantly to go faster, slow down, shift up, shift down, turn tighter, relax, trust myself, trust the bike… you getting the picture? Well while they shouted at me constantly, they gave me so much feedback that I feel like I learned a lot.
Honestly, I was getting pretty good at a bunch of these maneuvers and that is totally thanks to my awesome rider coaches. THANK YOU! They were tough, but they were supportive and helpful.
I totally recommend the class.
Now, I’ll tell you what happened and then I will line out what exactly led up to it. As with any unfortunate occurrence, there tends to be several mitigating factors.
The test involves showing you can do several things you need to know to ride safely. It’s not just hopping on a bike and cruising down the road. Which, if you gave me good conditions and no cars/obstacles, I’d totally feel fine with! *HEHE*
Part two was a short stop. You never know when you might have to stop quickly because someone slams on their brakes, or jumps out in front of you, or whatever. I HATE short stops. I don’t like them in my car, I especially don’t like them on a bike! You start out from a stop, shift to second gear, get up to about 17ish mph, and then when you pass through the cones you come to a stop as fast and safely as you can. While stopping they are basically watching for you to downshift, use both brakes, and stop in a short space. I went a little long. Just as I was putting my feet down after stopping the wheels started sliding and not in a good way. I let it go down and pretty much focused on getting myself out of the way of it.
Now you might be asking why. I might have been able to take care of it in good conditions, but I just didn’t have that. I knew I was physically unable to stop the bike from falling at this point so I decided to just protect myself from injury. Because I didn’t bother trying, I was able to get off the bike and away, on the ground, so the bike didn’t even land on me. Saving myself from injury seemed the best answer. The first time we went through this exercise yesterday I stopped too fast and locked my tires and lost control of the bike. I was able to control my fall then, but the bike still landed on my ankle. I think I’m fine from that, but my ankle hurts a little. Today’s fall? I think I knocked myself all out of alignment, but that’s better then breaking something!
So now that you know the basics, here’s the mitigating factors, in no particular order.
1. It poured down the rain earlier today. Including during part of our class. The parking lot was exceedingly saturated as well as the bikes and us. Short stops are dangerous. Short stops on wet ground? Even worse. One of the other class members said it looked like the wet surface definitely played into what happened.
2. My tires locked, or at least felt that way. I was right at the point where you stop and put your feet down, that split second, when the tires went all crazy. Locked tires skid. Scary. The guy said my front tire just slid across the pavement. The coach said I locked my front tire, but I know that I didn’t use it as much as I should have because I couldn’t.
3. I was physically toasted. Seriously, I had no idea it was so physically intensive! By the end of the class before we started the test my hands were shaking from the overuse of the muscles. I kept stalling my bike because I just could not keep the clutch in right. As it is, my thumb is KILLING me now. I think I may have seriously sprained it. That’s probably more embarrassing then falling! I have little hands so this was just tough! At this point, I couldn’t put either hand in a grip around a tennis ball. I was really in no condition to be riding, especially not for a test that involves so much fancy work. I had hit a wall, and I knew it. I was only praying the test would be short so I could get off that bike and rest. Feeling like that? I’d NEVER get on a bike and ride.
4. Fear. I already said how much I hate this. I definitely was not a fan after my fall. The good news is we went over it some more today and I did have one perfect quick stop! Yay! It’s something I need to prove I can do, because it is my safety on the line. But yeah. I do not like. That feeling already put me at a disadvantage.
You combine all four things and it is no surprise. What’s important is that I recognize all of this.
Ozma Vs the Motorcycle Class. I’ll let you decide who won!