Whew, That was awesome!

Sorry I haven’t been posting lately. I’ve been in training for the past few days while taking the MSF RiderCourse. This course is for motorcycle riders so that they can gain confidence and knowledge in a place safer than being out on the street in traffic. It’s a 3 day course with over 24 hours of class time and riding on the range. I had wanted to sign up for the experienced course, but now I’m glad I got into the basic course. As it turns out I really learned a lot, even though I’ve actually been riding for several years.

Do you want to know what I learned?

DAY 1: I started off with 4 hours in a classroom with 10 other people. We learned basic road safety and operation of controls. Most of this part I already knew, but it proved to be extremely valuable since most of my classmates had NEVER RIDDEN A MOTORCYCLE. (more on this in a second)

DAY 2: We started at 7:45am and went straight out to meet the bikes we would be riding for the next 2 days. This is the bike I rode.

(MSF secret: I found out on Friday night that the Alpharetta facility has a few dual-sport {onroad/offroad} bikes in their stable, so I requested one and got it. Boy did I get lucky…)

We were familiarized with our bikes and quickly went out on the course (a giant slab of concrete with a bunch of moveable cones) for some basic maneuvering. I really enjoyed this as it got me used to slow speed moves on the bike, which is something most people never learn to do well. I was really nervous because most of the people I was with had never ridden before, so I wanted to jump off my bike every time I heard another bike rev up because I was sure a 300 pound missile was about to fly into my backside. Everyone eventually learned to shift gears, weave through cones, and get comfortable balancing and moving around. I felt I breezed this part which was later confirmed on the last day. We then went back in the classroom for a few more hours to process what we had learned on the range. Every one of us then went home dehydrated, sore, and tired to study and get ready for the test on the latter part of the next day.

DAY 3: We straggled in at 7:45am and went straight to the bikes. We started out by doing figure eight circles in a REALLY small box and then doing emergency lane changes at the call of the instructors. This is where they got back at me and I had a tough time because you had to shift through the gears, signal, check mirrors, look over your shoulder, swerve, brake, and gear back down all at the same time. I got through it, but it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. We later learned to stop the bike in a turn and some other fun stuff and then went to lunch. After coming back from lunch, we went through one more exercise in emergency braking and practiced for our tests.

The Test: The instructors asked the class if we wanted a demonstration of how the test should be ridden. We all said YES!!! This is when they told me to get out on my bike and take my test… I thought, “OH CRAP!!” It got worse when the class next to us all came over and sat to watch me run through it as well. Talk about pressure! As it turned out, I breezed it and only had one moment that I was sure I got deducted on my score for. (I carried too much speed into a turn and pulled in the clutch to downshift, which was against the rules, but I came out of the turn well within limits.) After I was finished I noticed that everyone else was really quiet and nervous so I thought this would be a great opportunity to lead up and asked the instructor if I could cheer on my classmates. They said sure, so I started honking my horn and cheering before and after everyone completed a section. The whole class took my lead and the mood lifted and everyone ended up having a great time and passed the test. I was soooo proud of everyone. Passing this test is not an easy thing to do. I was more nervous for it than almost any other test I’ve ever taken. Then we came back into the classroom and took a book test and were scored and given our results and pins and stickers and little cards that prove we completed the course.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I think this was a great opportunity to learn about riding and to meet some really great people. The course is extremely safe and fun as well. I was surprised at how well people that had never ridden a bike before were able to learn in such a short span of time. I was also surprised at how much an experienced rider can learn from it. I highly recommend this course to anyone who currently rides or is thinking about riding a motorcycle. On second thought, I recommend this course to everyone to gain an appreciation for what all motorcyclists are dealing with when you see them on the road. It is an awesome experience.

Now when you see me on my motorcycle, you can rest assured that I am a certified safe motorcycle operator and I’ll have the sticker on the back of my helmet to prove it. It’s a good feeling…

Now I’m going to bed, I have a retreat at the Ritz Carlton Oconee to attend tomorrow.

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~ by jtcrespo on June 29, 2008.

One Response to “Whew, That was awesome!”

  1. your fans need a new blog post. we might revolt.

    just thought i’d let you know…

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