I finally did it. After years of talking about it, thinking about it, pondering over it, I finally went and took the Basic Rider Training course at our local community college campus. After the dust settled, I’m left wondering why I waited so long. So, some quick details while everything is still fresh in the ol’ memory warehouse.
Day one was pretty simple, and completely inside a classroom setting. Of course, there was a screw up. The students were told be at the class at 5:00pm, however, the instructor didn’t turn up until 6:00pm (the campus screwed up the notification letters). Couple of people got really bent out of shape but after a while, they calmed down and life went on.
Day two was tough. We were told by our instructors to get “rain gear” because it was supposed to be overcast with a strong possibility of rain. Sure enough, being moderately intelligent, I spoke with a friend who rides all the time. I asked to borrow some “rain gear” to which he immediately assisted me with. I got pants, a jacket, and some gloves he pointed out were not “rain-type gear.” Fair enough, I’m thinking. How bad can it be? Well, allow me to be the first to tell ya, it can be bad … very, very bad. The rain came down in buckets and they don’t cancel class for anything other than an electrical storm. So, we rode. We rode in the soft rain, the hard rain, and the rain that came in sideways (almost an exaggeration). For three hours we rode. At first, I thought I was safe from the elements. After all, I had my buddies “rain gear” so what would it matter? Hah! No, no, after an hour of the downpour, I was wet, chilled, frozen, and completely miserable. The only thing rain-proof on me were the boots I was wearing (gortex) and the helmet. The rest was absolutely drenched. After three hours of rain, we went into the classroom to learn more about safety, correct lane position, and signaling. I did not bring a change of clothes (after all, I had “rain gear”) and the classroom temperature was only in the mid-sixties. I finally had to strip off my two shirts and just wear a jacket I pulled out of my truck. My jeans were also drenched. However, I did learn something important. The riding of motorbikes is serious work, and requires someone paying attention pretty much all the time. When you are cold, wet, frozen and chilled, you have a difficult time worrying about the road, hazards, etc. because more mental energy is going toward ignoring the pain inflicted by the elements. Buy good rain gear. Keep it on hand. Do it now! (Glad I learned that in a classroom environment vs. out in the wilds.)
Day three was more range. Thankfully the clouds parted, and we enjoyed sunshine, a dry test track and excellent conditions. After really getting into the spirit of things, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m no expert on riding a motorcycle but I’ve certainly learned some things I’d never considered about street riding. I’m looking forward to learning more about riding, seeing what sort of bikes are out there, and seeing if (perhaps) I can wedge myself into a sweet ride, for little money. You know, a starter bike, light on cost, that will taking a beating. Should be fun.