Motorcycle Mayhem

I attended motorcycle class all weekend. It started Friday night and then went all day Saturday and all day Sunday. It was an even mix of book learning and riding motorcycles. The book portion of the course was similar to driver's education. Boring class time followed by a ridiculously easy common sense test. The driving part of the course was a lot more fun.

For those who don't know anything about motorcycles (hey don't feel bad I didn't know this a few days ago), let me describe the major controls. With your left hand you control the clutch and turn signals. Your left foot controls the shifter. Your right hand handles the throttle and front break. And your right foot controls rear break. It's quite common for you to be doing things with both feet and both hands at the same time. This made learning to drive a motorcycle a whole lot more interesting than a car. It's not really hard to do. Ten out of the twelve people in my class figured it out in our two days of riding and then passed the test. The people who didn't pass mostly lacked confidence in my opinion. It was a great experience and I actually learned enough that I now feel like I could ride a motorcycle on the road in a reasonably safe manor.

The way the driving portion of the course worked was that we never went onto a real road. We split up into two groups of six and then practiced in a parking lot. We did lots of drills with turns and stopping and then some riding. I have the dubious honor of being the only person to pass the course who also dumped a bike. During one of the emergency breaking drills I tried to break a little too aggressively and locked the front wheel. The next thing I knew I was on the pavement with the bike on me. Other than that I did fine.

In Massachusetts when you pass this course you can get your motorcycle license without doing a driving test from the DMV. Now all I need to do is wait for my license to show up in the mail. In the mean time I need to find me a bike.


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