Friday, December 20, 2013

School is back in session...

This is what happens when you've been off a motorcyle for 4+ years: you have to go back to school. Well, I guess you don't "have to" go back, but it'll definitely help your insurance rates if you do. And it starts with an entire night in the classroom. Ugh. Nothing worse than missing dinner to sit in a classroom & be scared half to death about doing anything at all... ...there's a reason I didn't watch a LASIK procedure on YouTube until after I'd already had the surgery.

But in the MSF course, they make sure to scare the bejeebus out of you, making sure you understand the risk you're about to take & how car drivers are the work of the devil & that riding in a suit of armour is the only way to avoid getting hurt..except that being overdressed in hot weather can cause heat exhaustion.

Is it any wonder that people are shaking with nerves before they ever even mount the damned thing? I'm all about safety & never ride without a plated jacket, but maybe the whole thing would be less intimidating if we didn't treat like certain death will occur by just looking at a motorcycle.

After making my way to the classroom, I look like an idiot using eyedrops before class...sorry, I had LASIK Wednesday & can't help it that I look like a habitual drug user right now.

The Cast:

The Instructor: He's very nice & I can tell he's going to be good...he teaches from a "bottom-up" perspective, so I think I'm going to learn a lot! Feeling very good about this guy.

Ms.Germ: Coughing everywhere & probably should've postponed. Instead, she decided to spread her germy love to all of us. And she's bitchy to The Instructor. Honestly, how can you be surprised that we all think it's a bit crazy that you don't know what a throttle is? She did not know what the word meant. I'm not saying she doesn't know how to use one...after all, this is Motorcycling 101. I'm saying she doesn't know what it is.

Holy crap. Even I knew that the first time around...& I sucked at it. And something else: it's hard enough to be a girly-girl in the motorcycling world. Don't make us all look bad by not knowing what a throttle is. Just a little bit of research, people.

Mr. Germ: I think this is Ms. Germ's husband. He's an academic who wants the mathematical equation on how the traction between the tires & the road works.

Mr. Ancient: To my left & he looks to be about 90 years old. I have no idea how he's going to have the strength to get the bike off the kickstand.

Nice Guy: To my right & has a background in motorcross. He's like me...we kinda know what we're doing already. We're probably both hoping to not embarrass ourselves.

Anti-Government Guy (AGG):
Complains that every law is a government conspiracy to take our rights away. And wants boots with spikes so he can hit car doors of drivers that offend him...which is his response to every single time we're asked what to do in a given situation. Also one of "those guys" who only cares about the size of the bike... a smaller bike makes you less of a man. And in fact, you probably are less man, meaning you're small enough to fit on a Sportster...which AGG cannot. Because AGG is a walking stereotype. Sorry, but it's a fact.

The Optometrist: Surprised that I'm there just one day after LASIK. Nice guy, though. Doesn't seem intimidated by the class & will be interesting to see how he takes to the motorcycle.

The Kid: Doesn't even have a drivers license yet. His parents dropped him off...which make his parents awesome. Because if your kid is going to do something risky, make sure he gets a proper education about it. Better he learns from The Instructor than one of his friends on a Saturday afternoon.

The Learning:

It's standard MSF stuff. The Rider Handbook has not changed in the 4.5 years since I last took this class. I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing. Because I know more about the beginning of the class, I'm able to absorb the second part. This is a good thing because it's where I need the most practice (swerving, making judgement calls, etc)...the real fundamentals that become instinct over time. Got to chat up Nice Guy & The Instructor during the break, where they warned me about hot asphalt in Florida & how the bike's kick stand will sink into the ground. All in all, good safety tip. Because if that bike falls over, I'd rather have a funny story to tell about how I did it...not just that it sank like the Titanic.

The videos have been modernized, I think. There were more women riders than I remember the first time. And they focused on being visible, especially at night...which makes me question why all the riding gear is always black. Why not sell something more visible & safe? I feel like there's a marketing opportunity here that all the manufacturers are missing. And I'm too lazy to capitalize on it.

And just to prove I'm a nerd, I just about did a double-take when the video mentioned "the science of time & space..." because suddenly my Sportster is really a TARDIS & I get to be the Doctor's Companion...which just makes me want to repaint the bike in a Bad Wolf motif.

I just have to make it thru Saturday & Sunday. Riding days with people who don't know what a throttle is. I hope I don't end up wanting to show them what it is to throttle...know what I mean?

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