My hubby has a motorcycle and loves everything about the ride. I enjoy riding (on the back) as long as the temperature is right and we don't ride to far. Once I hit the point of my butt going numb and it starts to feel like needles stabbing me, I am usually done at that point. I always thought I was well equipped with padding in that area but apparently it's not enough!
Carmel is a trained instructor to teach a motorcycle skills course. The base is requiring anyone who rides a motorcycle on base to have this training. Now…..I don't ride a bike on base nor am I able to maneuver one at all. Since this training is free for dependents as well, Carmel signed Griffin and me up to take the course. He felt it would be great for us to have these skills and be more alert of cyclist while driving. Side note: I personally think it was for me to catch the riders high and want a bike of my own. It's the you get the hand me down and I get a shiny new ride tactic.
The class started indoors with going over the instruction manual. This book covered everything from the parts of a motorcycle to dodging debris in the road. It was very fast paced since many of the students were riders already. We had to pass a written test before we could ever hop on a motorcycle. I have to admit I was a little nervous. I also forgot to mention I was the only female in this class. I was already at a disadvantage by having very little knowledge about the ins and outs of vehicles in general. Since I am in graduate school right now, the last thing I wanted to do was cram and take a test. Thankfully, I passed and was not embarrassed by being sent home.
Being outside and on the motorcycle was definitely the best part of the class. We were given a motorcycle with a number. This bike was considered ours for the next 2 days. In the beginning, I figured I was given the hard to handle one until I realized it was my lack of balance, wrong shoes, lack of knowledge and being a visually hands-on type of learner. I was usually the last one to grasp the skill. Yes…..I also jerked many times and had to crank it back up. By the end of the first day, I was much better with balance. My feet finally left the ground and found the pegs. Day 2 brought several challenging skills. There were two skills I found extremely hard. The first one was doing a figure eight inside a small area. This skill is one needed for turning around in a parking lot. It's not life threatening but good to know. The other skill is the reason I am NO WHERE NEAR READY to ride on the main road or any road (outside the safety cones) for that matter. We had to ride, pick up speed, change gears, slow down, turn our head, turn on the blinker, change lanes and come to an immediate stop while changing back to first gear and turning off the blinker. We did this to avoid slamming into the invisible 18 wheeler in front of us! Way to much to remember but so important in order not to loose your life. I never ran into the back of the invisible truck but I did keep forgetting to change the gear back down to first and turn my blinker off.
After we practiced all the skills, it was time for the skills test. Thankfully, the skill I had the most trouble with was not on the test. The figure eight skill was on there and the only one I did horrible on. I guess it was not enough to fail me because I ended up passing the skills test. Yay!!!!! Griffin also passed. Unlike me….he thinks he is ready for the road. He was already wanting to check out the bikes for sale on base. This momma disagrees! Although he learned a lot, I noticed a few missed steps along the way.
I did enjoy taking the class. The 90 degree heat on a black tarp with jeans, long sleeve shirt, gloves and a helmet was probably my least favorite part of the whole experience. There was not an inch on me that was not soaked in sweat. I know many of you probably think I am crazy but I would still prefer heat over freezing temps. I wish I had more pictures on my phone I could show you than the 3 above but they didn't cover the selfie skill in the manual.