Monday, March 31, 2008

Motorcycle safety class

Our instructors. Can you guess which one rides a Honda Gold Wing and which one rides a Harley? You gotta love the Harley persona!

Cliff bought his first motorcycle, an old Harley hog, at the tender age of 18.

When our kids were small, we had a 350 Honda. Then we moved up to a 750 Honda. I considered Cliff to be a skilled rider, and he was pretty confident of his ability, too.

With two small children, we couldn't ride often together; Cliff rode his Honda to work sometimes, but it got less and less use, and he finally sold it.

Around the age of sixty, he started getting a far-away look in his eye every time he'd see a Honda Gold Wing on the roadways. We went to a Harley-Davidson open house, he went on a few trial rides, and I could see we were going to buy another motorcycle; the bug had bitten my husband.

We found what we considered to be a good buy on a used Gold Wing, and we were soon on the road with it, with no little children to hinder us from riding now.

The man from whom we bought that motorcycle suggested we take the Rolling Wheels safety course, since Cliff hadn't ridden in years. Cliff wanted to, but we just couldn't see spending $130 on motorcycle school when Cliff had done so much riding in the past.

Cliff admits his reflexes aren't what they used to be, so after two years of riding a Gold Wing, I signed us up for the course.

There were, I believe, eight bikes in the class. The class was not easy. Not one of the students was as skilled as he thought he was. Motorcycles, especially the bigger ones, were laid over on tight turns; cones on the course were run over. Many people failed to stay in the lines.

Each rider was individually critiqued on his riding. I was critiqued on my co-ridering. I learned what to do if Cliff sees he's going to have to brake quickly. I also found out that when he's going around a curve, I am to turn my head and look ahead to where he's going. This helps him, for some reason. And he learned that if he's going around the curve he's supposed to watch ahead where he's going, rather than looking directly in front of the bike.

Honestly, by the time it was over we were both on information overload. We have a lot of things to put into practice

You're never too old to learn. I'm including a video of the beginning of first exercise the bikes did, the only event in which I wasn't sitting behind Cliff on the motorcycle. He's the one on the white Gold Wing. Don't ask what they were doing, because I don't remember; and I didn't record the whole event.

We were both drained by the time we rode home. Hopefully, we'll be safer riders as a result of the course.

Some things we heard repeatedly yesterday:
"Become one with your bike."
"Scan ahead aggressively."
"What if?"


Ellie said...

Hi Donna,

Thanks for the comment. You must have been checking up on me periodically. I am excited to get back into blogging. Not sure that I have that much to say, but we will see.

I was reading your latest post, gosh, that course you took sounds like it gave you a lot of information and maybe one day it will save your lives for having the knowledge under your belt. Looking forward to seeing you around! Ellie

Lippy said...

I think it's a great idea. If there's one thing you can't be too much of, it's safe. And having all the right information is never a bad thing, either, right?