I'm taking the Motorcycle Safety Foundation course as offered at the local Harley Davidson dealership as part of their "Rider's Edge" program. It does 3 things. First - it teaches good basics and fundamentals in the classroom using a good little booklet, teacher/coaches who lead discussions, and videos. Second, it teaches riding skills in a controlled setting...starting with pushing the bike and ending with a fairly comprehensive skills assessment test. And, lastly, it allows students to take the state DMV exam as part of the class so if/when you pass you get your motorcycle rating added to your license.
They're long days. 5:30-8:30 Friday and Monday, and 8am-4pm both Saturday and Sunday. The good news is that it didn't rain on us either day, although standing out there in the heat and humidity with a long-sleeve shirt (required) and a helmet (also required) can be harder than you'd think.
It was fun, but there was also a serious side. Two people dropped out of the course the first day - they didn't feel ready. Another didn't pass the skills assessment. There are no "do-overs", and the scoring is very strict. Skills include everything from weaving in and out of cones, emergency stopping, swerving and turning exercises, and the box.
That box - it's a killer.
It's basically a 20' by 40' box drawn on the pavement. Riders need to enter the box, do a U-Turn/Figure-8, do another U-turn, then leave the box...all without putting a foot down or touching any of the edges (it's like the picture above except that the red line isn't on the pavement - it's just a box).
You need to manage this using the clutch and the brake and it's hard to avoid going too slow. Putting down a foot is 4-point deduction. Going out of the box is a 4-point-each-time infraction. None of us did it cleanly in any of the "practice" runs, and none of us did it cleanly during the test. Thankfully, most of us did well in the other things and passed.
I need to master this. I'll be bringing my motorcycle back and trying it on my own bike as many times as it takes until I can do it. That's just how I am.
Anyway - I passed the skills assessment. Today I take the DMV skills test and the written part of the exam. Thankfully it's a good hair-day (so far, anyway) - just in case they need to take a photo for the driver's license. Fingers are crossed that they do.
Kudos to our instructors and to the local Harley dealership for doing such a good job with this. The facilities were great, they provided brand new Harley 500cc bikes for us to use, they provided a good dealership "walk-thru" on Saturday morning - all things considered it was money well spent.
Here are a few shots from the weekend:
Part 1 of my Crazed 2-Weeks...it's still not done but I'm hoping to put it to bed today.
Part 2 is tomorrow. I'm taking the North Carolina Real Estate Licensing exam. It's a difficult exam - only 30% of test-takers pass on the first attempt. I've been studying but these last couple of days have cut into study time. I'll do the best I can.
Part 3 starts on Wednesday when I fly to Phoenix....3a - get to Phoenix, 3b - pack the truck and 3c drive back across country. If all goes as planned I'd like to arrive here a week from today....
I'm pretty jazzed right now. The cycling stuff makes me feel like a kid. I'm looking forward to seeing friends in Phoenix - I haven't been back in over a year. And, I'm very very very much looking forward to finally getting all the rest of my "stuff" out of storage and back home. I've been talking about that here for a couple of years or more - it's finally time to make it happen. I'm not looking forward to packing it in the summer desert heat, or driving it all back. But I've done it before so I'll just get it done.
One of the things I'm aware of is that this blog isn't really about being "T" very much anymore. There was a time when that was the primary focus which isn't surprising given the various things I was doing at the time. But I believed then and am relieved to see that it's true that each of us pays it forward to some degree before stepping aside for others to add their own energy and passion to the cause. So, these days, my life is far more about simply living and doing things than about T-ness. My blog reflects that.
I feel fully engaged. My relationships are fulfilling. I'm involved in lots of things that I enjoy. Something as simple as going to the DMV to get my new drivers license was once a big, big deal. Now, it's just something that you do. The appreciation of that isn't lost on me.
Anyway - lots going on. Onwards!