Monday, May 9, 2011

I Can Ryde Motercyklez

Finally! After two years of wanting this, I made it happen. I took the basic rider motorcycle training course in my local area over the span of a Wednesday night, a Saturday, and a Sunday morning. And guess what? I passed! I now can go to the DMV and trade in my special certification card for a legitimate license! Here's a little bit about the experience:

Riding motorcycles is scary if you've never done it before. I didn't even know the basic parts of a motorcycle, or how they work, and I certainly haven't driven a manual car before, so the whole clutch and shift thing was new to me. Good thing we started out super basic and took tiny steps so it wasn't terribly hard to warm up to. While I was probably the only one there with absolutely no experience whatsoever, I was still embarrassed that for the first few crawls across the parking lot it was hard to even balance. You'd think it's just like riding a bike, but your posture is different and you have a lot more weight to keep track of, distributed in different areas. And then you have to figure out exactly how smoothly you need to roll on and off the throttle so you don't have jerking motions, and it's also surprisingly easy to stall the engine by letting out the clutch too fast. Or at least on my bike it was.

At the end of the first day I was doing pretty well, since I felt relatively comfortable turning and shifting, and my teacher said I was kicking butt. Some of the exercises on the second day were fun, too, but I started forgetting some of the basic rules (ease off the throttle while you try to shift) and things were a little shakier than I would've liked at times. The test came and went so fast, I didn't feel like we were adequately prepared during the extra practice time, but everyone ended up passing. The whole course was all executed in a parking lot, so I like to think I learned the skills required to operate a motorcycle, but definitely not ride one like I know how to drive a car. I still have to get up to speeds past 20 mph and handle sharper turns and bumpy roads, not to mention adding in traffic and having to signal for turns and stop at lights and stuff. Hopefully I can get a small motorcycle of my own soon and begin to practice - a lot - with people that know what they're doing. Because there's no way I'll be able to ride a motorcycle in town with confidence unless I spend a ton of time at least on some faster country roads, and just generally getting a better feel for riding.

Already I feel like I need to get back on a bike! The total time I spent riding was probably no more than 6 hours, and if I don't practice again soon I'm afraid I'll forget what I learned. But boy was it fun! I went into the class hoping, but not expecting, that I would like riding motorcycles. And for the first hour or two I wasn't sure if I did or not, but that all changed once I got the hang of it and started to feel like I was in control. It reminded me a lot of learning how to longboard. The process is a little iffy at first, but as soon as you feel like you're catching on and you can hold your own, you're just hooked. I still miss longboarding, and I wish I could start practicing again because I wanted to keep getting better and better. But this might just be a little more fun. Plus it's a better mode of transportation. I can't exactly longboard from my house to school (or anywhere, really).

A version of the bike I was riding

So yeah, that's all I have to say about that right now. If I had had time to write during the hours after I first rode on Saturday I would have had a lot more words, but already so many other things have happened and it's starting to fade in my memory.

And if one major 20s List item wasn't enough for one day, I also got to knock off "Bake a cake from scratch," when I expertly made a Devil's Food Cake with Chocolate Butter Frosting for Mother's Day/my birthday. For some reason, this was one of the easiest things on the list that I could've done at any point in the last year, but I had to wait till the very last minute to get it done. But I'm glad I finally did, and I think it turned out pretty well. Perhaps the recipe shall be posted later. But that's it for now! In the near future I shall be providing details about the 90s themed birthday party coming up tomorrow which I am very excited for. I will be 20 years old in less than an hour! OMG!! Goodbye, teens. We had a good time. 

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