New motorcyclist joins the ranks
June 24, 2011
Filed under From the Editors
I finally know what it’s like to have only two wheels underneath me while I power a bike. I know what the clutch and throttle feel like in my hands, and I know how to make turns and swerves that I thought I might never be able to accomplish. Now I just need to get my own bike, so I can feel the freedom of the open road.
I’ve wanted a license for a few years. When I was living about 120 miles from my hometown, I thought it would have been a great idea to get a bike for my trips back to see my parents, but I didn’t have anywhere to store the bike, and I was a little unmotivated to go through the effort to get the endorsement. As soon as I got my job at Powersports Business and began reading about, talking about and writing about bikes everyday, it became something I was extremely interested in. Yet, I still was a little lax in getting into a course.
That was until I got a push from inside the industry. Michael Levy of Rider Rescue Roadside Assistance encouraged me to get my license. In that effort, he hooked me up with Jed Duncan, president of Rider Academy, a St. Paul, Minn.-based rider training company.
I took a Motorcycle Safety Foundation and Minnesota state-sanctioned basic rider course taught by Duncan each night this week. The first night on the bike was a little rough. Like I’ve said in the past, I’ve spent about 20 years on the back of my dad’s Gold Wing, but I had never been in the driver’s seat of a bike. However, with a little extra time on the bike, a lot of optimism and learning new skills, I was doing a lot better by day two on the bike and was able to pass the test by the end of the course. I was a bit nervous going into the exam, but it’s refreshing to know I now have the skills to start riding on the road.
I have to give credit to Duncan for having a lot of patience with me. And also to my four classmates — they were all men who had at a minimum rode around a bit before the course, and they were encouraging and patient, and I even got a round of applause as I completed portions of the test.
It’s great to have a support network of friendly riders. I’ve learned that from years of hanging out with my riding family and my family’s former motorcycle club and most recently with my classmates. As one of the MSF videos during the course said, motorcyclists tend to have a sense of community because we have something in common. I feel privileged to have now joined that community, and I feel I can now connect with this industry on another level.