I decided a few months ago I thought it would be really awesome to learn how to ride a motorcycle and own one for myself to ride. Read that posting here: “Two Wheels“. I signed up for a Basic Rider Course from ABATE (American Bikers Aimed Towards Education) of Indiana. Finally, the anticipated weekend arrived. I really did not know what to expect, but I was very excited! The program is split into three days over one weekend. The following are the experiences I had while in this awesome program:
- Day 1 – The first night was all book-work and classroom learning. The booklet went through everything one should know when operating a motorcycle. From locating the clutch to teaching how to react if you lock your front or back tire, the book covered plenty of material. The time went by fairly quickly, because my interest, on the subject of riding, was enormous. There were 48 people who took the course this weekend that split into morning and evening riding sessions.
- Day 2 – I got to get on my first motorcycle today! The instructors took it step by step, so it was very easy to learn this new contraption that stared me in the face. ABATE provided the Suzuki 150cc bikes. Not very much power, but it did the trick when learning to ride. After a bit of practice locating all of the controls we were finally able to start up the engines! Everyone started out by walking or gliding with the bike using the clutch for control without feet off the ground. After a while, we switched gears and cruised around the oval outline. Well, most people got the hang of it. It took awhile for some people to pick up the skill of riding. I think I learned pretty quickly and really enjoyed riding around. Although we did not get past third gear, it was fun. We did all kinds of weaving exercises and figure eights. The day ended with a bit more classroom reading and a written exam. I am proud to say I got a 96% on the written test.
- Day 3 – On Sunday, we completed more exercises such as swerving around an object, rolling over objects in the road, and quick stopping. This day was the final day of the course and we broadened the use of the basic skills we learned on Saturday. We practiced changing lanes and using our turn signals. The day ended with our riding test to put everything we had learned together. This test decided our fate between passing or failing the course. I passed easily and had a great time throughout this weekend.
It was so much fun communicating with the other riders and learning this new skill alongside others who did not have any previous riding experience. The instructors were awesome and many times, hilarious. They coached us really well and taught us the skills we need to lessen our chance to become just another statistic on the road. I have learned that motorcycles need to be very alert about their surroundings. This course has made me a better car driver as well.
I hope I can get a motorcycle soon so I can keep practicing. I would ride in the neighborhood continuing the exercises I learned in this basic rider course. I am not going to get out on the actual road until I feel I can handle different situations with the specific bike I will have. I can not wait to ride more!
Hey look! This is something to cross off my Bucket List!