[Poll #1771800]
Also, please feel free to add your thoughts, comments, or other mockery in the comments.
This past weekend, I passed the Basic Rider Course at Gateway Community College. The Basic Rider Course is a product of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. It operates as a riding test waiver in Connecticut (and many other states), so that you don't have to take the riding test to get your motorcycle license endorsement.

Friday night was the first classroom section, covering basic motorcycle operation and safety equipment.

Saturday morning was my first time on a motorcycle (I'm not going to count five minutes on [livejournal.com profile] jeep_squire's bike outside the Griswold Inn). We learned to start, stop and turn the bike. After we finished the riding exercises, we went back to the classroom for more material on advanced cornering, lane position, hazards, and DUI. Finishing up with a written test (I got a perfect score), it was a long and surprisingly exhausting day.

Sunday, we rode all day. We practiced quick stops, swerving, U-turns (ARGH), and finished just before it started raining. I passed my riding evaluation (with 3 points to spare). I lost a lot of points for not going fast enough in both the quick stop and cornering exercise. I also lost points for decelerating in the turn (don't remember that, it felt really good) and for going outside the box in the U-turn (surprise).

Everyone in my class of 12 passed, except for the older German couple. They were very nice people who have been riding a scooter, but wanted to upgrade to a vehicle that can carry them both more comfortably. Unfortunately, the gentlemen lost control during the U-turn exercise (we think he grabbed the front brake, skidded, and dropped it). Apparently, when he went down, he broke a hip. We all got to stand there and watch while EMS came and took him off. Afterward we had a nice talk about assuming the risks of motorcycling. I hope the poor guy will heal fast.

We warmed the bikes back up, and immediately jumped into the evaluations. It was tough going back into the U-turn exercise after that (which I suck at anyway), but I did, and only went out of the box on one side.

Many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] jeep_squire and [livejournal.com profile] tashabear for their helpful suggestions and guidance.

I rode a red Kawasaki Eliminator, although many of the other students were on black Honda Nighthawks (250cc). Most of those seemed a lot younger and less beat up, but I liked the "fit" of the pegs on the Eliminator better.

I found this picture, similar to the bike I rode (with giant scratches on both sides, and missing 3 of 4 turn signals). The engine is barely larger than weed whacker, but it was great to ride. Just imagine it has been dropped at least once a month for a year:


2003 Kawasaki Eliminator
2003 Kawasaki Eliminator
125cc



Today, I am incredibly sore. In particular, my legs are very stiff. It's very similar to when I first started horseback riding. Just like on horses, you squeeze with your legs to get stability, so that you have flexibility in your upper body for control. Motorcycles don't go for the leg yield's so much though, they just aren't listening. Still, the "iron horse" idiom really makes sense if you've done both.

I think once the whole home-buying process is over with, if we managed to sell or rent our current place, I'd like to look into buying a used Honda Rebel or similar. My understanding is that the fall/winter is the time for deals, but we going to play things very tight until after the new house is purchased and repaired. I'm going to spend the $55 to get my motorcycle endorsement at the DMV, though. The safety certificates are only good for six months.

Along the way, I was given a few useful links, which I will pass along:

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sorrowmonkey

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