So, if you haven't been on facebook in a few weeks, you would have missed the part where I was going to take a motorcycle class! Well, that class was this past weekend, and it was fun! So, I will give the shortened version of my weekend.
I first walk into class, and some guy is like, "Are you Amy Reid?". I was like...."yes....let me guess, I am the only girl in the class?". Yep. I was the only girl, with 9 guys. If I was single, I would have REALLY liked my odds! Hehe. Anyway, the teacher tells me to sit at the table with Dean. So, I did. Later, another guy named John sat down with us. We watched some video, and then we were assigned questions to look up in the book, and then we read the answers out loud. No biggie right now.
Day began at 0700! They introduced us to our bikes, and we got to sit on them first. (And enjoyed some nice drizzle and humidity.) We eventually got to turn the bike on....exciting! However, I have never driven a standard vehicle in my life, so this whole clutch and shift thing....brand new. I probably stalled the bike at least 30 times on Saturday. We had to Power Walk (basically you walk the bike while it is in first gear) the bike for about a quarter of a mile. (Now, also remember that my bike weighs about 300 pounds.) So, that took FOREVER and a day. After what seemed like an eternity, we finally got to ride! It was so much easier than I thought. I loved it. Even though I was only going like 5 mph. Still fun! We started adding on more skills. I started weaving in and out of cones, and taking turns, and leaning with my turns. During one of the exercises, I had a question so I went to stop the bike, grabbed the front brake way too hard when my tire was turned, and fell off the bike and broke part of the bike handle. Yep...I broke the bike. (Funny thing is, I kept joking around with Phoenix that I was going to fall, break the bike, and die. He kept saying that I wouldn't, that I would be fantastic). Well, I didn't die, but I did fall and break part of the bike's handle bar. Oops. Well, I was so embarrassed. That was the worst part. I wasn't hurt, but just the embarrassment was horrible. After that, the guys were all being so sweet and telling me the stories of their first crashes. Made me feel a little better. The last exercise of the day was doing two U-turns in a row. I hated that! I was so horrible at it. :( But I started to get better at the end. After that, we broke for lunch and then had a couple more hours of class to get through, and then had to take the writing portion of the class. My table passed with 100s. It was a pretty easy test, but it was good for some encouragement. By the time I got home, I was exhausted and laid on the couch for a few hours. Riding takes a lot out of you!
Back to "The Range" (that's what they call the area where we practice in) at 0700. Such a beautiful day already. No rain clouds in sight, had a great breeze. It was going to be a good day. Started the day off with turns and cornering. OH, and we had to ride over "obstacles", i.e. a 2x4 plank. That was fun! I got to lead that exercise. You have to come off of the seat a little bit and use your legs as shock absorbers. I did this exercise perfectly. Maybe riding horses when I was little finally paid off for something! We ended the day by taking a riding test. (You have to pass both the written and the riding to get your certificate in order for you to go to DPS to take another writing test to get your license).
There were a few skills on the test. The first one we did was the two U-turns in a row. F*ck! I hate this skill. After the U-turns you have to swerve to avoid an obstacle going at least 15 mph (doesn't sound like much, but it feels like a lot when you first start out). I was the last one to go for every skill. I did my U-turns without crossing the lines of the box or putting my foot down (which was perfect) and get out of my swerve and all the guys clap for me. :) Next skill.....quick stop. Damn those stops! I "anticipated" the stop (which you weren't supposed to do), so I had to do it again. I thought I did well. I didn't fall or anything, and I remembered to downshift to first like I was supposed to. Now, for the last skill. Cornering. I felt pretty comfortable with corning. The first corner we had to take was a 90 degree one, then you had a 130 degree corner. The point was to be able to adjust your speed before going into the turn. Oh, and for this part you had to make it under 3 seconds for the 130 degree turn. I went for my attempt, and I got called over halfway through my turn. Uh oh. :( Well, I didn't understand where the cones were set up. Which is ok, because I wasn't the first. It was confusing how they had the cones lined up. And they were like, it's ok, you could fail this and still pass (They saw how upset I was.) That was nice, but I still wanted to do well. So, I went back and proceeded along the correct path. And then I went to park my bike.
Everyone in my class passed! And then they read aloud our scores. Only one guy got a perfect score of 0 (they counted deductions as points, and you had to get under 21 to pass). Preston (one of the coaches) finally gets to me. He is going through each skill. Perfect on the U-turns, perfect on the swerve, perfect on the quick stop breaking, 3 points off on the turn because I took 19 hundreths of a second too long. (You were supposed to take it in under 3 seconds, but I took it in 3.19. Oh well. And I got the second best score!! Kind of funny, the person with the least experience got almost the highest score. I have good technique! Dean and John said that they were wanting me to do well more than they were worried about themselves doing well. They were so happy for me. :)
Everyone keeps asking me what kind of bike I want to get. I really have no idea. I don't even know when we will get me a bike. Phoenix is going to outfit me in all new gear once I get the license. He has also said that if we can find a good deal on a bike, he will buy it, and I can pay him back when I graduate and get a job and start making money on a consistent basis. Which is pretty cool, but I am a little cautious about that. A bike could be about $4K, so it will be something that we discuss. But, don't you worry! I will get my own bike soon! :) And will be practicing A LOT on it before I even get on the highway!