I don't know what has gotten into me lately. Perhaps it's a mid-life crisis or just the desire to do something...scary. I'm not sure of the reason, but the results have been quite...revealing.
I've been wanting to get back into riding motorcycles. I use to ride a 3 wheeled ATV (a trike) in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey with a bunch of dirt biker friends, but I was in my late teens, early 20s. Recently my friend Kathy suggested we take the Motorcycle Safety Course together. They provide the bikes, helmets and instruction over a long weekend. So I took my learner's permit exam the same day my son took his driver's permit test (no - he didn't think it was cool - lots of eye rolling that day). We both passed :)
Over the long Columbus Day weekend, I sat in a classroom for 5 hours of instruction on motorcycle safety. The instructor Harry was quite the character - he'd threaten to throw things at us if we didn't listen to him when we were out on the range and he liked to say, "However comma" when making a point. I earned a 100 % on the written test :) So far, so good.
The next day as I'm straddling a red Suzuki 250 cc bike along with Kathy and six others, I'm having major second thoughts. The bike is huge and heavy and there are lots and lots of things to do with both my hands and feet and I'm supposed to balance and steer while doing all this shifting, breaking, clutching, throttling. I was terrified - this was nothing like my little automatic transmission 3 wheeler. But I stayed and listened to Harry and he walked us through everything in baby steps. By the end of the day I was having so much fun turning and weaving through cones. And was very glad I hadn't chickened out :)
So feeling rather confident (cocky perhaps?) I arrived for day two to learn that our first exercise is doing figure 8s on the bike. Really? Gulp! No warm ups - or a few loops around the track? Nope - right to the hardest exercise of both days. Confidence gone, I was back to being a giant chicken, ready to bail out. But I stuck with it and learned a lot - like I turn better going left than right especially with those tight U-turns/figure 8s.
At the end of day two, we took our skills test to earn a motorcycle license. We needed to demonstrate certain life skills, like swerving, stopping quickly and going through turns. I'm doing good all day, but as soon as Harry gets his clipboard out, I'm stalling the bike, wobbling on the turns, making a really warped figure 8 all with my heart in my throat. After everyone is through the test, he made us wait 20 mins to hear the results!
We all....passed! Yay! I now know how to ride in a big parking lot around a bunch of cones. I'd like to buy a small bike - around 250 cc engine - no scooters. My family isn't so sure, so we'll see.
No, my kids still don't think I'm cool - my daughter insists I'm still a soccer mom. Good to know I have them all fooled ;>
And I've learned when I'm the most scared, I have the most fun (I'll be writing about my haunted house adventures next).
How about you? Any stories of conquering your fears and having a blast?