Motorcycle Safety Foundation Basic Rider course
It was such a new motorcycle that it didn't have a fuel valve or a choke, which made things easier for me I suppose. I picked it because it had a very low seat height (30.5 inches), I liked the burgundy/red color, and it just looked pretty darn slick. We all mounted our bikes, and man, 310 + pounds of weight felt like alot to have directly underneath me. The weight of the bike was pretty intimidating since I weigh about 115.
Before starting the bikes, the 2 riding instructors had us find all the controls, and then we walked the bikes like 1/4 mile out to the airport riding area. It was a good workout for my hips, I could feel the burn! Then we finally started the bikes (side stand up, fuel valve to ON if you had one, turned the ignition key to ON, put it in Neutral, engine shut-off switch to ON, held in the clutch, and pushed the electric start button). We put them into 1st gear right away and spent a while just using the clutch in the friction zone to walk the bikes back and forth & then speed-walk them across the parking lot. Within minutes we were already riding back and forth across the lot, and then we were riding around in a single file line. It was a very fast paced class, but I will say that the Instructors were VERY nice and VERY good at explaining what to do. I only stalled my motorcycle twice on the first day :) One instructor said that the most stalls in a row (during one of his classes) was 37! Yikes. I would've been beyond embarrassed.
We did a lot of practicing in our 4 hours of ride time on Saturday. We were doing quick stops, weaving in and out of cones (just pressing on the handlebars, not actually turning them), going around curves (slow before the curve, look where you want to go, press the handlebar in the direction you want to go, roll on the throttle) and also physically turning the handlebars to maneuver thru slow-speed off-set cones. Overall I did pretty good on day one. I got complimented on my quick stops and was used as a positive example for my head turns for looking thru the curves. It was a day of extreme concentration... the most mentally exhausting day I had experienced in a very very long time (perhaps ever). It was fun, challenging, scary, and exhilerating, all at the same time.
After the Saturday practice rididng, we all met back in the classroom to take the 50 question multiple choice test, based around the 126 study questions we had gone thru on Friday. It was a very easy test. I got 100%, along with almost everyone else in the class. The hardest part was still yet to come.
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Photo US Marine Corps (USMC) Sergeant Terrell Bennett, 4th Marine Regiment negotiates a curve during his motorcycle rider safety course, skills test at the new motorcycle course locate at Camp Swab, Kadena Air Base AB, Japan, 01/21/2003