Getting back on a motorcycle again after a 20 year break was a bit nerve wracking. Over time the confidence was gone, replaced by doubt and reservation, but the bike needed to be bought and conquered. What to do?
Call a friend and ask him to ride it home, of course. My mindset had to be evaluated. Twenty years ago, speed was a priority, now safety was in the forefront. A quick call to the insurance company took care of one aspect of safety, the next call had to be to a motorcycle safety course. A weekend course designed for beginners and experienced riders alike was the best option I could think of.
The classroom part of the course was lectures and quizzes. Sounds boring, but there is a lot to cover that you can forget about during a 20 year hiatus. Besides that, when your mind is assured, it is easier feel confident that your body will do all of the right things when the time comes. Mind over matter and all of that.
After the books were closed, it was time to ride. Most of these courses have in-house bikes that attendees use. The instructor covered all of the basics: how to start the bike, how to switch gears, and so on. You may think that the basics would make an experienced rider impatient, but it doesn’t. The experienced riders are usually welcome to pitch in and help the beginners. The rest of the two days was spent handling motorcycles and maneuvering through simulated traffic. Smart riding was the theme of the weekend: how to prevent accidents, being aware of the traffic around you, techniques to avoid unforeseen obstacles, and how to quickly deal with unavoidable emergencies. One last important lesson was on how to fall in the event of an imminent crash.
At the end of the weekend, confidence was evident in every participant. Those who passed the test sections were issued a certificate from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. The value of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation Safe Rider Course cannot be overstated. It was perfect for building confidence, creating a more skilled rider, and can help lower your motorcycle insurance rates in some instances. No matter what, it sure is nice to be back on a bike.