Motorcycle Basics Class, Day Two

Day two started out much the same as day one – a bit of classroom time and reviewing the homework. Talking about what went well the day before and what we wanted to improve on. We knew this was the end of the course, but we also knew a lot of riding time lay ahead of us.

Sunday in the practice area started out where day one left off – cornering, stopping quickly and safely and advanced from there. We started working on tighter turns and higher speeds followed by more advanced stopping techniques.

One of the safety items we heard about on day one was the instructor’s scuba whistle. We were told that if we heard the whistle, we were to immediately (but safely) stop wherever we were on the course. It was an indication that something needed to be addressed immediately, to ensure everyone’s safety. Sunday brought two incidents with the scuba whistle; both involved a bike and rider going down on the course. Thankfully neither of them was seriously injured and both were able to continue. But we knew they had their confidence shaken and we wanted to support them.   In each case as they returned to the practice area on their bikes, the entire class cheered them on and shouted words of encouragement.

All through the day I had been thinking of my dad. He was SO excited for me when I took the class the first time and earned my motorcycle endorsement. He was very supportive when I put my bike down in gravel and he was sad for me when I decided to sell that bike and walk away. I think he secretly hoped I would find my way back to motorcycling someday. Many times this year I’ve wondered if he knows that I finally have found my way back to this hobby we both loved so much.

My dad always loved the story about pennies from Heaven. The story goes that when you find a penny, a loved one is letting you know they are thinking of you and sending the pennies from Heaven. Since he passed a few years ago, I often find pennies when I need a little encouragement, or am feeling especially sad and missing him. On Sunday as we headed to lunch I told a classmate that I hoped my dad knew I was taking the class again and was proud of me. As I headed out after lunch, there was a bright, shiny penny in my path where I couldn’t possibly miss it! That just made my whole day brighter! I returned to the group and as we prepared to watch our instructor demo the next exercise, there was another bright penny on the riding course. I knew in that moment that my dad was letting me know he was with me and was watching over me!

The second half of day two was learning more new skills like going over obstacles, learning to swerve safely and more weave work with a smaller gap between cones. We spent a good bit of time practicing all the skills we had learned and took our final riding test. Everyone did their best, encouraged each other and we all passed. All that we had left now was the final written test.

Even though I already had my license and didn’t need the riding and written tests, I wanted to take them to make sure I knew where my skills are and what I need to work on. I confess I was excited to learn I had passed everything along with my classmates. It was a nice affirmation of the effort we had all invested that we all passed easily.

My goal for this year was to feel comfortable test-driving my own bike when I am ready to buy one. I know that I met that objective now. I understand I have more practice to do before I will truly be ready to take on traffic, but I have made good strides. The improvement that I saw from day 1 when we started out pushing across the practice area with our feet to day 2’s end when we skillfully completed turns, swerves and quick stops was amazing! I’m so grateful that this group of people crossed my path at this time and I hope they all feel that I helped them in some way too.

I’m not sure yet what is next on my agenda. But I know that I have come a very long way in two short days and what a joy it has been!  It feels SO good to be back on two wheels again, and to be in the drivers seat this time. 🙂

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