I finished and passed the MSF
Basic RiderCourse yesterday and today, meaning I just have to take
the written test at the DMV and I'll have a motorcycle license (the
course concludes with a DMV evaluation that provides a waiver for the
DMV road test). I'm trying to decide if this is the proficiency level
I had with a car when I started driving; I'm pretty sure I had a lot
more practice before getting my driver's license, and I'm pretty sure
that (a) I need some practice on quiet side streets before hitting
traffic or the highway, and (b) so does anyone else for whom this was
the "learning to ride a motorcycle" experience.
I tend to be pretty self-protective, though.
I noticed some really interesting stuff during the course, about the
process of learning, and things indicating my own limitations right
now, which tell me the level of caution I need to use:
The course is really very well-structured, to get you from nothing to
decent basic ridership in eight hours of riding. I haven't decided yet
if I'll get a bike: the costs of bike + gear + insurance make it a
cash-intensive sort of thing. It's a ton of fun, though, and I'd like
to get better at it, so buying a bike seems likely.
- Each exercise requires multiple steps: shifting and accelerating,
or shifting, looking and braking. On each run I'd get more of the
needed components right.
- I have a lot of useful skills from aikido (and some natural
ability) about not panicking during normally panic-inducing situations
(like falling down) and keeping a relaxed awareness of what's going on
around me. But, when I'm still learning to coordinate working a
complicated machine, my mind can get caught on detail, like shifting
gears or braking smoothly. So those awareness skills are only as
useful as my fluency with the controls.
- During the first day, I'd start to feel comfortable on the bike,
then we'd end the exercise, dismount and talk about the next one; when
I got back on the bike, it felt completely alien again. On the second
day, having slept on it, the bike felt pretty natural to start with.
- It feels like it's easy to get hurt, and it can be, but not
because there's pavement flying by a few inches below your feet. If
your basic skills are okay, most of the danger will come from your
interactions with traffic.
My moods in relationships still confuse me. I need to unravel this.