02/24/11 Shh, It’s A Secret

anx-ious [angk-shuhs] -adjective
1. full of mental distress or uneasiness due to fear of danger or misfortune; greatly worried: Her parents were anxious about her poor health.

This coming Monday is the first day of my MSF Basic Rider Course, or more specifically my Harley Davidson Rider’s Edge New Rider Course. This Monday. I registered for it back in January, but until now have told no one outside the house.

Readers of my first blog, Facebook friends, real-life friends, and family have been asking me for a long time if I was planning to take the class. The subject came up on this blog after my Testing post. While there is confidence amongst supporters that I’ll do fine, I myself do not necessarily feel that way, thus the reason for not making this public. ‘She was anxious about her ability to successfully pass the course.’

I read the Should You Ride A Motorcycle? self assessment, took a number of practice knowledge tests, and have the Rider Handbook. One of the requirements is 126 study questions, which don’t have to be completed; the answers are to be highlighted in the handbook. I think it’s more important to know the answers rather than how to find them, but I digress. I did start working on them yesterday and ended up finishing 30 or so, again using the  ‘oh, I have better more important things to do’ excuse.

So why am I concerned about failing? Not exactly sure. I never learned to drive a stick. My ex tried to teach me a few times but that wasn’t a good idea at all. I probably have more motorcycle experience than a lot of people walking into the class, whether that helps or not I don’t know. I could memorize the information, ace the practice tests, but it’s the actual learning to ride that concerns me.

Complete change of topic but I’ve also decided to join the Post A Day 2011 challenge in addition to Post A Week. I was doing some blog maintenance and noticed I’ve been writing daily since 02/13, mostly encouraged by the number of visitors I’ve received and subsequent comments. What better way to put more pressure on myself than to join a daily writing project, right? 😉

25 thoughts on “02/24/11 Shh, It’s A Secret

  1. Crikey! When I got my motorcycle licence (30 years ago) all you had to do was ride around the block. If you came back you obviously had the skills to survive life on a motoorcycle.

    Nowadays, I think everyone has to do a defensive riding course called Stay Upright.

    Good Luck!

  2. Theresa, go for it! A lot of women in our H.O.G. are riding themselves. Some got their license at 40 or later and they all enjoy it.
    And I would too, if my back wasn’t that lousy and I had enough money 😉
    Like Hakea said: good luck! 😀

  3. Good luck on your test! I had my own bike back in my 20’s. Never took a class, a guy friend of mine taught me to ride. Took the test at DMV and passed! Woot! I now regret not renewing my certification on my license, some 15 years later but I also no longer ride. Go into the test with confidence and a straight head and you’ll do fine!! 😀

  4. When The Spouse and I were dating, he traded in his automatic Camaro for a standard. I took this as a sign that he didn’t really love me because I couldn’t drive standard. He signed me up for driving lessons at a place called “Shifters,” where the guy taught only standard. In the end, I was sadder than he was when we finally gave up the Camaro for something more “sensible.”

    You’ll do fine. And good luck with the post of the day. I don’t have to energy for that!

    • That’s cool, I didn’t know they had classes like that! I think for the most part driving should be taught by strangers rather than spouses, at least in my experience 😉

  5. The DMV here is VA has what they call a ‘Jump Start’ program. It’s a course I took before the I took the Basic Rider course. The bikes were really small and it was just 2 days of learning how to ride, starting with sitting on the bike and pushing it with your feet! It was all about making you comfortable on the bike. There was nothing fancy about it, we learned how to start, stop, shirt, and ride in a huge circle. But it did the trick. By the time I started the Basic Course, I was eager to ride. If I could do it, I know that you can! Good luck!

  6. You’ll do great! I have no doubt you’ll ace the class — don’t doubt yourself!

    PS: Congrats on the post a day commitment. Me? I’ve overdue for a post a week!

    • Hmmm, not sure that you’re way older than me…? I did start reading your story, then the kids came home from school lol I do plan to go back & read more 🙂

  7. Like a few others who’ve posted before me, when I started to ride there was no rider’s education program. Yup, you just got on and if you landed in a hedge or a ditch, you simply untangled yourself, asked for some help getting the bike back out of the bush or the ditch and found a better place to take your 1st spin on motorized 2 wheels.

    I wouldn’t stress the stick shift angle. Driving a car and operating a bike are not the same. Keep your mind on the sound of the engine, the feel of the bike beneath you, and remember how each sounded or felt when your man was ready to shift, when he was ready to lean into a curve…as a back seat rider, I have no doubt in my mind that you are acutely aware of what is going on in front of the bike…not by being able to see, but by being able to read the reactions of the man sitting in front of you. You know what he is doing by the way he tenses this side of his body and the way he automatically prepares for his maneuvers. You just as automatically prepare for what is expected of you as a rider. You don’t have to think about it anymore, your body just does it when you sense the action from the body in front of you.

    So while you don’t have “1st hand knowledge” of riding front seat…you do know how to do it…you just need to understand the feeling of the throttle…you already know what the bike feels like when it’s time to shift (vibrations) so now you just need to learn the mechanics of the shift… lady the battle is half over for you! You know what to do, you know what your bike should feel like when it’s time to do it, and you know what it will feel like when it’s done! A lot of riding is instinct, you already have the intuitive part down…now it’s a matter of getting past the fear of your self… just remember, you got being a passenger down just fine…now you can master the rest of the ride…never doubt your self. Keep confident, even when you’ve made mistakes! Mistakes are how we learn…scaring the poop out of ourselves is how we manage to hone our reflexes so the correct reactions are instant. I know you can ride…if it’s what you want. I’ve been riding since 1971…40 years now…I’ve never regretted going 2 wheels yet. (But I do enjoy riding with a good man in the front seat from time to time!)

    • I’ve read your comment a number of times and have been trying to figure out how to respond….the best thing simply seems to be a big thank you for taking the time to write. Truly appreciated!

  8. Hi Teresa,

    Many safe rides to you as you set out on this adventure. You are perfectly permitted to feel anxious but please realize that the part of you that wants to see life from a new perspective (the open road!) is going to win out and by fighting it, fighting yourself, you are just making the stress worse. You are in love with freedom and wind in the ears and exploration/adventure. Go get that license!

  9. Thanks! You’re absolutely right and I realize I’m just making the situation worse for myself; unfortunately that’s one downfall of my personality 😛

  10. Good for you for signing up for the MSF course! You Rock!

    Don’t worry about not knowing how to drive a stick, they will teach you how to shift in the class. When I took the MSF beginner course they had us turn our chairs backwards and sit on them like they were motorcycles. They had us practicing the hand & foot movements of shifting, starting, and stopping before we ever got on the bikes. When we finally did get on the bikes they very cautiously taught us how to shift into first and get the feel of the clutch, so nobody had any accidental wheelies.

    Have fun!


  11. Pingback: 03/02/11 Basic Rider Course Day 1 | Back Seat View

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