MSF Day One

I have just completed my first day of motorcycle training and it was awesome. The first half of the day was spent in the classroom watching a few videos, breaking into groups of four (there were twelve total). So we were able to get to know each other and it is a great group. There are a few women in it which was a pleasant surprise. Some of the people there came with lots of fancy gear and some already owned bikes.

The story of the day in regards to those who had machines already was because they found people on Craigslist selling their bikes because they had accumulated too many DUIs. One guy who is active duty Air Force got his bike from someone being stationed elsewhere and didn’t want to bother shipping it. So many already made the decision already. I was surprised by that too.

The book part of the class was basically open-book answering questions. Groups would take a set of them and answer them on their own, and then the instructor would go through each one and the answers would ring out from those assigned to get the answers. It seemed a bit tedious at first, but the result was that the information was much easier to remember. And he added a lot of little tips here and there beyond the book’s supplied answers.

A super-quick lunch and a twenty minute drive to the training center field and it was time to start riding. I won’t bore you with the drills, but each built upon the previous. My bike wouldn’t shift into neutral, it simply refused. So I had to turn the bike off and then it would. Strange and a pain in the ass, but most of the time I just held the clutch lever and moved it around in 1st when I needed to. No big deal.

I struggled with first gear quite a lot. By the end of the day I figured out how to smoothly take off from a stop, but in first the throttle is extremely twitchy. I managed to learn how to work it better, but in general first gear was a little jerky for me and I disliked it.

Second gear was a lot better as more throttle affects the bike a little less. And third gear was a joy. Moving at speed felt so good, the bike was under greater control and I was leaning well in the corners rolling as much as I liked (seemingly).

There was only one drop and that was at the end of the day during the quick stop drills (2nd to first and all brakes hard). He was fine and got right back on. Some of the girls early in the day were stalling like mad. Hell, I stalled a few times too. I suppose it’s expected. My stalls usually came from being in second gear at a stop and trying to smoothly take off.

The only thing I was frustrated about was the offset cones slalom courses. Sometimes I’d get them down pretty well, and then other times by speed was too fast or my throttle wasn’t smooth and I’d miss a cone here or there. Still pisses me off, I was fine at everything else.

It was 90 degrees today and holy wow was it hot. I wore a full-faced helmet (visor up with sunglasses), and of course long sleeves and jeans with bike boots. I brought 2 gatorade bottles and a few 16 ounce Poland Spring bottles, and it wasn’t enough. Tomorrow is going to be hotter. Not looking forward to that AT ALL.

Driving home I felt like I was driving so slowly, that sensation of speed missing due to the windshield of the car. As hot as it was, and as sore as my neck is (look to turn, etc.) I could have driven an hour or two more.

Today I gained a lot of confidence and I am looking forward to tomorrow. I suspect we’ll be doing some harder turning and more twistys and I hope I get the hang of it. Do I think I’ll pass and get my license? I’m honestly not sure, but if that’s my only goal, then this is all merely a waste of time. When I relax on the bike and moving at speed, I am having a lot of fun. On someone else’s motorcycle.

Here’s to tomorrow.

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