I took and surpassed the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s fundamental driving route this past weekend. The only you want in New York kingdom to get your bike endorsement without taking a road check. It changed into not easy, but I did go away with a pretty excessive degree of self-assurance in my potential to operate a motorbike soundly. I was amazed to learn what it taught me about regular-car riding, too. (Full Disclosure: MSF did now not fee me for the two-day route, which generally fees around $350 depending on in which you’re taking it. MSF waives the fee for media for you to unfold the gospel of motorcycling in an age in which it’s far falling further and in addition out of fashion, at least inside the United States. MSF is a now not-for-income company. However, it is supported in element via motorcycle makers like BMW, Honda, and Harley-Davidson. The outfit also gave me some meals, a helmet, gloves, and 3 high-quality teachers.)
I had meant to take the route whenever you consider that I went to Milwaukee for Harley-Davidson’s 115th anniversary closing year and wrote too many words approximately. I had for years taken into consideration motorcycling needlessly dangerous and silly, matters I became clearly pleasant with, if handiest I had no longer already had a chain of other behavior—mainly things you will companion with bars, in addition to using Twitter—that had also been needlessly risky and stupid.
Still, after the Harley tale, I knew I had to place my cash where my mouth is and, as a minimum, take the path and provide it a shot. So I emailed MSF, and whilst I had overlooked the autumn window for the direction, we made plans to do it this spring, which is how I discovered myself at a community college in Bayside, Queens, on a cool Saturday in May, with eight or nine different news. We started in a basement classroom and went through the basics of motorcycling, like wherein the controls are, how to do a pre-experience inspection, what safety tools to put on, and how to show a motorbike on.
Most of what we talked about, although, was safety. There’s no escaping that bikes can be loss of life machines, our teachers advised us in such a lot of phrases. However, there are also lots you can do to mitigate that. And their advice becomes an awful lot more than, “Wear a helmet,” though they said that too. (Virtually none of the Harley riders I noticed in Milwaukee wore helmets, although there has been lots of leather.) Beyond a helmet, you need a jacket (probable with armor), long pants, boots that cover your ankles, and gloves, all of which might be the distinction between having skin and not after a spill.
But possibly a maximum of all what you need is to be conscious, constantly mapping getaway routes if something is going awry, scanning a long way, then near, and then on your facets, time and again at the same time as you’re shifting, and making intellectual notes the whole time. This is all correct exercise whilst you’re working any vehicle, of direction, but important while riding a motorbike, and made extra tough because manual bikes are complex machines to journey, or a long way extra complex than a normal commuter vehicle. So you’ve were given all four of your limbs in action, now and then. At your right hand is the front brake, throttle, and engine reduce-off button; at your left hand is the clutch, turn signals, and horn; your proper foot is the rear brake, and at your left foot is the tools shifter.