Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Vespa for Sale

I finished Motorcycle Training. I laughed, I cried, I passed. Now what?

I am more scared than ever. I now have documented proof that I am not a very adept rider. I missed 16 points on the range ride test. Minus 21 is a flunk. I didn't even make any friends in class. Why did I bother?

Here's why I bothered. I needed to prove I could do it. Indeed, I went from not being able to ride a motorcycle to being able to ride a motorcycle. And duh, I got 100% on the written.

On the bike, I can shift from first to second...while in motion, no less. I can brake...with both brakes, no less. I can turn...both directions AND both ways. You didn't know there were two ways to turn a motorcycle did you? Well there are. One way seems "normal" enough. You turn the handlebars in the direction you want to turn and shift your weight to the opposite side to balance the bike. They call this counterweighting.

The other way is less intuitive. The way to remember it is press left, lean left, go left. You actually press the left handlebar away from you (as if you were trying to turn the handlebars to the right!) and lean left. At the proper speed the bike will, no kidding, go left. I know! It should be called the counterintuitive method, but they call it countersteering. It only works when you are going fast enough for the laws of physics to engage. At too low a speed it would be more like press left, lean left, fall down on your left leg. But now, thanks to Rocky and Rick...who originally introduced himself as Bullwinkle...I can shift, brake, counterweight, countersteer, swerve around an obstacle, ride over a 2x4...and properly dismount.

Vespa for sale.

No comments: