I've always been interested in getting my motorcycle license. However, after I rode on the back of my ex's KLR 650 for the very first time, that interest transformed into an urgent desire. Riding passenger on his motorcycle felt so freeing. With my feet on the pegs, the wind on my back, clutching his waist while we zipped around turns (and one time, swerved over a grassy median because of my poor navigational skills), the world felt huge and delicious and ripe with possibility.
So, what did I do? Sign up for TCC's Basic Rider Course. On a warm, sunny weekend in February, I joined eight other people, both young and old, to learn how to safely operate a motorcycle. On Friday, we spent three hours in the classroom going over motorcycle parts and how they work, road rules, and basic safety guidelines. On Saturday morning, we were tested on our knowledge. With passing scores and eager excitement, we put on our helmets and gloves and walked outside to the parking lot. The instructors matched us with the motorcycle we'd be riding for the next several hours, and the course began. We started off slow, learning how to check the fuel gauge, turn the motorcycle on, and operate the clutch and the brake. After plenty of repetition, the course started to speed up. We did several exercises that taught us how to change gears, speed up, slow down, ride over objects, swerve around objects, safely turn at various speeds, and more. The instructors described it as "drinking water from a firehose", which is quite accurate. It was a lot of information, and each exercise built on the last. On Sunday, the course only got harder. The instructors had no mercy on us, and they expected our skills to improve quickly. Somehow, we all passed the test at the end with flying colors. Motorcycle license acquired!
Taking TCC's Basic Rider Course was a huge step outside of my comfort zone. I was nervous I'd look stupid in front of everyone, and guess what? I did! I dropped my bike at the end of an exercise on Sunday, and it was too heavy for me to lift back up. The important thing to remember, though, is that you're not the only one who has no idea what you're doing. Most of my fellow classmates didn't have any prior riding experience. If you want to get your motorcycle license, I highly recommend taking this course. Not only do you learn how to safely ride a motorcycle under the supervision of experienced professionals, but you also receive your license if you pass the test at the end. For just over a hundred bucks, it's a great deal.
After I got my license, I immediately wanted to buy a motorcycle. I looked at five or six used bikes before finally deciding on the SYM Wolf 150. I just couldn't shake my love for the bike's tiny stature and retro style, and after six months, I was fed up with unreliable Craigslist sellers. I broke the golden rule and bought a brand new bike with zero riding experience under my belt, but I've had a blast on it. It's only 150 cc, so it's been a great motorcycle to learn on. She even handled my first accident like a champ (the lightrail tracks are not my friend). I'll eventually upgrade to something bigger, but for now, my Wolf is perfect.
P.S. If you drive a car on a daily basis, please, for the love of motorcycles and the people who ride them, do not text and drive. I've had several scary experiences with ignorant drivers, and it's beyond frustrating (not to mention, life-threatening). Keep your eyes on the road, and always double check your surroundings! Now that I'm living life on two wheels instead of four, I'm realizing just how careless people are. You can never be too careful.