I’m Sort of Legal To Ride a Motorcycle Now

So this past Thursday, I had another Motorcycle Lesson with my instructor, Dave Clayton, at 2Wheel 2Ition Motorcycle School. First off, he obviously doesn’t have super web design skills as evident by his website. However, what he lacks in Interwebs Skillz, he more than makes up for in being probably one of the most patient and thorough instructors of anything that I’ve ever been instructed in. Motorcycle riding is extremely dangerous if you lack the proper experience and education and I’ve felt safe riding with Dave every step of the way, from front wheel sliding in the parking lot and almost dumping the bike, to slightly wet pavement in the downtown core of Maple Ridge. Despite never being on a motorcycle, I certainly faired much better than a certain segway crasher.

The thing I’ve been particularly impressed with about Dave is how he keeps his cool even when his students lose it. This in turn makes his students feel at ease. I wonder if he could teach Kwanye to ride a scooter rather than crashing it? I guess after being on the Vancouver Police Force for thirty years he’s seen it all, but I’ll have to ask him if he’s seen anyone bite it on a Segway in his long tenure on the force.

During the Thursday class, I met up with Dave again with one of the other students and we started the day with a road ride. We ended up doing a lot of turns with lots of stop signs in the suburbs of Maple Ridge including a lot of hill starts and U-Turns. When we got back to the parking lot, he setup cones and he ran us through the Motorcycle Skills Test that we’d be going through to get my restrictions pulled off my license so that I could ride by myself during the day without any supervision. This would of course open up the doors to shopping for a successor to Scooter.

After about half an hour or so of practicing, he informs us that the Motorcycle Skills Tester would be stopping by to do our test. I wasn’t nervous since I was doing pretty good in my low speed maneuvers, but a little notice would have been nice. Wasting no more time panicking, I continued to practice as we waited for the tester to arrive. About half an hour later, tester shows up and it’s show time.

With none of the students willing to volunteer, Dave volunteers the other student. I breathe a huge sigh of relief. Not going first also allows me to observe what the tester is watching for and what things the other rider screws up on. About 20 minutes later, she passes within the maximum allowable amount of demerits. Relief for her. Great anticipation for me. The tester beckons me to take my spot at the line and runs through the first part of the test with me verbally. Part one of the test includes a slow, walking pace ride, a stop, then a u-turn in a box not much bigger than two parking spots and then a slalom through some cones.

I run through the first part of the test carefully and make it through. I’m relieved. The tester goes through the second part of the test and I’m off again. Since the second part is the same as the first, but with a left hand turn to start, I feel pretty good and complete the course and return to the starting area. Next up was the third part and then the final part.

Part three consists of a quick acceleration to about 25 – 30 KM/h, then a wide sweeping right hand turn. At the completion of the turn, you are to accelerate up to 20 – 25 KM/h to a set of cones and then stop before the second set of cones. You are not to stop until the tester says so. I do the acceleration, the right hand sweeper, and accelerate up to 20 – 25 KM/h and wait for the testers signal. At the first set of cones, the instructor dropped his hand and I came to a controlled stop. Not bad. I thought I almost slid the rear wheel which is a demerit. I couldn’t recall.

Part four is the same as the third part, except you start the straight line acceleration with a wide right hand turn. I made the turn, accelerated, hit the sweeper, and then came down the straight stretch to the controlled stop area. The tester drops his hand, I grab the front, then the rear brake and come down for a controlled stop. Perfect. To add to the great finish, the tester tallies up my total and declares that I’ve done the whole test perfectly, with no mistakes. He signs off my test form and gives it to me so that I can take it to ICBC to have my restrictions removed.

Since I rode Scooter in, I twisted his throttle as far as it could go and did a little over the speed limit so I could make it to the ICBC Office to have my license updated. After my license was updated, you get a new piece of yellow paper that limits you only to riding between dawn and dusk. Since getting my license updated, I’ve been out looking at motorcycles and scooters and I’ve narrowed the list down somewhat. I have one more test ride tomorrow and then I’ll share my final choices with you guys.