Today, I received my motorcycle endorsement from the NC DMV!
That’s right, people of NC, watch out for me out there… but really, watch out for me – bikes are small and sometimes difficult to see 🙂
This past weekend, along with a few nights last week, I took a rider’s course at a local motorcycle dealership: Ray Price Harley-Davidson.
The class put me in a tough spot – I strongly dislike Harley’s; almost everything about them (it’s not just Harley-Davidson motorcycles, it’s most big, loud bikes that I don’t like), but I needed to take said class to get my endorsement. [I had my permit when I was in school and have owned a bike previously – good ‘ol Night Fury, my 2003 Ninja 500EX that looked like it had been spray-painted black.]
Because I had my permit and requested an extension previously, I was unable to obtain a new permit again (I never took the test to get my endorsement as I had to sell the bike for various reasons).
This creates a bit of a pickle: I need a motorcycle to take the riding test at the DMV and I can’t test ride a motorcycle to see if I like it and/or if it is too much/too little power for me to ride. Additionally, should I have purchased another motorcycle without an endorsement, I wouldn’t be able to ride it off the lot or to the DMV – they’d ticket me upon arrival!
Thus, I sign up for a riding class – justifying the cost with a promotion that I wasn’t aware no longer existed: free rentals with registration – again, I don’t like Harley’s, but I would take one out for a ride to keep reinforcing good habits.
Days 1 & 2 are on Thursday and Friday from 5:30-8:00, but both classes ran a little late – this doesn’t bother me so much as I’m pretty boring and don’t go out anymore like I used to. We learn a few things and review items we had to cover in an online course prior to class – mostly information around riding habits, terms, processes and safety.
Surprisingly, at least to me, I learned quite a bit in the classroom. Then came time on the ‘range’ where we practiced riding on bikes with ‘safety bars’ (to protect the bike, not the rider). I also got the opportunity to break some bad habits I developed when I was previously riding.
Nothing like waking up at 6 AM both Saturday and Sunday to go ride motorcycles at 7 AM sharp. The first day was brutal – nothing like sitting on a motorcycle in the hot sun on a blacktop in the beginning of June (at least it wasn’t over 100*, but it was pretty damn hot). We were told to be prepared to “walk the bike,” which I assumed was standing beside and pushing the bikes…. NOPE – we had to walk the bike while sitting on it. They gave us some Harley 500 bike with the most awkward and bulky foot pegs, so, if you couldn’t walk while in a full split, your legs are getting cut up and bruised (under proper riding attire like jeans or leather). This was definitely the worst part of the course.
The rest of day 3 (Saturday) is learning basic skills before we head back to the classroom (again, late) for a few more lessons and a little review. We don’t finish up until about 6 PM and have to reconvene in just under 13 hours.
Day 4 starts on the range as well with some more advanced riding lessons – we got to go to second gear! Wooo!
We go through the day and run through a few training exercises – unfortunately, we lose a classmate on the last day. On one of the turning exercises, he lost control and rolled his throttle while falling off the bike. Luckily, he escaped with a few minor scrapes and bruises (we also had someone do the same thing the day before – again, she escaped with a few bruises, but stayed in the class). After the accident, which was pretty scary looking – he went over the handlebars of a motorcycle accelerating forward – and the safety bars got all kinds of bent and scratched (they did their job though, the bike was fine!). I have to mention this to mention the respect I have for both of them for getting back on the bike – one of them was too shaken up, hence his departure.
As the heat turns up, and the black bikes get hotter and hotter, we continue our training and move into practice for our exam(s).
Once the exam starts, we go through five exercises for evaluation; one at a time. Really only one or two of the evaluations are difficult (if you have any kind of riding experience), so I managed to pass with a perfect score! Wooooo, again!
After we all wrap up at the range, our coaches notify the class that we all passed the riding portion of the exam! Now comes the written test – 25 multiple choice questions on material we’ve been studying all week (remember: e-course before the class), this should be cake. Again – perfect score!
We celebrate briefly in the classroom and get a gift bag with a few HD items, a certificate of completion and a card verifying we completed the course to turn in at the DMV. All that was needed was to pass the written test at the DMV and I was done! As you can probably assume from reading above, or from the title, I PASSED!!!!
Coming soon: Tallulah