Ratha (papertygre) wrote,

Motorcycle class

alacrity and I are mostly through a weekend-long beginner's motorcycle-riding class. We had classroom instruction on Thursday evening and this afternoon from 12:45 to 4. In addition, there was a session of actual riding this morning from 7:15 AM (!) to noon, and there will be another tomorrow morning for a similar time period.

We are doing it mostly for fun, since we'd never ridden before and wanted to see what it was like, but as an extra bonus we can get a motorcycle endorsement on our licenses if we pass the course. So we could theoretically get bikes at some point if we decide to.

The riding is definitely fun, and tricky. It's taking time to assimilate many of the principles behind manual transmissions, such as 'slow down too much in a high gear and the engine will stall' and 'you are allowed to roll on the throttle while the clutch is applied; in fact, not only is this not bad, but you need to do it in certain cases.' Getting used to the direction the throttle rotates takes practice, as does not accidentally turning it and getting freaked out when the engine unexpectedly revs. Also, the controls are all weird compared to both bicycles and cars: the front brake is a handgrip lever like a bicycle brake, but on a motorcycle the other handgrip lever is not the rear brake, it is the clutch. The rear brake, in fact, is a foot pedal. The throttle is on a handgrip, whereas on a car the closest analogue is the gas pedal, and the motorcycle's shift lever is operated with your toe instead of your hand (car) or fingers (bicycle).

Anyway, this has taken up a large amount of time over the last few days, in part because we've had to go to bed early to get up early enough for the riding sessions. For example, we didn't make it to a party last night at the Compound (a local social group we were recently introduced to) because of realistic bedtime needs. One moderately good side effect, however, of this weekend's schedule was the fact that we made ourselves get up progressively earlier during the last week to prepare ourselves for it, and we generally worked from 8:30 to 5 all week, which is about 2 hours earlier than usual. It was strangely normal and surprisingly productive. There doesn't seem to be much hope of keeping this up after the class is over, but it was nice to do for a change.
Tags: motorcycles, stuff i did
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