What a weekend!
I had a chance to try something that I've been wanting to do for quite some time: learn how to drive a motorcycle! I used to ride on the back of my dad's bike when I was about 10 years old - mainly just short distances as he'd drive me to softball practice. I have to admit, I used to be kind of embarrassed showing up on this loud machine that basically commanded your attention. Once I got used to swinging my leg over the bike and was able to put the helmet on without any problems (those things can be tricky sometimes!), I started really getting into it!
Fast forward a few years...approximately fifteen...I was off to House of Harley-Davidson on Layton to try and get a license of my own.
"You're too small."
"That crowd is rough."
These were all things people told me as I expressed interest in getting my license. So, let me break it down for you: they can be dangerous - but a lot of that is controllable with safe driving and riding skills. Give yourself some credit and be smart; be safe.
My mom is approximately 5'3" which is smaller than me. She had her own bike for a few years, and I've seen people even shorter than her ride. There are bikes for everyone...all shapes and sizes, so once again: you just have to be smart and get something you're comfortable with.
The final statement could not be farther from the truth. Of course, there are always exceptions, but I will tell you that I have never felt more welcome than walking into House of Harley and taking the class surrounded by "Harley Professionals" and experienced riders who were nothing but excited to see new people taking the class. Every time we would walk in after class, the employees in the store, the salesmen, the service workers would all ask how the day went and how we liked riding. A lot of, "Welcome to the families," were shared, as well. It was a really cool feeling.
Alright, there's my lecture. Now, the good stuff:
(I was super excited to wear the gear...can you tell?)
I took the class with Hannah (who you hear on Sundays and probably know from the show that she's one of my best friends). We had been talking about taking a class for years and finally pulled the trigger. We walked into a classroom of vibrant personalities - ranging in ages, but the best part was: the majority of the new riders were female! The people were the highlight of this class. We had such a good camaraderie going on - everyone was rooting for each other, talking in between exercises, joking around before and after class. It was almost like going to camp for adults - I know that's probably a weird comparison, but just trust me on this one.
The head of this newfound group of friends was a guy by the name of "Shrek." No, he wasn't a large, green, ogre, but he was one of the encouraging, passionate riders I've ever met, and he was our instructor. Han and I looked at eachother several times throughout the day and said, "Man, did we luck out with this class, or what?!" Shrek and Karen, who helped with the driving exercises on the weekend, were fantastic at explaining things and calmly corrected you when you might need to adjust something on a turn or when stopping. The two of them explained exercises thoroughly and would always chat with us about riding, life and whatever else during our breaks. It was the perfect experience for a new rider!
The passion for riding behind both of our instructors was unreal, too. Can you imagine loving something so much that you give up nights and weekends to teach others about it?! That's super cool.
When all was said and done, I didn't pass the test...the first time. Sometimes that happens! I passed my actual drivers test with only one point to spare, so I'd be surprised if I got my motorcycle license on the first try, right?! I can't wait to get back on the range and become more comfortable with my turns and weaving, so I can eventually get out on the road. Am I disappointed? Sure, but I know I wasn't ready when I was taking the test, and this is a hobby and a skill that I NEED to be prepared for. I'd much rather go through the course six times and feel confident than rush through to satisfy my own pride and dignity. The best part is that Shrek offered to help me tighten up my skills again!