This past weekend, I took the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) course at a local college. I’ve had my motorcycle endorsement for years, but I also had not been able ride in a while and thought that taking the course would be worth it to get some practice and techniques in before getting back on two wheels.
Even though I have experience riding, I know that I am weak in tight maneuvers. I am also willing to pick up new tricks as I get myself comfortable with riding again as it has been a few years since I have actively ridden. Let’s just say, it hasn’t been optimal in a few years for me to get on a bike.
Also, short girl, small inseam. Which means, I can’t put both feet down. And even riding the provided Suzuki 125 motorcycles. I was tip-toeing my way around even on that. Just an FYI. I now own a Kawasaki Ninja 400. It is an upgrade from the 250 I first rode on.
We were a class of 10, and after some instruction indoors, we went outside to the parking lot which has markings painted for various obstacles. We ran through drills guided by the instructors giving a demonstration, then we went through the obstacles ourselves. It was several hours out on the course and exhausting. It was humid, so frequent breaks to drink water were very needed. Luckily it was cloudy our first day.
At the end of the day, we went back to the classroom and reviewed laws and best practices and took a test.
The next day we returned and went right back to the course. The skill for the obstacles was increased and at the end, we took the road test for the motorcycle endorsement on the license. I already have mine, but reviewing skills never hurts. I learned a few things that I will continue to work on.
Some background on me. I got my motorcycle endorsement almost 20 years ago. Oh no I’m old. When a friend taught me how to ride. I had ridden bitch before. FYI – Riding bitch means you are in the passenger seat of the motorcycle sitting behind the rider. Although that was fun, I spent most of those rides looking at the back of a helmet. When the opportunity arose to get my own bike and have someone teach me, I took it. Due to a busy schedule, school, and nightshift work, my bike stayed parked in the garage. I only ride when I can be alert, and being tired and riding, just never felt safe for me to do. I started off with a Kawasaki Ninja 250, but recently upgraded that to a 400. Those numbers represent the CC’s, or the engine displacement of the bike. Usually the larger that number, the more powerful the bike. Since it had been a while since my last time on a motorcycle, I took the MSF class to help review my skills and the feel of a bike. I also upgraded several things on the Ninja 400 to make it more me, and got some new riding gear such as armored jacket, helmet, shoes, gloves. Which, like cosplay, starts to add up. Hobbies will keep you poor!
If you are interested in riding, please consider taking an MSF course locally. In NJ, you can enroll via https://www.ridertrainingnj.com/ and choose the location closest to you. It is a 2-day course, and they provide motorcycles for students. Students will need to provide their own over the ankle shoes, helmets, gloves, and long sleeve shirt and pants. Also, pack drinks, lunch, and snacks to have during breaks.
For those outside of NJ, I recommend looking up a local motorcycle riding safety course via https://msf-usa.org/.