I have begun training to be an instructor for some new(er) rider courses. Many of the instructors in these courses have been riding their entire lives, often longer than I’ve been alive! This gives them a wealth of experience and knowledge that can only be gained over time and miles. I, on the other hand, am a relatively new rider in comparison with not-quite nine years under my belt. Seeing these new people get on a bike for the first time reminds me of my first experience, which was actually at the MSF course.
Used with permission from our friends at 4theRiders.com
Other than a couple catch-rides on the back of a friend’s bike, I had never been on a motorcycle. Sport bikes were the style I had always been drawn to, but where I grew up and lived at the time (Wisconsin) they weren’t very popular. Although I had always loved the idea of riding, not knowing anyone who did never pushed it up on my priority list. Then one random day my ex announced that he planned to take the MSF and get a motorcycle. My response?
“Well, if you are, I am!!”
So off to the MSF we trotted. The classroom was enjoyable and our instructors were cool. The next day we were out to the MSF range. I had never operated a two wheeled vehicle with a motor, thankfully I had driven PLENTY of manual transmission vehicles, just all with four wheels. The class was fun and exciting, and I was stoked to finally be closer to riding a motorcycle. Scraping pegs in the class should have been a sign of how much I would come to enjoy this sport. From there, the rest was history until today when I get to see other people in the same position I was just a few short years ago.
It’s interesting to see the dynamics and how people’s perceptions of their abilities and their personalities can make such a huge difference. Some people have a stubborn streak that keeps them coming back even when they shouldn’t. Some are daredevils and will plow through their lack of knowledge. Others are timid, but capable once they get out of their own way. Then there are a few who seem to find that perfect balance and are the ones you are super excited to see get on a motorcycle!
Since I started riding later in life, I can remember and relate to the students in a way that a lifetime rider simply cannot. Additionally many people these days have never driven a manual transmission. Take away half of their wheels and suddenly something that we as riders don’t even think about becomes a very complicated task for new riders. When things are broken down to basic controls, with people who have never seen a clutch, and trying to explain basic mechanical functions, there’s a lot going on for these new riders!
I’m looking forward to helping develop new riders, and hopefully can offer a unique perspective as someone who doesn’t have a lifetime of experience to back me up. We need more competent, safe and solid riders in all aspects of our sport, whether they are enjoying their cruiser on a cross country trip or tearing it up at the track. I’m looking forward to helping make that happen in some small way!
So when you meet that new rider, remember where it started for you, and help them become another ambassador for our sport!