Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Yippie for the step-son

A blended family with older kids can be quite a challenge. When I met my wife 7 years ago her son was 10. We married two years later. My children had left my home (I was a single parent and raise my two children alone from Kindergarten to HS) shortly before we got married. My stepson Cornelius will be a senior in HS this year. There has never been an issue between he and I to this day. He is not perfect, nor is any one of us, but he has been an absolute pleasure to help raise. When he got his permit for driving the car, I was the one who helped him accumulate the 80 hours of parental riding before he could get the drivers license. I took him for the driving test and was the one there to see the big cheesy grin when he knew he had passed.

So two weeks ago, he got into a motorcycle class that I was the assistant instructor for. There were two open slots for the 4 walk ins trying to get in the class. Luck was on his side as his number was one of the 2 tickets pulled out of the hat to get one of the seats for the class. I would not have manipulated anything to compromise my own integrity. While the other instructor knew he was my stepson, the other students didn't get it until the last day when I had him take some of my extra gear home with him.

Cornelius was apprehensive with his riding during the first 2 days of class. His only riding experience was as a passenger on my MC and on his sister's MC. He picked up the pace and I am proud to say that he was in a three way tie for the lowest riding score for the class. He will hold onto the license waiver until he turns eighteen in February. Then he will has a motorcycle license and I will have a lot a supervised road training with him.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

It only takes one

Wipe out and apprehension

Saturday was the 3rd day of a 4 day Basic Rider Course. The rain was off and on all morning. The classroom portion of the course was done and we had just begun the swerve to avoid an obstacle. One student who had not exhibited smooth controls and too much speed the entire course was next. He was going way too fast for the exercise. My co-instructor yelled for him to slow down. The student began the swerve and "grabbed" the front brake. A major low side fall ensued. The student was bruised scraped but okay enough to keep riding. His fall effected the all of the other students confidence. The rest of the day, all of the students were riding with a little apprehension. At least of them now now the consequences of braking and swerving as well as grabbing the front brake. Later in the class the speeds were back up to training levels and 8 of 11 passed the riding evaluation.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

More on riding alone

I am into just my 3rd riding season with my Concours. After getting the license and the bike, I joined the Christian Motorcycle Association local chapter Christian Eagles and a local riding club "Shadow Riders" out of Midlothian. My good friend Dave was very involved in the Christian Eagles. He moved to St. Paul almost 2 years ago. My experience with both group have been wonderful and I will continue to associate with both groups. I have received countless mentoring about riding, motorcycles, trips, and group riding. Both groups have weekly rides.

Having settled into my own preferences now, it's hard to take time (what little time there is given work, family, teaching 15 motorcycle classes, etc) to ride with either group. My preference really is to ride alone. The social aspect of the ice cream ride isn't outweighing the internal objections to being part of a staggered formation of motorcycles. When there is time to ride, I find myself satisfyingly on the bike, alone, going wherever and however I want to go.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Need to ride alone

I just returned from American Library Association Annual Conference. Annual was in Anaheim, CA, right next to Disney. The conference was okay and I did get to see lane splitting by motorcycles for the first time. I don't think I would try it with my wide Concours, but on a smaller bike maybe. On the flight out, I came across a nice article in Southwest Airlines Spirit Magazine. The article Why I travel solo resonated with me. When talking with my wife about bike trips I want to make, so frequently asks me wouldn't I want to have another rider along with me. The author hits a few familiar thoughts about solo travel that so appealing, the freedom and lack of consideration that solo travel entails. My daily and familial life is dictated by considering others, I don't my my motorcycle travel be a compromise too.