August 2004

What's the first step to learning how to ride a motorcycle? You could learn from a friend (in my case, Craig could teach me all he knows), but that's not always the best. In that scenario, the pair could ruin a great relationship. Nope, that wasn't how I was going to go about it.

Craig recommended an MSF course (Motorcycle Safety Foundation). This group teaches you how to ride and if you pass their class, you don't have to take the riding portion of the DMV test to get your motorcycle license. You just need to take the written exam. The California version of MSF is the California Motorcyclist Safety Program (CMSP). Armed with this info, I started calling the nearest class, which is offered through the Mountain View/Los Altos Adult Education group.

This being the end of August, I was really thrilled that the next available course started on September 30. That seemed really close! I looked on the website and noted that they request you sign up for the course one week in advance. Like a good little girl, I made a note to register about 10 days before. Man, was I excited!

In addition to looking for classes, I started to scour the internet for information for women riders. Not all the info that the guys talk about seems applicable to me, and I wanted to know what women were going through to learn how to ride, what happened after they took their MSF course, how they're being treated in the real world. You kind of get this image of the 1950's/60's Motorcycle Mama in your head, and I wanted to see if this was still how women were viewed.

In some instances, the vision still exists and is perpetuated by websites that sell gear that is supposed to be "motorcycle gear for women", but is really just a leathered-up version of Victoria's Secrets. I don't think a real woman rider would wear a leather halter top when riding, because the pain they'd endure if they were in an accident would be horrific.

Another thing I did was order a book for beginners that seems to be highly recommended on a numerous websites: Proficient Motorcycling: The Ultimate Guide to Riding Well. I can't wait to get the book and start learning more about riding.

I can honestly say I haven't been this interested to learn this much about something in a long time, maybe ever! It helps that Craig is so into riding, because he keeps my interest piqued by teaching me things about how bikes run, what different engine sizes mean, etc. Now wait! Don't ask me about the stuff he's taught me! I haven't memorized it! J At least, I haven't fully incorporated all the information into my brain. I think he'll have to say it at least a dozen times more for me to completely understand it all.

Next month: MSF!

On to September 2004.