Monday, February 20, 2012

MSF BRC & cruising the neighborhood

No Motorcycle Monday last week; I was getting really frustrated with my Army rider's course registry getting lost in the sauce. When another two days of ostensibly normal work at the Company went by with no news about placing me in a class, I signed up for Motorcycle Safety Foundation's Basic Rider Course at the Killeen Yamaha dealership scheduled for the following weekend.

The first session was Friday night in a classroom. Videos and workbooks on motorcycle basics with 3 other students and one instructor. The handbook we used is available online, but I guess you'd need permission to print it. Nothing I hadn't already seen from the Texas motorcycle safety booklet and other sources online, but it was good to go through it all incrementally with a knowledgeable instructor. I was the only student there who had never rode before; two of the guys actually rode to class on their 80s-era Honda NightHawks.

We resumed class dark and early Saturday morning in a parking lot by the Killeen Community Theatre with rain joining us just as we mounted the bikes. I had the pleasure of riding a Yamaha XT225 enduro bike. As a training bike, it had been dropped quite a few times, but overall ran well and was more comfortable than it looked.

Photo from
Saturday was spent almost entirely in the rain beginning with basic balance drills, up into gas-to-clutch exercises and cornering. My army-issue rainsuit performed admirably, but my Doc Martens were quickly soaked through.

Sunday brought cold, but clear weather and we moved up to shifting exercises and swerving and braking at higher speeds. I was a little shaky on the final test, but still passed with points to spare and never dropped it.

We had off work today, so armed with my new safety card, I took the Bonneville out for a bit in our neighborhood. The clutch and gas were both different from the Yamaha and obviously going from a 225 thumper to a 865 twin was quite the contrast. The Triumph mufflers actually ride more quiet than I expected. I found an empty church parking lot and practiced some of the MSF drills for a while and generally bopped around the neighborhood without going on the highways just yet.

Odometer: 844

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