Free Time Redux (or, The Return of Kristin’s Blog)


I know I haven’t posted in over a month. I blame the IRS.

This weekend, I’m taking the Beginner Rider Training motorcycle class through a great organization called Team Oregon. For those of you scratching your heads, yes it’s true, I have never ridden a motorcycle by myself before in my life. Then again, I’ve also never constructed a database before nor have I gotten out of bed on April 6th, 2008 but you aren’t questioning my judgement framework for the choice to try those, now are you?

Visibility is very important to a motorcyclist. Can you see me now?

We had our first time on the range (that’s the parking lot where we ride the bikes around in circles – picture plenty of cows and wide open prairies) this morning, and I discovered a few things about myself. First, the fact that I never learned to drive a stick shift has finally come back to haunt me. It’s like walking into Hell’s Kitchen without ever having practiced slicing and dicing or taking endless abuse from a surly Brit with a black belt in flambe (oddly enough how I spent my summer a few years ago). The clutch is a mysterious and fickle mistress, privy to frequent bouts of pouting or outright mischief, which was cause for much embarrassment in front of the other riders. Picture yourself on an escalator. Let’s say your step decide it wants to take a break while all the other steps behind you want to keep moving. Welcome to my 7:30 – 8:30 AM today.

Second, I learned that – despite what my horoscope would tell me – I am terrible at being forward looking. On a motorcycle, it is Super Happy Fun Rule #1 that you go where you look, so you should look where you want to go. This implies other little standbys, such as looking through a turn, keeping one’s head and eyes up on the horizon, and to not stare at a obstacle one wants to avoid. If Ewan McGregor leapt out in front of my motorcycle with a sign that read, “Free Threesomes Thursday” wearing nothing but a smile, I would need to look away from him in order to swerve around and save his beautiful face from becoming a shmear on the range. This is not only unfortunate, but counter intuitive, much like me majoring in accounting or anyone wanting to listen to the soundtrack from the movie Juno.

Finally, I learned that there are three kinds of people who were in this class with me. As my statistics professor would say, there is no reasonable evidence to support extrapolating these archetypes to the broader population of motorcycle riders in general, but stereotypes being what they are, I expect these will prove pervasive in the end:

The Guy Who Rode Dirt Bikes When He Was a Kid

An expert on all things that are incorrect and most definitely not in the instruction book, this character loves to share stories about the time his dad “had to dump the bike” even though the instructor expressly stated that dumping the bike is indeed never necessary. He is loud and outspoken, occasionally gets an answer right, and is ultimately a fairly safe rider. Just try to avoid stopping at the same rest stop with him.

The Woman Who’s Husband Rides

I can speak to the credit of this group, being an off-shoot of it myself. We are a self-sufficient bunch, refusing to settle for biker bitch status (that would be the back of another rider’s bike) and instead choosing to be biker babes in our own right. We know everything because we read the answers from the book like we’re supposed to, but we’re also the ones most likely to stall on the range or have a bike without a working throttle (true story – ask Lisa about it next time you see her out with Hell’s Angels).

The One Who Shouldn’t Be In the Beginner Class

He’s ridden for years without his certification and has, against his better judgement, finally come crawling hand and knee feigning beginner status to the BRT. I have but one thing to say to this guy: get out of my class, you’re making me look bad.

Overall, the class is one of the single ballsiest things I’ve ever done, and I can’t wait to pass the test tomorrow and prove all my nagging doubts wrong. Whether I choose to take another attempt at driving stick will depend on the grace – or fury – of God.


3 Responses to “Free Time Redux (or, The Return of Kristin’s Blog)”

  1. 1 Burton

    I, for one, am very impressed. 🙂

  2. 2 Anonymous

    Good Luck today! Not that you will need it. 🙂 Heather

  3. 3 Psychotik Mouse

    Keep the rubber side down… or up… I can never quite remember which…

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