Wednesday, June 2, 2010


What a lucky break: it was raining today for my private motorcycle safety class. Instead of rain catching me alone with the scooter in the U.P. on a gravelly road or the busier streets of Minneapolis, I had gentle guidance from Steve of Michigan's Safest Riders. It was awesome! I was so happy.

When I arrived, they asked what I wanted help with. I explained that I was having trouble with balancing the scooter, primarily starting out and at slow speeds. I also wanted to learn with confidence how to use the safety feature on the Piaggio MP3 that locks the two front wheels so that the bike doesn't fall over. As I found out during my lesson today, if I lock the wheels if they aren't straight, it can be a disaster; so I'm not locking them anymore until I'm stopped. I also was turning too wide, because I wasn't comfortable leaning properly.

The pavement in Kalamazoo was quite wet, with puddles scattered about. The parking lot we were working in had plenty of places where it was chewed up, so I had to pay very close attention. Steve was great. When I did an exercise perfectly right off the bat, we skipped ahead, and we spent as much time as I needed to become comfortable on the exercises that were a bigger challenge for me. In fact, at the end of the lesson, he asked me if there was anything I would like to do again. When I told him which exercise I wanted to work on, he had his assistant set it up and he let me run it until I could feel it right in my body. Better still, when I would do it wrong, I could feel what I had done wrong.

He said he was "very comfortable giving me my endorsement" (again, on this new vehicle). He went on to say that he was impressed with my progress from the beginning of the lesson—when I really couldn't lean on turns at all—to the end of the lesson when my lean was very appropriate for the bike and the size of corner.

Then I stopped at the Secretary of State's office on my way home to take the written test and get the official CY on my driver's license. Plus, this would allow me to get a new driver's license with my current hair color. I'll 'fess up and tell you: I failed the exam my first time through, but there were some questions that one could not know without reading the book... and I hadn't read the book. For example, in the State of Michigan, at what MPH does one need to wear sunglasses? I said 15 (correct answer: 35). There were also some clutching questions that I hadn't paid enough attention to during my first class (as it wasn't relevant to my twist-and-go scooter). Oh, and in case you don't know: What goes first when you drink alcohol? A. Vision, B. Hearing, C. Balance, or D. Judgment? I answered Balance—but the correct answer is Judgment.

Having blown the test the first time, I took the book, went to Orchards Mall, bought a Diet Dr Pepper, and read the Michigan Motorcycle Operators Manual. When I got back to the Secretary of State and took the test again, I did just fine. In 30 days, I will have a new license, with my CY and an adorable new picture (they let me see it, so I know I'm pretty cute).


  1. Well you are certainly cute no doubt about that :) Congratulations on another step forward Ara!