Monday, April 25, 2016

And so begins the magic! Motorcycle season

       (Cue harps and angels singing)

Riding season technically began for me April 1st. Here in Victoria we have very mild winters and I could have ridden all winter, but I usually get wimpy come November, mostly due to rain, grey skies and reduced visibility to other drivers. It seems particularly in winter months most motorcyclists become even more invisible to car drivers.  But then there is the hint of spring with blossoms and sunny skies and motorcyclists are out en masse tearing up the pavement, fighting for our place on the roads of the concrete jungle.  I can almost hear a Tarzan yell in the distance, well not really, more like the sound of a car horn or the deep throaty vibrato of a motorcycle engine as it winds out down the city street. 
The weather has been pretty spectacular and warmer than usual, I think if this is any indication of the coming summer it is going to be long, hot, dry, and sunny.  It was time to shake off the moto cobwebs and get some insurance going.  

Off to the local insurance company for renewal and a big ouch to the wallet.  For 6 months  of  insurance with a safe drivers discount it's still $700 give or take - with me doing all the giving and ICBC doing the taking. At this point it's cost me about a $150 for each ride, but then the rides have been priceless because of the moto happiness quotient every adventure brings.
It's also the start of motorcycle teaching season. I get such a thrill introducing newbs to the passion of riding.  I can't even explain the feeling of utter joy when I see the "light" come on and know that things are clicking and their skill foundation is being built brick by proverbial brick with slow speed to high speed skills.  
It is an amazing process to be a part of, these fledgling riders start from ground zero, many without ever having touched a bike. We build skills starting with them pushing each other on the bike, to learning about slow speed skills working in the friction zone and this is only in the first 60 to 90 minutes and then to finally turning the key and riding a circuit of slaloms, 90 degree turns, and the always dreaded u-turn box and that is only on day 1! 
Day 2 brings the higher speed aspects of riding to the students, keeping in mind they have only been on a bike for 4 hours at this point. They are learning gear shifting and the magic of the powerband, acceleration and the all important application of braking and the blissful art of counter steering - hello future twisties! I marvel about the incredibly steep learning curve and transformation that has taken place in such a short amount of time. 
These students who a mere 4 hours into the course were tentative, nervous as hell or the very few who had more bravado than skill learned quickly that motorcycling is a demanding task master, but one that can gloriously induce a state of euphoria or can just as easily create a humbling moment no matter the skill level. As a teacher I want to instill the joy to be found on the back of the bike, but also the responsibility that comes along with it and it is a very fine edge indeed. 
After their first full weekend of riding and doing the last high speed counter steering gate slalom exercise zipping by me in 2nd or 3rd gear is pretty miraculous. These were the students who only the day before were afraid to turn the key and twist the throttle are now all feeling like road queens and kings with the hugest of smiles. You can feel the electrical frison of excitement and happiness enveloping them with a sense of accomplishment and their first taste of the ever building passion of their riding future. 

I am just as euphoric and giddy as they are! My one student said to me, "I made it into 3rd gear! I was leaning and doing 39 kilometres an hour! Oh my god!" All I could think was if you think 39km/hr was great just wait! There is more much more to discover, it will be thrilling, joy inducing and maybe even a little terrifying at times, but if I have done my job right through mentoring and foundation building, they will be just fine and well equipped to deal with whatever comes their way out on the road. 

So is hauling 10 bikes out of a trailer, working in wet cold weather or extremely hot weather and pounding back and forth on hard pavement worth it and fun? YOU BET, I WOULDN'T HAVE IT ANY OTHER WAY! 

Onwards to day 3 and 4, and 10 new motorcyclist on the road! 



13 comments:

Kathy Kirkpatrick said...

Very well-written! I think you enjoy this instructor gig! 😎

Dar said...

Kathy I do! Its my paying it forward. I think Sunday I was living vicariously through them.

Nikos said...

How does the price of insurance compare to a car?

Andrew Thomson said...

I still don't quite understand this "season" thing but it's great you're out on the bike again and sharing some know-how with others!

I'm picking your insurance is like our registration here? Or does it also cover you for accidents as well? Rego for the Connie is just over $500 and then insurance is more on top of that. Multiply that by the number of bikes and things start adding up...

RichardM said...

It really does sound like you.re having a blast teaching the motorcycle classes. I used to teach classes as an adjunct but after a wile (18 years) having students that didn't seem to care made it no longer fun. The older, part time students were usually fully engaged but the 20 something ones just sat in the back of the class playing video games. What a waste of time and money (IMHO).

Do I sound like a cranky old guy yet?

Dar said...

Andrew - for most of us in Canada once the snow flies or there is ice we usually stop riding. I have to say though Richard Machida has proven really that motorcycle season never stops! I though am a little wimpy.

Nikos - the car is about the same $1000 for a year, but bike is still a couple of hundred dollars more.

Richard - I am loving it! It is challenging at times particularly if a student is struggling. But I think why I like it is because I am NOT doing it all the time, it might be a different story if I was doing it every day.

SonjaM said...

Something I don't miss in BC... the moto insurance cost. In Germany you'll get four bikes insured all year for the cost of your seasonal patch.
I used to calculate insurance cost per km... ;-)

Trobairitz said...

Wow, I always forget how expensive ICBC is. For $700 we insure our two big road bikes all year.

We pay $250 a month to State Farm for 4 motorcycles (insured year round) the Fiat, The Subaru, and life insurance policies for both of us.

I am glad that riding season has arrived for you. Our weather is better now too and I am hoping to get out soon. Our weekends just seem to be taken up with other things.

Kathy H said...

Hat's off to you who love teaching. Without you, it would be painful to learn anything new!

Robert Wilson said...

I will never complain about the cost of insurance again. That is highway robbery compared to what I pay...but then again I ride year round.

Lynne Goebeler said...

Wow, I had no idea bike insurance was so high in BC! Would it be less per month if you insured for the full year perhaps? Just thinking out loud...

And it sounds like you are the perfect instructor to bring newbies to our sport. :-)

Dar said...

Lynne Goebeler nope insurance is really expensive and that is with my safe driver's discount of 42%. If you are under 25 you pay big bucks to drive anything. Even with the discount it is still steep.

Lynne Goebeler said...

Wow, I am sorry, Dar! I have been shopping for insurance for our RV, 2 cars, two motorcycles and a trailer these last few days, and it is frightening, but not as bad as BC, apparently. Makes you want to ride all the time and get your money's worth, I bet! ;-)