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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Getting it legal....

When I was just a wee lad growing up in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania I didn't know anyone that rode.  In fact, it wouldn't be till I moved to Charlotte, North Carolina right out of University that I even knew anyone that owned a bike.

As I grew older my circle of friends grew to include bikers, many of whom were serious about their Harley's, BMW's and one guy I knew even collected Indian's.  Hell, even my ex wife rode!  Yet I still did not understand what the big deal was.

My reasons for getting the scooter I did were more economical than anything but I know understand why they would take off for a weekend and just ride with no particular destination in mind.  In a way I'm sorry I didn't "get it" before.  So when I decided to upgrade from a little 125cc to the bigger 400cc Burgman I knew I would get my endorsement.

In Florida you can either get your motorcycle  endorsement on a 150cc scooters or on a 250cc  motorcycle licence.  The licence will allow you to ride either.   I decided to take the class on the motorcycle, after all you never know when you might move up right?  For someone like me who has never really ridden before it was an eye opener of sorts.  Where I thought the scooter was challenging enough learning how to work the controls of a motorcycle were a whole new challenge.

We also had to learn it in the pouring rain and howling wind over a short two day period, not the ideal condition's but I was looking at it this way; if I did well now...I know I could it in better conditions.  A opinion that seemed to be shared by my fellow trainees.

So after a few mistakes and a few realizations that "Yes, I've been doing this wrong!" I worked hard on correcting those mistakes.  Breaking habits that I somehow picked up - like covering the front brake handle with my hand.  While I'm not happy with my final score (I am my own worst critic) I can say that I did OK.

So I have the insurance, the licence, the experience will come with every mile under my wheel.  I'm part of the brotherhood now, for better or worse.  I took the class through the Motorcycle Safety Foundation and highly recommend it to anyone thinking about riding, or who has ridden illegally for a while.

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