Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The motorcycle

Well. In April I decided to bring to fruition a desire that my wife and I have had for awhile. Get a motorcycle. We were coming into a small inheritance and I had 3 dreams in one week about riding so I figured it was a sign that it was time. So in here it is May 24 and I am now an official licensed motorcyclist. In less then 2 months time I went from not know how to start a motorcycle to riding on the wild and crazy streets of Cincinnati.

The process was so much easier than I thought it would be. A trip to the BMV and $20 got me a motorcycle packet. I read the little book that comes in the packet then went to a BMV testing center and took the written test. BOOM. I had my temps a few days after I got the packet. I could now ride a motorcycle; as long as I stayed off the expressway, carried no passengers and didn't ride after dark.

The next thing I did was look into a riding class. I found Motorcycle Ohio that offers the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's basic rider course at various locations around the state for a mere $25. What a bargain! And one of the locations was a 1/4 mile down the street from where I work and 7 miles from my house. So I looked into signing up. Well as luck would have it, I looked into 2 days after the signups for the summer course. Next sign up date: August 13th for classes beginning in September. Aarrgh. I didn't want to wait that long. So I decided to try the standby route which is show up at the time the 4 hour evening class starts and hope there are some no shows and that your name gets pulled in the lottery for the open spots(s).

Well while I was waiting for the class dates I decided to try to arrive, I started looking at used motorcycles. Something that if I dropped I wouldn't be upset that I ruined a awesome bike. I ended up getting a 1982 Suzuki GS650GL as my first bike. After looking at 3 other bikes this was the one that I settled on. It wasn't my first choice. That was a 1987 Kawasaki ZL600 Eliminator that had most of its parts replaced. But the guy wouldn't budge much below his asking price and I just couldn't afford $1900. We needed to save some of that inheritance for other stuff. Anyway, the Suzuki fits my needs and I gain some maintenance experience on it as it needs a fair amount and I can't afford to take it to the shop for all that stuff.

Then things started to fall into place nicely. I brought the bike home on Friday May 5th and started practicing with the friction zone in my driveway. I went to the May 10th and 11th MSF classes to attempt to get in on standby. No luck on the 10th. There were 8 standbys and 2 no shows. But the 11th was a different story. Eight standby's and 6 no shows. I got in! So after 4 hours of books and videos that night, I've spent the last 2 Sunday afternoons on a motorcycle at the training facility. After passing the course, I went yesterday and got my license endorsed(passing the class waives the need to take the driving test through the BMV) and got my insurance taken care of.

Six weeks, with some luck, it took to accomplish getting my license endorsed for motorcycle riding. I will write later with how my first rides are going.


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