Jul 29, 2014

Strange Experiences on the Training Range

What would make someone who considers himself to be an “experienced rider” to take a Basic Rider Course; the beginning MSF class? If you can think of a good reason, can you explain why this same rider would be a total hooligan weenie throughout the course, to the point of receiving three warnings on the first day about his poor riding skills and general hazard to the other students? [That’s one more than I usually allow. I think I’m about too old for this shit.]

It’s baffling. At least, it baffled me. If I thought I could ride well enough to be a constant pain in a class, I’d skip “go” and go straight to the DMV and take the state’s test without messing around in a course for $150. Seriously, if I had to I’d take the state’s test three times before I’d cough up money I didn’t think I needed to spend. On the other hand, if I thought I couldn’t pass Minnesota’s wimpy, super-easy test on my own, I’d be pretty damn humble in a motorcycle class.

Testosterone is a weird drug. It makes guys act like morons while convincing them they are being cool. I think heroin is probably less vicious a drug, especially when it comes to looking stupid and being clueless. Hell, the two heroin addicts I’ve known actually were pretty cool, outside of being well on their way to a premature death and being homeless and living under a bridge in the process. A pretty good clue to whether you are looking cool or not would be, “Are you worried that other people might not think you are cool?” If the answer is “yes,” you are a dork and won’t be allowed to park on the same block as actual cool people.

No, in Minnesota you don’t “need” to take the MSF BRC for anything, including getting to play with Polaris two-wheeled toys if you are a Polaris employee/intern. If you can pass the state’s DMV test you have passed “Go,” spent your $200, and are as legal as someone who took the MSF course and passed. You do need to take the Confident Rider Course (was ERC, Experienced Rider Course, then the BRC II, then . . . ) to get to play with the Polaris toys and, if you haven’t taken a motorcycle safety course, the BRC II will qualify you for insurance discounts and other minor perks.

All that said, I have often recommended the BRC to people who were once motorcyclists and haven’t ridden for a while, but still have a valid motorcycle license. My argument is, “You might learn some new skills. You might lose some old bad habits. You get to play with one of the state’s motorcycles for 10 hours and, if you crash it and bust it up, I give you another one. Try getting anything any where near that deal at the State Fair for $160.” However, if you plan to come into one of these courses with the attitude that “I don’t wanna be here and I am gonna make it as miserable as possible for everyone involved,” you might find yourself out $160 and booted from the class. That’s just stupid. If you are going to sign up for any sort of educational experience, be a student. Pretend you aren’t an expert, which shouldn’t be too hard, and try to open yourself up to learning something new. Otherwise, you are wasting everyone’s time.

The older I get, the more I value the few opportunities I have to be a student. It's not like I know everything, but it is like I just don't have the opportunity to be in a situation where I'm primarily there to be a learner. In the last ten years, I can think of about a dozen situations where I was in the student seat and I treasured those opportunities because they were so rare. It makes sense that a kid would be less appreciative, because kids are "stuck" in classrooms and in beginner situations all the time. Once again, youth is wasted on the young.

The second day of the weekend's BRC, our problem child slightly modified his behavior. He didn't cut back on his wennie-ness, but he pretended to take advice; occasionally. Even more rarely, he actually tried to follow some of our advice. I had to warn him, once, about doing wheelies on his DR200 and, once, about blowing into merging traffic without looking or a lick of control. After reminding him that two warnings were all he would get, he settled down. Nobody got killed, everybody passed, I went home with a splitting headache and an aching back. The usual.


Trobairitz said...

Think a traffic court judge may have mandated he take the course? Too many tickets perhaps?

T.W. Day said...

I didn't know that was an option. He had a new permit and, supposedly, had never been licensed.