I was so scared! But I gotta start riding it or I might as well tell my boyfriend his Christmas present sucks and he can sell it and buy me something else. So I rode it today on my short day so I’d be coming home during the daylight.
It was awesome! I know I did a good job of trying to go fast enough, even though everybody and his grandma was passing me. Especially when I went up the hill. With the wind in my face. (I mean, sheesh, it’s basically a leaf blower with a seat, have a little patience will you?) I need to get some defogger to treat my helmet, though, because I think I was panting in terror so much I fogged it up. Also, city council! You might want to do something about the water pipes sticking out of the damned road! (The ones I never noticed in my car but could kill me on the scooter.) I think I even did a good job parking it. Even though I have this nagging feeling I forgot something and it’s not going to be there when I get back.
Mundane? Check. Pointless? Also check. But there I went and shared it anyway, 'cause I’m proud of myself for getting out there and doing it.
It’s amazing the crap you don’t notice in a car that suddenly appears lethal on a PTW. Hell, even all that road paint can be nasty in the wet.
There are things you can buy at motorcycle stores that help with fogging - masks, treatment stuff etc. I’m assuming you have a full-face helmet. What I found best was to leave the visor open just a tiny little bit. At town speeds (and with no rain) I’d tend to ride visor-up, but that can be a little dangerous.
Goddamn right you should be scared. You’re out there riding a low-powered motorcycle with no frigging training.
It ain’t a bicycle with an engine, it’s a motorcycle, and handles accordingly. Do you know what to do when you lock up your brakes? Whether you should avoid a squirrel that runs in your path or run it down? How to drive and make sure you don’t get nailed by someone in a cage?
Take some advice from another motorcycle rider and please get some practice on that vehicle in a no-traffic area before you end up hurting yourself.
As for fogging, pretty much nothing works except a mask, and even that’s dubious. Check out my review of anti-fog treatments here.
It’s a cheap Chinese one, a little Viaggio. Bright yellow so I hope they see me.
I’ve been practicing tons in my neighborhood, honest - I didn’t just pick it up and decide to go to work today. The boyfriend rides motorcycles and he’s set up courses for me with cones - he’s a pretty tough taskmaster now that he’s given me something I can kill myself on! (He gave me a scooter and I gave him cigars, it’s like a death-infested Gift of the Magi.) I’ve never ridden in real rush-hour traffic before this morning, though, or on a multi-lane road, and I haven’t gotten enough practice in the dark, which is why I rode today when I’ll be coming home at lunch. I’ve gotten a lot of practice with emergency braking, though, and I’ve read a lot about where to watch in traffic (this morning I had my eye on this guy turning left across me, and I was right - he did. It wasn’t a problem because I was ready for it.) It is scary, though, when everybody else is in huge SUVs yammering on their cell phones.
Umm, that was supposed to be 4 hours of classroom learning, not four days (it’s actually 5, though, I flubbed)! It may be different in each state, but I thought it was standard. Here’s a quote from the email I received from the New Mexico director on Monday:
But, seriously, the dangers inherent on a scooter are going to be the same dangers you’re taught about in the course. The SC site isn’t as detailed as the NM site, so I can’t figure out the level of endorsements there, although they are probably similar. In New Mexico, a “W” endorsement is for a regular 'bike, a “Y” is for between 50 and 100cc, and a “Z” is required for under 50cc. The class keeps you from having to take the state issued field test. It’s pretty easy, though, at least here.
The course also teaches “counter steering” in the course, which is described as “push left, lean left, go left”, and is not intuitive to the beginner rider. Counter steering happens at any speed faster than you can run, and the lack of an ability to understand and use counter steering is cited in a majority of accidents when the rider is at fault.
ETA: Just found this: Motorcycle Safety Foundation Home Page
Red B**, I just found on their site that some locations add additional modules that add to the standard of 15 hours. That’s probably where our discrepancy comes from.
THAT sounds exactly like what I need! I’m just concerned that I’d get all bogged down in shifting and stuff, which I don’t need, instead of learning the stuff that isn’t so intuitive that I do need. Granted, my boyfriend has done a really great job of working with me on the scooter, and I’ve read a ton (although I’m just not sure the scooter is going fast enough for countersteering, and the BF agrees - he’s tried to show me on his motorcycle how it’s supposed to work but I’m still not sure I understand it - doesn’t help that his motorcycle is this completely impossible to understand sidecar rig).
South Carolina allows you to drive anything under 50 ccs without a special license, which is IMHO amazingly stupid. Seriously, do they honestly think my drivers’ license prepares me for this? It’s totally unsafe, especially since half the people on scooters are there because they got their drivers’ license taken from them in the first place! (Seriously, I keep looking for the cool scooterists, but it’s douchebag central out there. It’s almost become a running joke with the BF. Saw a really cute little Honda parked today that must be attached to an awesome person, though.) You totally should have to take a road test and a written test that has “things you should not drive over” and “which of these cars is about to turn in front of you?”
It was weird when I got back in my car - I felt half asleep. It just wasn’t possible for my brain to make itself be as alert as it is when you’re out there in the air and the SUV is thisclose to you - a healthy amount of terror sharpens the senses, I suppose.
labtrash , I’m in Columbia. We had rain last night and some this morning, although it looks okay now. I’d like to get some more practice riding on wet surfaces, but not when it’s critical! I’d consider riding to work today, but I don’t get home until 9 and I just don’t feel confident enough at night yet to put myself in a position where I have to ride. Maybe this weekend - supposed to have a thunderstorm tomorrow, I think.
The MSF classes have apparently been dumbed down a lot over the past decade, depending on which state you live in. It depends on how active the lobbyists/certain companies are…
If your boyfriend’s motorcycle has a sidecar, he’s not countersteering. It’s impossible to countersteer with a sidecar rig.
But on the other hand, countersteering is completely intuitive and natural, and everyone makes too big a fricking deal of it. Seriously, you learned how to countersteer when you were 7 years old, going as fast as you could on a bicycle and made a turn.
It’s just weird because on a small scoot, you can countersteer the vehicle underneath you while keeping your torso upright. That’s just a factor of mass distribution.
Simply put: the handlebar on two wheels does not act like the handlebar on a tricycle, except at very, very slow speeds. And your body already knows this, or else you wouldn’t be able to change lanes.
Be more concerned about knowing how to brake without locking up your wheels. That drops more riders to the pavement that anything else.