Scoot Commute

MSF Rider Coach Prep Course: The First 3 Days

Posted in MSF RiderCoach by sbahn on 2012/03/29

I’m really excited to have been asked to take the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) RiderCoach Prep Course with the end result being certified to offer the MSF Basic Rider Course (BRC) here in Little Rhody. While there’s no guarantee that 1) I will pass; and, 2) upon successful completion, that I’ll be hired, I pony’d up the cash for the course at CCRI and arranged my work schedule.

The course runs Friday – Saturday – Sunday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm for two weeks, then the following Saturday is classroom student teaching, and the last weekend, Saturday and Sunday, range student teaching. As someone who has a busy “day job” and neighborhood obligations, this course is a big investment of my time.

It began a month ago when I was handed a large three-ring binder with several booklets of reading materials and a pre-first-day question packet of over 70 questions and a separate packet of readings and questions related to learner-centered teaching. About two weeks before the first day of the course, I started reading intently, answering the questions. I also did some additional Googling around to read what RiderCoaches and riders who had taken the BRC had to say.

On the first day of the course, a Friday morning, I dragged my body out of bed after my alarm bleated at 6:00 am. I am not a morning person, and despite my best efforts to get to bed early, still stayed up to my normal time. Shower, dress, and then down to the kitchen to make some yummy farina. Except I hadn’t checked and I was out of hot cereal. I knew I needed to eat something solid to calm my stomach (and nerves). Luckily I had a pumpernickel bagel courtesy of one of the nicest profs at my place of work.

I rode the DRZ up to CCRI’s Lincoln campus. As I pulled in to park, I saw another bike and a guy taking off his helmet and headed toward a building. He stopped, turned, and walked over to greet me. “Ahhh, that’s good,” I thought to myself. I was really nervous about the guys accepting any girls. He’s a police officer in Portsmouth, Rhode Island and a really nice guy. A real natural with the teaching. I would welcome the opportunity to co-coach with him.

Trainer bikes: Yamaha TW200, Honda Rebel, Honda Nighthawk

Trainer bikes: Yamaha TW200, Honda Rebel, Honda Nighthawk

I’m not going to get into the minutiae of each day, but I’ll say this. I was absolutely exhausted at the end of each day, mentally and physically empty. And I still had to ride home.

Some take-aways:

  • wear sunblock every day even if it’s overcast (I was Rudolf on Monday at school)
  • the TW200 is a freakin’ hoot & a half to ride; half of us in the class are ready to buy our own
  • the guys who ride the power lines behind CCRI in Lincoln are having a helluva lot more fun than us suckas riding around in a circle on a beat up Honda Rebel
  • the Honda Rebel is a miserable bike for me; the first one I rode, I dragged my feet on the ground when I went to put them on the pegs and actually had to look down to figure out where the hell the pegs were. What a crazy, uncomfortable position, feet so far forward. The chick who has ridden for 43 years thought the peg placement on the TW200 was odd. Gimme my D/S bike any day!
  • kudos to the woman in my class who is profoundly deaf; it’s so much fun to watch her and have her as part of the team as she brings the best out in all of us as we work to be as inclusive as possible. And she’s got 3 or 4 of the same bikes I have! Academics have to stick together (she’s an Associate Dean at a college).
Lunch break tomfoolery: TW200 chases a Honda Rebel

Lunch break tomfoolery: TW200 chases a Honda Rebel

All in all, the course is fantastic. All week I’ve been even more hyper-aware of my surroundings on my commute in and out of work. I’ve been trying to think of fun things to add to the classroom exercises, like having model bikes and motorcycle books (like Jupiter’s Travels, Long Way Round, Proficient Motorcycling) on each table as students filter in and some gear for students to touch, try on, and demonstrate during that section.

I’m not too concerned about the classroom. I’m starting to relax about the range. My two issues are cone placement and recognizing student mistakes and offering constructive feedback. We haven’t practiced that because everyone is a good rider in the course. But it’ll come in time.

It’s Thursday night. Off to re-read the big book and make notes on cone placement.

Sticking a leg out off a Honda Rebel

Sticking a leg out off a Honda Rebel

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