Scoot Commute

Buffalo Stance

Posted in Advocacy, Daily Commute, MSF RiderCoach by cheesebot on 2015/03/31

It was a bit chilly this morning but I decided to ride in anyway.  My ride in was uneventful, maybe a bit windy but without any Murano run ins or any other bikes for that matter.  On the way home I decided to cut through the Warwick CCRI campus (depending on the time of day it can be a nice shortcut) to see if the MSF classes had started up again.  I used to stop and watch and visit with Siobhan if it was near the break time.  Tonight I saw a bunch of little bikes going around in a counterclockwise oval with a RiderCoach on either side of the group.  I couldn’t tell who the coaches were tonight so I’m not sure if they knew who I was as I slowly rode by and out of the lot.  I know that she made a big impression with these people too.

I took these pics in September 2014

About to demonstrate an exercise on a TW200.

2014-09-23 18.51.49

Encouraging the next generation of riders going in a counterclockwise oval.

2014-09-23 19.34.11

She always loved to share her knowledge if she could help someone.  All of her jobs were about teaching in one way or another and I’m sure anyone who got their motorcycle license through her will remember her.


CCRI Rider Coaches at Cycle Gear Grand Opening in Warwick, RI

Posted in Buddy St. Tropez (Franz Biberkopf), MSF RiderCoach by sbahn on 2013/11/24
Anthony hamming it up at the RIREP table

Anthony hamming it up at the RIREP table

Yesterday was the grand opening of a Cycle Gear in Warwick, Rhode Island, the first in the state. They’d done a soft open a couple of weeks ago, but this weekend was the official opening.

I was asked to represent the Rhode Island Rider Education Program with a table to distribute information about our basic rider course, experience rider course and advanced rider course.

It was a good time despite the cold. I got to chat with a bunch of Rhode Islanders, as well as some of the folks from Cycle Gear, including those who came into the state to help out with the opening. Most memorable Rhode Islander was the guy who didn’t smile, and got a bit smart-assy when Anthony teased him. His “smile” was fake mooning us. That, in a nutshell, sums up the miserable attitude of the people of this state. I still don’t get it, as an outsider.

Fun-est bike was this Kawasaki! The owner was a super-chill dude from West Greenwich. He told me about how nice the riding is in Maine, so that’s on the list for next year.

Kawasaki 750 2-stroke ... I think this is a bit of a Frankenbike as I think it's an H1 with a different engine? Drum brake confusing me.

Kawasaki 750 2-stroke … I think this is a bit of a Frankenbike as I think it’s an H1 with a different engine? Drum brake confusing me.

I picked up some of the Freeze-Out line; a pair of leggings and socks in preparation for an upcoming ride. We’ll see if it works…the national marketing guy told me it would. He’ll hear from me if it doesn’t.

Loved this Dizzer sumo. Rider was a cool dude; he put a fake exhaust on the left side. Told me there wasn’t anything in there, now that I knew it was fake ;)

DDRZ400SM with dual exhaust, hmmm...very tricky

DDRZ400SM with dual exhaust, hmmm…very tricky

I had planned on taking the DR350 but he wouldn’t start. It was really cold and the fuel was down to nothing. Took the Buddy, and stopped at Trader Joe’s on the way home to pick up the last bits for the Thanksgiving meal.

As promised, the new Hondas!

Posted in MSF RiderCoach by sbahn on 2013/07/28
Two new training bikes ... Honda CRF230L

Two new training bikes … Honda CRF250L

Worked a range 2 this afternoon. When the students arrived, I asked, hopefully, “Did anyone ride the red Honda dirtbikes yesterday?” and two guys said yes. Yeeeeeehaaaaaaaw! I thought to myself. I got me some demo bikes!

2103 Honda CRF 230L squished into the shed

2103 Honda CRF 250L squished into the shed

The Hondas are here, the Hondas are here!

Posted in MSF RiderCoach by sbahn on 2013/07/24

Last night I taught a range out at the main Warwick campus of CCRI. As the students were pulling bikes out of the shed, preparing for the night’s riding, I spotted a bike that was larger than the rest.

“Oh my gosh, the Hondas are here!” I shouted to no one in particular but all the students heard. A couple wandered back into the shed, and I pointed, “The new CRF250L!”

Of course no one took it out because it’s made for giants. I used it as the demo bike for the night. I even joked with my fellow coach that these bikes were going to remain in good condition because only freaks of nature like me can ride them.

The first demo, I threw a leg way up and over, and looked down for the choke and fuel valve. Nothing. I turned the key, hit the kill switch, and heard that sound I haven’t heard since the boyfriend sold the BMW F650, that “grrrrrrshhhhhhhhhump.”

“It’s fuel injected!” I yelled. “Wow!”

Needless to say, I had fun. No pics because the phone is broken and I didn’t have a camera. I’ll try to grab some this weekend.

I don’t know why anyone would want to learn to ride a motorcycle in July in New England

Posted in MSF RiderCoach by sbahn on 2013/07/17

It was so hot last night, as I stumbled along the range, eyes glassy and head expanding from the heat and humidity, that I don’t know how anyone learned anything…but somehow, they did, and did well!

On the eighth of nine exercises, I took out a TW200 to perform the demonstration so that the students could see the path of travel and engine braking technique. Just as begin to pull out of the staging area, I yell over to my fellow RiderCoach “this is run in reverse, right?” to which she nodded a yes.

I head out and do a large teardrop to the other end of the range, getting ready to shift to third, down to second, up to third, down to second, usw. As I rode around, on the second go-round, I thought to myself, “how on earth does this exercise end? how do the student riders get back to staging?”

Then I did another loop. “Oh that’s right,” I remembered. “I need to stop over by the basketball hoops and reverse. Duh!”

I pulled back into the staging area and my fellow coach teased me, “So you have fun riding around in a parking lot?!”

I sheepishly admitted to her and the students that I couldn’t remember how the exercise ended. “Really guys, you’re in good hands here, but this heat…it’s turning me into an idiot and I still have to ride home!”

The students did great considering how relentless the heat was coming off the tarmac. I don’t get those who didn’t bring anything to drink.

So if you’re going to take the MSF BRC in the heat and humidity of the summer, bring a cooler with cold drinks (non-caffeinated) and snacks. Water – water – water!

Quick Gear Update: Waterproof stuff really is waterproof

Posted in Boots, Gear Review, Gloves, Jackets, MSF RiderCoach, Pants by sbahn on 2013/06/12

Yes, I’m a gear whore. I like nice things and I like nice gear. I think I finally have a perfect set-up.

Yesterday, Tuesday, June 11, 2013, saw crazy, heavy downpours of rain. Rain, rain, rain. Lashing rain. Rain so hard it looked like hail but, thankfully, was only rain. Rain so bad all the rivers are over flood stage in Rhode Island.

And where was I during the hours and hours of this rain? That’s right: outside, conducting an MSF Basic Rider Course.

So huge thumbs up to my fantastic gear that kept me dry, dry, dry as I stood in the rain, walked in the rain, rode demos in the rain, and finally, rode the scooter home in the rain.

Pants: Rukka Focus trousers kept me completely, 100% dry. I rode the demo for each exercise which meant my butt was sitting on various motorcycle seats that had pooled with water. Not a drop got in. I stood, walked, dropped and picked up cones, and not a drop got in. And riding the little Buddy home at 40mph, not a drop got in.

Boots: Gaerne Black Rose boots kept my feet 100% dry. I was actually shocked at how well they performed because eventually, boots leak. Not a drop.

Jacket: Rukka Julia jacket was only used on the ride home as I wore my LL Bean rain jacket because I don’t like wearing the heavy, armoured jacket on the range. Too much abuse. The ride home, with speeds of 40-45 mph, in an absolute drenching downpour confirmed that this jacket is, indeed, waterproof. That Gore Lockout zipper really works. The only issue I had was that I (stupidly) put my gloves over the sleeves, and then my Rain-Off overgloves, over the sleeves, and water must have seeped down from the jacket into my riding gloves. The good news is, the Held Steves dried quickly overnight. I was surprised that the leather were dry this morning.

All in all, I feel like I’ve got truly waterproof, protective, well-fitting, and gosh darn it, fashionable riding gear.

And finally, to those in last night’s class…you guys were fantastic. I know you were wet, tired, hungry, cold, and nervous about riding in a deluge, but you all concentrated and remained open to learning. I wish you many years of wonderful riding.

Ride to Nantasket Beach, Hull MA

I finished the MSF RiderCoach course a couple of weeks ago. Last weekend, my first “free” weekend in a month, I went camping with the CT/RI crew from ADVrider, the first Camp N Ride of 2012, in Pachaug State Forest. It was great to get out into the air, cook over the campfire, and do a really fun “big bike” ride.

Pachaug CNR April 2012 Campfire

Pachaug CNR April 2012 Campfire

The ride was great as we did forest roads and dirt roads in Rhode Island, a couple “abandoned” roads where people drive off-road equipped Jeeps and ATVs (mind you, they’re living in a fantasy as the roads aren’t that bad), and a tiny slice of the Pachaug enduro loop. That’s right, I did some of the loop and 1) didn’t fall off, and 2) didn’t get hurt.

Arcadia Management Area, Exeter, Rhode Island

Arcadia Management Area, Exeter, Rhode Island

Actually, quite the opposite. The one rocky death section was not that bad as I kept repeating “don’t slow down, keep going, weight up front, don’t slow down, don’t slow down, this will end soon, this must end soon, there must be an end to this.” It did end and as I roared up to the top of the hill to stop with the gang (I ride sweeper), I was shouting “I didn’t fall! I didn’t fall!”

Pachaug Loop

Pachaug Loop

After lunch we did a super-duper fun section that was all roots, pine needles, whoops and sand. I was having the time of my life; seriously good fun. There was even a thick sandy berm and I didn’t freak out. There was one section of roots and pine needles on an angle down to a stream where everyone was going very slowly. After watching others before me, I said to myself, “Keep your feet on the pegs…the ones having problems are the ones using their feet as outriggers, keep on the pegs.” And wham, I went through no problem. It felt great!

Arcadia Management Area, Exeter, RI

Arcadia Management Area, Exeter, RI

Sadly, the babies I was riding with wanted ice cream more than the next challenge, so I split off to head back to the campground via an easy section of the loop. Yes, I’m joking about the baby part. I ride a DRZ400; the guys were on heavy KLR650s and F650GSs. No way would I take those bikes where they take them. I can barely manage the DRZ (even with her knobbies).

The boys went off for ice cream and I swung back into Green Falls campground, one of the two campgrounds in Pachaug State Forest. I took Green Falls Road through the campground and then up toward route 138. The guys ride Green Falls Road for a section so I kept it in 3rd gear and casual around bends, just in case. Well, I’m sure glad I did because

pew pew pew

KTM, KTM, KTM, KTM, KTM, and a couple of red bikes (you know who you are, Honda boys)

brake, into the ditch, hold while they fly past me. “Holy shit!” I thought to myself. I’m really glad I was being cautious and not all “I got this!” I waited for the last bit of orange to fly past me when I noticed they had all stopped. Before I let the thought creep through my head, I gunned it and headed off in the opposite direction. I know if I turned around and asked if I could tag along, they would have said ‘yes’ and I’d probably not be able to type this up.

Later in the evening, when we’re all sitting around the campfire, one of the orange bike owners said, “Hey, who was that person we passed? It looked like a girl.” Boys, motorcycles, single-track. It takes its toll.

Following the Harleys

Following the Harleys

This Saturday, one of the freshly minted MSF RiderCoaches organized a reunion ride. I met two of my compatriots in Providence and we rode to the Minutemen Harley Davidson dealership in Swansea, MA. There we met up with another RC who had just finished teaching, and his friend, and we rode to Nantasket Beach in Hull MA to meet up with yet another graduate.

Suzuki bookends to keep the Harleys safe & sound

Suzuki bookends to keep the Harleys safe & sound

For me, it was a hilarious ride. We’re on a major highway and they’re all holding back while I’m in top gear at 40 mph, bike SCREAMING at 55. Yes, that’s right, I still had the dirt wheels on Elsa the DRZ.

We had a good meal and great conversation at a seafood place in Hull. They’re really a great group of people that I would never have met except for the fact that we all ride motorbikes. It’s so cool!

I still don’t get the leather chaps thing, but I’m sure they think the same about me with my hi-viz jackets and enduro boots.

Can you believe Gerard let me ride this bike? Ugh, it was schweet.

Can you believe Gerard let me ride this bike? Ugh, it was schweet.

Getting back home was quite an adventure as our fearless leader managed to get us lost a few times. When we finally got to the highway, we lost two of our riders who, I’m sure, just couldn’t take the slow pace. But good ol’ Dale stuck with me, cruising in the slow lane at 11:00 pm at night on Route 95. I’m sure she was in 4th or 5th gear and my poor little Dizzer was completely wrung out.

I get home and there’s an email from one of the profs I work with. “Hey, was that you on Route 95S near the Foxboro exit around 11pm? There cannot be any other riders in the area with a purple jacket on a dirtbike.” The best part? She said she and her husband saw me from about 3/4 mile away. There’s something to be said for the retroflective on my Rukka Julia and the tape I have all over the rack on the DRZ.

The crew: Dale, me, Scott, Krissy (not an RC), Gerard, Josh

The crew: Dale, me, Scott, Krissy (not an RC), Gerard, Josh

It’s official! I’m a certified MSF RiderCoach!

Posted in MSF RiderCoach by sbahn on 2012/04/16
Freshly minted MSF RiderCourse certified Rider Coaches

Freshly minted MSF RiderCourse certified Rider Coaches

MSF Rider Coach Training: Two thirds done

I’ve gotten through two long weekends of RC training; only three more days to go.

The range is proving to be an insecurity for me. Because our fellow coaches have been the “students”, it’s been really difficult to try to figure out what coaching really is on the range. In other words, I had no idea what mistakes the rider-students would be making. I mean, really, I’m just happy to get the cones in the right place.

So to ease my racing mind, I went to a real range class on Tuesday evening. And boy, am I glad I did! I rode up on the Buddy and parked next to one of the instructor’s Goldwings. I dismounted, took off my gloves, helmet, riding pants and jacket, and walked into the bike shed.

“Hi!” I called out cheerfully. I introduced myself and the RC said that he’d be happy to have me on the range throwing cones, riding demos. The other RC pulled up, a woman, and she also said she’d be happy to help me out.

The students started arriving, including a guy from Guatemala riding a BMW 1200GS. Huh? He has a license in his home country and stupid f-upped Rhode Island does not recognize it. There was a woman who got a scooter for Christmas. Everyone was mature and serious.

Oh, and the three guys that got there early all told me it was because they wanted to “claim” the TW200s. I can’t tell if it’s because everyone falls in love with the little Yamahas or they’re the least beat-up of the training bikes.

The first exercise of Range 2 is the dreaded box. And man, is it fun to watch students and not my co-instructors-in-training. Students were all over the place, and it was fantastic when they got it, many on the second or third time through.

I got to ride the demo for the exercise that I’ll be the C1 on. Naturally I rode the TW 200. It really drove home exactly what I should be saying when I’m leading the exercise.

I stayed through exercise 14, at which time it was getting cold and I begged off. The students even waved as I rode away on Franz.

It was so much more relaxed than I expected. I’m feeling really good about next weekend when we do the student teaching of the range, 7:00 am to 5:00 pm. Ugh!

On the way back home, I was riding a section very close to home that is infected with 4-way stops. It was dark, I was cold and tired, not really paying attention. A car sailed through one of the stops. Because I was slowing up to the stop, he had plenty of room and I was no where near his path of travel. I hope the students in the course practice their basic skills before heading into traffic because people are nuts.

Gaaaah! I got a 98!

Posted in MSF RiderCoach by sbahn on 2012/03/31

Ok, so I’m a competitive bitch. And I like to win. I like to be the best.

Today at MSF Rider Coach Training Prep, we took the written test (second of the 4 assessments). I wanted a 100 because I got one point off the riding test (I know, can you believe it?). I messed up the riding test by not rolling on the throttle enough through the 135 degree turn. I did it in 2.99 seconds when a perfect score is in 2.91 or less.

My group had already decided that we’d take the written test today (Saturday). I didn’t re-read stuff last night as I was busying preparing other exercises (as assigned) for today and just chillin’ when I got home. The days are looooooong on the riding days. Standing, walking, riding, screwing up. I was tired last night.

After we finished up our classroom practice, it was time for the written test. 50 questions, multiple choice. Easy.

We left the room, one by one, as we finished, gathering in the hallway to discuss, hang out and wait for results.

Our trainer knocks on the window to summon us back in.

The good news: everyone passed. The bad news: question 44. Seriously? I got one question wrong. I was pissed.

Our trainer opened up the floor to discuss any question, and we went through some that folks had questions on. We finally got to question 44. Eight of the 9 students got it wrong, including me. I joked that it was a total fluke that one student got it right. It was poorly written and obviously confusing if 90% of us got it wrong.

Now of course I was just messing with our trainer, but I wanted to make a point that a poorly written question (ie. a question that students don’t understand well enough to get the right answer) is just as demoralizing as saying something inappropriate to a new rider on the range.

And yeah, I really wanted a perfect score. I have my mom to thank for my competitiveness. I’d rather try and fail than not try at all. So it’s not all bad.

One more practice day and then next Saturday starts student teaching. I have some fun ideas for the classroom; it’s the range that freaks me out.

And yeah, yesterday (Friday), was not a good day for me. I actually wound up crying I was so frustrated in front of my fellow RiderCoach trainees. Gaaaah.

This whole experience is a helluva lot more than I expected, and I expected a lot. I’m rambling because I’m tired. This is hard.