Monday, November 02, 2009

The student becomes the teacher?

3 years, 7 months and approximately 75K miles ago, I threw my leg over a motorcycle for the first time in my life at the MSF's Basic Rider Course. I was such a newbie when it came to things motorcycle and count myself fortunate to have then met John aka Sanoke when I was trying to figure out what kind of rider I would be.

John took me on a few rides, through open countryside, twisting mountain roads and terrain of all kind. His advice came across as the voice of experience and never steered me wrong. It was John who instilled in my the lust for exploring that dirt trail leading off to parts unknown in the mountains; or to stop and look around for a good scene to photograph. He's got a wonderful eye when it comes to photographs of his motorcycle against some scenic background: LINK.

He was my teacher in the ways of exploration via motorcycle, for which I will always be grateful.

Sunday, it was my turn to become the teacher to a new rider. Bob is a neighborhood friend who recently bought himself a Suzuki C50T Cruiser, 800cc, as a starter motorcycle. This is much the same kind of thinking as I had when my first motorcycle was a Honda Shadow 750 Aero.

He's still learning the motorcycle and getting used to riding, fresh out of the Basic Rider course. Our schedules finally matched up and today I took him out for about 100 miles of two lane road riding. I could see his hesitancy at times, like on some of the sharper curves or when gravel appeared on the road. Heck, he's just barely went over 400 miles at the end of today's riding! I've gotta get him out more!

I am happy to report he's going to be an ATGATT rider. He's lacking the riding pants for now but he's looking. Definitely not your usual cruiser rider in terms of safety gear.

I must also say, he rode pretty well. The temperatures were in the 50s, sunny and traffic was not too bad. He paced me at a good safe distance, listened to instructions when stopped at the lights, and I never saw him do anything unsafe. He grew up riding dirt bikes but never street bikes, so this is a whole new world for him. He also understands the all important concept of "riding your own ride".

I took him down towards Castle Rock, by way of Franktown and county roads. We tried the twists on Douglas County 11 south of Castle Rock but there was too much gravel so we turned around. Instead, we headed through Castle Rock to Wolfenberger Road which we twisted our way on to CO 105. Heading north on CO 105, we soon were upon CO 67 which we took wast to Sedalia. From Sedalia it was a short hop back to Castle Rock via US85. Bob basically got a view of Castle Rock from the four points of the compass today!

Note the Hi-Viz Color on Bob's riding jacket

We rode back towards my house from Castle Rock via the Crowfoot Parkway, Parker and the Inspiration Drive back way.

The only downer was all the melting snow on the sides of the roads was causing the roads to be really wet. His nice shiny chrome-laden cruiser got quite dirty while my Brigitta remained relatively clean. I kidded him that it was superior German engineering that kept Brigitta clean.

We talked for a while when we got back, discussed some of the things he'd experienced; and I brought up some stuff I'd learned. I told him he needs to get himself some engine guards, THEN go to school parking lot and practice tight turns and u-turns till he can make a u-turn within two parking spaces. That'll give him confidence in his ability to handle the motorcycle.

He seems eager to go riding with me again so I guess I did OK guiding him around. We'll see how it all develops. Kind of cool in a way, showing someone the ropes, I hope I can help him become a safe and proficient that rides year round of course!


bobskoot said...


Brigitta was just begging for attention. Nice to have a riding partner once in a while.
Now you're going to have to learn how to "lean" all over again.

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

Charlie6 said...


actually, the leaning came natural....but Brigitta's brakes, which I always though inferior to the ABS servo-enhanced brakes on the RT is what takes some getting used to after using the really old technology drum brakes on gotta really mean it to bring a Ural to a quick stop!

So the first few times I use the front brake on Brigitta, it feels like the RT's brakes!

Thanks for reading this stuff.

Aimee said...

The kids and I have named Bob's new mistress Sheila, as in "Oh Sheila" by Ready for the World. I always have to have background music.

Charlie6 said...


Sheila is a good name for a motorcycle.....Bob get her cleaned up yet? :)

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

Are Brigitta's brakes just straight disks and a drum on the back? I actually preferred the drum brake on the back of my first K75 as it was easily adjusted by a thumb screw and I could feel tangible and useful resistance against my foot. (The back brake on Fireballs works great but it has a genuinely odd feel.)

I know the power of your influence... I expect to see this guy riding a classic "Beemer" in the spring.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Charlie6 said...

Jack, twin disc brakes up front and drum brakes in back. I use both to stop....when compared to the Ural drum brakes, the beemer's are quite powerful! Nothing compared to the 1150RT servo-enhanced ABS equipped brakes of death but good 'nuf.

I'm working on influencing Bob's next bike....he's already noticed how my beemer leaves him behind from standing starts.....the seed is planted.

irondad said...

That's how it starts. Soon, one student at a time won't be enough. Welcome to my world!

bob said...

Wait a minute -- what did BMW stand for -- Bring Money Willingly?? I think I could buy about three Suzuki's to one BMW.... :)

I did get Sheila washed and ready for another ride. I went out yesterday and the melting snow was still there -- so Sheila needs another bath and I learned that there are too many spots where I cannot get my hand in to clean. So I guess chrome does have its downfall.....

Charlie6 said...

Bob, Bob, Bob, just give it up now and come on over to the side of Teutonic righteousness.....and BMW is not bring money willingly, it's bring more wallet!