Rider’s Edge Night #1

Last night was the first night of the Rider’s Edge course I’m taking at Mancuso Harley Davidson.

First off I was late. I hate being late. It’s the kind of thing – the hating of it – they attribute to your zodiac sign. I’m a Capricorn and I don’t know if they are suppose to hate being late, but I was and do. I left work early to make the trip, but it was stop and go for most of the way and then I decided I needed to get some food. Went through a drive through and was late. Did I mention I hate being late? And then when I showed up I’m carrying my food – they said it was OK to bring food – and no one else was. I eventually ate during a video.

On to the class. The first thing in the class was Harley Propaganda. When I got there the class was circled around a Harley salesman who was showing them the parts of a motorcycle, of course it was a Harley. This was part of the tour of the facilities. Next we walked through the garage. Its the largest Harly repair facility in the tri-state area. (What are the tri-states when Texas is one of them?) The amazing thing to me was just how clean everything was. When you go to a car repair shop things are dirty. Here everything was spotless.

In the back of the garage were the Buell Blasts we are going to be riding. The mirrors and signal lights have been taken off so when it falls over they won’t be broken off. The sales guy has a couple of people sit on them. I wasn’t one of them because my hands were full and I didn’t want to, but they sure seemed low.

Next we went to the conference room and actually started the class. They divided us into pairs and each of us had to introduce the other. There were a series of questions you had to ask. My partner is Stephanie, a single mom with a 3 year old. She, like me, has no experience with motorcycles. We had to tell our concerns about the course and hers was that she would orphan her child. We also had to tell what kind of bike we had/wanted. Stephanie wants a Bonneville, which I had never heard of. As you know I want a sport bike. I’m the only one in the group that does.

Let me give you some of the cast of characters in the class. There are 8 of us. 2 women, 6 guys. The instructor is Jerry Sun, whose been riding forever and taught over 1300 students. There’s another instructor who will show up on Saturday and Sunday for the road course. I’ve already introduced Stephanie. The other woman is a redhead named Marsha and a self-proclaimed “bitch”. This means she rides on the back of a Harley and wants to learn to ride. Her partner is the The Obnoxious Guy Mike. He’s done motorcross and just got a V-rod, his first street bike. He’s having it shipped to England and will be touring with a buddy there.

For some reason Obnoxious Guy Mike decided he needs to needle Marsha. Which annoyed me. He’s a skinny red skinned guy and she’s a rotund redhead with a voice made for radio. And after a couple of jabs from Obnoxious Guy Mike it was obvious Marsha wasn’t the kind of woman who was going to take and give like a man. Obnoxious Guy Mike kind of figured this out, but couldn’t keep up saying backhandedly nice things. And unfortunately for Marsha this guy is her partner.

Obnoxious Guy Mike’s antics encouraged our other Obnoxious Guy Angus to needle Marsha as well. Now Angus looks almost middle eastern. But he’s spitting into a cup, which marks him as a good old boy, and his last name is Davis. Obnoxious Guy Angus is also a talker. He asked most of the questions and would interrupt any time he felt like it. His partner is Rikus The European. Rikus is from Norway. His English is excellent. He said the rider training in Europe is much less compressed. Instead of 4 days it would be 45 minutes 1 time a week for 10 weeks.

The last two guys are Kevin and, I think, Steve. Steve rode for a number of years and was hit by a drunk driver in the early nineties and hasn’t ridden since. He’s taking the course to get his confidence back. Don’t remember much about Kevin.

The core of the class is out of the MSF Rider’s Handbook. We made it through the first section which is on risk assessment. It was interesting.

This is getting long, so I’m going to just add some highlights.

They changed the course times. Now I have to be there are 7 AM instead of 8 on Saturday and Sunday. We should be done on the course by noon. Jerry said they made the class earlier because of the heat on the course. Apparently riding a motorcycle in long pants and long sleeves on white concrete in the Houston sun is really hot.

Go figure.

There won’t be class on Monday. Class also ended a little after 8 instead of nine, which was nice considering how far I had to go to get home.

While at a Harley dealer our instructor rides a Gold Wing. His longest ride was 9600 miles. His day rides are normally around 600 miles. His wife has taught the class with him before.

Met the owner of the dealership, Joe Mancuso. Seemed like a really nice guy. Must be in his 50s but he still drag races motorcycles. He was much more up front about his Propaganda. “If you don’t have a motorcycle please let us here have a chance to sell you one. It helps keep me in my nitro habit.”

Going to leave earlier tonight so I’m on time. We’re doing the “shopping trip”, which means we are going to try on helmets and gloves, which should be fun.