It may be a surprise that it took me 31 years before I drove a motorcycle or a scooter, but indeed it did. After some delays for various reason (including illnesses), today I got to ride the teachers’ scooter and see how it worked. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your point of view, there were no pictures or videos to commemorate the experience, so I will have to do so the best I can through text. I thought it would be worthwhile to give some random observations on riding the scooter with some hopefully dry commentary. Let us begin.
#1: Helmets and glasses don’t work together well. This ought not to be a surprise to anyone, but it is rather irritating when one is trying to answer phones or put on or off a motorcycle helmet. Obviously, someone who rides motorcycles a lot is going to want to have contacts unless someone had the idea of a prescription visor, and I am not familiar with that product existing. At any reason, it is pretty clear why there are not many nerdy bikers that I know.
#2: Faster is better. It is rather hard to turn or move straight in first year on a motorcycle or scooter. It’s better to spend most of one’s drive in second gear or higher. I set up laps near the farm to get familiar with turns and shifting and downshifting and it was much more manageable when I was going between second and third gear as opposed to first, second, and third gear. In second gear the turning was much more smooth, even if it was faster than first gear. And third gear was definitely far better for the straightaway passages as well.
#3: Starting a bike can be difficult. The scooter that the teachers use to drive requires simultaneously using the kickstart while also giving the engine a little gas. This sort of simultaneous task is not easy, and it’s going to require a lot of practice before I can get it down well, at least until my muscle memory can do both tasks at the same time. I guess there are some drawbacks to being a generally single-minded person, and that is one of them.
#4: Motorcycles can be counterintuitive. Usually people mean counterintuitive to mean foolish or stupid, but I mean it in a somewhat different way here, specifically being contrary to one’s expectations. One task I set out for myself in today’s driving was to get some kind of rhythm down as far as speeding up and slowing down and upshifting and downshifting were concerned. I think I managed to do that fairly well, but I definitely saw that the initial response to pull back to slow down is a bad mistake to make as far as riding a bike is concerned, as it makes it speed up on the particular scooter we use.
Obviously there are many more observations that could be made, as I have yet to go into traffic (that might take a bit more practice to manage), and I am sure that I will add this to the sort of material I write about. I suppose there are plenty of people who would be amused to hear about me riding a scooter, which just about everyone here learns to do from what I have seen, given my lack of experience in such matters. But it is fun to try new things and to go beyond one’s comfort zone. Those who teach sometimes have to learn as well.