Chalking Up Another Season of New Motorcycle Riders

This weekend, I’ll be instructing the basic motorcycle riding course to newcomers for the last time in 2011, but oddly, unlike seasons before, I feel unusually sentimental. My 26th season as an instructor is closing; I feel particularly melancholic. It’s like the knowing that soon, there will be no more riding as the winter season arrives – PMS – “parked bike syndrome”.
Yes motorcycling is closing down for the season and I’m rejecting it, yet again.

1983 My First Ride - Vicki Gray

1983 My First Ride – Vicki Gray

Riders and new motorcycle rider students often ask, “Doesn’t teaching ever get tiring? My response, after 26 years of non-stop teaching, is still – “no”. Not for one instance has it, or does it ever tire for me. I continue to be deeply rewarded by it. My teaching experiences have taken me to training new riders in the Caribbean, throughout Europe and across North America. And I still get the biggest satisfaction from giving all I can to another rider so they too can reap the rewards.

It’s with the fondest memories, I recall when I took my rider training licensing course and learned to ride. I also remember when I was even younger and friends let me borrow their bikes to try riding – unofficially. But it was in 1983, Dartmouth Nova Scotia.
The photo (left) was taken of me on a rented Kawasaki 440 LTD from Mic Mac Cycle, Nova Scotia. It was the first motorcycle I took for a ride on the open road. It was on this day, the day of this photo, I took a male buddy of mine on the bike as a passenger. I remember, he was a tall fella,  six-foot two. Nothing like diving into the deep end with regards to my first passenger!

That week in Eastern Canada within the parking lot of the training course, my life took a change forever.

And that week in Eastern Canada within the parking lot of that training course my life changed; I took to riding like a mermaid to the sea!  Would you believe, I was the one in the class who was consistently causing trouble (apparently). The instructors frequently hollered at me from across the parking lot – “Vicki! Slow down!” – they’d say.

A good instructor continues to hone one’s own self-knowledge and riding skills to bring the best to the student – advanced or new motorcycle riders. To me, this fits perfectly with the passion – the advancement of knowledge. I recall when I started teaching, which wasn’t that long after I became a rider, I discovered my lack of mechanical know-how. I’d never “wrenched” before.

No matter the character, culture, age or mindset of the student, my enthusiasm for bringing a learner into the total realm of motorcycling is unstoppable!

Immediately I enrolled into an advanced motorcycle mechanics course. It worked! I was able to bring even more shared knowledge to my students and engage better discussions with my, mostly male, peers. Plus, I could interject if they were talking nonsense as often guys do! *wink*.
The photo below, though poor quality (no smartphones or digital cameras back then!)  – is me riding over the “teeter-totter” part of rider training curriculum back then. And fun it was!

Vicki Gray MOTORESS First Motorcycle Ride

Me Riding Over the “teeter-totter” part of rider training, then!

No matter the character, culture, age or mindset of the learning rider, my enthusiasm for bringing that rider into the total realm of motorcycling is unstoppable! And, my specialized focus to women riders, as a woman who has gone through the rungs in this male dominated sport, transmits a broader (no pun intended) language for proficient, confident motorcycle operation.

So, here’s to the motorcycle training season finale and to the new motorcycle riders of the year!

Cheers to the students, the newcomers this training program too who will make the very same discovery.
Motorcycle riding to this day continues to thrill me –  giving give me “kicks” beyond expression.
Yes… thank you God for motorcycling!





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  1. Kelly
    #1 Kelly 18 January, 2012, 13:19

    I learned to ride in August 2011. I was apprehnsive, but not terrified. I took to it like a fish to water. We all had fun and supported each other and the instructors were fantastic and had a lot of experience. Yes I made mistakes, but was never criticized or laughed at, but encouraged the entire time. It wasn’t that long ago that I learned, but I know that I will never lose that wonderful feeling of accomplishment that I have now, for something I never ever thought I would learn to do.

  2. Dar
    #2 Dar 16 November, 2011, 23:29

    I loved this post! Learning to ride this fall was an incredible experience. I learned so much about myself and it has made me a more confident capable woman in all aspects of my life.

    Learning to ride is all about the instructor, if they are passionate and it shows in their teaching it is a very powerful thing. My Novice instructors were amazing and they gave me the confidence and skills to be a proficient motorcyclist. They also allowed me to grow through making mistakes and building strong skills out of those mistkes. That little parkinglot was my world for 2 weekends and I lived to hear the encouraging words from my instructor. He believed in me and that belief made me successful.

    I was very fortunate to have an excellent Traffic Safety instructor as well.. He took us into the real world and we followed him like little fledgling chicks. By the end of the first day we were driving down a short stretch of the Trans Canada Highwat at 90 kmh. Wow! By the end of the weekend we were all ready for our road tests. I will never forget after the last session of my course I came home and went for a ride with my husband and when we got home he told me how improved my riding was.

    My instructors inspired me to be a life long motorcycle learner and safe motorcyclists who believes in good riding techniques and ATGATT. I whole heartedly recommend everyone considering a riding a motorcycle or scooter to take a recognised Novice and Traffic Safety riding course, it is the difference that will save your life and give you a solid foundation of skills. Who knows maybe one day I will become a motorcycle instructor.Thank you for sharing your passion and love of riding with us!

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