New Rider Experience – III: The Mean Streets

The Fleet Ready for the StreetI’m lucky to have had the opportunity to take the Motorcycle Skills Assessment Course at Pacific Riding School. It has saved me from possible injury already, but I am getting a bit ahead here so, let me back up.

Part three of the Motorcycle Skills Assessment course includes two road rides.

The first is a really fun and intense ride from the shop in Surrey to downtown and beyond. Pacific Riding School wants to make sure you experience bridges, traffic, windy conditions, highway driving, in covering the road riding experiences you’ll encounter in the real world.

Before we headed out onto the roads, we were wired up with one way radio gear connected to the riding instructor and of course donned the proper safety gear.

We also cruised some of the trendiest streets in the big city, touch the outskirts of Coquitlam, stop in Burnaby, visit a motorcycle store and generally get the lay of the land. It was great. Varying speeds, weather and traffic conditions with a group is a wonderful confidence builder.

While enroute the instructor constantly monitored us like little ducklings offering constructive criticism via the radio. These are the kind bits of advice from, “Jen your signal is still on”, to important riding techniques like, “Going around this curve keep your eyes on the inside white line, now you should be looking for your exit point.” It’s consistent reinforcement of everything we learned during the classroom and lot training portions of the course.

Navigating the streets of downtown Vancouver, I had my first experience with a driver simply not seeing me and attempting to change lanes into me. I am proud to say I used my emergency braking skills as I had been taught, kept the bike up and straight, shrugged off the driver’s inattentiveness and keep going. Having been trained to expect anything and to not react emotionally saved me from what could have been a very ugly scene.

The second ride was a review of what we can expect when taking our test with the motor vehicle branch. The road test is the second of a two part process to get your motorcycle licence in BC. We went through school and playground zones, practiced parking and u-turns and made sure we were always obeying the speed limit.
PRS offers a one-on-one simulation of the exam, which I scheduled for the day before my final test. Although this is not part of the regular course I will most likely take it as the passing ratio is much higher for those who do.

One Comment Add yours

  1. yacobian says:

    Did you get a cute nickname at PRS too? I was dubbed ‘Kitten’.


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