On the Road
In Praise of MST
I took a Motorcycle Safety Training class this weekend because a) my wife thought it would be a good idea b) I hadn't ridden a bike on streets for almost 20 years and c) if I passed I didn't need to take the DMV tests to get the endorsement.
There were 11 riders in all and we were assigned mostly Honda NightHawks with a few Kawasaki LTDs. Most of the students were very newbie, actually learning where the controls were, how to shift, etc. At first I was figuring this would be a waste of time, we'de never get out of second gear and I already knew how to ride. I had several dirt bikes begginning at age 10 through twenty and then raced bicycles for many years in my twenties.
Suprisingly, I found the course was extremely good. A lot of attention was given by the "rider/coaches" on body position, head position, hand coordination (press and roll). The rider range was very well designed and we did over 25 different exercises ranging from decreasing radius turns to quick weaves and emergency stops. Instinctively, I did know how to ride, but having the coaching and practice helped tie it all together.
This all started a few weeks ago when I bought a '95 1100 GS with 800 original miles. I had snuck around on the back roads for 200 or so miles and realized that this was a big, heavy, powerful bike. On Monday after the MST course I got back on the GS and was way more comfortable. I would recommend the course to most riders, they also offer one day training using your own bike for the veterans.