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Discussion Starter #1
Now that I'm home, fed, showered, medicated (Advil) and relaxed a bit...

Today was Day One. We had three hours of classroom, with some videos and stuff. From 12:30 to 5:00 we were out on the Range (every time they called it the "Range" I had to sing a line from "home on the range") riding.

I started out on a Suzuki DR200 dual-sport because everybody else had taken the little Suzuki GS250s. But 1/3 of the way through the day, my bike broke down and they replaced it with... wait for it... a shiny red Ninja 250!! Sweet! Nothing like getting to ride a bike that is very similar to the one you just bought.

It took a bit of getting used to though. The throttle on it was very twitchy, and trying to make it turn through tight cones was frustrating at best. I was, as the instructor put it, "white knuckling" and not relaxing. Once I relaxed my arms, things started to fall in place. It wasn't long before I was doing a fairly good job at leaning it through turns rather than steering through turns.

So that's what I learned today -- RELAX your arms! Hold the bike with your legs, don't prop yourself up with the bars. Arms relaxed. It works so much better!

I had such a good time that I came home and took my new bike for its first ride. I live in a mobile home park, so I just tooled around the streets of the park for fifteen minutes, at 10-12 mph, in 1st and 2nd gear. My bike felt just like the Ninja, but the bars were a bit higher (good), and it felt a tad heavier, and had a LOT more torque.

So now I'm eagerly waiting for tomorrow!

Rob
 

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The Bassman Rocketh
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You'll also find out that relaxed arms (as well as back, legs, etc) will allow you to ride longer between breaks and reduce - if not eliminate - any joint stiffness from a long ride.
 

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Yeah, I know about the Advil thing :) Took it twice. First time was just to oversee my son and make sure he was good enough to go. He learned 2 things from the class... 1) He HATES bikes. 2) It is not nice to ride over a class mate. So after that we bailed, but I learned I LOVED it, so signed up for a second dose of Advil :)

It sounds like you are taking your time getting going. That is a good thing. Take it easy, go slow. Enjoy!

Brian
 

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I'm your Huckleberry
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So that's what I learned today -- RELAX your arms! Hold the bike with your legs, don't prop yourself up with the bars. Arms relaxed. It works so much better!
That really is VERY important...and allowing yourself to put weight on the bars doesn't make the bike handle any better at higher speeds either (believe me :eek: ). I'm still working on that (though what I'm REALLY working on is what Keith Code calls 'pivot steering'...weighting the outside peg in corners to hold yourself to the bike).

Anyway...hope you have a good second day!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
All done! Everybody passed.

I got a 100% on the written test. I did good on the skills test except for the tight u-turn portion. But I did learn how to lean well, both at low and high speeds (well, high being 15-20 mph).

I'm super excited to actually start riding MY bike. Headed to DMV tomorrow, just in time for more rain on Tuesday. BUT, I ordered frame sliders today, so maybe I should wait til they show up before I ride much.

Rob
 

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I just noticed that you are in Torrance...........ah, the land of my birth. I can't imagine practicing in that kind of traffic. Be careful and good luck.
 

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I miss you, Deron
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Congratulations!!

My advice is to take your bike somewhere where there's very little traffic (if you can find such a place) and practice everything you learned in the class. If you find an empty parking lot, that's best. You want to know your own bike really well and feel comfortable with all those skills you learned in the class before you head out into city traffic. The course should be painted on the range where you took the class. That's a good place to practice if you can find a time when the range is empty.
 
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