1st weekend in June 2020 I was scheduled to take the Harley Davidson riding class. Borrowed a helmet, wore flimsy fashion boots with low heels, and a nitro riding jacket with armor someone had given me years earlier. Oh, and cheap riding gloves I bought the night before.
It was a chilly morning for June and I was feeling nervous and shy. For a person who is always late, always last minute, showing up early makes me very uncomfortable. But there I was, slowly walking up as they were unloading the bikes from the trailer. One of them greeted me, asked my name, and carried the conversation for the first few minutes. Others started showing up and then it was time to begin.
The class seriously started with baby steps. Pre ride check, start it up, shut it off, rock it in neutral without it running... etc. For me, I needed that. I never rode before other than in a parking lot twice the previous summer. Been a passenger from time to time, but not even that very often.
As the day went on, I gained some confidence, but really did not like the bikes in the class. The next morning was more drills, more new stuff, more practice. Then it came time for the test. I didn't feel ready, but they were setting out the Itty bitty little cones for the test course. So many cones. Before this, they used... a few.... but now? A hundred gazillion just for the sharp right and u-turn.... my worst things. Ungh. Instead of just picturing a stop and right turn on the street, all I see is these cones. One tire out. (Expletives happened inside my helmet). Deep breath, more cones, crap. 2 tires out. (More expletives that didn't neccesarily stay in my helmet this time).
After a moment to collect myself I asked if I was done or if I still had a chance. He said I had a chance, but couldn't afford any more points. Crap. Last one, stop fast. So far so good. Go, stooop... 1' too far. 12 (expletive ) inches! I wanted to scream! But I stead a few tears fell as my overthinker-self-loathing gears kicked in.
A few deep breaths and some pacing later, after everyone else got their cards to take to the DMV and get their endorsement, I asked about the next step. He said that if they have an opening on a Sunday, like a no show or drop out, he was certain I'd pass if I went through the morning drills and tested again that afternoon. Only problem was there was no way of knowing when that might happen, and I had no way to practice in between.
I reminded them the next Friday to let me know...
Checking my phone like a teenager who just told her crush she liked him....
Sunday morning, nope. Afternoon creeped by like an inch worm trying to run a marathon.
The whole next week I was flip-flopping from hope to woe and back again.... finally the Friday morning sun decided to crawl up the sky. Again I reminded them to let me know if there was an opening.... again nothing.... Saturday nothing... Sunday I had given up hoping at about 10am. 10:15 got the call.....
We won't talk about how fast I got there.... in my truck people, I had no bike, yet lol.
I knew right where they were as I walked up and got on the bike that was open and got in the back of the line. No joking around, just concentrating on what I needed to do to pass.
Test time. Damn cones. A gazillion again.... I ignored them... sorta. Got through the right turn with one tire out. (Expletives happened again) started to fixate on the cones again.... NO!, it's just two left quarter turns... look ahead.... ok, one tire out. Whew.
So as long as I do the same as before from this point on. I got this!
Next up, the fast stop.
ZOOM BRAKE, back tire locks up, but stays straight, front tire good.... YESS that had to be good!
The guy chuckles and waves us all over to the table without telling me a thing..... I'm bouncing as he goes through everyone's tests... one girl who could do all the turns perfect laid the bike down on the stop. Instant disqualification. Ungh. My turn. Meticulously goes through each thing, giving good advice.... until the stop. My heart stopped on a dime. 40 years of waiting, I'm soo close! He says 4' short. Huh? It didn't register. He says it again, but this time he says slowly, "you stopped in 4' less distance than you needed to to not get any points". It was about as perfect a stop as you can get without locking up both tires. Good job not letting it kick out, or letting off the back brake while avoiding locking up the front or laying it down. You passed!
I took the little endorsement card, called in sick for the next day, and took the test at the DMV Monday morningas soon as it opened, passed with 1 wrong, and got my endorsement!