Motorcycle Lessons: The Classroom

Because of my crazy cross border schedule, the only way I could do a complete motorcycle lesson package (road and classroom) was to do them backwards. So, I attended a Friday night classroom session a few weeks after my motorcycle classes… and happily sat next to a lovely lady with the same name as me (very rare) after moving because I was originally sitting next to a group of men who smelled like they had just come to class after sitting in a bar all afternoon.

I must be getting old if my choice is to leave rather than sit and make fun of them.

We started with learning about the ins and outs of motorcycle equipment: something that I feel is extremely important. Not only do you learn about what is out there, but you also learn about proper sizing and protecting yourself through gear. I’ve also come to know a fair bit like a “birthday shopper” for friends and family who want motorcycle “stuff” brought back from the U.S.

It’s commonly thought that shopping in the U.S. is much cheaper than in Canada. This isn’t entirely true. Yes, some things are cheaper but in the end, the price works out to be the same after you take taxes and the exchange rate into account.

But… this rule does not apply to motorcycle clothing and equipment. Motorcycle gear in the U.S. is shockingly cheap. For example, when I started looking for a motorcycle jacket in Canada, I was expecting to pay between $300-$400 for a good quality jacket — the one I wanted was $600. In the U.S. I found EXACTLY the same jacket and paid $150. In Calgary, we couldn’t even find motorcycle gear for La Niña (ummmm… at what age do people start dirt biking in Calgary? Don’t they need helmets, armour, and boots?). In California, we picked up a full head to toe high-quality ensemble for her for less than $300. Shocking.

Moving beyond gear…

A large portion of the material covered in the classroom gets done in the practical sessions and I was finally able to connect the dots for things that Trevor talked about as we were learning. For example, he referred to “the BMW” a fair bit while we were at the lot. In class, the bike used to show controls and as an example in discussions is a BMW S 1000 RR.


Also, when riding we learned the “JR walking technique” and saw stickers everywhere that said “JR 27.” I finally understood that these were in reference to John-Ross MacRae, a Calgary racer who died on the Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant racetrack in Montreal.

The best part of the class, however, are those memorable quotes and stories that stick in your head like super glue. For example: if it’s small enough to fit on a dinner plate and eat in one sitting, then run over it. Avoid everything else.

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