Saturday, July 02, 2005

MSF Skills Test - Take 2


I don't know if I mentioned this here. I was a bit ashamed. But I failed my first attempt at passing the motorcycle skills test for my class. In my defense, I'ld like to say that I failed it the manly way. That is, I overcut a turn and crossed a boundary the hard way that seems to be way overrated in the gonna-make-you-fail department. But none-the-less I had to take the test a second time.

And I did today. Now there's a funny story here. Like golf, points are bad on this test. 21 makes you fail (that's actually the exact number I got the first time around). And there are two automatic 21 points during the test.

One is to commit an unsafe act. There are lots of ways this can be meant, but the canonical example they give is to pop a wheelie in excitement. Running over people apparently also counts.

The other was originally described to me as "if the bike ever becomes less than vertical". Which I interpret as "if you drop the bike". However this time, the guy giving me the test specified it a little more exactly with "if anything other than the tires or sidestand touch the ground". Subtle difference.

Well, anyway, I pick a bike. Get familiar with it. Start up the test. I'm nervous as hell which often helps me out. I get through the figure eight and swerve and figure I'm doing O.K. Then during the quick-stop I think to myself that I could have done better and start beating myself up. Next comes the last part. The part I messed up on last time.

Well first, as I'm driving over there, a bunch of students for the next section take this opportunity to wwalk right in front of me, and visions of unsafe acts cloud my mind. Unnecessary, true, but still there to freak me out.

So I start up the last part, paranoid as hell. Go through the first turn, then go through the second turn, which is 135 degrees and timed. So I end up going through the turn quickly. And I scrape the foot peg on the ground. And the tester comments on it. The only thing going through my head now is "Fuck! Well that breaks the letter of the automatic failure as it was told to me today".

Turns out, he was commenting on good style. Not bad. And he was impressed. Actually, as it turns out I got a perfect score. Guess I didn't need to quick stop any faster.

Say hello to the newest menace to society.


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