Saturday, March 11, 2006


Today was a totally awesome day. I got up at 5 AM to go teach. The temperature was 31 (F). There was some ice on the street in the front of the house but I decided to ride anyway. Going through town I saw large portions of a major intersection blocked off with crime scene tape, flares, and cones. Department of Transportation rigs and police cars abounded. Don't know what was happening at this point but I will find out sooner or later.

It's about a thirty mile run up to the community college. At one point in my ride I saw a car that looked to have spun off the road. The road I was riding on had a dry track so I tried to stay there. Arrived with no incident. It was sort of cold for a while. Then the sun came out. The steam rising off the parking lot looked so neat. All of us had fun today. The students, my teaching partner Pak Ho, and me. Five of the twelve are female. There are some new riders who took a few times round to get it figured out. After that they took right off. This class is a little above average. We usually have one or two who really struggle all weekend. This group happily conquers. There's that certain chemistry that happens where the sum of the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

I've included a picture of my crew above. They're just getting the gear back on after the break.

This is still so much fun for me. I build up this special rapport with the riders. Especially with the new ones. Here's my working concept. I call it the Circle of Success. In order to be successful on the streets a rider needs confidence. Obviously, new riders don't have this. My job is to help them find it. The only way I can do it at the start is to get them to trust me. Once they trust me I can show them success. Their success starts building their confidence. The success also reinforces their trust in me. My goal is to always keep this circle moving. In the process of earning the trust of the students there is a special bond built up. That student / teacher relationship is special to me.

Anyway, nothing deep today. I just wanted to share my joy with you!

By the way, here's a picture of my partner Pak Ho demonstrating proper cornering technique. Check out his head turn!


Steve Williams said...

You must be made of tougher stuff out in Oregon. Here in Pennsylvania the MSF courses (at least in this area) close up shop in October and don't start again until April because of the cold. I've driven by the riding course a few times where I took the class fully expecting to see people practicing but all that was there were a bunch of trucks parked in the middle of the course.

I think what you are doing is great and taking this courses makes a real difference. I rode a lot in high school and always considered my skills somewhere around Steve McQueen. Taking the course 30 years later helped me realize that I was a really bad, untrained, uninformed, arrogant, overconfident rider.

I have been transformed. Now I am aware, accepting, careful and know what it means to manage risk.

My hats off to all of you who teach those courses.


Mad said...

Yeah hats off to instructors everywhere and you in particular Irondad. :D

irondad said...

Thanks for the kind comments, guys. We have such a huge demand for classes that the season has sort of crept longer. Our last class last season was the first week of December. The first class this year was the first week of February. We almost had to cancel because the weather was 17 degrees (F). We started in classroom and went to the range when it became a balmy 22 degrees. You have to be careful to look after the students. And there were enough crazy students that we had full classes.

It does feel really good to think I'm making a difference. I totally believe in and am passionate about it. It's got to be worth SOMETHING to give up so many riding weekends to teach!