Friday, September 22, 2006

From parking garage to parking lot.

Work took me to a large hospital. This is a view from the parking garage. Which you notice is now a LONG ways from the hospital itself. The building that's my destination is the light colored one on the left. I'm always fascinated by the construction process. This used to be a parking lot. Now the crews are digging a pit. Eventually this will become an eight story medical tower. Cool, huh?

It was rainy as I visited. That's the main reason I noticed how far away the hospital was. About a third of the way into my walk the skies opened. It pured buckets. Can you spell "drowned rat"? Anyway, I had the chance to explore the parking garage looking for bikes. The only bikes I found were in two spots designated for them. I'm going on the assumption that most of the two-wheeled vehicles were hospital employees who commute. Here's a peek at one section.

Not a lot of bikes, but at least there's a few. Two scooters, two cruisers, and a Suzuki DR dual-sport. If you look just over the seat of the DR there's an opening in the chain link. That's pretty much the main walkway towards the hospital. I thought I was going to die of old age before I actually got a picture with no pedestrians in it.

Ok, maybe the rainy weather limited the number of bikes being ridden to work. There is a parking lot around the back of the building I was heading for. I never thought until now that there could be motorcycle parking closer to the building. It just wouldn't be under cover. I'll be back sometime and I'll let you know.

This is a picture of what really amused me.

Far away from all the other bikes is this lone scooter. This is the bottom level and it was dark and wet. Maybe this was a visitor. Not far from here is a waiting area for a patient shuttle. I just found it humorous that it was huddled down here all by itself. Quite the pretty thing, I have to say.

I have to quit thinking about scooters. I find them drawing my eye more and more. I'm even looking at subtle differences between them. I may just have to go ride one. That's how it starts, isn't it? First a test ride on a 50cc. Then you have to have one. After that you can never get enough. You move to a 125. Then a 250. Then a 500. Next thing you know you're strung out on 650's. Shudder!!!

There's an experience out there I've never had. One of my sons had a Hondra Spree. I can only say I've lived scooters vicariously. Soon, my friends, soon.

Another class of new riders is starting out this weekend. Last night was their first classroom. It's been a long season. I am really tired. Bone tired. Just when I'm ready to call an end to my season I teach another class of newbies. They were so enthusiastic! This class and I have a neat rapport. There's a synergy between the students. After the break I had to actually call for an end to the happy chatter and get them back on task.

This week there's only twelve instead of twenty four. That's due to there being a couple of classes in the afternoons for folks who know how to ride but want to get some training and get legal. My partner is a fairly new instructor whom I've worked with before a few weeks ago. He shares my passion and caring for students. When I signed him off from his internship at that time, the young man actually hugged me!

Five of the twelve are women. We have a mother / son combination. The son's 16. Neither of the two have ridden before. Dad rides and he wisely sent them to us for training. Speaking of Dads, there's a father / son combination. The last time the father rode was on a 1965 BSA that was still fairly new. He can't understand slipping the clutch on our bikes for low speed control. I told him we actually have oil-bathed clutches now. Unlike the dry plates on the old BSA. The son's in his early twenties and eager to go. One of the men wants to ride because so many of his co-workers ride to work. Another commuter is born. We have a boyfriend / girlfriend. The boyfriend rides a Honda CBR 600RR. He's young and I was slightly worried. I'm relieved to find he has a coachable attitude. They're all eager and enthused. I'm in love with teaching all over again.

At the end of the course we offer the students the chance to share feedback. There's quite a few comments about me being a "high energy" instructor. Sometimes when they're slightly frustrated and exhausted I carry the enthusiasm for the class until they find it again themselves. It can be draining. You might think it's a one-way street. Truth be told, I get as much as I give. Watching the students master new skills is priceless. I watch them and coach them through their struggles. Finally, they get it. I always offer hearty praise in recognition of their accomplishment. I'm surprised we don't have more split helmets from the size of their smiles! The student has pleased the master. They almost float back into line to try it again. Hearing their appreciation for how we've helped them and feeling the bond we've forged is just as priceless. You can't put a price on how the foundation we've helped them build will help keep them safe on the roads.

So I'm going from the parking garage today to the parking lot this weekend. The weather's supposed to be mid seventies to low eighty's by Sunday. I can't wait for morning. I'm jazzed all over again. I never get tired of it. I love this game!!!

Miles and smiles,



Steve Williams said...

Go on and take a scooter for a test ride. Sophie won't mind. It will be a fine ego building experience to ride around on a little 50cc scoot.

Hope you've dried out from your wet weather.


irondad said...

I did it. Spent some time with a scooter today. Look for the next blog post. Tried to make it a reply but it was so long I realized it could be a post all its own!


Steve Williams said...

Oh oh. Can't imagine what's coming...