Saturday, April 03, 2010

Images from a weekend.

This has been my life the past week or so. Just a running blur. Mixed in between were a couple of training classes. I thought it might be fun to share a few images from the classes with you. The photos are actually from two classes despite the post title. "Images from two weekends" just didn't flow right!

I'm sure it's no surprise that I have an ego. A pretty big one, actually. It's something I try to leave at home when I'm teaching students or training instructors. Yes, I'm darn good at a number of things. Riding a motorcycle being one of them. However, training is about "them", not "me". An ego can get in the way. So I suppress mine. Interestingly, sometimes it's somebody else doing it for me. Take the first night of class, for example.

In this case it was Thursday night. Sometime right after lunch on Thursday the skies started dumping rain. Having been out in the rain all afternoon, I rode to class. So, if you're a new motorcycle student, wouldn't it be important for your instructor to have credibility as a rider? At least, that's my story.....

Truth be told, most of the students don't even notice or care. They are so inwardly involved with their own processes there's not much attention left for anything else. Obviously, it's important for an instructor to have their students trust them, but that happens during the class. It doesn't really matter if the instructor rides or not. To the students, anyway.

I just like having the reputation of a rough, tough, hardcore rider. I suffer a lot in nasty weather to keep and enhance that reputation. Maybe I rode in the nasty rain and wind just to show off. Did I mention I have an ego? Well, my ego was just about to be shattered.

Pulling into the lot near the classroom I spot a familiar bike. Perhaps you will recognize it, as well.

There was the 250 Rebel belonging to Balisada. She has a picture of our two bikes on her April 1 blog post. Balisada says she was riding because her truck had a flat tire. Let me tell you, I see her out on a bike in all kinds of weather. Pretty darn often, too. I even have photos of her riding the Rebel on a track during our Advanced Rider Training class.

I was instantly humbled. My Grandfather used to quell my youthful boasting with a couple of things. As if he should counsel me about boasting! Anyway, one of his stories was about a sturgeon and a hen.

He would tell me how a sturgeon would lay thousands of eggs but nobody knew it. The work happened deep under the water in the dark. A hen would lay one egg then run around the farm flapping her beak about it. The hen got the most attention, but which one really accomplished the most?

Weird story, isn't it? Guess you had to be raised a cowboy to understand. Right afterwards, Gramp would remind me of how it was the empty barrel that made the most noise.

One of us boasts a bit on our blog and the other one just quietly goes about her business. Who's really hardcore, after all? I hereby bestow upon Balisada the new title of Iron Tigress. To totally understand this, click on this post. Check out her helmet. Seeing as to how Balisada has a playful side, perhaps she would prefer Iron Tigger. Take whichever one you want, girl!

By Saturday afternoon we had a temporary reprieve from the rain. Construction leftovers have left a bit of mud and debris hanging about. Yes, that's Balisada's bike again. She works for the college's Security Department.

This is 6 AM Saturday morning. So far only Elvira and I are on duty. Getting ready for the day.

Training bikes getting warmed up in the fog.

By Sunday we had rain, again. Same training bikes, different weather.

One of these things is not like the others! To the students it doesn't matter if we ride or not. To other instructors? Let me say that the driver of the Ford got a load of grief! Imagine, having the audacity to park by our bikes on top of it all.

There are always new groups of students eager and ready to go. Here's the group from one weekend.

Here's the group from the next. So many different personalities. I always think of myself as the catalyst that brings them all together into a harmonious whole.

These pictures are from our last exercise of the course. We set up a miniature city with plenty of opportunities for traffic interaction. The perimeter is one way to the left. Inside lanes are two way traffic. The center is a four way stop. Students have to stop before entering the perimeter. All twelve ride at the same time. We even expect them to use turn signals and cancel them. Imagine!

Static practice on the bikes on how to manage a turn from a stop and stay in your own lane.

The following photos are students riding the exercise.

By the way, a close-up of the TW's front wheel is the blog header photo at the moment.

Some instructors call this exercise controlled chaos. Sometimes the students get uncomfortably close to each other like below.

Instructors cast a watchful eye on the group to keep them safe. ( I'm playing with shutter speeds to create a sense of action and movement. )

Douglas is a long time fireman. Not much fazes him. He's a steely eyed missle man taking care of business.

Let's see. Controlled chaos. Close calls. Interacting with inexperienced vehicle operators while being inexperienced themselves. Sounds a lot like riding in the real world, doesn't it? That's the idea. This is the last stop before the students become endorsed riders the next day. We like them to have a taste of reality along with the chance to apply all the skills they've learned over the weekend.

When all is said and done, time for a nice cup of coffee to end the day. I'm at Allann Brothers Beanery. And you thought I only went to Starbucks, didn't you? Actually, I had a date with Katie and we like to sit outside on the patio when we can. Oh, yeah, I'm drinking the Storm Trooper Blend. ( actually, they do have a blend called Oregon State Trooper: State Police headquarters are just down the street )

Miles and smiles,



bluekat said...

It's fun to see pics from your class...brings back all the memories...the fun ones, the painful ones, and the sound of all the little bikes rumbling and waiting for us students.

Great shot on Early Saturday. I love the effect from the fog and the different colored lights, and your faithful steed patiently waiting for your return.

Love the new header. I didn't realize it was one of the photos posted below until you mentioned it. Nice crop. Nice composition!

irondad said...


Those bikes have many memories and stories of their own.

Thanks for noticing the early morning pictures. I wanted to show the quiet and loneliness of the morning with the tones, colors, and darkenss.

As to the photo of the wheel; once in a while I get lucky.

Take care,


Balisada said...

Funny, I don't think of myself as hardcore. I just ride in all sorts of weather anyways!

I liked the "controlled chaos" part of my Basic Rider Training. It was an introduction to the street without actually going onto the street!

I truely had forgotten that it was Thursday and that a Basic Rider Training was probably going to be starting, so your motorcycle was a pleasant surprise!

Iron Tigress

irondad said...

Balisada, ( Iron Tigress )

Your bike was a pleasant surprise, as well.

I see you picked out which one you liked best!

Take care,


Anonymous said...

The early morning mist, the motorcycles idling ready for their workday. Something suitable for a mood poster perhaps?

Mt first comment; do you feel "drained" after completing a class, and all the gear is stored and the next training weekend is a few days away. Drained emotionally more than physically?

And a second thought from my end of things.

We here in Southern Ontario have had over the last seven or eight days unusually warm weather, for this time of the year. Our winter was extremely mild unlike the previous two years. No major snow. I suspect the next few months may well be warm, and dry.

This year there was no owned motorcycle to ride. Sad, in a way.

It was a strange experience; I noticed things. motorcyclists wore jeans and usually a textile jacket, very few leather jackets in evidence. No leather pants, a few wore assless chaps; virtually all the bikes seen were either cruisers
or what I call crotch rockets. Saw one motorcyclist, on an older
Yamaha, in two piece black leathers, but that was all. Numerous scooters and scooter look a-likes, they too were clothed in textiles, no leathers. To a person all wore full-face helmets. The majority of the cruisers had V-styled engines, and these same cruisers seems to relish the loud noises that was released from their exhaust pipes, and much as the high pitched whine coming from the upraised mufflers of the crotch rockets.

Wheelies were seen as the young riders used their testosterone laden genes to show the world what they could do. Of course no police constables around when these performances happened.

As a now outsider I see why the general populace tends to be annoyed when loud noise is the result of a passing motorcycle.

Ban the bikes comes to mind; next will be a ban on the large diameter exhaust system on automobiles. Maybe the young do this to show what they can do, And we the elderly and aging find any noise not to our liking to be obnoxious.

Lucky said...

Love the last picture. If you had a notebook next to you, we'd all have a visual for what it looks like when you're writing!

irondad said...


I do feel drained. I invest a lot of energy into my students.

You're right about public perception. Too bad it's the noise makers and stunters who get all the press. Makes it look like all of us are the same.


Thanks for the tip on the new prop!

Take care,


Sojourner rides said...

I love the photos of the class. And, I immediately noticed and love your new blog banner. It's very striking!