And so, a universe is opened
Well RideTale family, I did it.
I began studying well over a month ago, attempting to roll bundled in enough knowledge that the hill ahead of me would become more fun -- and safe. Though I have a poor habit of never feeling prepared enough, I had begun to show that I was adept at piloting a motorcycle. So much so that my private instructors at High Gear said I was ready to take the next step.
In every motorcycle group I'm a part of, people have a lot of questions about the MST (the Motorcycle Skills Test) here in Canada. It's apparently very similar to the test of the same license stage in the United States. I will try, my hardest, to give a complete play-by-play of how the test goes, using a graphic I've made, in this article.
British Columbia ICBC Motorcycle Skills Test
A walkthrough in 7 parts -- yes, I am aware that I've only put 6 numbers on the map, but #1 is two parts.
- 1. - When you begin your test, you will have to meet the instructor at the two red cones at the base of #1 on the diagram. They will instruct you to turn your motorcycle off, and put it in Neutral. Then, you will have to walk your bike until the front tire is in on the "X" at the top of the white lane. Once there, you move up so your back tire is on the "X", and crank the steering wheel all the way to the left. Keeping the bars locked, you walk your bike in a u-turn, until your front tire lines up with the most-south yellow cone. Your ICBC rep will then use a measuring stick to put said yellow cone a meter farther than your Neutral u-turn. And that's the space you have.
- 1.5. - Now that you're measured, and the tester knows you can push a "stalled" motorcycle, you are to meet back up at the starting point for #1. *await further instructions* Then, you will have to do a slow (walking speed) ride and stop when your front tire is on the "X". During the slow ride, the instructor will tell you to speed up or slow down if you're not going the right speed. What they WANT to see, is you keep the revs high, and use your clutch to gain or decrease speed. Stop smooth, with a foot down when you're going to come to a full stop. *await further instructions*
- 2. - The u-turn is pretty easy. Sway right when you start, to buy even more space, and turn your head to the left. If you slow down too much, let your clutch out, and you'll be just fine.
- 3. - Coming out of your u-turn -- and not stopping -- you have to go right into the slalom. Stopping once your back tire is passed the finale cone. *await further instructions*
- 4. - Meet at the southern most red set of cones, facing east. You will be asked to do a sharp left turn into the slow-speed crawl lane (from a full stop) and you will continue into..
- Repeating steps 1.5 - 3, then head to 5 and await further instructions.
- 5. - Similar to part 4, part 5 is a sharp right turn from a full stop, starting from the eastern most blue cones.
Today -- Sunday the 23rd -- I had the fortune of being asked by my instructor if I wanted to take the Ducati out for the day. "I don't need it" he sent to me via text. At first, I thought that I should remain home on a Sunday where I had yet to get anything done, but after short contemplation, and the coveting of that ride, I agreed. "Consider it a self-directed lesson" my instructor responded.
Now that I have my MST behind me, I only have two restrictions on my motorcycle license.
- I can't ride at night. Trust me, Vancouver in the summer has a very long dawn to dusk, so this isn't the hamper that some might assume.
- Zero alcohol in my system at all. I don't consume alcohol. I've been sober for 12 years now. So that restriction isn't even FOR me.
With near limitless potential, riding feels ever so slightly new again. Which is something I didn't see happening. It's as if I was granted access to a room in a house, and then I was given a key to another room but it turned out to be a door to the rest of the world.
There wasn't a moment of my time that day that felt tied to anything but the moment I was sitting in.
See something neat? I can go check that out.
Need a drink? I'll just buzz a few blocks to the gas station.
It's been a tougher year so far. And to have a day like Sunday made such a difference in my demeanor. For the first time in months, I slept like a rock, because not only was it my first solo ride around the city, but I went non-stop for nearly eight hours, and my usually uptight body was far less happy about getting rumbled around on a motorcycle all day.
I love you so much it hurts my head
I met up with my instructor at High Gear today to return the keys to the Suzuki TU250 I had borrowed for the day -- filled to the brim with fuel of course -- and he was with a potential new client. He joked about "trying to talk him out of his decision to learn to ride" and I made a quip about how nothing would feel the same again, and you -- as a rider -- learn to realize that the world off a motorcycle feels different now.
But I wasn't joking.
I don't mind you under my skin
This sensation wasn't supposed to be in the cards for me. I don't think. I've felt a lot of things, seen and met a lot of people that have gone through even more, yet I could have never comprehended the raging rapid that is a beach side avenue with your visor up and the sun shining.
Ever moment of it, another moment I'll never soon forget. Each passing second like the best you've ever had.
It's the freshest of mornings on that late summer camping trip. It's a warm coffee early on a fall day. It's the lapping of the whitecaps while you stare into the seemingly endless ocean.
At it's core, it catches me. Like a soft mitt, after life has served me up as a foul ball, I'm saved by it. If only for the moment.
Sometimes it gets harder to realize where you are, or what you're "in", but when you take a thought check and get caught in it, it's bliss.
Coming soon to RT
- I maybe buy a bike? Possibly?
- TheMotoSocial Vancouver July
- More MotoVlogs