Looking out over the Pacific Ocean, six months into a ride across the Americas, I found myself attending The Cold Start, an off-road riding clinic in Ensenada, Mexico. This may seem like an odd way to spend finite travel funds, but the rewards for this type of investment are surprisingly numerous.
I’m a product of rider education. Before I logged my first mile on the street, I spent two weekends on the range, attending an MSF-certified beginning rider’s course in Connecticut. Later, I became a CMSP instructor for the State of California and taught a similar program. Throughout all my years of riding, I’ve attended six different riding schools, some of them multiple times. Additionally, I’ve been fortunate enough to work and ride with some of the most talented motorcyclists around. So, given the folks I ride with, I feel like I am a perpetual student. That’s a good thing. Motorcycling is a sport that offers tremendous rewards to those who pay attention. And you should, because the costs of inattention can be very high.
Every motorcycling parent dreams of their child expressing interest in the sport. For me it started with a request to be taken for rides on the back of my bike, but then one magnificent day, she asked, “Can I learn to ride?” I’ve always wanted my kids to be interested in riding, but I was not going to pressure them. I’ve supported them in their interests (from ballet for my oldest to competitive gymnastics for my youngest) and tried to avoid pushing them into mine. So, when my 13 year old asked me, I sprung into action. What I didn’t know is that I would end up learning almost as much about myself and my daughter as she did about riding motorcycles.