Just took the test to get the whatever they call it here “super heavy motorcycle” license, and I passed it.
Had to go to school to get it, took a double weekend, full day course to do it. It’s kinda surreal to go to
school, and listen to your instructor and not understand a single thing he says, and to rely on a classmate
or 2 to translate just a small portion of what was said. I should thank my lucky stars that there were a few
Taiwanese classmates of mine that weren’t afraid of using their English. So the lack of understanding of
what was being said, and what I wasn’t told, didn’t bother me so much, as I had lots of fun riding a bigger
motorcycle for my training. It’s been so long since I’ve rode something bigger than 250cc, that I forgot
what it felt like.
Things I liked about the course, the cornering practice. You really learn how to turn a tight corner at low
speeds, and 2nd gear is your best friend. The other thing that really opened my eyes in that course is how
to look at where your going when you’re cornering. Don’t look in front of you, look where you’re going, like
really turn your head far to where your going. It felt really strange at first, but then it became really
comfortable, and a lot more reliable. To me, I’d compare it to catching a ball. You don’t watch your hand
when catching a ball, you watch the ball, and you trust your hand will move to where it should go. It’s
the same with cornering, you’ll steer as needed as you’ll just follow where you need to go. I don’t know
if that’s the right explanation or not, but it seems appropriate.
Of course I had a lot of opportunity to practice the test before I took it. To me, I found it funny that I
found the practice was much easier to do on a 600cc motorcycle, than on a 400cc motorcycle. I think
that’s mostly because the 600cc motorcycles were in much better shape than the 400cc motorcycles.
They use the 400cc motorcycles for training, so they’re beat up. Saw a few of my classmates drop
their rides. Which is understandable, as the 400’s were touchy. Hard to feel if you shifted, some
would throttle hard way too easily, and the front brakes would engage far faster and harder than
you’d like. The 600’s were the exact opposite of that. Good feel when shifting, smooth throttle, and
the brakes were as soft as you needed them to be.
Though I must say, I had a lot more fun practicing the test on the 400’s. Especially on the emergency
brake test. I really wanted to see how fast I could go and still past the test. You only need to get
up to 3rd gear and be going at least 25 KM/H. My high score for the brake test was 50.4 KM/H. I
didn’t care so much about the crawl test, until I saw my classmates oh and aw over someone in
my class taking 15 seconds to pass the test. On my next practice session I did it in 19.2 seconds.
I certainly was a lot more timid on the circle test. I just let 2nd gear pull me through the circle, and
I didn’t care how fast I was going, I just didn’t want to hit the metal bars. One of my classmates
really liked going through that circle fast, especially on the exit of the circle. I didn’t have so much
fun on the 600’s, as I was more focused on doing what I needed to do to pass the test.
I think the most memorable moment of the course was the driving instructor showing the class that
he has big brass balls. The kind that you need a wheel-barrow to carry around. He was riding a
figure 8 pattern, and giving examples of what not to do. In on of those examples was using the
rear brake heavy in a corner. The instructor did that, and high-sided the motorcycle and got flung
off it. He really went into that corner fast, and hit that brake hard and made the rear tire skid.
Lucky for the instructor, he had a bush to fall into. I’m not so sure that the rest of my class was
taught what really happened, and just had to take the example as a lesson, but not understand
why it happened. I had to learn about it from a riding manual from back home to fully understand
what happened. The instructor didn’t lean enough when he was skidding his back tire, and when
it gained traction, he was thrown off. That’s what the manual said, and then my early days in my
youth, when I loved skidding my back tire, the memories and lessons I learned on how to do that
came back to me. At my age now, I’m certainly not going to be trying that any time soon on a
motorcycle, but it’s something I’ll keep in mind if I find myself in that situation.