I was once told, “the moment you stop growing, you start dying.” These words were very much taken to heart. I understood it to mean a lot of things, but in this instance, it correlated to being a student before all else. With that in mind, I did not hesitate to sign up for a motorcycle course offered by the Arizona Motorcycle Safety & Awareness Foundation with instructors from Chandler Police Department for free!
I’ve often admired the skill level at which these officers ride, so having the opportunity to learn from them was a huge opportunity for me I couldn’t pass up! I sent them an email, and was accepted to take the class and added to the roster a few days after. I had to get Management approval to get the Saturday off, and with that taken care of I was set. I decided to take my Zero S to the course, and the bike a once-over the night before. I still can’t get over how simple this bike is to maintain; brake pads, brake fluid, and tire pressure checks. I was getting a good night’s sleep in less than ten minutes.
Class started at 7:00 AM, and I the ride to the high school parking lot we were using was uneventful. After signing waivers, going over paperwork, and settling in to the classroom, we had some presentations to sit through. One was especially interesting, discussing helmet technology, variants, and safety afforded. Another speaker was a representative of AMSAF, and discussed the foundation and upcoming events. After an early lunch, it was time to gear up and start riding.
They had set up multiple courses throughout the parking lot, there were yellow cones everywhere. Each stage focused on a different skill, and valuable for different reasons. They had us doing U-turns, straight and staggered slaloms, and heavy acceleration and hard braking. Everyone’s favorite seemed to be the last course, “Cone Torture.” It was really great to meet so many people, and make new friends. It was plain to see that we all had different skill levels, and every last one of us left having gotten better.
The last course took all of the skills and combined them in to one course, back to back. It was incredibly challenging, and I knocked over my share of cones. The biggest takeaway for me was not having a clutch, and having to improvise techniques to achieve the same effect as holding the clutch in the grey zone. A lot of it involved fine throttle control and trail braking. This electric bike is definitely something else.
After many thank yous, and goodbyes, I was on my way home around 2:30 PM.
Photography credits to Arizona Motorcycle Safety and Awareness Foundation