Noob no more! You’ve passed the Rider’s Edge course.
Day three saw the rubber literally and figuratively meet the road as we dawned dealership-provided Buell Blasts on a private local parking lot. (A little tip here: short of dropping hundreds of dollars to get fully geared up, you’re going to want to invest in a long-sleeved shirt, jeans, ankle-high boots, sunglasses, and leather gloves if you don’t already have them in the closet. DOT-approved loaner helmets are provided.) It was time to apply all the theory we’d learned in class over this extensive 10-hour day. Joining us on the range was our second instructor, Christopher Veal. Adding his six years of MSF instruction experience to the course, Chris worked masterfully in tandem with Len—one explaining exercises while the other demonstrated on a Buell. As we ran through the exercises, both Len and Chris observed and provided feedback on how we were navigating the layout. There were also regular breaks between exercises to get out of the sun, rehydrate, and log our thoughts in our Roadbooks—private journals provided for us to jot down our innermost thoughts on all of these new experiences.
Progressing through the exercises in this manner for two consecutive days on the range works. Whereas many of us started off stalling out our bikes regularly (me being one of the biggest offenders), we gradually began to settle into a nice rhythm where we broke free of our early limitations and really began to pick things up at a greater pace. By midway through the eight-and-a-half-hour second day on the range, we were brimming with confidence (again, me being one of the biggest offenders). At day’s end, we headed back to the dealership and really began to check out the rides on the showroom floor in a new light, kicking legs over many and offering our “expert” opinions on each. I felt like a bull in a China shop in the showroom on day one; now I was grabbing a Road King and sizing it up for my butt.
It’s safe to say that by day five’s one-hour, 45-minute class, we were over the trappings of being biker noobs. We wanted our licenses, our bikes, and to get on the road already. Ahh, but despite all of us passing the range test the day before, we still had to pass the written test to make it official—”official,” meaning getting our completion cards and saying sayonara to our desks and chairs.
Once we passed the finish line and the classroom lights were switched off for the final time, we all exchanged contact information and promised to ride together as soon as we all had the means to. And as confident as we all felt, something Len said rang true for me: we were officially experts at riding Buell Blasts at low speed in a closed parking lot. It was a great journey from day one through five, but I still know there’s a whole other “real” world out there to conquer, and yes, I’d like to conquer it. That’s right, I left the Rider’s Edge New Rider course with something more than my completion card: I knew I was indeed born to ride.
You can search for nearby participating Rider’s Edge dealerships and register for class at harley-davidson.com. Class fees are $299. Skilled Rider and Group Rider courses are also available for experienced riders. Sign up quick because space is limited. HB
Studying up for the big written test on day five of class.
As their sleeves so eloquently state, our instructors, Chris and Len.
Brendon ready to launch from the staging area.