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Learning to Ride, Day 4 (aka, who’s gonna make it?)

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This post is the fourth installment of a four-part series on my experience attending the four-day Harley-Davidson Riding Academy New Rider Course.  To start at the beginning, jump to Day 1.


The final morning started off with the biggest challenge of all: U-turn boxes and s-curves, both requiring super tight turns (left, then right) at slow speeds. Counter-intuitively, I learned that motorcycles are easier to control at high speeds than low speeds, and this exercise is obnoxiously hard.

We navigated our bikes into a single file and prepared to proceed through the exercises one at a time. I was glad I wasn’t first; I was in the middle of the pack.…

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Learning to Ride, Day 3 (aka, crash bars for a reason)

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This post is the third installment of a four-part series on my experience attending the four-day Harley-Davidson Riding Academy New Rider Course.  To start at the beginning, jump to Day 1.


We all arrived by 7:45 AM—geared up in boots, jackets, and gloves—and made our way across the practice range to Jamie and Glen, who were waiting for us.  After two evenings of classroom time, we were finally going to get on actual bikes.  It was the first of two full days of practice.  I was thrilled.

Twelve brand-new, 2015 Harley Streets were neatly arranged in two parallel lines like toy figures lined up for battle.…

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Learning to Ride, Day 2 (aka, the women in the class)

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This post is the second installment of a four-part series on my experience attending the four-day Harley-Davidson Riding Academy New Rider Course.  To start at the beginning, jump to Day 1.


The second day of class was also confined to the classroom.

I realized class time was important.  I knew it was foundational.   I acknowledged we had to do it.  But I didn’t want to sit in a classroom.  I wanted to get on a bike!  The anticipation of knowing whether or not I could actually pull off riding a motorcycle had been building for a long time. I was already so invested.…

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Learning to Ride, Day 1 (aka 37 degrees and 3.7% confidence)

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This post is the first installment of a four-part series on my experience attending the four-day Harley-Davidson Riding Academy New Rider Course.  


I sped down I-95 at 75 miles-per-hour in my Prius.  Outside, the sky ached gray, and snow spit from clouds that hovered so low I thought my head would brush up against them if I stepped outside the car.  With every second, I got closer to “Harley School,” aka, the Harley-Davidson Riding Academy New Rider Course.

I’d been driving for 2-1/2 hours, and I still had 30 minutes to go.  I was driving this far because I felt impatient.…

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