OK, guys, I got good news — I passed!
Capt Crash is right, the TW200s do make a squeak in the suspension. I noticed that the first day when I squeezed a little too much front brake the first day moving up in the line-up stop and go. Everyone who had the TWs seemed to like them. Heck, one of the rider coaches said she bought one because she liked it so much. I’ll stick with my Ninja 250, thanks. Getting on the 250 after the class was so much more fun. I found out Ohio actually used to use Ninja 250s, but not anymore. Bummer.
I think I’m literally drenched in sweat. 91 degrees at the moment. We had to take an extra longer chill break at one point today, because one of the riders was baked solid from the heat. She got so out of it, she just about lost it coming into the group-up, something you don’t see mid-way through the second day. A bite to eat, some water and chilling out in the A/C’d student lounge did the trick, and she passed just fine. I know her husband will be happy for her, he stopped by to watch yesterday — he rides a sport touring bike.
I did OK on the test. I ended up briefly outside the box on the right-hand U-turn (grr) which I think was due to my bike being about empty on gas and it’s power coming and going in spurts (and later stalled when braking towards the line-up after that part of the exam was over.) It made things a little more tense having to switch to reserve, then choke and keep the throttle open for a while because it kept stalling when I would roll off the throttle. Who knew that the time I ran out of gas on the road would come in handy in a class? Also, who knew I could go through that much gas in 14 miles according to the trip odometer?
I seemed to do fine on everything else. My favorite part was blasting out of the right hand curve doing easily 30 in the last part of the exam not to get screwed on time once it all clicked. It’s all about turning that head and looking at the way out. The muscles will make it happen.
The rider coach said that I need to work on consistency. He’s right. Sometimes I could do the exercises spot-on then sometimes I goofed up parts in practice when I did it just fine the last time around. And most of the time it was because my head was looking down, not the way out.
The other instructor suggested going slower, which really helped on the curve on the way in during the test and on the braking distance test, though I did screw myself a little by braking when I was too far past the line. I’m not concerned with that, since I can’t remember a time in real life where I need to START stopping at a certain place, as opposed to stopping clear of something once stopped. I found it helped stop the tension leading up to the mark by telling myself that I’m just out on the road riding having fun and how good the wind feels.
All around, a very excellent course. The first class seemed too monolithic with so many people, different groups and so many ranges. The classroom section the first time was mundane “ok, who has question number 14 from the back of the book?” as opposed to having us work in groups and write down and teach the sections to the class in groups on a piece of poster paper in front. I got more feedback and help from the instructors this time than I did the first time. And no one dropped, even in practice! The bikes were in great shape! Motorcycle Ohio seems to really take care of their bikes, as opposed to program in Metro Detroit where there were literally parts hanging off on the first day.
Also, you’re right — the bike you started with is the one you used all weekend. When I took it the first time in Metro Detroit, they had us playing musical chairs with our bikes. The bike you started on the first day might have ended up on a different range the second day!
The instructors mentioned how good a deal it is. I agree 100%. $25 for the program literally can cost $400 in some states. Or how Harley D makes their program 5 days long, which includes ample time to hang out in their store to shop for gear. *rolls eyes* Regardless of cost, I highly recommend anyone who rides to take it. It’s helped already. I did a low-speed U-turn at the gas station on the way back from the class that I wouldn’t have even bothered with before.
All in all, I had a great time, regardless of the heat. Once the cards were handed out, a group of dirt-bikers passed by on the street by the parking lot, and one of them gave us a wheelie. I can’t wait to get out my cones and practice some more on my Ninja in a parking lot.