Behind the Handlebars Training


This summer, I completed the Motorcycle Training Course through Saddleback Rider Training in Orange County, CA. I have to say that this was one of the most thorough and effective training courses that I’ve been through — I work for a publicly owned, federally regulated company, so I’ve experienced my fair share of trainings. I’ve heard it said before that some folks think every driver, motorcycle rider or not, should go through this training and I wholeheartedly agree. The course is run by seasoned motorcycle riders. The classroom instructor was a retired motorcycle officer who specialized in motorcycle accident investigation. When these guys share stories, they’re speaking from experience. They have seen it all. What is evident, is the instructors’ sincere interest in seeing you succeed. There are mountains of information they need to impart and they do it well while maintaining a hearty sense of humor.

I started the course with reasonable knowledge of “how” to ride a motorcycle, having ridden dirt bikes through my adolescence. And having been a licensed driver for 20+ years, I understand the rules of the road. What was a huge gap for me was the dynamic of motorcycle riding on roads and in traffic. I had no idea the factors that are constantly being weighed by a rider, millisecond by millisecond. There is so much more to consider when piloting a motorbike than when driving a car. A car sits stable on four wheels and you simply turn the wheel to the desired direction. On a motorcycle, your ass, arms and eyes have considerable influence on WHERE you and the bike are going to go. The road surface is another element that motorcyclists need to monitor and evaluate so much more than car drivers do. And then the wild card – those car drivers! As many of you well know, the list goes on. It’s overwhelming for a new rider to cycle (pun intended) through these considerations over and over, constantly evaluating & reevaluating conditions. If I walked away with nothing else, I have a new, deeper respect for riders and the skill and attention it requires to ride the streets and highways.

Tell me your Rider Training stories! I’d love your feedback.


First Year Without a Car

My last car, and The Bike

I am Car-less. Have been now for 366 days (leap year) since I turned in my lease. As with most people, I’ve had a car my whole adult life; since I was 21. Now here I am, one year in and I am OK.

Downsizing from 4 wheels to 2 is a challenge, but having a large, touring motorcycle, with plenty of storage, helps of course. I work from home, am an empty nester, and it doesn’t hurt that I LOVE riding – Everywhere.

Fully adopting the 2 wheel lifestyle included moving across the country this past year by motorcycle. No packed car. No moving van. Just rode, and had twenty-one boxes shipped from New York to California.

As one would expect, I am free from the expenses and hassles of maintaining a car, but I’ve realized other benefits as well. I walk more places now, that I may have just jumped in a car to go to: Stores, Out to dinners, Movies, etc. For the times when two-wheels and/or two-seats is not enough: I’ve used Uber. Had groceries delivered to my door. Ordered larger items online. Or, worked out things with friends (who have cars).

Being car-less may not work for everyone, but fits my circumstances well. Being able to ride 365.25 days a year is a tremendous benefit. I’m not sure that I’ll be car-less forever, but it’s working for now, and I’m Liking It!

Cheers to the Two-Wheel life!