Wednesday, April 09, 2014

How I used to spend my summers

msf course

I was an instructor for the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s beginning rider course for 10 years from the mid-1980s to the mid-‘90s and taught more than 1,000 students the basics of motorcycling.

I taught under the auspices of ABATE of Indiana in a mobile home converted into a classroom and plunked down on whatever parking lot we could find.

This is the view from the podium during a class in the summer of 1989.

I loved teaching people who were motivated and wanted to learn. I would have made teaching my profession if I could have been guaranteed motivated students, but the big difference between teaching motorcycle safety and any other subject in a public school is having to deal with kids who aren’t interested in what you have to give them. That pretty much never happened in the MSF course. It happens every day in public schools.

The course has since been revised several times and instructors are now called “coaches.” But it remains an extremely powerful learning experience that combines classroom lectures and videos with hands-on riding exercises on entry-level motorcycles.

Anyone who wants to ride a motorcycle owes it to himself and everyone he shares the road with to take the course. I can’t count the number of times the knowledge and skills I gained in the course have saved my life.