Some say that it is fruitless to attempt to indoctrinate a superannuated canine with innovative maneuvers, or more succinctly, you can't teach an old dog new tricks. Okay, so I'm not that old and I already know such tricks as sit, stay or roll over. That doesn't mean I can't learn something new.
This has been a busy week for me, a very good week but busy. I started a new job on Monday and all week I've been sitting in class learning, being trained and tested and believe me... my whiteboard is full.
I have been in a shipper/receiver position throughout most of my working life, my last job a logistics coordinator and now I am fortunate to have found a position in supply chain. This brings shipping and receiving to a whole new level.
So what does this have to do with motorcycles? I've ridden motorcycles since I was 12 years old, self taught before finally taking some formal training... which led me to becoming an instructor. Now I teach both students who have never been on a motorcycle before and students like myself who have been riding for years. I know the new riders are nervous and we do our best to calm their nerves letting them know that there will be plenty of coaching, that we will be with them the entire weekend.
Then there are the experienced riders, I was one of them when I took my very first Advanced Rider Training class with Irondad as my instructor. I knew how to ride and I went in with an open mind and a willingness to learn. I ended up learning something new and became a better and safer rider.
Now I've driven forklifts as long as I've been driving a car. I know the tricks and nuances of operating these bad boys and can hold my own. Standard, sit down, forks forward, counterweighted, rear steering forklifts with a conventional steering wheel.
My new ride however, is a Crown RC 5500 similar to the picture below but with a squeeze attachment. I've seen these units before, but never operated one. How hard can it be really? The only difference is the operator is standing instead of sitting, right?
|Online photo from rekarma.com - (mine has the clamp attachment)|
Then came time to check the steering and now all of a sudden this is a whole different animal.
(My good friend Polar Bear of Adventures with Bud E. is a lift truck technician and I'll bet dollars to donuts he is laughing pretty good right about now and if not, he's about to).
Wow! Talk about touchy! Instead of a steering wheel I have to master the tiller type steering, which would be okay except I'm standing sideways traveling in an unnatural way... sideways!
Whoa! Brake! Brake!
|Overview of the "cockpit" - photo rekarma.com|
This is where all that bravado I discussed earlier takes a back seat. I now know how our students feel when they hop on the training bikes. All I could think of was squeeze and ease, squeeze and ease, get used to that friction zone. Back and forth, back and forth, squeeze and ease. All day.
|Online photo from Crown.com|
My instructor was very patient with me and I'll get it, but most of all the training certainly helped me understand what new riders go through and how easy the professionals make it look.
Not an easy task to operate this equipment for 9 hours a day.
This old dog not only learned several new tricks but a valuable new perspective.
Ride with Seriousness of Purpose but Lightness of Hand - Dan Bateman