ABATE course fun and very helpful

ABATE patch
My ABATE graduation patch.

My goal for this summer has been to earn my motorcycle endorsement. Today, I graduated from the basic rider’s course sponsored by ABATE.

It was a great class and worth the $75. The instructors — Kim and Andy — were wonderful.

The class lasted three days. We met Friday night to cover the riding book. We were giving a list of study questions and has a group determined the best answers. We also then reviewed with a DVD. Unfortunately, a drum corps competition was also in town and decided to use the school parking lot for warmup.  Thus, we study and discussed with drumlines practicing and musicians running scales. Ugh. We got through it.

We began riding on Saturday. It got a little warm, but there was a nice breeze. The bikes were small and I had no problems balancing and getting familiar with the equipment. The instructors would explain to us verbally the course exercise and then one of them would demonstrate the skill. I found that most helpful. After the  demonstration was done, we took to the range and completed exercises. After every two exercises we would have a 10 minute break. The toughest exercise for everyone was the infamous box. This is where a rider must make two u-turns in a small area. I struggled. By the afternoon we were back in the ac-conditioned classroom finishing up the book. This kept us out of the parking lot heat.

Sunday brought rain, so we took our written test in the morning. I only missed two questions (both had been reviewed right before the test!). Our range skills on the bike for that day included swerving, changing lanes, and riding over obstacles.

Finally, it was time for the skills test. Challenges consisted of the infamous box, the swerve, sudden stop, and a 135-degree curve. I did not do well on the box and was a little slow on the curve. Still, I passed.

Now that I have my waiver, I am able to get my endorsement.

Some of the skills I have learned I won’t use as much because of my particular ride is a three-wheeled roadster. It rides much different than a motorcycle. Still, the knowledge and practice will be helpful in developing a better road sense.

Published by Scott Davis

Former newspaper journalist, now government webmaster. Life-long geek.