Freedom and exhilaration. These are the words Maynard, our motorcycle editor, uses to describe his ride every time he has to test a motorcycle for the magazine. “You’ll completely enjoy it when you’re driving on traffic-free roads.”
And those words eased my fear and nervousness when Maynard asked me if I could go to the free riding lessons of Yamaha.
Prior to that, my only experience riding a motorcycle was when my friends have me as their passenger. It was scary and exciting at the same time as the wind on my face enlivens me and I feel my hair fluttering freely in the air. I admit that I do not wear any protective gear whenever I take a ride inside our subdivision and around our barangay. This, of course, is a no-no. “Wag tularan, nakamamatay,” as those tokhang placards always say.
My curiosity, fascination with motorcycles, desire to learn, and encouragement of my editors made me decide to give it a try.
So, my free riding course occurred at the Yamaha Safety Riding Science (YSRS) for Women last May 14. The motorcycle company held this event in lieu of the traditional Mother’s Day affair, where moms are given cooking lessons and treated to a manicure at a nail salon. This one is for women, too, but is for females from ages 16 years old and older who are interested in learning how to ride a bike.
The YSRS free riding course had a total of 60 female participants from different age groups, with different occupations and statuses. The goal, however, was just one: teach everyone how to ride a motorbike.
During the free safety riding course, Yamaha gave us a motorcycle riding seminar at the Yamaha Y-Zone Y meeting room, and our instructor discussed all the do’s and don’t’s on riding, laws implemented on motorcycles, gear to wear, getting a license, and how to make ourselves visible to other motorists on the road.
After the two-hour seminar, we proceeded to the Mayflower Open Parking in Greenfield District to have our actual lessons under the fine and windy weather. Due to a large number of participants, Yamaha decided to divide us into groups of five participants each.
Excitement and nervousness filled me. “I can do this! I can,” I said to myself. To ease my tension, I talked to my fellow student riders, until I met a mother (whose name I can’t recall), a riding student from Noveleta, who kept on raising my confidence like my own mom. “Kaya mo ‘yan, ‘nak! Relax, and be confident with yourself.” And like magic, I did.
Safety gear, check. Warm-up exercise, done. Balancing assessment test, passed. I was now ready to twist that throttle.
On the actual driving area, the motorcycle instructors from Yamaha familiarized us on how to operate a motorcycle — standing it properly, switching the engine on and off, always reminding us to hold on to both front and rear brakes even at a complete stop, so that if we accidentally twist the throttle, the motorcycle won’t make a sudden acceleration.
After knowing how to operate a motorcycle, my group went through balancing. Here, the instructors taught us the proper handling of a motorcycle, and asked us to balance and handle our Yamaha Mio (mine’s a Yamaha Mio Sporty) properly by driving it back and forth in our respective course lanes. For this excercise, the engine is off, and the instructors pushed our motorcycles, and repeated until we could balance it without their help.
At the next station, the patient and calm Yamaha instructors taught us how to properly control the motorcycle throttle. Before that, our instructor let us choose a Mio model that suited our height and weight, and again, Mio Sporty was my ride.
My nervousness exceeded my excitement when my instructor said “Ma’am, you can now push back the rear stand and proceed to this lane so you can practice controlling your throttle.”
OH-EM- GEE! This is it! I will now apply all the things I learned from this whole course! Start the engine. Release the brakes. Open the throttle slowly. Close the throttle. Slowly hold the brakes. Repeat until fade. Just kidding. Repeat til you get it.
On my first and second attempt, I failed to slowly rev up my Mio Sporty, and ended almost hitting my instructors. I still thank my nerves that were responsible for controlling my grip on the brakes.
And so I continued running the motorcycle until I completely got used to controlling my Mio Sporty. The best part of it, I was able to drive it without falling out of my bike! Cornering, which included body weight distribution, swerving, and applying brakes were among the things I learned from the course.
The class went on for the whole day and I had a blast even if we only had a short time to learn the basics!
At the end of the course, and happy like a child, I was able to get my certificate! Learning how to ride a motorcycle brought me back to the time when I was still learning how to ride a bicycle. It was difficult and confusing at first, but you’ll eventually get used to it.
Thank you, Yamaha! You really turned me into a woman who can ride with confidence. I guess at this point, I need to work on changing my license restriction number. I also hope that my parents will allow me to buy a motorcycle.
And thank you, Maynard. The experience was not that exhilarating quite yet, but with constant riding, it will come.
So, Maynard, when’s my next ride?