Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Prepping for Homecoming

There are many items that you need to take care of before you can bring home and ride a motorcycle in New York State. I thought I would list a few:

  • Insure the bike
  • Get a Motorcycle Permit/License
  • Take a Rider Safety Course (recommended by everyone that I talked to)
  • Arrange transport
  • Get a helmet
  • Get gloves
  • Get a protective jacket
  • Lean how best to lash it to your trailer (there are several popular theories)
  • Arrange pick-up time
  • Register the bike

The Motorcycle Permit: $14
So the day I won the bike, I stopped on my way home at the DMV and decided to get my permit. I went in, asked for the paper work, and filled it out. The woman handed me a booklet, which I already read most of online, and told me I had to come in for my permit test. I asked her if I could study and then take the test right there and she said if I was a quick study, I could go ahead. 30 minutes, 20 multiple choice questions, and $14 later I had my motorcycle permit. That was a lot to tell my wife when I made it home. I had won a bike and now I was authorized to ride with a fellow biker.

The Motorcycle Safety Course: $275
I started getting serious about this endeavor in the beginning of June. After a talk with Matt Volke, a fellow rugger and motorcycle owner, he highly suggested taking the motorcycle driver safety course through Adirondack Community College. It is a three day, 15 hour course that splits classroom time with drive time. If you successfully pass the class, you are exempt from your NYS road test, so it sounded like a good idea. The cost was a little high at $275, but it seems like it is worth the money to be more knowledgeable and to have my riding technique critiqued by instructors. I was hoping to get into a class this week, but the soonest opening was July 11-13, so it looks like I will be doing a lot of partner riding with guys from the rugby team until then. Good thing that there are about five or six of them on the club.

Pickup Time (Insurance & Transport)
So Monday hit and it was time to pick up the bike. I had ordered a helmet and gloves from two different websites, but both returned e-mails saying they were out of stock and unless I wanted to wait two weeks, I would have to get something else or buy locally, so that remained on the radar as something that needed to get done. I visited several websites that explained the best ways to secure a bike to a trailer and there were a lot of opinions. Some of the items mentioned as "must haves" were wheel chocks that bolted to the trailer and locked the wheel in using a pin, and something known as a "Canyon Dancer" that slips over the handle bars and acts as a means of tying down the bike without stressing specific areas on the front. After dropping my wife off at the airport, I accomplished the following tasks prior to my departure time of 3:30:

  • Visit three bike shops, all of which were closed until 10 A.M. (it was 8:15).
  • Call in my bike's info to the insurance company
  • Pick up some ratcheting tie downs from my father-in-law
  • Unload my truck and landscaping trailer
  • Return to Marshall's Motosports in Ballston Spa and buy a Canyon Dancer ($29.99)
  • Pick up insurance cards from insurance agent (cost of premium for one year: $89)
  • Arrange with my friend Michelle to ride with me to Vermont
  • Grab a wheel chock normally used for my boat after deliberating on building one out of 2 x 4's
  • Print MapQuest Directions to Springfield, VT
  • Get together the $510 I still owed after my $100 Deposit.

We arrived, after an interesting dinner in Chester, VT at a combination Chinese Food Restaurant/Car Wash, at the owner of my new bike's house, Paul and Tisha. They live on a mountain and I immediately put the truck in four wheel drive to get up their sandy driveway. After some maneuvering, we manage to get the bike loaded on the trailer. I asked Paul to do it as I had images of me accidentally flooring it and getting flung headlong over my entire truck. He quickly maneuvered it up the ramp. When I asked about securing it to the trailer and what he would suggest, he said that he just used two straps in the front, slightly compressing the front spring. This went in the face of everything I read on the internet, but Paul and Tisha seemed to know what they were talking about when it came to bikes, so I acquiesced. Paul must have seen the dubiousness on my face because he offered to strap down the rear wheel even though the weight of the bike, he said, would more than hold it in place.

Sure enough, he was right. I kept an eye on it for the first ten or fifteen miles and not only did it not bounce, it stayed perfectly straight up and down with the need of using the kickstand to do so. Six hours after I left my house, I was unloading my new bike and stashing it behind my boat, absolutely in agony that I couldn't take it out for a ride. That would come tomorrow when my buddy Paco Tempest was coming over on his Yamaha sport bike for my first riding lesson.

Next Chapter: Registration and FINALLY getting a helmet and gloves.

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