M - To Be Or Not To Be.........
Could it be possible? The sky looks odd….. it’s blue with only a few white things scattered about…… there is also what appears to be a ball of fire beating down upon the ground which is… what’s that word…. dry! In addition to this, there is also warmth!!!!
After what felt like a lifetime of precipitation and dark dreary days, it seems that today, 14 days before the Summer Solstice, Spring has finally arrived. That is, atleast for the next 3 days. As of right now, there is more rain and cooler temperatures in the forecast for Southwestern Ontario next week. Until then, we have what promises to be beautiful motorcycle riding weather which is a good thing…. especially for me. Why you ask?
In the province of Ontario, Canada we have a graduated licensing system for both car and motorcycle licensing. For motorcycles it is M1, M2 and M (replace the M with the letter G for cars). In order to start the process to get a motorcycle license, you must be atleast 16 years old. While I often act and think like a 16 year old, my body has aged well beyond these years.
In May, 2017, I took myself (in a car) to a Ministry of Transportation Drive Test Centre located in Brampton, Ontario to get my M1 which is the beginning of the process. Think of it as a 90 day learner’s permit.
After passing a basic eye test, I was directed (after a wait of approximately an hour which did not include the hour which I had already waited in line outside the building prior to the doors opening at 8am) to an area where there were chairs and computers to complete the “written” test which was composed of 3 sections:
Rules Of The Road
Knowledge Of Motorcycles
If my memory serves me correctly, answering 4 questions incorrectly results in a fail for that section which you re-write. Things started off really well for me (insert sarcastic tone) because despite driving for nearly 40 years, I failed Rules Of The Road. Fantastic I thought!! Once I completed and passed the remaining sections, I took myself back outside to stand in line so that I could re-write the Rules Of The Road. While waiting, I read the Ministry of Transportation’s Driver’s Handbook to refresh my memory which I neglected to do in the first place despite being encouraged to do so.
I was not going to leave without my M1 which I finally got. Happy days!
As a result of being born with 1 hand as a result of congenital birth defects and not knowing the definition of the word “can’t”, my first motorcycle, a 2017 Honda Rebel 300, was equipped with a centrifugal force clutch which disengaged the engine automatically based on RPMs, a finger throttle and front brake lever installed on the left handlebar.
I was scheduled to take my M1 exit course with Learning Curves at the Markham Ontario campus in July of 2017. Because I used my modified motorcycle, I had to ensure that I was comfortable with it prior to taking the course. To say that insurance was expensive with an M1 is an understatement, but I was worth the investment, so I dug deep into my pockets and paid over two thousand dollars for a year of coverage. I rode over 800km before taking and passing my course.
Fast forward to today – Friday, June 7, 2019.
Tonight, I will start the final journey – the quest to get my full motorcycle license – the holy grail – my M. While the majority of the province and many within Canada will watch the Toronto Raptor basketball game, I will spend 3 hours in class from 6:30 – 9:30 pm to prepare myself for the evaluation that is to come Saturday. While I really want to watch the Toronto Raptors tonight, I will gladly turn my attention to the training and focus on getting a good night’s sleep so that I am ready for tomorrow.
Despite participating in many solo and staggered formations rides with my husband and multiple riders, on my Rebel, my 2012 Honda Shadow and most recently, my 2014 Honda CTX DCT, to say that I am a bit anxious and nervous is an understatement.
Friends have told me to have confidence in myself and trust my bike and that once I am riding tomorrow, I will forget all about the evaluation and just enjoy being on two wheels. It is these friends who have helped me get to where I am today, therefore I greatly appreciate their feedback and encouragement.
I will share my experiences over the next couple of days and hope that my next blog will include a picture of me, my CTX and a certificate. If it is not to be, I will not despair. This is a privilege and not a right, therefore I will continue to work hard to successfully achieve my goal.