The Motorcycle Blog

Ride the Parking Lot

This past weekend I was with my 17 year-old, watching him play in an out of town hockey tournament.  At the facility where he was playing, a motorcycle-training course was being conducted in one of the facility’s parking lots.  In between one of my son’s games, I wondered over to watch what was going on and took the opportunity to talk with the instructor.  We chatted a little bit about our motorcycles and where we liked to ride.  All the while his students were riding around in the parking lot, going around the cones, practicing braking and generally trying not to run into each other.  I began to feel guilty and tried to excuse myself by saying “I’ve enjoyed our talk but you probably need to get back to work.”  His reply caught me off guard but at the same time gave me the impression that he was a great instructor.  He said, “the best thing right now for them is to ride and get comfortable on the motorcycle before taking to the road.” 

There’s a lot going on when you’re riding a motorcycle on the street.  Shifting, braking, turning, watching what’s coming up and paying attention to what’s going on behind and beside you.  The more you have to consciously think about doing the less time you have to consciously think about the things that are important.  By practicing in a parking lot a rider, new or experienced, can work on internalizing their riding skills. 

Is it a motorcycle or a computer?

My wife’s car is a rolling tub of electronics and computers.  When I take it to the shop for service the “mechanic” plugs it into the shop computer for program updates and to locate any problems and analyze what service needs to be done.  The only mechanical work that gets done is the oil change and tire rotation.  If something does happen to squeak or rattle, which the computer can’t pick up, heaven forbid if you don’t have a mechanic who is actually a mechanic.  

When Toyota began recalling cars due to problems that either has been traced back to the onboard electronics or computers, it wasn’t that big a surprise.  Computers and electronics are great but they are prone to glitches or failure more frequently then the mechanical parts of the car.  Even worse, the glitches can be difficult to find, let alone fix.


Motorcycles are becoming more advanced and are being loaded with more electronics and computers then ever before.  This is exciting because of the performance improvements that are now possible.  At the same time it’s also a cause for concern because the electronics may be prone to glitches or failure, just like their auto counterparts. 

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