To Teach or Be Taught

Several people have approached me and asked me if I would teach them how to ride. All but two were men. They have asked me about bike choices for beginners and had questions of how I overcame my fears. And it wasn’t the women who have asked the fear question. I would have never imagined a dude strolling up to me and telling me that he’s been wanting to learn how to ride for years and the only thing keeping him back is his fear. Wow! Aren’t men taught to not show fear and always appear strong, dry eyed, fearless, and in charge? I would have expected that to come from the girls. Maybe it is because amongst women it is understood that we have to swallow a certain amount of interest in self-preservation and just grow a set and do it. Without pressure and at our own pace.

I have so far declined respectfully, but impressed upon them that they are better off taking a training course such as the MSF (Motorcycle Safety Foundation) Basic Rider Course or Harley Davidson’s Rider’s Edge Course. Until now…

I am seriously considering teaching someone how to ride. I have told them that they don’t want me to teach them, because I’m a hardass. I won’t tolerate any bullshit and if I feel they are not taking riding or the lessons seriously, I’d send them packing. That didn’t scare him off. I then asked him a bunch of questions designed to feel out his interest, his maturity level, why he would want me to teach him, etc… He answered all those more or less to my satisfaction. I felt like I was giving the man a damn job interview, no an interrogation is more like it.

I didn’t hear from him for about a week. Then he resurfaced and was asking me about lessons again. I was surprised and asked him if he actually still wanted me to teach him. He answered with a yes, but to please take it easy on him, since he has kids and if I got him killed he’d be really mad. I told him that not getting him (or myself) killed is the reason why I’m taking riding skill development and education so seriously.

I wonder if I could actually be a good teacher. Yes, I have a fear of public speaking. Had, I should say. I lost that in the military when they just picked me out of the crowd in AIT and made me class leader because I pumped out the most push-ups in two minutes out of the group. They had to pick one of us somehow and I suppose, highest overall PT score is one way of doing that. They kept threatening to replace me, but I actually lasted the entire cycle, with a short hiatus; maybe the calling out the Barney Song in cadence had something to do with that one. Hail to the Cobra God! Huah!

I shall teach or be taught. I’m just not sure if I am ready for that sort of responsibility. It’s almost as if I held someone’s life in my hands. That he lives or dies by the information I give him and the skills that I will ask him to practice. Yes, there will be homework!

2 Comments on “To Teach or Be Taught”

  1. Dandooligan says:

    Exciting, isn’t it? I’ve found most people who have asked me the same question, want me to give them a pre-riding course skills. They are so nervous about getting on a bike that a bit of work in a parking lot with a fellow rider apparently does amazing things for them…

    Do it! You’d be great at it! As long as the person understands that they should still take the course after your sessions, even if it’s just for the test at the end of it… At least, that’s what I always tell people.

    Also, please source a bike that’s a good teaching tool, like a ninja 250, or a nighthawk 250… Teaching on a big bike just adds strain and stress to the environment. At least, this has been my experience. Feel free to pull from it as you see fit.

  2. Michelle Linton says:

    I agree with Dandooligan that you would be great at it. Are you going to charge him? You should, your time is valuable and you have all the miles and experience (reading included) to impart on someone.

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