Motorcycle Diaries – Part IV (The Test)


Sunday (The Final Test)

This morning I arrived 30 minutes earlier at the “driving range” (folks like my husband would be picking up their golf clubs).  I wanted a little extra practice on the Figure 8 because, quite honestly, that move was not my strong suit.  In fact, I just plain stunk at it!  I was afraid to turn my head as far as was needed, and I was afraid to make the turn without putting down my foot.

Wouldn’t you know I could execute a Figure 8 when no one was watching me!  When I was practicing on my own, I could make the turns without putting  a foot down.  I tried to convince myself that I could do it just as well when our driving test was under way, and I almost had myself talked into it when my name was called to be the first driver on the test.  It really unnerved me to think that 11 other students and three instructors were watching my every move.

Concern must have shown on my face as plainly as the beacon from a lighthouse on a dark night because one of the instructors signaled me over before I executed the drill.  “You can mess up the Figure 8 and still pass the driving test,” he said.

I’m sure he thought he was offering words of encouragement and, thus, reducing my stress.  He was right!  I came to cherish those words as I felt my foot touch the ground in the middle of the first turn.  I was so disgusted with myself because I CAN execute that turn flawlessly; I just couldn’t do it when it mattered most.  Yes, I had stage fright in a big way.

Thankfully, I passed the rest of the driving test with flying colors.  I was among the top of the class for stopping quickly, but that won’t surprise anyone who has ridden in a car with me!  The written test was our last criterion in order earn our certificate of completion.  I don’t mean to brag, but I really am proud of this fact: I didn’t miss a single answer on the written test.  It helped that practice exams were found in the back of our handbook, as well as online at

The Rider Education Course, developed by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) and offered through North Iowa Area Community College and most community colleges across the state, was a great experience!  I really encourage anyone who’s interested in obtaining a motorcycle license to first take this course.

Next time: the “official” picture of me on my ride.