I started my Pacific Riding School course last night and thought it would be fun to chronicle it.
On the way there I got lost because:
1) I’m not familiar with Surrey and
2) I’m blonde and that’s what I do.
I pull into a gas station for directions and hope someone speaks with a minimal accent so I can find my way to the school without getting lost even further. So I zero in on the scary bald guy in the store. I ask if he knows the area well (I’ve done this before), he answers in the affirmative so I ask if he knows where PRS is. He says he knows where it is as he did his course there and asks if I’m doing mine. As I say yes I see the grin morph in front of my very eyes. I’m now “Super-Cool-Chick” and the grin becomes a leer. “Cruiser or crotch rocket?” he asks. “Sport bike I say,” hoping my crotch is no longer a topic of discussion.
WAIDAMINUTE!!! What happened? When did this get creepy?? I leave quickly, directions in hand and contemplate locking my car doors as the guy is now winking at me.
Without getting lost again I manage to find my way there. The school is obvious due to the large number of bikes sitting in the parking lot. Good thing. I park and go inside tentatively.
After checking in we all mill around the ground floor, drooling over the Ducati Monster on the floor and watching Mark work on one of the Sherpas. A group is gearing up for their evening ride. They look calm, prepared and organized in their matching gear with their deliberate mannerisms. In direct contrast our motley crew looks simultaneously cocky and terrified... if that’s even possible.
We file upstairs and sit in seminar fashion in front of a raised platform and drop down projection screen. No one is talking. I look around and it slowly dawns on me that in a class of 20 students, I’m the only one with boobs (or at least the good kind).
We all sit and wait for Dat to show up and make us awesome riders. He shows up... but tonight isn’t designed to make us feel good about ourselves. It’s meant to let us know we are useless riders; stupid and dangerous. He wants us to know that we know nothing. Less than nothing... squat. ICBC’s book is designed to kill us. Our ego’s will kill us. The bike will kill us. We will thin the herd ourselves... we are Darwinism at work. We go over the most crucial countermeasure: gear. We watch a video of racers bumping and skidding along for miles on their sides/ backs/ fronts/ faces and hopping up and walking away from the fall. We’re all calculating how large a loan we can get so we can buy MORE GEAR!!!
He likens riding a bike to war and uses examples of desensitizing solders by firing live rounds over their heads during basic training. I start thinking Dat may ACTUALLY shoot at us. Just for fun.
We get a tour of the bike from a distance and learn how to turn it on. We touch nothing other than a Sharpie pen that becomes our “throttle”. We’re 6 years old on our Huffy bikes saying “vroom, vroom” and twisting our wrists to no avail. We now KNOW that we know nothing.
The earlier group returns from their ride. As Dat has sufficiently scared the crap out of us – he has the group stand on the platform in front of us and tell tales of how much we’ll learn and how much confidence we’ll gain and of the things that lie ahead – finally returning excitement to our fear riddled-brains.
We are now blank slates with deflated egos, ready to be moulded by PRS.