Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review. Brad is out of the office for a few days, so the rest of the editorial team is filling in to accomplish the big job he takes care of each week. I tried to get my work for this issue done late last week. I knew the boss would be gone—and I wanted to clear my mind of distractions ahead of the motorcycle safety course I’d scheduled for the weekend.

To be honest, I figured I’d just get in a bit of parking lot practice time, take the class and be road ready. I’ve been driving for almost 20 years, and I’m good at it—no at-fault accidents, not one demerit on my license, ever. But I can tell you without a doubt after taking the course, I’m not ready for the road.

My instructors at Western Nevada College—Matt and Randy—were kind and knowledgeable. They taught my classmates (including my mom) and me so much in just a short amount of time.

I feel pretty confident kicking it up into second gear and countersteering left or right through a corner before straightening out and bringing the bike to a quick, safe stop. I feel confident—in a controlled environment.

I wrecked the bike on day one and pulled the muscles between some ribs. At least I managed to hit the engine kill switch and pop right back up to give the “all’s well” sign to my instructors. But by day two, I just knew. I knew I wasn’t ready. I opted out of the final lessons and the skills test for my endorsement and spent most of the day watching my classmates. I learned some more things just doing that.

I think the biggest lesson I learned is just how great a responsibility it is to ride a motorcycle—to be less visible, less protected than those driving around you. Someday, I’m going to be ready to join other riders on the road. In the meantime, I can’t help thinking and worrying about them—people like my classmates, my instructors—soon—my own mother. And I can’t help asking all of you to think about them, too. Motorcycles are coming out of garages all over the valley. Please be on the lookout for them.

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