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Archive for June, 2010

June 28, 2010

Part 1 of 3: Know it all

I like to believe that I know everything, or close to, when it comes to riding motorcycles. I’ve been riding two wheelers steadily since I was 3 years old. Certainly most of my experience has been on motocross tracks, but I’ve also bumped into rocks and trees in the woods and I’ve even put some miles on the open road, in the limited time I’ve had my M1. I’m quite confident in my abilities. I’m a “been there, done that” type of rider, for the most part. There’s nothing you could tell me about riding a bike that I don’t already know … or is there?

Last weekend my fiancé, Tabitha, and I completed our M1 exit course at Sir Sandford Fleming College (SSF) in Peterborough. I’ve got to admit: it feels like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. “But Danny, why would an expert, handsome two wheeler like yourself be so relieved for passing a simple motorcycle training course?” you ask.

Let me explain.

Danny and Tabby MX

One bright, sunny day in April Tab and I decided to skip a day of work and complete the first step of Ontario’s motorcycle graduated licensing program: the M1 written test. (I still can’t believe all a person needs to do is pass a WRITTEN exam to legally ride a motorcycle on public roads. Doesn’t matter if you’ve even sat on a bike… you pass, you ride. Crazy!) Tab’s always trying to come up with … er, I mean, we’re always trying to come up with different ways to spend time together, and what better way than by sharing the joys and freedom of motorcycling.

I was shocked to learn that the ministry wouldn’t award me a license based on my impressive riding resume. Never one to honk my horn, but I’ve qualified for motocross races at the professional level, rode across mud, rock, sand and snow, and I’ve even raced on the ice in Quebec (that alone warrants some serious merit). Apparently all of those accomplishments don’t mean much to the “Man.” So like everyone else, I would have to suffer through a simple, mind numbing written test. Aw well, no biggie.

As for Tab, she’s a relative newbie when it comes to motorcycling. She’s ridden off-road here and there but not much else. Tab was very nervous waiting in line at the DriveTest centre. I assured her that it would be a cakewalk. In fact, with everything I had taught her, she would ace this thing. No sweat. During the test, I lifted my head and was surprised to see that Tab had already left the room. Did she get frustrated and say to hell with it? I hoped not because that meant an extra-long car ride home. Moments later I spotted her at the teller and, judging by her smile, I could tell she had passed. Good job, honey!

I, however, was a little more patient; I wanted to not only pass but ace this test. It would prove to Tab that I knew what I was talking about. As I approached the teller, I politely waited until she was done lip synching along with Lady Gaga before handing her my test. I noticed something was wrong as she marked my test; she wasn’t placing checkmarks beside my answers, they were Xs!

“Sorry but you’ve failed,” she said.

“Naw, that can’t be right. I know how to ride a motorcycle. Check them again,” I replied.

“Please move along sir, you’ve failed. Neeeexxxtt!!”

“Wait!” I stopped her. “You mean to tell me, my fiancé, who has spent less than 10 hours on a bike, passed, but me, Danny Brault, a professional MX racer has failed? Heck, I could jump this building if I wanted to!!”

That wasn’t working, so I tried impressing her with my swank job at Yamaha, hoping she’d bend the rules. Not a chance. She rolled her eyes and once again asked for the next person to step forward. My ego bruised, I handed her another $10, wrote the test once more and passed … barely. Needless to say, my family, friends and co-workers had some fun with this. “Oh, but Danny, I thought you were a pro?!” Go ahead, laugh it up … I would.

It was a dark day for Danny MX but I did my best to swallow my pride and bury my embarrassment, way down deep inside….

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