Were you able to take the class on a scooter or a motorcycle?
Like others, I’ve wanted to ride a Vespa for years. I tore around on bicycles as a kid (back when helmets were what you wore to play football, not ride bikes, shoes optional), and it was great fun. I took an all womens only class WSDOT sponsored basic riding course, rode a little Vino 50, and did fantastic, passed with flying colors. There was only 4 of us in the class, so it was like private lessons. I had bought my sexy Vespa two weeks before taking the course. I was set.
Then the weather turned to poo (did I mention it was October and I’m in Seattle?). So the scoot sat under a nice cover for almost 7 months. As the weather got nicer (not nice, just nicer), I started to get a little anxiety about getting back on it. I hadn’t been on a scooter since October, and that was only for one day. Then there’s the whole issue of learning how to shift which sounds great until you realize no one around you knows how to help you learn. Plus I bought a 150 and the only practice I had was on a little 50.
So, after much thought and a couple baby tries on the scooter (in first gear, for about 100 ft then turn around, another 100 ft, rinse, repeat) and being really nervous because the manpanion was watching and he was nervous for me, I decided to take what they call ARC – Additional Riding Course. Half day of just riding in a controlled setting on their scooter. I really wanted the Vino 125 (since mine is a 150cc) to practice on, even requested it, but when I get there, the one that was available the same size as the one I originally rode. Grrrr. Oh did I mention it was raining ALL DAY that day? So we practice and I get re-familiarized with the concept again. Fabulous! But, since it was raining the whole time, my gloves and grips were wet, my hand slipped, I gunned the throttle and the back tire slips out from under me during a U-Turn practice, and down I went. Not bad, just bruises and I needed help getting the scooter off my foot. Got right back on the scooter and rode for the remaining hour or so we were there. No embarrassment, and little tougher on the inside.
But, I’m glad I fell. I got the first “fall” out of the way (and bonus, it wasn’t with my pretty scooter!). I also got 4 good hours of experience riding in a steady drizzle/rain showers (required for my city!). I would have never gone out and purposefully rode in the rain, but now I don't have the fear that I might get caught in it unexpectedly.
That was in May. Every weekend its been decent (not pouring), I’ve been on my scooter. At first, just putt putt putt in first gear up and down my block and around the traffic circle, then the next weekend, successful shifting, then the next weekend, in mild 30 mph traffic on arterials. Each time, more confident, faster and steadier speeds, more “real” riding.
I say, if you want it, go for it. I am a perfectionist, I tend to not want to practice at something, I want to be great at it from the start. This time, I dunno, its different. Maybe because I had good training from the beginning, maybe because it’s been in my heart for 20 yrs, something flipped in me last year and I decided it was time. I turned 37 this year, I think I am just ready to do this for me. Not to be cool, not to impress a man, but for me. And like others have said, do not ride when you’re distracted or tired. And find someone to practice with who is experienced but not nervous about you being on the scooter.