Marks’s Best Advice – CMSP
“Eleanor” (the name of my 2008 GL1800 Gold Wing) is at the motorcycle shop getting some work done. New tires, oil change, battery and repair of a leaking front seal. It will be ready for pick up in a few days. However, before I can pick her up I need to attend the Californian Motorcyclist Safety Program or CMSP. I initially received the information about CMSP from Mark at the local Harley store.
Taking the CMSP class does a couple of things … for starters it gives some great fundamentals to work on after the class. Second, you will get a discount on your insurance after passing the class and third, successfully completing this class replaces the regular practical test you would need to take at the DMV to get your license.
This class is three days! Friday night from 6:00pm – 9:00pm. This first class is all book work. Saturday, is on the ‘range” from 12:00pm – 4:30pm. The range is a huge parking lot at a local college in Valencia, CA. Then more class time Saturday evening from 5:30pm – 8:30pm. At the end of the class you take a final written test. The third day, Sunday, on the range again from 12:00pm – 4:30pm. The end of the third day on the range you take a practical test of driving the motorcycle based on the skills you’ve learned from the range lessons.
Looking forward to going to the class I began to think what a huge waste of time this is going to be. I’ve ridden motorcycles … dirt bikes as a kid, a couple of big bikes 25 years earlier and I brought Eleanor home sum 60 miles without incident! I’m good enough … I don’t need this class! But I kept hearing Mark’s words … “Even if you know how to ride this is a great class, I recommend that you take the course before you start riding!”
Now, having successfully completed the CMSP, I will confirm that I am so glad I went! It was time well spent. Our teacher for the weekend was a lady named Charlie (she is part of the Top Gun Motorcycle Training Centers). Charlie was passionate about motorcycle riding. She averages about 30,000 miles a year. She rides in rain, daylight, darkness, long distances, short distances and more. She was a terrific teacher. She made the classes very enjoyable.
The “range” portion of the class was awesome! About 12 of us students on smaller bikes (150cc to 250cc). The motorcycles we used in the range were light and easy to ride. Anyone can take this class … no experience is necessary. We were taught skills like turning, hard braking, swerving, stopping, clutch work, U-turns, significance of turning your head in a turn and much more. While it did seem a bit basic (which that is what it is designed to be) I gained a lot of knowledge that was able to bring to the real world of riding Eleanor!
In conclusion, if you are interested in riding motorcycles I strongly encourage you to visit Top Gun (http://www.topgunmc.com), it is money well spent!
All the preparation is complete, it’s time to ride!